Tags: isis | terrorism

Support Our Soldiers

By Wednesday, 03 February 2016 08:01 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In the past, wars were waged by nations. Beginning in the wake of the Crimean War and culminating after World War II, countries around the world agreed to a set of rules for armed conflict designed in large part to protect civilians. The United States and our allies abide by these rules, and it is vitally important that we continue to do so.

The enemies we face today — terrorist thugs such as ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban — are abusing these rules in ways we never foresaw. This greatly hinders our ability to defeat them, and it puts the brave men and women of our armed forces at unnecessary risk.

We must act with urgency and do something to help ensure their safety, that we are able to defeat our enemies.

The United States military clearly remains the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known. The men and women of our armed forces are deserving of great respect; they overcome substantial challenges each and every day in the course of defending our nation and our people. Those challenges are evolving, and our leaders and the public must take a hard look at how to win the wars of the future.

Historically, our troops and their leadership have enjoyed significant advantages. They have the best training. They have the best weapons. They have the best equipment. They fight for the most just causes and conduct themselves according to an incredibly high moral and ethical code.

All of this continues to be true, and the fighting forces of our allies deserve similar praise. While the West fights to ensure freedom and protect the safety of innocents, our enemies seek out civilian deaths intentionally. They see gruesome images as beneficial to their cause. They place no value on human life, and they use our honor and our morality against us.

They then turn around and use the communications tools developed in the West, including social media and the news media, to conduct craven propaganda campaigns that attempt to turn our political leaders as well as public opinion against our men and women in uniform.

In a groundbreaking new report released by the High Level Military Group, top former officials from across the free world argue that this dichotomy raises “a growing crisis of leadership in our democracies that we must urgently address in order to secure them for the 21st century.”

The High Level Military Group’s comparative study, titled “Our Military Forces’ Struggle Against Lawless, Media Savvy Terrorist Adversaries,” makes a compelling case that Western governments must go to great lengths to create our own sophisticated narratives surrounding these conflicts. It also rightly asserts that we must go to great lengths to ensure that our militaries can carry out legitimate operations without fear of political retribution.

As America and other democratic nations continue to face off against enemies who espouse hatred and fear freedom, we must remember this: our enemies understand our political systems more than we would like, and they know how to exploit our emotions. We must never let them get away with it.

When ISIS brutally murders journalists, aid workers, and even their fellow Muslims, they do not try to cover it up. They film it, and ironically they use a tool invented by the U.S. and made possible by U.S. Department of Defense funding, the Internet, to broadcast it to the world.

Conversely, when our military has actionable intelligence about the location of a terrorist leader, it takes great pains to vet that information and make serious calculations about the potential for unintentional collateral damage.

Moving forward, we must ensure that the American people understand how difficult these decisions are. The battlefield our soldiers face today is more complex that ever before. It is densely populated, exposed to public view at all times, and the site of increasingly blurry lines between civilian and combatant. With every passing day, our soldiers are forced into ever more difficult tactical decisions.

We must support our soldiers in their efforts to protect our people and our interests. That also means helping our political and military leaders find new ways to add greater context to their decision-making.

Armstrong Williams is the author of "Reawakening Virtues." He is a political commentator who writes a conservative newspaper column, hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called "The Right Side," and hosts a daily radio show on Sirius/XM Power 128 (6-7 p.m. and 5-6 a.m.) Monday through Friday. He also is owner of Howard Stirk Holdings Broadcast TV stations. Read more reports from Armstrong Williams — Click Here Now.

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We must support our soldiers in their efforts to protect our people and our interests. That also means helping our political and military leaders find new ways to add greater context to their decision-making.
isis, terrorism
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 08:01 AM
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