An Uncivilized Solution For An Uncivilized Enemy

As for this damned old fox, the Devil himself could not catch him.  Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton – November 1780

Considered by many to be one of the founding originators of modern guerrilla warfare, Lt. Col. Francis Marion – Commander Williamsburg Militia, is one of the unsung heroes of the American Revolutionary War. Unlike the regular Continental Army, Colonel Marion’s band of irregular militia were not paid and were tasked with providing for themselves. They excelled at obtaining weapons, horses, ammunition, food and clothing from the local citizenry upon whom they relied heavily.

The Swamp Fox and his band of “Marion’s Men” so frustrated General Cornwallis, that he made this observation:

“Colonel Marion had so wrought the minds of the people, partly by the terror of his threats and cruelty of his punishments, and partly by the promise of plunder, that there was scarcely an inhabitant between the Santee and the Pee Dee that was not in arms against us”

About 160 years or so later, small groups of citizens from all walks of life undertook the heroic efforts to resist the German Nazi occupation of France. Known famously as the French Resistance, these courageous men and women would engage in efforts as far ranging as sabotage, gathering and providing intelligence to Allied Forces as well as maintaining a series of  underground escape routes for Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines.

Neither Marion’s Men, nor the French Resistance would have been successful without both the active support and passive assistance from the local population. As important as the active support, the passive cooperation was equally necessary. While the active support was food, lodging, and transportation, these resistance forces more importantly needed and required silence. And it has always been understood that silence itself is a form of support.

What Gen. Cornwallis knew, what the German Nazi officers in France knew, and what every army officer today knows, is the fact that these guerrilla/terrorists cannot long exist without both local support and their silence. Which is why there were serious consequences if citizens were found to have been even passively silent in their support.

While there are significant differences between guerrilla fighters and terrorists, mainly in motivation, cause, and goals, the underlying foundational needs are almost exactly the same. Terrorist wear no uniforms, belong to no formalized government organization, depend on external sources of funding, and utilize  methodology whereby they strike and then disappear back into the local population. It is in these communities, where they look the same, speak the same language and worship in the same mosque. It is in these localities that they can recruit, raise funds, plan future terrorist acts, purchase weaponry and supplies, and perhaps most importantly move around, meet and communicate in relative safety.

Last night, London suffered yet another terrorist attack, actually multiple attacks. A weaponized vehicle strike and a knife wielding throat slashing attack. These terrorist attacks seems to be escalating, and regardless of whether the Islamic extremists were legitimate immigrants, were there on a valid visa, or had entered illegally, their origination most assuredly has its roots from one of several Muslim countries that encourage Islamic extremism.

The problem lies within our current doctrine and therein lies our dilemma:

For the past 16 years, the U.S. government has tried to peddle propaganda bifurcating the terrorists from the countries in which they live; blaming the former, always absolving the latter. 

However assiduously both the Democrats and Republicans have tried to convince us of this fantasy, common sense and centuries of historical fact irrefutably prove them wrong. Terrorist organizations cannot long exist inside of a local population without some if not all of the local citizens recognizing them for who they are. Like the freedom fighters ranging free in the South Carolina swamps and woods, these Muslim killers depend on the passive acquiescence of their neighbors.

The tragedy and real crime is this passive knowledge is often not limited to local neighbors. No one really believes the Pakistan government didn’t know about Osama Bin Laden living in a compound just down the road from a major military garrison, That notion just beggars belief, and requires a suspension of intellect and common sense.

Which brings us back to the title of this article. If we accept the fact that we are not winning the “War on Terror”, and acts of terror cannot be the new normal, then we must face the fact that our current doctrine and methods are simply not adequate.

What will work and has always worked, is to eliminate the terrorist’s ability to live risk free back in their home Muslim countries. It is possible we can only win this war by taking the battle to the countries from which they originate. A new terrorist doctrine which holds neighbors, banks, local and state government as accountable as the actual actors, would begin to truly encapsulate the entirety of the problem, as well as provide a complete solution. To wit:

If these countries support terrorist, even passively, they will be held no less accountable than the actual persons involved in the acts of terror. We will seek to destroy those passive participants as surely as we seek to destroy the actors. This applies to heads of government all the way down to local neighborhoods. These countries and their citizens are either with them, or with us. There is no middle ground, because this is a fight to the death.

This is truly a repugnant solution. It is not elegant, it is not rules based, and it is certainly uncivilized. But, after 16 years of their uncivilized maiming and killing of our women and children; a fresh more hardened approach might be necessary for our success. They took the fight to us, it is high time we take the fight back to them.

There are those who would vehemently disagree with this viewpoint. This disagreement is mainly based upon the argument that local Muslim populations are as innocent as our victims. Furthermore, they assert this thought process shows no love or sympathy for those Muslim citizens, and will only serve as a recruiting tool for the terrorist organizations. This widespread belief comes from the odious propaganda we’ve endured from our leaders over the past two decades.

One has to wonder, why we would jail the Penn State administration officials for their silence, judging them guilty for aiding and abetting Sandusky’s violation of innocents, yet not judge other countries as guilty when they aid and abet the murder of our citizens by their silence?

In the Scriptures, Christ instructs us to love others as much as we love ourselves. We need to ponder if we are guilty of loving others more than we love ourselves, when we put more effort in protecting them than ourselves.

The sooner we recognize this war is being fought without rules or regard for civilized behavior, the sooner we will reject current inadequate doctrine, and then perhaps we can begin to ruthlessly eradicate these killers stem and root.

About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

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