George Patton

Patton Still Speaks

This article by Victor Davis Hanson, published in Hillsdale College‘s Imprimis, gives great pause for thought when evaluating our situation in the “war on terror.” Mr. Hanson reviews General George Patton’s approach to warfare and applies some of the general’s principles to our current endeavors.

I have to say that, though I don’t know a great deal about Gen. Patton, if Mr. Hanson’s portrayal is accurate, I’d have to agree with him. This is what I said about Afghanistan and this is what I’ve said about Iraq. If we want to get the job done, let’s do it and quit playing games. The political games are killing our fighting men and women. Why are we still dilly-dallying around in Afghanistan? Why haven’t we put much effort into destroying Osama ben Laden? Why are we still playing cat and mouse with the murderers in Fallujah, et al?

Until our political leaders have the resolve to do the right thing and get it done as soon as possible instead of play political popularity games, we’ll continue to lose. And, yes, I do believe we’re losing. Our soldiers and marines are giving their efforts, certainly. But, our political leaders aren’t. This is what happened in Vietnam. Yes, much has changed since then but, then again, much hasn’t. Instead of spitting on our soldiers, we should run our politicians out of town on rails.

No man deserves to be in public office who sacrifices the lives of Americans for the sake of political expediency. No, I don’t think most of our public officials went into this to play games. Yes, I do think they don’t have the guts to do the right thing–and, in the end, they won’t have the guts to see it through.

You don’t give a man who’s shooting at you time to reload before you incapacitate him. You don’t give terrorists a second chance to attack you on your own soil. Unfortunately, we’ve done that one already. Apparently, we still haven’t learned anything: one Trade Center attack, another Trade Center attack. Now, we’ve moved the fight to another piece of the planet (which is good) but we’re not willing pay the full cost; we’re not willing to sacrifice political safety for the sake of true liberty. Benjamin Franklin said that those who would sacrifice a little liberty for a little safety deserve neither.

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