We Live in Dangerous Times

Sixty-six years and six months ago, the largest amphibious force ever assembled sailed across the stormy waters of the English Channel, bound for the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France.  Nearly half of the 156,000 invasion troops were Americans.  They and the troops of allied nations suffered massive casualties that day as they waded ashore under the withering fire of German infantry and artillery.  Nearly 2,500 American and 1,920 allied troops died in the invasion and tens of thousands more were wounded. 

Between the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 and the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945… a period of 3 years, 8 months, and 26 days… the Unites States suffered 1,078,000 casualties, dead and wounded.  That was in a two-front war, of relatively short duration, but with relatively high casualty rates compared to more recent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  

It gives us pause to consider former New York mayor Ed Koch’s warning in a recent edition of the Jewish World Review.  He said, “There was a time when the U.S. military said it was capable of fighting 2 1/2 wars at the same time.  Today, as a result of being bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, we probably are unable to fight a third war, and our enemies know it.”  So how will the American people react to the very real prospect that we may be called upon to fight an open-ended war, on six fronts, simultaneously?  Although that prospect is now far from the American consciousness, who can deny that such an eventuality may be in our future?   

The first attack of the third Islamic jihad began on November 4, 1979 when radical Iranian students occupied the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage and holding them for 444 days.  In subsequent years, radical Islam staged many additional attacks, but it wasn’t until September 11, 2001, that jihadists made it clear that the major front in their war for worldwide domination had broadened to include the cities and towns of America.

On December 25, 2009, Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, a passenger aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, attempted to detonate an explosive device hidden in his underwear.  On May 1, 2010, Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad parked his 1993 Nissan Pathfinder on Times Square in New York.  Inside the SUV was a crude bomb made of propane and gasoline tanks, fireworks, 100 pounds of fertilizer, and a timing device.  The bomb failed to detonate.  In October 2010, authorities in England, Yemen, and the U.S. uncovered a plot to ship explosive devices from Yemen to Jewish synagogues in Chicago.  One device was found in Great Britain, a second device was intercepted in Dubai.  On Friday, November 26, the FBI and local police thwarted an attempt to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting event in Portland, Oregon’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.  The FBI and Portland police arrested the suspected bomber, 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Somali descent.

The obvious question is, how long will it be before these fumble-fingered terrorists perfect their bomb-making skills?  These and the 9/11 atrocities, along with the Fort Hood massacre, are but the first of what radical Islam promises will be many years of terror attacks in a three-front war against the West.  And although leftist political sensibilities may soon cause us to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, we cannot know when or how the domestic terror war will end.    

For the first time in our history we confront an enemy who does not distinguish between uniformed fighting forces and men, women, and children in the civilian population; everyone is fair game.  And if so-called “moderate” Muslims continue to merely sit on their hands as interested spectators, then how can we escape the conclusion that it is not possible for a 21st century culture to coexist side-by-side with a 7th century culture?  Are the American people prepared to engage in a three-front war against Muslim extremists with a thirst for martyrdom and unlimited patience? 

A fourth potential war front is now developing along our southern border where Mexican President Felipe Calderon appears unable to control drug-related violence on his side of the border.  The Mexican government reports that more than 31,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Calderon sent some 45,000 troops and federal police to battle the drug cartels in 2006.  According to the Houston Chronicle, at least 230 U.S. citizens have been killed in Mexico’s escalating wave of violence since 2003 – an average of nearly one killing a week.  The situation is such that Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) has suggested that it is time the United States used “every aspect of law enforcement that we have, including the military.”

What he fears, and what should be of major concern to all Americans is that, as violence grows in the Mexican border states the Mexican national police and the military will find their country to be all but ungovernable.  Anarchy will reign and both the peace-loving and the violence-prone will migrate northward in ever-growing numbers… the peace-loving looking for safety and security, the violence-prone looking for trouble.  And when the drug cartels and the Mexican military carry their fight across the border into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, the U.S. president, whether Democrat or Republican, will be forced to commit many thousands of U.S. troops to push them back. 

When that happens, and as more and more U.S. and Canadian citizens are attacked and murdered in Mexican resort cities, our troops will find themselves pushing farther and farther south into Mexico to insure the safety of hundreds of thousands of North American expatriates.  We will quickly find ourselves engaged in war on a fourth front… a second Mexican War.  Are the American people prepared for that?

In addition to fighting wars against radical Islam in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the cities and towns of America, and fighting the Mexican drug cartels on our southern border and in Mexican border states, we may also find ourselves engaged in a shooting war against Iran on a fifth front in the Persian Gulf, in support of our allies in Israel and the Arab states of the region.  As Spengler writes in the Asian Times, “The difference between early 2008 and early 2010… is that Iran has had two years to enrich uranium, consolidate its grip on Syria, insert itself into Afghanistan, stockpile missiles with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, and build up its terror capabilities around the world.  The window is closing in which Iran may be contained.”

For more than three decades, through Republican and Democrat administrations alike, we have failed to take the steps necessary to bring about regime change in Tehran.  Have we waited too long?  When the time is ripe, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will let us know.  But, ready or not, are the American people prepared for yet another armed conflict in the Middle East… one that would almost certainly cause us to lose a critical portion of our imported energy supplies?

And finally, we find ourselves today with 25,000 American troops stationed along the DMZ in South Korea, where the North Koreans threaten our Japanese allies and use South Korean population centers for artillery target practice.  While Barack Obama may have unlimited patience for North Korean provocations, the South Koreans do not.  Apologizing to his people for not taking retaliatory action, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has threatened massive retaliation if the artillery barrages continue… with 25,000 U.S. troops serving as the first line of defense against a North Korean force of 1.1 million active duty troops and 8.2 million reserves.  

All of this takes place at a time when North Korea’s only major ally, the People’s Republic of China, has chosen to send an unspoken message to the Obama regime by test firing a rocket from a nuclear submarine just miles off the coast of southern California.  So if the North Koreans continue with their provocations and the South Koreans retaliate with massive force, what of the 25,000 U.S. troops on the DMZ?  Is there anyone outside the Obama White House and the New York Times who thinks that the United States could push back militarily, when the money to fund those military operations would have to be borrowed from… guess who… the Chinese?   

It has become standard fare for our national political leaders to begin major foreign policy speeches with the warning that “we live in dangerous times.”  Yes, we live in dangerous times and we have the scars to prove it, but we have never before lived in a world quite as dangerous as the one in which we now find ourselves.  So if we are incapable, as Ed Koch suggests, of fighting three wars simultaneously, how could we possibly wage war on as many as six fronts simultaneously… in the U.S., Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Korea? 

During the 2008 Democrat primaries, Hillary Clinton asked, rhetorically, who the American people would rather have answering the White House telephone at 3:00 AM… she or Barack Obama.  As it turns out, with Obama sleeping next to that telephone, the rest of us find it more and more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

Obama’s foreign policy initiatives… characterized mostly by inappropriate bows, national insults, snubs, diplomatic faux pas, outlandishly expensive grand tours, and big toothy grins… has been a complete failure.  His “kumbaya” style of foreign relations has caused us to lose not only the grudging respect of our enemies, but the trust and admiration of our allies, as well. 

The world is far too dangerous a place to allow well-intentioned amateurs to play war games with our lives and with our precious freedoms.  It’s time we hired some adult leadership while we still can.

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