Inside Perspective

By Bob Dvorchak, War correspondent and Veteran (82nd Airborne)

Listen up! Time for a sit-rep. Long overdue, frankly. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and if you got ‘em, bum ‘em. But, there comes a time when one has to take the bull by the tail and face the situation, as we used to say while coming of age during Vietnam.

Sixteen years after we were attacked, and 21 years after the declaration of war on us by religious radicals who kill in the name of Allah, the Islamic name for the One God also known as Yahweh and Our Father, the scourge is spreading, not diminishing. We are losing the war on terrorism, which is the defining moment of our civilization. And who’s in charge exactly of Operation FUBAR?

The fanatical believers who turned our own civilian airplanes into weapons have evolved into converting rented trucks into stealth weapons of mass hysteria. Is it a stretch to connect the dots from the latest butchery in London to Paris, Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, San Bernardino, Fort Hood and to Kabul, Mosul, Raqqa, Mogadishu, Yemen scores of clandestine garden spots?

The bloodshed and outcry about an individual act of savagery is powerful enough to knock the daily reality TV fare off 24-hour TV for a day or two, but if anybody’s connecting the dots to explain the big picture, they’re not being heard.

Let’s rally around a common purpose, people. How is that my country was divided like no time since the Civil War during Vietnam, came together in healing during Desert Storm and is now divided against itself while the Mother Of All Jihads flickers in the background against the backlight of the Mother of All Bombs dropped on the Islamic State in Afghanistan, where we went to displace the Taliban and destroy Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda before turning our attention to Saddam Hussein, which allowed for the birth of ISIS. In war, as I understand it, the idea is to reduce the number of enemies, not create more like a breeder reactor.

In the first Gulf War, enlightened reading was done by American warriors on Sun-Tzu’s Art Of War, the military Bible along the lines of The Art Of The Deal. Know your enemy. Win the war, then fight it.

America’s all-volunteer military was the product of the ashes of Vietnam. Those who fight the wars came up with the strategy of using overwhelming force, unleashing the combined might of the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and the Army, in one terrible, swift blow to get the war over with as quickly as possible.

In my youth, Linden B. Johnson would appear on TV with a heavy heart to bring bad news about Vietnam, the bad news being the war he led us into wasn’t working out and he’d try to end it while blame for failed policies was transferred to those in uniform who obeyed the commander-in-chief.

I’m not making this political. I’ve been a registered Independent ever since the year I held the last lottery number in the last draft ever held and was inducted into the Army. I never left the States. Vietnam was over. This was the last call for conscripts while the military transitioned to an all-volunteer force.

But I have scars from that time. My oldest brother was wounded twice within a span of ten days after arriving in country, six months after the Tet Offensive.
In my opinion, leadership failures by presidents of both parties have poured gasoline on a fire started by cut-throat radicals.

In the afterward of a tribute I wrote to the grunts in the First Iraq War, I say flat out that the Vietnam Syndrome that one man said he had kicked, was replaced by the Iraq Syndrome that his son succumbed to before the task was done in Afghanistan.

I feel misled in every sense of the word, and as an Army Veteran, as a Baby Boomer who was in college during the Kent State shootings, as a witness to war in the Middle East, and as a grandfather who wants nothing more than to see his five darlings grow up in a world of peace and security, I don’t like being misled.

Fixing the blame is an exercise in futility when it comes to fixing the problem. Somebody better get a handle on Operation FUBAR before more innocent civilians are slaughtered.

When is someone in leadership going to put this country on a war footing while building a coalition of all peace-seeking countries, including Islamic countries and Islamic leaders, to snuff out this scourge?

People a lot older and a lot smarter than me have delivered the eternal truth that only the dead know the end of war. That doesn’t mean we can’t fight smarter to keep from losing.

We have paratroopers back in Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the local militia and troops from the nations we’ve tried to build, with predictable results. Twenty-six years ago, the president sent the entire 82nd Airborne Division as the vanguard of an Army which assembled tanks, artillery, attack helicopters and mechanized infantry under an air umbrella of total supremacy.

We have come to a time where everybody’s locked into an unyielding position. There weren’t many things that our candidates agreed on in the last bruising election, but Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump happened to say at one time or another that the Second Iraq War was a mistake.

Like the band Chicago sang back in the day, Where do we go from here?

Bob Dvorchak was a lifelong journalist who covered the war in Desert Storm and is the author of the recently released journal — Drive On: The Uncensored War of Bedouin Bob and the All-Americans.