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Stay The Course


In case you missed it, reflect on this enormously important post from Wretchard at The Belmont Club yesterday:

Missing Recon Team 3

The body of the last Navy SEAL from the reconnaissance team which encountered a large number of Taliban has been recovered. CNN reports:

The body of a U.S. Navy SEAL has been found and recovered in Afghanistan, a senior defense official said Sunday. This would account for the fourth member of a reconnaissance team that disappeared two weeks ago in Afghanistan. Only one of the four survived. The body of the SEAL was found near the other two bodies and all three had died in a shootout with insurgents, according to an initial assessment from the field, the senior official said. This senior official said that “no way” had the SEAL ever been in captivity, contrary to Taliban claims that he had been abducted.

The fourth SEAL, who survived, evaded superior numbers until he escaped. Sixteen more Special Operations soldiers died in an attempt to reinforce the recon team when their MH-47 was shot down. The US response to the loss of the recon team was not to run but insert hundreds of troops into the area to find the missing men and possibly to complete the unfinished mission. The Al Qaeda might ask themselves what manner of men these are, who fight to the death rather than surrender, and who though injured evade over high and cold mountains until they have outdistanced their unwounded pursuers. It’s not an idle question. One of Osama Bin Laden’s strategic assumptions when he wrote contemptuously of the US in his 1996 fatwa was that he was facing cowards.

But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the “heart” of every Muslim and a remedy to the “chests” of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu.

Bin Laden understood and accepted that American logistics, technology and science would be superior to his own. What he was less prepared to believe was the possibility that their fighting spirit would be equal or greater than his. Sixty two years ago the Imperial Japanese Navy fought the USN for three straight days and nights in the waters surrounding Guadalcanal, from November 12-15, 1942. Both sides fought at point-blank range in some cases. Two USN Admirals, Scott and Callahan, died in a single night. Still the IJN and USN came on. Only after the USS Washington sank the battlecruiser Kirishima on November 15th did the Japanese break off. But it was not the material loss that shocked the Japanese: losses were about even on both sides; it was the realization that USN would not give up.

It is the canonical assumption of those who set out to conquer the world that all men are not created equal: that there are ubermensch and untermensch, men of divine descent and mongrel races, jihadis and infidels; that somehow these differences in quality will allow the chosen few to dominate the many. Yet in each case these beliefs have proven wrong, whether in the snows of Russia, the waters of Ironbottom Sound, or in the mountains of Afghanistan.

ME: When all is said and done, it will be our determination to stay the course that will bring victory or defeat. The liberation of Iraq sent a shock wave through the jihadist universe in large part because the terrorists saw American soldiers fighting hand-to-hand, and winning decisively.

The efforts of our enemies, at home and abroad, to discourage us, to convince us that retreat is more moral than victory, are as much a part of this war as bombs in London or decapitations in Malaysia and Thailand. That is why leaks about cutting back in Iraq are so pernicious. The leaked document preceded the London bombings; I wonder if Blair and Bush are still thinking along these lines, or if they are not looking for new ways to strike at the terror masters.