This morning a coworker and I were discussing the increased use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or as the mass media lumps them, drones. UAVs are used for a wide variety of tasks today that just 10 years ago were the purview of manned aircraft, requiring a human in the cockpit to execute the mission. That mission could be anything from taking reconnaissance pictures to bombing the bad guys who are shooting at the good guys.
The conversation twisted around to the ever encroaching sterility of war as seen by our populace. I won’t address the rest of the people in the world. When we look back on the wars of the last 150 years this country has been involved in we see that they were much different in the area of casualties. Probably the most horrific war this country has seen was the Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of young men were killed in individual battles. There was scarcely a family in the United States that wasn’t affected by the war. Those that survived often were scarred mentally and physically.
Looking ahead to World War I and World War II, while the loss of American lives was not as heavy, they were still national efforts because we, the citizens of this great country knew that losing those wars would have irreparably change our way of life and our way of government, not to mention our national language.
In the Korean and Vietnamese wars, there was no chance of a direct attack on the US mainland from our foes; there was still a national effort, no matter how unpopular. The American people sent their young to fight and die for our national interests. Many scars came out of those conflicts, both on the warriors and the families.
Now, let’s fast-forward to Iraq and Afghanistan. When you look at the magnificent young men and women fighting and supporting those efforts, they are almost viewed as being in a vacuum. Looking around today life goes on much the way it did before September 11, 2001. We are in our second president’s term and everyone is concerned about the next shoe to drop out of Congress or the administration but there is very little talk of progress, or lack thereof, being made in Kandahar, or the increased bombing in Iraq.
In short, the country is either completely ignorant of what is going on in the Middle East or they have become so calloused as to be unaffected. Please don’t misunderstand me, massive numbers of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and their families are deeply affected by these conflicts. But how affected is the general public? In World War II we had campaigns for scrap metal, war bonds, and rationing. Now our forces are much smaller and more high tech and the bad guy they are fighting is 8,000 miles away. Why should we care back here? I won’t go into the possibility of success or failure in Afghanistan, which is another issue. My concern is the concern felt by the American public; what used to be called National Will.
A few days ago I read a story about Hezbollah developing relationships with the Mexican drug cartels. This is a terrorist group that is supported directly by Iran. Unfortunately, Iran is the Big Daddy Rabbit in the terrorist game. Their only major rival in that contest is the Muslim Brotherhood. I consider al Qaida as a subsidiary of the Brotherhood.
The Mexican cartels already have almost unfettered access across our southern border and with the developing partnerships with Hezbollah they will have the same access.
Now the military is leaning heavily on the use of UAVs to do those tasks we used to send young men into harm’s way for. Personally, I would much rather see an unmanned piece of machinery shot at than one of my shipmates. But this further sterilizes the conflicts in which we are engaged. The average citizen has not been made aware of what is at stake if the forces of evil are allowed to have their way anywhere at any time. The reason for “The War on Terror” has not been fully explained to the American public sufficiently to get the message across.
The unfortunate side effect of this sterility is that Americans will be extremely surprised when large numbers of coordinated attacks take place right here at home, in our own neighborhoods, churches, malls, and schools. Those attacks will be perpetrated by those same Muslim terrorists crossing the border with the aid of the cartels.
I can’t help but wonder if anyone at the Department of Homeland Defense has any clue what-so-ever as to how many Muslim terrorists have crossed our southern border. We are already aware of numerous Muslim terrorist training camps located within our borders. Couple the graduates of those training camps with the Muslim terrorists crossing our borders and you have a recipe for disaster on a grand scale. I am not talking about another 9-11, I am talking about a massive number of coordinated incidents, whether suicide bombers, snipers, or improvised explosive devices.
Our military is fielding many marvelous implements to aid our troops but are utterly failing at telling the American public why they are doing it. It is my belief that this administration is charging full speed ahead while wearing blinders. They don’t have a clue how to address the situation with the American public and we will be caught flat-footed.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.