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Saturday, March 28, 2009


During the Viet Nam War, it grew increasingly apparent that the Viet Cong simply had more grit than we, or the South Vietnamese, did. The Viet Cong would sometimes live in dirt tunnels for months at a time, not seeing the light of day once during that entire period. Meanwhile American soldiers lived in air conditioned barracks, went to whorehouses in Saigon, and got high on a regular basis. (Can you imagine the Cong sneaking into Saigon to sample the fleshpots or search for the best ganja?)

Perhaps the best examples of this quiet resolve were the Buddhist monks who would immolate themselves in the street to protest American policy.

I can't help but be struck by the parallel between those Buddhist monks and the current crop of suicide bombers. The bombers are, of course, far more dastardly, since they commit mass murder as well as suicide. But both are willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause.

Bill Maher lost his talk show "Politically Incorrect" because he said that the suicide bombers who steered those planes into the World Trade Center were courageous (as well as evil). In the political climate of the time, it was simply unacceptable to say anything positive about the bombers, true or not. (Maher long ago apologized abjectly for this, his one true foray into political incorrectness; he has has since landed on another talk show, where he is as predictably liberal as ever.)

But Maher's original statement was in fact on target: very few Americans would willingly go on a suicide mission. And no matter how superior our technology, in the long run no one can win against an enemy who simply won't give up.

When Americans join the military, it is usually because they want their college tuition paid for, or because they need a job, or because they want to learn a marketable skill. There are some who enlist out of a sense of patriotism, or because they actually want combat experience, but they are the minority. When Muslims take up jihad, it is for the greater glory of Allah, and because they have a hatred of the United States that is bred into their very souls.

They're tougher than we are, period. We may inflict more casualties, but they'll outlast us, especially with the war being fought on their home turf.

Time to cut our losses, and let them kill each other instead of us.


Anonymous said...

Sorry John, you're wrong on this one. You're forgetting about the perverse interpretation of their religion (putting them on the fast track to heaven).

John Craig said...

Good point. But whether or not they expect to find seventy virgins waiting for them in heaven, the net effect is the same: they're willing to die for their cause, which effectively makes them tougher than us.