A New Kind of War in a New Kind of World
Talk to most people over sixty and you’re apt to detect an air of nostalgia in the conversation after a while. References to “the good old days” bore younger listeners to tears but are rewarded by nods of agreement from elderly contemporaries.
What is really at issue is the fact that those “good old days” were lived in a different world from the one we now inhabit. And though some elements are better forgotten than remembered, there are aspects whose passing we can justifiably lament— among them the stability and security of living in a predictable society. One knew how things were supposed to be; and, most of the time, that’s how they were.
For example, when America was forced to go to war, the objective was victory. Armies fought armies until one side surrendered. “Unconditional surrender,” in fact, was the national watchword in the conflict we know as World War II.
The extent to which things have changed can be seen in the current situation in Iraq. Today a nation with superior technology and weaponry can, in a matter of weeks, pound an aggressor into submission with negligible casualties. But then a second front opens, and the fight continues. The enemy’s objective in this guerrilla phase is to drag out the conflict, up the casualty count, and break the will of the victors and the nations they represent.
Thus, when all is said and done, the basic question is, which of the combatants have the will to finish what brought them into the field in the first place?
President George W. Bush is correct in saying that Iraq has been chosen by the enemies of democracy and the West as the arena to stage a fight to the finish. Osama bin Laden and his ilk have confidently taken a stand—one based on the conduct of American leaders after such tragedies as the loss of some 240 U.S. marines in a suicide bombing in Beirut and the death and humiliation of U.S. troops in Somalia. The enemy’s premise is that, after a significant number of casualties, America will cut and run. Islamists bent on global domination have poured terrorists into Iraq to make that happen.
What many politicians and liberals in the United States and Europe have unfortunately missed is that (1) this war involves a monumental clash of cultures; and (2) if we fail to win in this theater, the ramifications will be global and the consequences will visit the cities and streets of America and Europe.
While wishful thinkers somnambulate in a state of self-induced, disorienting denial, the conflict broadens. And make no mistake, it is about religion and the desire of fanatical Islamists to dominate and rule over democracies in what they perceive is the decadent and weak- willed West.
The proof lies in what secularists choose to ignore and fail to acknowledge or address with any degree of sympathy, namely, the relentless and deadly war Muslims are waging against Christians in a host of countries where the casualties have mounted in genocidal numbers. The most ever said is that Christians are being slaughtered in areas experiencing “civil conflict.”
Apply this mentality to what is taking place in Iraq and the Middle East and the issues are reduced to costs, casualties, cynical assertions about unscrupulous political motives, and foolhardy suggestions that appeasement and a quick withdrawal can save the day. It is delusional thinking; and it fails to calculate the endgame or consider why we are in the war at all.
Meanwhile, the perpetrators of terror watch and listen and are led to believe that it’s just a matter of time before they’ll win.
So, yes, this is a new kind of war. And, yes, we do live in a new kind of world. And, yes, neither is it pleasant or filled with short-term solutions. At the moment, millions of Christians, along with their fellow countrymen, prefer to see life through rose-colored glasses or take a heads-in-the-sand approach to problems that offer no easy solutions. But this is the type of world we inhabit.
If the Lord does not intervene, will a future generation of over-sixties folk look back on these as “the good old days”? That’s an interesting question.