Fight Against Terror : Of Soldiers, Terrorists & Ordinary Folks
(click on photo to enlarge – courtesy The Project Gutenberg EBook)
Like Joe, I am also travelling…but in Western India on a Press Institute of India and World Bank assignment for journalists. However, I have some spare time so could not resist the temptation of responding to Rep. John Murtha’s statement, considered by some as “provocative”.
The Pennsylvania Democrat said of the Haditha incident: “The tremendous pressure and the redeployment (of soldiers/Marines) over and over again is a big part of this…And this strain has caused them to crack in situations like this.”
I know this is not a politically correct statement to make, however it seems to me much closer to truth (in my huge country some parts have been plagued with ethnic and religious insurgency for years).
The terrorist strategy relies on surprise, is secretive, brutal and turns into a long-term engagement with the State forces because it cunningly chooses soft targets.
This strategy helps divide the civil society because in view of brutal violence people start pressurising the State to end terrorism quickly. As there is no quick-fix solution, the onus then falls on the soldiers of the country.
However, the situation becomes more complicated when a State takes the fight to the foreign soil (at times uninvited). The hatred of the populace multiplies when the soldiers from abroad (for whatever genuine reasons) overstay their hospitality.
Now this complicates the situation. On the one hand the local population has to contend with violence because of ethnic and religious divisions…and then comes the might of a strong foreign nation — whose culture, manners and language is totally different…A recipe for disaster.
So the local civil population begins resisting both the terrorists and the foreign soldiers — earning the wrath of both lethally armed professionals. A deadly situation — from the frying pan into the fire.
The foreign soldiers are not seen as liberators–but as another curse. The soldiers are not there of their own free will. For them it is the command structure. And a good soldier is expected to obey the command – right or wrong.
“The issue is a difficult one for soldiers and marines to discuss. To admit that repeated deployments can wear down their judgment or effectiveness is to admit, in effect, that they are not up to the job that has been given them. This runs counter to a bedrock tenet of the armed services, which is to do whatever job the nation gives them with pride and professionalism.
“Moreover, soldiers and marines resent what they see as the self-righteous condemnation of critics who sit thousands of miles from the fight and have little concept of what it means to fight an insurgency.”
I think Rep Murtha’s statement merits serious discussion without the usual hyperbole and hysteria — a COOL HEAD is needed to do this!!! Aye or Nay????