Interesting take on the state of affairs.
From: Bass, Eric
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 10:04 AM
To: Husser, Shanna; Hull, Bryan; Lenhart, Matthew; Blanchard, Timothy;
Parks, Joe; Martin, Thomas A.; Schwieger, Jim; Winfree, O'Neal D.; Love,
Phillip M.; Weldon, V. Charles
Subject: FW: Civil Discourse Bulletin
< THOUGHT YOU MIGHT ENJOY THIS ONE
< -----Original Message-----
< From: Editor@civildiscourse.com [mailto:Editor@civildiscourse.com]
< Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 6:49 AM
< To: email@example.com
< Subject: Civil Discourse Bulletin
< Recent posting in "Terror's Aftermath" in Public Affairs:
< (The following essay, outlining how long the struggle against terrorism
< might last, has been making the rounds on the Internet. Interestingly, it
< being forwarded by both hawks and doves. Perhaps the latter see this as a
< wake-up call, while the former see it as an argument for a more
< response. This was written by Dr. Tony Kern, a retired Air force colonel
< an academic advisor at the USAF Academy.)
< Like everyone else in this great country, I am reeling from last week's
< attack on our sovereignty. But unlike some, I am not reeling from
< As a career soldier and a student and teacher of military history, I have
< different perspective, and I think you should hear it.
< This war will be won or lost by the American citizens, not diplomats,
< politicians or soldiers. Let me briefly explain. In spite of what the
< and even our own government is telling us, this act was not committed by a
< group of mentally deranged fanatics. To dismiss them as such would be
< the gravest of mistakes. This attack was committed by a ferocious,
< intelligent and dedicated adversary. Don't take this the wrong way. I
< admire these men and I deplore their tactics, but I respect their
< The many parallels that have been made with the Japanese attack on Pearl
< Harbor are apropos. Not only because it was a brilliant sneak attack
< a complacent America, but also because we may well be pulling our new
< adversaries out of caves 30 years after we think this war is over, just
< my father's generation had to do with the formidable Japanese in the years
< following WW II. These men hate the United States with all of their being,
< and we must not underestimate the power of their moral commitment.
< Napoleon, perhaps the world's greatest combination of soldier and
< stated "the moral is to the physical as three is to one." Patton thought
< Frenchman underestimated its importance and said moral conviction was five
< times more important in battle than physical strength. Our enemies are
< willing-better said, anxious-to give their lives for their cause. How
< committed are we, America? And for how long?
< In addition to demonstrating great moral conviction, the recent attack
< demonstrated a mastery of some of the basic fundamentals of warfare taught
< to most military officers worldwide, namely simplicity, security and
< surprise. When I first heard rumors that some of these men may have been
< trained at our own Air War College, it made perfect sense to me. This was
< not a random act of violence, and we can expect the same sort of military
< competence to be displayed in the battle to come. This war will escalate,
< with a good portion of it happening right here in the good ole' U.S. of A.
< These men will not go easily into the night. They do not fear us. We must
< not fear them.
< In spite of our overwhelming conventional strength as the world's only
< "superpower" (a truly silly term), we are the underdog in this fight. As
< listen to the carefully scripted rhetoric designed to prepare us for the
< march for war, please realize that America is not equipped or seriously
< trained for the battle ahead. To be certain, our soldiers are much better
< than the enemy, and we have some excellent "counter-terrorist"
< organizations, but they are mostly trained for hostage rescues, airfield
< seizures, or the occasional "body snatch," (which may come in handy). We
< will be fighting a war of annihilation, because if their early efforts are
< any indication, our enemy is ready and willing to die to the last man.
< Eradicating the enemy will be costly and time consuming. They have already
< deployed their forces in as many as 20 countries, and are likely living
< lives of everyday citizens. Simply put, our soldiers will be tasked with a
< search and destroy mission on multiple foreign landscapes, and the public
< must be patient and supportive until the strategy and tactics can be
< For the most part, our military is still in the process of redefining
< and is presided over by men and women who grew up with-and were promoted
< because they excelled in-Cold War doctrine, strategy and tactics. This
< not be linear warfare, and there will be no clear "centers of gravity" to
< strike with high technology weapons. Our vast technological edge will
< certainly be helpful, but it will not be decisive. Perhaps the perfect
< metaphor for the coming battle was introduced by the terrorists themselves
< aboard the hijacked aircraft-this will be a knife fight, and it will be
< or lost by the ingenuity and will of citizens and soldiers, not by
< or smart bombs.
< We must also be patient with our military leaders. Unlike Americans who
< eager to put this messy time behind us, our adversaries have time on their
< side, and they will use it. They plan to fight a battle of attrition,
< to drag the battle out until the American public loses its will to fight.
< This might be difficult to believe in this euphoric time of flag waving
< patriotism, but it is generally acknowledged that America lacks the
< for a long fight. We need only look as far back as Vietnam, when North
< Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap (also a military history teacher)
< the United States of America without ever winning a major tactical battle.
< American soldiers who marched to war cheered on by flag-waving Americans
< 1965 were reviled and spat upon less than three years later when they
< returned. Although we hope that Usama Bin Laden is no Giap, he is certain
< understand and employ the concept.
< We can expect not only large doses of pain like the recent attacks, but
< less audacious "sand in the gears" tactics, ranging from livestock
< infestations to attacks on water supplies and power distribution
< These attacks are designed to hit us in our "comfort zone," forcing the
< average American to "pay more and play less" and eventually erode his
< But it can only work if we let it. It is clear to me that the will of the
< American citizenry-you and I-is the center of gravity the enemy has
< targeted. It will be the fulcrum upon which victory or defeat will turn.
< believes us to be soft, impatient, and self-centered. He may be right, but
< if so, we must change.
< The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz, (the most often quoted and least
< read military theorist in history), says that there is a "remarkable
< of war" that is composed of the (1) will of the people, (2) the political
< leadership of the government, and (3) the chance and probability that
< out on the field of battle, in that order. Every American citizen was in
< crosshairs of last Tuesday's attack, not just those that were unfortunate
< enough to be in the World Trade Center or Pentagon. The will of the
< people will decide this war. If we are to win, it will be because we have
< what it takes to persevere through a few more hits, learn from our
< improvise, and adapt. If we can do that, we will eventually prevail.
< Everyone I've talked to in the past few days has shared a common
< frustration, saying in one form or another "I just wish I could do
< something!" You are already doing it. Just keep faith in America, and
< continue to support your president and military, and the outcome is
< If we fail to do so, the outcome is equally certain. God Bless America.
< (Post your thoughts on this or any topic via this bulletin, or visit the
< site at http://www.civildiscourse.com)
< THE DAILY GROANER RETURNS! -- 9/25/01
< China sent an envoy to tell the president the US needn't worry about any
< documents lost in the Pentagon blast. The People's Republic has copies of
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