“A Sincere Desire to Engage the Enemy.”
The Balkan situation continues as the running sore of Europe. Slobodan Milosevic, dictator of rump Yugoslavia, remains intractable in his pursuit of the inhumane policy of ethnic cleansing (genocide) to gain his ends by seeking to ensure Serbian racial dominance in his slice of the old, now-defunct Yugoslav Republic. Despite continuing threats from the lame duck UN and NATO, and of U.S. and British saber-rattling, Milosevic continues to oversee the slaughter of Albanian civilians in Kosovo.
Both Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, each pursuing their own particular ends in completely separate theaters of conflict, have come to understand a reality that has yet to dawn on the most senior policy makers in the U.S., Britain, the UN and NATO: Unless the enemy detects that his opposition has a patent and sincere desire to engage in battle, he faces no immediate consequence to his aggressive actions.
Winston Churchill, in his book, Great Contemporaries, observed of that famous British general, Sir Douglas Haig, that he had a unique strength which left both his own loyal troops and the enemy in no doubt as to his intentions. Churchill was present during certain military exercises being conducted by British army cavalry in 1912. Having observed a British brigadier in action, Haig turned to Churchill and remarked, “This officer did not show a sincere desire to engage the enemy.” As Churchill further observes, this saying was a key to Haig’s whole military outlook. “A sincere desire to engage the enemy. That was Haig. That was his message. That was the impulse that he imparted to his troops throughout his command till the last minute before eleven o’clock on 11 November, 1918.” That was the time and date of the official cessation of hostilities between the combatants in World War I, the Armistice (pp. 143-144).
This is what is missing in the minds of today’s generals, military strategists and foreign policy formulators—a sincere desire to engage the enemy! It seems that Western leaders, particularly in the U.S., are so infatuated by a Disneyland dream of “peace at all costs, as long as we lose no troops,” that their minds are befuddl to reality.
The clear-cut reality is that the purpose of any nation possessing a military force is to destroy any opposing military force. This is the underlying tenet of both offensive and defensive warfare.
“The fact is there is no such thing as a neutral intervention by a superpower, and therefore all peacekeeping operations, such as those in Beirut and Somalia, can result in combat” (Stratfor Systems, Feb. 16,).
In this time of the fulfillment of God’s prophecy when they cry “peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14), it is the “peacekeeping force” that has replaced the military force. As Stratfor alludes, the strange thing is that we insist on supplying fully equipped military forces at huge cost on peace monitoring missions, instead of sending a combination of civilian foreign service officers and aid officials.
The experiences in Somalia, Rwanda, Beirut and the Balkans should have proven to the U.S., UN and NATO that the deployment of military troops in “peacekeeping” or “peace monitoring” roles has “less to do with warfare than it has to do with using peacekeepers as hostages to guarantee the peace” (ibid.).
Have we forgotten the CNN pictures flashed around the world of Dutch and French blue berets in the Balkans literally taken hostage by hostile Yugoslav troops?
A sincere desire to engage the enemy—that’s what’s missing from our peacekeeping efforts. That’s why petty despots such as Hussein and Milosevic can strut their stuff on the world stage with impunity in the face of a world superpower hidebound by its cowardly view that no military effort should result in American casualties!
As Stratfor points out, underlying U.S. military strategy is a fatally flawed theory. The assumption is made that the presence of U.S. troops in peacekeeping roles in regions of conflict will deter any aggressor from attacking. Strategists assume that fear of U.S. military might will deter any would-be aggressor. This assumption simply denies the reality of the recent history of U.S. involvement in Beirut, Somalia and the Balkans, not to mention Saddam Hussein’s attacks on the “peacekeeping” flights of the U.S. Air Force policing the Iraqi no-flight zone.
In these situations, rather than deter aggression, U.S. presence has invited it! The result in Beirut, Rwanda and Somalia was not a powerful reaction by U.S. military might—it was retreat and withdrawal!
Sadly, we have to report, in advance of the event, U.S. involvement in the coming “peacekeeping” mission in Kosovo will likewise end in failure. Why? The answer is simple. With all of its demonstrated and overwhelming military might, the U.S. and those institutions which are advised by the U.S. (UN, NATO) simply lack “a sincere desire to engage the enemy.”