web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Changing the Battlefield

September's outburst of violence is the next phase of a transnational war based on religious ideology, and it includes wars waged not only by organizations, but also by Iran.
1209

The unwillingness of the Obama administration to label the September occupation of American diplomatic facilities in Cairo and Benghazi, and the murder of an American diplomat “acts of war” make this an opportune moment to consider two lessons emanating from more than a decade of warfare in the Arab and Moslem world.

First, the United States has ceased to use military force as an instrument with which to enforce its will. Our military has become an element of American diplomacy designed to change minds and behavior. The civilian population – the sea in which non-conventional armies swim, to paraphrase Mao – has become the object of intense and expensive American courtship.

Second, our adversaries in this war are not defined by time or territory, although they have more of both than we do. No defeat is definitive.

In August, President Obama went to Ft. Bliss to celebrate the anniversary of the end of combat operations in Iraq. He included the impending withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan as he told the troops, “Make no mistake, ending the wars responsibly makes us safer and our military even stronger, and ending these wars is letting us do something else; restoring American leadership.”

The soldiers sat mainly in silence, understanding perhaps better than he that the wars have not been ended – responsibly or otherwise. The American presence and influence in the region is waning, but “the war” against us goes on. It is fought by people who need the United States as an organizing principle, and who will not be dissuaded by our absence, our reluctance to cooperate with Israel, or the President’s flattery.

They were right. Only weeks later, the Arab and Moslem world exploded, partly in organized acts of war on U.S. soil in Cairo and Benghazi, and partly in a frenzy of manufactured outrage from Morocco to Afghanistan. On the other hand, the al Qaeda-supported al Shabab gave up the last city it held in Somalia — Kismayo — and ran for the hills. On the other other hand, al Qaeda-related Islamist forces moving from Libya into Mali have extended their reign of terror, and the UN is considering creating a force to respond. Jihadists of various stripes are active in Syria and Nigeria.

Conquerable Centers and Admitting Defeat

World War II, the last “good war,” is the story of the conquest of territory. When the Nazis overran Europe, they made the rules. General Eisenhower was told to take the territory back and ensure that the Allies made the rules. He did not care whether a German soldier or civilian was an ideological Nazi, did not ask him to be nice to Jews and did not look for defectors. When he was done, the Allies were in Berlin, and any stray Nazi sympathizers kept their heads down. It was gruesome, but ultimately American rules prevailed. Ditto the Pacific. Island by island, the Allies reversed Japan. The atomic bomb was the alternative to taking the last stretch to Tokyo mile by bloody combat mile.

VE Day and VJ Day were possible because Germany and Japan had conquerable geographical centers and governments to acknowledge defeat. When the Allies conquered the center, the war was over.

Korea and Vietnam, wars that were halted rather than ended, did not have conquerable centers. The wars were managed, funded and equipped from a place the United States was unwilling to go. We negotiated an armistice at the 38th Parallel for South Korea and left our troops under treaty as our bond. In Vietnam, we negotiated a peace treaty that removed our fighting presence; our political presence disappeared shortly thereafter.

The First Gulf War was a hybrid. The U.S.-led coalition captured the territory of Kuwait and threw the Iraqis out, but declined to continue on to capture the center – Baghdad. The unsustainable no war/no peace lasted 12 years. By the time we removed Saddam the rules had changed.

Ideological and Transnational Adversaries

America’s primary enemies in the Middle East take a different view of both territory and defeat than Nazi Germany or even Saddam. For al Qaeda, territory is valuable as a staging ground, training ground or hideout, but the war travels. Terrorism can be conducted anywhere — New York, Bali, London, Bulgaria or Jerusalem — and the aim is less territory-specific than ideological, religious and dictatorial. The Taliban in Afghanistan harbored Al Qaeda, but the CIA now estimates that fewer than 1,000 remain, the remainder having fanned out in Africa, Asia and elsewhere in the Middle East.

About the Author: Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously Senior Director of JINSA and author of JINSA Reports form 1995-2011.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Changing the Battlefield”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Which glass has the poison?
State Dept. Complains New Homes in Jerusalem ‘Poison’ US Peace Plan
Latest Indepth Stories

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

More Articles from Shoshana Bryen
Gaza

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John R. Allen.

It appears not to have occurred to Condoleezza Rice that Palestinian statehood was incompatible with Israeli security.

The 686 men who expressed their desire to run in Iran’s presidential election were whittled down to 8.

Does Kerry think it would be better for Israel to approach negotiations from a position of precarious poverty?

Neither Secretary of State Kerry nor the president he serves seem to understand Russia’s goals in the Middle East.

The fourth Great War is less ‘Islam against the West’ than it is Sunni expansionists vs. Shiite expansionists.

This is the functional equivalent of agreeing not to swing the wrecking ball after you’ve set the house on fire.

President Obama, perhaps inadvertently, made the case for U.S.-Israel relations grounded in the most fundamental shared values.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/changing-the-battlefield/2012/10/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: