Imagine a World War II movie with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum doing nothing while standing on the bridge of a well-armed war ship watching below as fellow American soldiers are being whisked away by a few Japanese in a small craft in the waters of the South Pacific. We would cringe in disbelief. It would not be soldier-like, patriotic, or manly. What sissies, we would think, what about the spirit of comradeship embodied in “all for one and one for all”? We would be ashamed at such an act of timidity and passivity.
That is what happened last week in the Persian Gulf. A British naval vessel and crew stood by while Iranian boats pirated away a group of British soldiers. Reports indicate that the fire power of the British ship was capable of engaging and defeating the Iranian force. Moreover, British and U.S. combatant aircraft could have reached the scene in minutes but apparently weren’t called. The Royal Navy fired not a shot. How unlike the fire of Britain’s former First Seahand, Winston Churchill, who later proclaimed: “We shall fight them on the beaches; we shall fight them on the Seas.”
This war has become demoralizing because of repeated incidents of this nature: the unwillingness of Western powers to crush the enemy even in service of defending our own people. We have allowed the enemy to think he is braver than us. We have, thereby, emboldened the enemy and made things tougher for ourselves, not easier.
We fire not on their fortress mosques, nor on their ships, nor during their holy days, nor in their holy cities, nor at their “holy men.” We dare not humiliate. Instead, we allow ourselves to be forever humiliated and forfeit our men and women. So concerned are we about not offending Muslim pride we have thrown away our own. The West has decided that all things Islamic are to be granted a reverence we no longer grant ourselves. The sand and plaster of the fortress mosque seems to carry more importance than even the flesh and blood of our own soldiers.
Instead of taking action, the British ship commander telephoned home, to his superiors up the chain of command. The officer did what he was told: “Hold fire.” Perhaps our soldiers in WWII were better off not being equipped with phones back to headquarters. They, at least, could act like and do what soldiers are trained to do.
I don’t blame the soldiers, I blame their superiors. In fact, the superiors might be blameless given they must first consult the military lawyers and politicians: a group not known for physical bravery and valor. The soldiers are afraid of being court-martialed and the military brass is scared to death of being indicted for war crimes.
Really, who can be blamed at all given that the mantra of the war is not victory but “winning over the hearts of the enemy.” Instead of soldiers, we should have sent in a battalion of social workers. The main objective of the war seems not to do anything that “arouses the ‘Arab street.’” So we don’t — not even the Arab sea.
It seems that many British military leaders and certainly politicians view our presence in the Gulf not as engagement in real war but as part of a peacekeeping mission. And peacekeepers, like UN ones, don’t fire but observe, especially if by shooting they cause an international event that causes politicians discomfort.
Furthermore, by continually referring to this as simply a “war on terror” instead of a war against brazen and aggressive Islamism, we sit by when witnessing that which, while an act of piracy, is not an act of terrorism such as, say, a car bomb in the middle of Baghdad. Instead of battling all Islamists such as the Iranian regime, we have limited ourselves to the al Qaeda types. Thus Iran and its “breach” go unpunished.
Whereas most wars are fought against the enemy on the battlefield, this war is being fought with first-eye toward the domestic political battlefield, forcing leaders to worry much more about a howling, defeat-hungry left than what is actually necessary to win the war. Instead of feeling answerable to our soldiers, our leaders seem to feel more answerable to their political opponents and, worse, the Muslim street, the Arab leaders, and the Imams and Muslim “activists” now living in our own neighborhoods.
Even the U.S. is, consciously, only half-heartedly fighting this war. A half century of demented left/liberal thinking has raised tens of millions in America, especially those who’ve gone to university, with a disdain for the West and self-hate of their own country, America.
Americans have been taught to be guilt-ridden, to believe we are the source of the world’s problems. Worse, America is powerful and therefore guilty even if we wish to bring freedom and the enemy wishes to behead and mutilate women’s bodies. The parade of liberal Americans is ever there to condemn our fighting, detention, and even investigation of jihadists hell-bent on killing us and our children.
No wonder Britain has to deliberate away the moments and act rudderless while its soldiers are being openly snatched by the lion into its lair. This is what happens when most of Europe and 35% of America no longer believes in itself, its own culture and civilization. Those that believe in and respect what they are fighting for, as does Islam, receive respect — even while lacking strong military and technological power. Those that no longer respect and believe in themselves are disrespected — their ships and crews are hijacked in the middle of day. Those who self-loathe show insufficient reverence for their own people and laws. They care more about the feelings and treatment of terrorists than the safety and rights of fellow countrymen.
No question, Britain is afraid. One minister recently wrote a Saudi prince: “After the train bombing in London , we dutifully enacted the legislation you demanded which would make it a hate-crime for anyone in Britain to criticize Islam.” Britain has shown its fear. Arabia has seen Anglo cravenness and weakness. England is bowing to a new monarch. It seeks not victory but good will and acceptance. “We’ll be good, just leave us alone.” We won’t even fire at those taking our men — if the kidnappers are Islamic. We’ll fight Argentines — because we aren’t afraid of them, they won’t behead us in London and, most of all, we don’t feel guilty when fighting others of European, Christian ancestry.
This war is teaching us that all the military power in the world is meaningless if we don’t have the will to use it. Unless things change, radical Islam will over the next few decades sublimate the West, without having to have even raised an army. Where is today’s Churchill?