I'd like to start with an obscure figure in war lore. This man unlike other war gurus, died in a war and predicted his defeat. Apparently he got more famous because of that. Anyways, he said that moral force, that which is human, is the only constant thing in any battle, whether modern or ancient and therefore is the primary determinant of success in any war. You can read his full and translated work in this link:
Colonel Ardant du Picq - "Battle Studies" Colonel du Picq was a firm believer in the theory that while all other circumstances change with time, the human element remains the same. In reviewing the art of war throughout history, he illustrates that "moral force" is the trump card in any military event. (Source: About.com)
What does that say of a war without any moral basis or about any that which is questionable? At the most literal you have troops quetioning their own acts of war and labeling them as atrocities, and soldiers questioning their commanders. There is enough reason why morale is only a letter of difference with moral. Heck, give it a twentieth century twist and you have public opinion clamoring to stop a senseless war, or beaurocrats questioning it's cost versus its benefits.
Ok, now it's clear enough. What does this say of an erroneous conscience as that of terrorists, who have possibly lived, breathed, bathed and drank the same wrong notions of morals? I would suppose the same should apply, after all, their morale is based on an entirely different set of morals. Let me quote:
"Go, therefore, to meet the foe with two objects before you, either victory or death. For men animated by such a spirit must always overcome their adversaries, since they go into battle ready to throw away their lives.”- Scipio Africanus 202 BCRoman general (the conqueror of Hannibal in the Punic Wars), in an address to the Roman Army before the battle of Zama.
Interestingly, terrorists, and suicide bombers, guerillas, freedom fighters, and insurgents may all think in the same way as any marine fighting for his nation's pride, or his family, or for the flag. There is this sense of absurdity thus, that both sides are fighting for their own set or morality and imposing on each other what they believe in. Slowly, the human factor will creep in, and conscience will dictate what the body conveys: questions that frame the mind in elusive peace come in between every itchiness in the crotch, or cramping of a muscle, pain in a joint, in between tiring trigger fingers, in between silence in gunfires, and in between counts of how many have been lost. Is it still worth it? It would seem thus, that humanity is built averse to conflict. War is about who suspends any snap-back the longest, or that which who wins is the one who believes more, assuming everything else is equal.
Now, back to the basics: “Frederick liked to say that three men behind the enemy were worth fifty in front of him.” says, Colonel Ardant du Picq. Is that not how terrorism behaves? The unseen enemy. Attack under the cover of darkness - Sun Tzu. "In god's name! Let us go bravely!"- Joan of Arc, 1429. What is scarier than fighting an unseen enemy believing absolutely in their very own sense of a moral equivalent to their religion? From a military standpoint, a ninja, a samurai, an assassin (invented by the Arabs) or a spy is a most dangerous weapon because they are built for a singular purpose and motivated as well. Breathe the same life with a figure of a thousand limbs, with enough funding, and just about everywhere on earth to attack and you have a monster.
The war then is a war of resolve, of who blinks first and who believes which side has moral basis. The problem of Bush is how to regain popular trust with his current setback of an unjust war. "How do you expect us to lead if our leaders mislead," says Jimmy Carter on the DNC. More aptly, Alexander the Great once said he fears an army of lamb if the leader is a lion more than an army of lions whose leader is a lamb.
For terrorism to be defeated, the next president of the United States must be able to dissociate the war on terror with the war on Iraq and with that effectively proclaim the war on terrorism as a responsibility beyond conflict. If the leader is not well, it will not be a good army. It should be a humanist responsibility: as long as another body falls from hunger or is prejudiced or is a victim of injustice or is a victim of societal inequities, each of us will be at fault. Are we to write history with the same tone as it was written before: war, conflict, battles for limited resources? Once Napoleon Bonaparte says, "History is a set of lies agreed upon." Are we to be happy that ours is a history built upon lies and lies written by the victors of war? Perhaps we shall be happier in a society whose history is that one based on fighting for a way of life, a fight for freedom. If America fights for freedom while it impinges on others freedoms the conflict is not settled because both sides are fighting on the same grounds = their own moral force are equal.
"It may be true that you can't fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country." says Will Durant, a famed historian. How tragic is it if America will be built on lies, when in fact it was born from intense desires of men with the most serious aspirations for a great country. If that will be so, then terrorism will continue, until such time as normal avenues for grievances are restored or any warped reality they envision happens. I believe Bill Clinton when he said something to the effect that America has risen to make the right choices when the integrity of the union is at stake. He cited events in history, when the moral force triumphed: the war for independence against tyrrany and taxation, the civil war and the war on segragation, the war for equal rights for men and women... I sincerely hope so.
A return to those who have written of things they have seen in war is a return in history, and a return to humanity. If we accomplish that, then the battle against terrorism will cease to be a war. Instead it will become a battle against inhumanity, poverty, injustice, and therefore a battle for humanity, and therefore the war is won. Of course I will be accused of over-simplifying things, but hey, sometimes life is over rated. We are complicating things when we go to war. Let's rebuild lives and go back to neighborly basics. I think my return to the experts says that.