There must be at least 8,000 American journalists better able to nail this story than I am. But I don't see any of them doing so, and I can't think of many issues more important, so here goes.
Let's talk about supply lines, supplies, and suppliers whose mission is to kill Americans. We start with a smattering of the history of wartime supply in general. Guerrillas fighting the Nazis from Norway to Greece in World War II got fed by sympathetic farmers quite willing to risk their lives for freedom. An interesting etiquette note: As the well-fed freedom-fighters took their leave they pointedly did not, as a rule, thank their courageous hosts. To do so would have implied they were recipients of a favor, instead of what they really were: brother patriots, all risking their lives in the same cause.
During World War II America was the "Arsenal of Democracy”, a dream-asset for the Allies. Imagine having an industrial powerhouse 3,000 miles across the ocean that could not be touched by enemy bombers, and vulnerable to almost zero saboteurs.
The most dangerous missions in that war were performed by American civilians, many physically unfit for military service. They were the men of the Merchant Marine who manned the ships above the Arctic Circle, over the top of Europe north of Norway to supply our Soviet allies at the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel. German subs made that the most dangerous run on earth.
One of the most fascinating untold stories of that war was the sneaking away of three or four of those ships from every convoy to supply our enemy. Finland was in the strangest position in history. Finland was Nazi Germany's only democratic ally. They wanted no part of Hitler or German aims. The Soviet Union had taken Finnish land in the 1939 winter war and Finland reluctantly teamed up with the initially-victorious Germans for the sole purpose of retaking that stolen land.
The Finns made it clear to the world they were not Nazi allies, merely "German co-belligerents" for the sole purpose of regaining their territory. Since the Finns under Gen. Carl Gustav Mannerheim controlled that sector of the northern front, they were in position to keep the Germans from cutting the rail line from Murmansk down to Leningrad. The secret deal with Washington called for America to supply the Finns through the port of Petsamo, now Russian. In return, the Finns would help the Germans be successful enough to retake Finland's Karelian Isthmus but not successful enough to cut the rail line. I've interviewed Finnish veterans who well remember using Ford trucks, Goodyear tires and other American supplies.
I could never to this day believe the U.S. Army's "propaganda" against the U.S. Air Force, belittling the effect the American and British bombing had on Germany's war production. We were told those massive air raids were little more than mosquito bites. Sorry. I'm convinced absenteeism can be a problem when each day a few more factories fail to show up for work.
Supply. It may have bored us preteen kids, but the smashing through of the highway linking the U.S. to Alaska and the almost unbelievable engineering feat of the Burma Road to supply our Chinese allies were major factors in our victory. And we all know the importance of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Which brings us to now. It's no astonishment that the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 found defenders with bullets, grenades, and the expected weapons with which to resist. We're now learning about the re-emergence of the Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban in Afghanistan. But our leaders are silent and our media brain-dead on the question of who's quartermastering those killing American and NATO troops today! We know the Soviets and the Communist Chinese supplied the North Koreans during the Korean War. And those two supplied the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army during that war.
Who is supplying those out to kill us today? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Russia, maybe? China, maybe? Why the silence? Why the apathy? Why the ignorance? Don't tell me the America that can tell you the chemical content of the dirt on Mars can't deduce the origin of the roadside bombs and conventional bullets in hostile hands. The answers shouldn't need the great CIA, British, or French intelligence or Israel's Mossad. Albania's spy service should be able to figure it out.
President George W. Bush was applauded right after 9/11 when he put the world on notice that, “You are either for us or against us." Such a doctrine twisted a reluctant Islamic Pakistan to our side, at least more than somewhat, and persuaded Libya to fold its nuclear and terror-supporting hand. How was American feeling transmogrified from support for Bush into ridicule and hatred for his "polarizing" declarations? What's so evil — after the 9/11 hit — about advising the world of our low tolerance for hostility or neutrality? Neutrality is for border wars between Ecuador and Peru, and for Britain's dispute with Iceland over fishing rights. Neutrality is not for 9/11s.
During the Korean War Americans were confused and furious at the "rules" tying our hands. When American bombers tried to bomb bridges over the Yalu bringing supplies to the North Koreans they actually had to make their bombing runs at right angles to the bridges instead of parallel to avoid violating Manchurian air space. More Americans recall the fury about the rules of engagement in Vietnam and our refusal to bomb Haiphong harbor for years.
Our fuzzy addled oblivion to who's doing us in today is even more of a cartoon, but strangely without the public indignation. You who prefer fuzzy addled oblivion have had your chance. You elected Barack Obama president and he pleaded with the killers who hate us to "unclench your fist and we will shake your hand." That policy started out weak and gradually tapered off. It failed.
How about a new deal; maybe a new world order? How about, "We will shake your hand gently, as you may be missing some fingers if we catch you shipping anything more lethal than a hatpin to the totalitarian killers of Iraq or Afghanistan”?
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