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My West Point Dad II
My West Point Dad II PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Capt Bob   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:33

My West Point Dad - Part II

The next time I caught up with my Dad after dinner when it was a good time to talk to him, I had studied some of what he told me.

“Dad, when we talked before, you explained about our wars and how we try to avoid new wars, but I was surprised by what you said about the Second Amendment concerning well armed citizens being an important part of our national defense. However, I found a good example of that in Switzerland. Every able bodied man has a military rifle at home, his own supply of ammunition and a back pack ready to be called out on a moment’s notice.”

“Switzerland has been invaded only twice in all of recorded history, once by Julius Caesar before the time of Christ and again by Napoleon in the early 1800’s. The Swiss are not neutral because they are afraid to fight. It is because others are discouraged from fighting them because they are so well prepared, and their citizens are universally armed.”

My Dad said, “Bobby, I see you have done some homework. You keep asking questions and doing some homework, and you will learn a lot”. “Well, Dad, there is another question I would like to ask you. What do you think of the way wars are fought now with innocent civilians and others being randomly attacked by our enemies but not by us?”

Dad had a quick answer. “This type of conflict, if successful, is a warm up for more major engagements. It is important to stamp this out before it escalates further. This type of horrifying, wanton destruction is intended to undermine our self-confidence and undermine our will to fight. We cannot simply shrug it off and treat it as a law enforcement issue. This type of sneaky, treacherous, cowardly terrorism is the early stages of much more serious conflicts if it is left unchecked.”

“But, Dad, how do we successfully fight this type of enemy when we are restrained by international law and treaties, and they are not bound by any rules?” Dad scratched his head (he had very little hair) and commented, “This is a very difficult situation and a very hard question to answer completely. We do not want to stoop to the enemy’s level, but we must respond effectively. Proportional retaliation or reprisal is authorized by international law, and hit and run quick strike raids by our special forces could be more successful than getting bogged down with large forces inside enemy territory”.

“Dad, how do we tell friends from foes; and what about innocent civilians? We do not want to destroy an entire village because an attack came from there.”

“Bobby, there are things we can do without resorting to the vicious brutality of our enemies. We can lock down or quarantine an area to locate the weapons and explosives and those who are responsible. We could also consider evacuating the people and destroying some structures if the guilty individuals cannot be identified because they blended in with the local people who are harboring the terrorists.”

I could see that Dad would not accept defeat at the hands of treacherous and barbaric enemies. I decided to leave Dad alone for now to read his history books. I wanted to think about what he said. We need innovative thinking and actions to defeat an unconventional enemy who strikes viciously without any warning. Must we fight fire with fire, or is there a middle ground that is more humane but still victorious?

Capt. Bob Bell

U.S. Navy Retired




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