Tuesday, October 05, 2004

"No Fate . . . But What We Make"


In the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the very buff-and-ready Sarah Connor pulls out her K-Bar from her belt holster and carves "No Fate" in to a park bench somewhere in the Desert Southwest. This is further explained in the movie to mean "No fate but what we make."

What a pithy, yet profound, statement.

Much of the Left complains that Bush's policies vis-a-vis Iraq do not reflect reality. To play off the above notion, I will say that there is no reality but what we make. The Germans bombed Pearl Harbor (sorry - I was channeling John Belushi aka "Bluto" for a split second. Maybe I was thinking of this, a more apt phrase from that monologue: "Nothing is over until WE decide it is!"). Imperial Japan invaded Manchuria, most of Southeast Asia and the Philippines. Nazi Germany invaded Poland and France, among others, incessantly bombed Great Britain, and killed roughly 6 million Jews. Islamic Militants destroyed the World Trade Center towers. The Islamic Theocracy of Iran will soon have nuclear weapons. The kooky communist dictatorship of North Korea already has them. That is reality.

What is also reality is that the Allied Forces defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The aggressive actions of the Axis Powers were real, but just as real were the Allies' actions at Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Normandy, and the Ardennes, to name a small few. The governments and people of the Allied Powers determined that such aggression must not be accepted as reality, but that it must be confronted and defeated. They devoted time, resources, energy, blood and treasure to see it through.

My point here is this: reality is what you make of it. Sure, sometimes reality is what happens to you, but what matters more is what you do about what happens to you in order to shape reality. Are we to simply accept as reality that people should exist under brutal theocracy, communist dictatorship, or tribal warfare en masse? To say that we should abandon the liberation of Iraq because the reality of it is dirty, filthy, nasty and brutish is indicative of somebody who would prefer not to make hard decisions, to not have to deal with the harsh realities of life, and perhaps even somebody that doesn't really agree with the central tenets of the Human Condition as exemplified in the Declaration of Independence. Most importantly, it is indicative of somebody who can't make the hard decisions that can change reality to their favor.

Of course you know I'm alluding to John Kerry, and anybody else who believes that liberating Iraq was a mistake because of the current difficulties we face. Victor Davis Hanson encourages us to take the long view of history, especially in regards to warfare. It is entirely possible that John Kerry's Vietnam experience, both as an American social era and his time in-country, has caused him to lose touch not with reality and world history before 1960, but with the concept that one can shape their own reality. For a military person of any commanding rank to have such a deficiency is dangerous not only for anybody of lesser rank but also for the people they have promised to defend.

No battle plan lasts more than the first few minutes of battle. Flexibility is key. The American way of war is to hit the enemy so soundly that his ability to fight, whether in motivation, materiel, or both, is destroyed. This shows a clear distinction between the United States and Islamic Militants: Islamic Militants want simply to kill the infidel and/or force a system of belief, while the United States want their enemies to stop trying to kill people and and adopt a peaceful, just existence. That in-and-of-itself should dispel the idea of moral equivalency as it relates to posession of nuclear weapons. But in the Albright State Department and Kerry brain-trust, it does not.

The legacy of Vietnam forces us to run every military decision through a political filter. Unfortunately, such an approach is not tactically or strategically sound. In Iraq, it will only be a "quagmire" if we allow it to happen. But, as Sen. Ted Kennedy notes, we can't allow that to happen. His method for avoiding a quagmire, however, is based upon that Vietnam experience; don't fight at all and you won't have a a quagmire. True enough, but the fight is joined. Wretchcard's analogy that Iraq is to the GWOT as Guadalcanal was to WWII in the Pacific Theater is spot-on. So what's it gonna be, Teddy? Pick up a rifle and win? Or say that it's over and hope that it is?

Somehow, the hundreds of thousands of American lives lost in WWII were worth the sacrifice, but the ~58,000 American lives lost in Vietnam were not worth the price. With hindsight as 20/20, and given that we lost the war, I could agree with that. Our persistence and belief in ourselves (what we Constitute) will determine whether or not the >1,000 troops lost thus far in Iraq are worth the price.

During Vietnam, the Left became adept at dismantling our ability to fight, thus destroying our ability to win the conflict. Whether or not our cause was just or our tactics or strategy were just is debateable. The Leftist legacy of Vietnam that applies today is that all war is unjust. Unfortunately, Islamic Miltants have chosen it as their preferred method of settling their grievencies with the Western World. In spite of the Left's cries for peace, the fight has already been joined, and there is no turning back. There is No Fate but What We Make. I hope that the Fate We Make is one where we win and Militant Islam loses.

"Come with me if you want to live."

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