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Posted: 9/24/2001 6:02:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2001 6:08:12 PM EST by M4]
This was written by an academic advisor at the Air Force Academy. He was not only one of the most brilliant men his student (who passed this letter along to the net) ever met, but also an individual who combined that brilliance with common sense to lead others. The historian's words are ones that haven't been heard yet but those which his student believes will come to be true before we have the chance to recover from this initial tragedy. *********************************************­**************** Recently, I was asked to look at the recent events through the lens of military history. I have joined the cast of thousands who have written an "open letter to Americans." Please share it if you feel so moved. 14 September, 2001 Dear friends and fellow Americans: 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 surprise. As a career soldier and a student and teacher of military history, I have a 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 media, 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 among the gravest of mistakes. This attack was committed by a ferocious, intelligent and dedicated adversary. Don't take this the wrong way. I don't admire these men and I deplore their tactics, but I respect their capabilities. 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 against 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 like 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 sta! tesman, stated "the moral is to the physical as three is to one." Patton thought the 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 ol' U.S. of A. These men will not go easily into the night. They do not fear us. We must not fear them. (cont.)
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 6:04:20 PM EST
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 you 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 the 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 worked out. For the most part, our military is still in the process of redefining itself and presided over by men and women who grew up with - and were promoted because they excelled in - Cold War doctrine, strategy and tactics. This will not be linear warfare, 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 won or lost by the ingenuity and will of citizens and soldiers, not by software or smart bombs. We must also be patient with our military leaders. Unlike Americans who are 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, hoping 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 and patriotism, but it is generally acknowledged that America lacks the stomach 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) defeated the United States of America without ever winning a major tactical battle. American soldiers who marched to war cheered on by flag waving Americans in 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 to understand and employ the concept. We can expect not only large doses of pain like the recent attacks, but also less audacious "sand in ! the gears" tactics, ranging from livestock infestations to attacks at water supplies and power distribution facilities. These attacks are designed to hit us in our "comfort zone" forcing the average American to "pay more and play less" and eventually eroding our resolve. But it can only work if we let it. (cont.)
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 6:04:59 PM EST
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. He 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 trinity 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 plays out on the field of battle, in that order. Every American citizen was in the 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 American 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 mistakes, 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 certain. If we fail to do so, the outcome is equally certain. God Bless America Dr. Tony Kern, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret) Former Director of Military History, USAF Academy "THE CHIEF"
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 6:06:58 PM EST
If the management at AR15.com is so inclined, I personally think this thread should be tacked.
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 7:11:54 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 7:35:37 PM EST
You're probably right Sweep. Hopefully people will at least copy it and email it to friends and family. It's a great message for the long haul this country is now embarking on.
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 8:11:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By M4: He believes us to be soft, impatient, and self-centered.
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I once heard Stephen Ambrose say that Hitler put a bet that his hardened Hitler Youth could beat out effeminate soft Boy Scouts, and he bet WRONG! We may be soft but our will and bullets are hard!
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 11:46:26 PM EST
btt
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 12:49:03 AM EST
Great post! BTT! Tyler
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 2:34:10 AM EST
Excellent read... Definately the truth. BTT Kiwi
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 4:33:55 AM EST
btt
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 6:42:13 AM EST
btt - Everybody needs to read this. All of it.
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 6:56:34 AM EST
BTT Bulldog Out
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 9:22:31 AM EST
He is absolutely right. It will be interesting to see if America's stomach is in the fight when we start to lose thousands of young men. I just hope we have the will to finish it, no matter what the cost. BTT Ranger Out
Link Posted: 9/28/2001 2:32:05 AM EST
Great letter, quite right, but the problem at hand is much deeper than that. There is an enemy building within and no one seems to care. Mayor Giuliani, who I think has done a great job of holding things together (and cleaning up NYC the past 8 years) has decided to 'ovethrow' the government by overturning current NY election law so that he can remain the mayor. NY has Term Limits and he must step down. He has said that he wants to continue on and has, DURING the ELECTION PROCESS, made a deal with 2 of the candidates to keep him on for an extra 3 mnnths as mayor. When the 3rd candidate refused, the Mayor announced that he would seek to overturn the law [during the election process] and stay in power. Free elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and they are being interfered with here in NYC...while the governor sits back and watches. Am I wrong here? I like the guy but law is law and disasters don't cancel elections and the 'handing over' of power. Please tell me if I am over-reacting, because I find this all very chilling and no one seems to care.
Link Posted: 9/28/2001 4:37:59 AM EST
I would tack it, but you and I both know that most people can't bare readin more than a couple of paragraphs.
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Funny how true this statement is. This letter has been sitting in my email box for almost a week now and when I first opened it I saw how long it was and passed over it figuring I'd read it later. This also shows my priorities in life. AR15.com posts first, email second. Thanks for getting me to finally read this. Should be required reading for every American.
Link Posted: 9/28/2001 5:54:55 AM EST
It seems to me that "free" elections would be such that New Yorkers could vote for Rudy if they agreed with him that it was better not to change mayors in the middle of the recovery/clenup/rebuild effort. Should he just be given a term extention? No. Of course not. But the public hould have the option of reelecting him if they so choose.
Originally Posted By royce: Great letter, quite right, but the problem at hand is much deeper than that. There is an enemy building within and no one seems to care. Mayor Giuliani, who I think has done a great job of holding things together (and cleaning up NYC the past 8 years) has decided to 'ovethrow' the government by overturning current NY election law so that he can remain the mayor. NY has Term Limits and he must step down. He has said that he wants to continue on and has, DURING the ELECTION PROCESS, made a deal with 2 of the candidates to keep him on for an extra 3 mnnths as mayor. When the 3rd candidate refused, the Mayor announced that he would seek to overturn the law [during the election process] and stay in power. Free elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and they are being interfered with here in NYC...while the governor sits back and watches. Am I wrong here? I like the guy but law is law and disasters don't cancel elections and the 'handing over' of power. Please tell me if I am over-reacting, because I find this all very chilling and no one seems to care.
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Link Posted: 9/28/2001 7:13:43 PM EST
Wouldn't everyone just write in their vote for Rudy and he would be reelected anyway?
Link Posted: 9/29/2001 10:53:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By M4: Hopefully people will at least copy it and email it to friends and family.
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how do you copy and email?
Link Posted: 9/30/2001 1:42:22 PM EST
I agree. Great post. I had already posted it into Word and formatted it so I could send it out so some friends when I realized what some of you have stated: I can't think of anyone who will take the time to read it, even though it's only 3 pages or less. I can hear the excuses..."You don't know what it's like having kids...It's just been crazy around here...etc." And if we loose, it will be because of that lack of attention and focus. Regarding Rudy, he should get up and say that NOTHING these terrorists have done will cause us to break one rule or bend one law and that he would NOT accept such a change on his behalf. Then he could offer his services to the next administration.
Link Posted: 10/1/2001 2:28:20 AM EST
Thank you, Liberty ship. Well said. It seems that many people confuse their rights with their desires. Your rights are only good when protected by the courts. If you give up your RIGHT to free and un-tainted elections, then you will surely lose that right soon after. You cannot set aside LAW & the state constitution out of convenience & desire. Rudy is making deals with candidates DURING the election process. He has tainted the process. And what happens after the extra 3 months when he says "I think I should just finish out the year...the new guy isn't quite ready or liked by the people...MY people". Rudy has a bad habit of talking law & order but making up his own private laws as it suits him. The fact is, he has made several mandates in the past that have been struck down in court as being un-constitutional. He is a control freak. He does good and then goes too far. NY'ers now this about him. It's a love-hate relationship.
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