From Ralph Peters at the American Legion website:
We’re in trouble. We’re in danger of losing more wars. Our troops haven’t forgotten how to fight. We’ve never had better men and women in uniform. But our leaders and many of our fellow Americans no longer grasp what war means or what it takes to win.
Myth No. 1: War doesn’t change anything.
This campus slogan contradicts all of human history. We need not agree in our politics or on the manner in which a given war is prosecuted, but we can’t pretend that if only we laid down our arms all others would do the same.
Wars, in fact, often change everything. Who would argue that the American Revolution, our Civil War or World War II changed nothing? Would the world be better today if we had been pacifists in the face of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan?
Myth No. 2: Victory is impossible today.
Victory is always possible, if our nation is willing to do what it takes to win. But victory is, indeed, impossible if U.S. troops are placed under impossible restrictions, if their leaders refuse to act boldly, if every target must be approved by lawyers, and if the American people are disheartened by a constant barrage of negativity from the media.
Myth No. 3: Insurgencies can never be defeated.
Historically, fewer than one in 20 major insurgencies succeeded. Virtually no minor ones survived. In the mid-20th century, insurgencies scored more wins than previously had been the case, but that was because the European colonial powers against which they rebelled had already decided to rid themselves of their imperial possessions.
In the entire 18th century, our war of independence was the only insurgency that defeated a major foreign power and drove it out for good.
Myth No. 4: There’s no military solution; only negotiations can solve our problems.
In most cases, the reverse is true. Negotiations solve nothing until a military decision has been reached and one side recognizes a peace agreement as its only hope of survival. The only negotiations that produce lasting results are those conducted from positions of indisputable strength.
Myth No. 5: When we fight back, we only provoke our enemies.
When dealing with bullies, either in the schoolyard or in a global war, the opposite is true: if you don’t fight back, you encourage your enemy to behave more viciously.
Passive resistance only works when directed against rule-of-law states, such as the core English-speaking nations. It doesn’t work where silent protest is answered with a bayonet in the belly or a one-way trip to a political prison.
Myth No. 6: Killing terrorists only turns them into martyrs.
The harsh truth is that when faced with true fanatics, killing them is the only way to end their influence. Imprisoned, they galvanize protests, kidnappings, bombings and attacks that seek to free them. Dead terrorists don’t kill.
Myth No. 7: If we fight as fiercely as our enemies, we’re no better than them.
Did the bombing campaign against Germany turn us into Nazis? Did dropping atomic bombs on Japan to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, as well as millions of Japanese lives, turn us into the beasts who conducted the Bataan Death March?
The greatest immorality is for the United States to lose a war.
Myth No. 8: The United States is more hated today than ever before.
The fashionable anti-Americanism of the chattering classes hasn’t stopped the world from seeking one big green card. As I’ve traveled around the globe since 9/11, I’ve found that below the government-spokesman/professional-radical level, the United States remains the great dream for university graduates from Berlin to Bangalore to Bogota.
Myth No. 9: Our invasion of Iraq created our terrorist problems.
This claim rearranges the order of events, as if the attacks of 9/11 happened after Baghdad fell. Our terrorist problems have been created by the catastrophic failure of Middle Eastern civilization to compete on any front and were exacerbated by the determination of successive U.S. administrations, Democrat and Republican, to pretend that Islamist terrorism was a brief aberration.
Myth No. 10: If we just leave, the Iraqis will patch up their differences on their own.
We must be open-minded about practical measures, from changes in strategy to troop reductions, if that’s what the developing situation warrants. But it’s grossly irresponsible to claim that our presence is the primary cause of the violence in Iraq – an allegation that ignores history.
Myth No. 11: It’s all Israel’s fault. Or the popular Washington corollary: “The Saudis are our friends.”
Israel is the Muslim world’s excuse for failure, not a reason for it. All men and women of conscience must recognize the core difference between Israel and its neighbors: Israel genuinely wants to live in peace, while its genocidal neighbors want Israel erased from the map.
As for the mad belief that the Saudis are our friends, it endures only because the Saudis have spent so much money on both sides of the aisle in Washington. Saudi money continues to subsidize anti-Western extremism, to divide fragile societies, and encourage hatred between Muslims and all others. Saudi extremism has done far more damage to the Middle East than Israel ever did. The Saudis are our enemies.
Myth No. 12: The Middle East’s problems are all America’s fault.
The collapse of once great Middle Eastern civilizations has been under way for more than five centuries, and the region became a backwater before the United States became a country. Its social and economic structures, its values, its neglect of education, its lack of scientific curiosity, the indolence of its ruling classes and its inability to produce a single modern state that served its people all guaranteed that, as the West’s progress accelerated, the Middle East would fall ever farther behind. The Middle East has itself to blame for its problems.