The Veteran’s Perspective – On the Attacks in Paris

By Elmer Ellsworth and the Veteran’s Perspective

A few words about the cowardly attacks in Paris ….

As Veterans, many of us know all too well the enemy that conducted the attacks in Paris. It is the same enemy many of us have studied and fought against for many years – often with other Muslims assisting us. To us, this is not shocking, not surprising and certainly not intimidating. It is exactly what many of us have expected. After all, our enemy has told us his intentions over and over.

SOME WORDS FROM OUR ENEMY – I remember in early 2002 in Afghanistan we captured an AQ guy who spoke almost perfect English (which of course always got lots of attention) but this guy was from Palestine. I remember asking him why he was in Afghanistan messing around with us when he could be at home killing Jews. He said, in a voice and demeanor that I will never forget, that the fight in Palestine was just a sideshow, a quarrel among brothers, but “you Americans are the real infidels. I came for Jihad – to kill you.” We then asked him how he felt now that he is going to prison and his jihad is over … and he said that it did not bother him because he knew he would not see victory in his lifetime, but that he believes his children may see victory and he knows their children will see victory. This is some insight into how this enemy is thinking.

NOT GOING AWAY – This is not going away if we accommodate. This is not going away if we simply abandon Israel or withdraw our bases. It is not about us going into Iraq … or Afghanistan. Our enemy is not inclined to change their plans whether our political views are Progressive Liberalism or Neo-Conservative. To them, we are all infidels, regardless of where we stand politically. In practice, they rely upon and use to their advantage our western liberal mindset and ideals. They will continue to do so. They are happy for us to continue with our partisan political squabbles that divide and weaken us.

NOT ALL MUSLIMS – BUT CANNOT IGNORE THAT IS MUSLIM – This does not mean all Muslims are evil. And, of course not all Muslims are the enemy. We know this as well as anybody because we stood shoulder to shoulder as brother to brother with Muslims. But, before somebody can claim that this has nothing to do with religion, I would ask that person if they have truly learned about how this enemy recruits, supports, plans, finances, operates and executes its operations. If one does that honestly, one will come to the conclusion that at the present time this enemy is effectively intertwined with the Muslim religion. Just to be clear, it may be a cancer within that religion or falsehood masquerading as truth. But this enemy is undeniably within the Muslim religion and to deny that fact puts one at a disadvantage when fighting this enemy. The Muslims we stood with certainly understood that.

Again, in a later article we will talk about some steps that we believe need to be taken to defeat this enemy. But, the initial message from a Veterans’ Perspective is that these events are actually not shocking. This is not “the” wake up call … this is the latest in what has been many, many wake up calls. Our enemy has been very clear about their intentions.

So, we either recognize the reality or we go back to the partisan political games. If we continue to play the partisan political games we will continue to get disgusted and angry at the inhumanity each time blood is spilled and watch as our enemy continues to do exactly as they say.

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2 comments on “The Veteran’s Perspective – On the Attacks in Paris
  1. Up through WW II, we fought wars unconditionally. Our forces bombed the enemy to ashes, we fought until they were killed or they surrendered, and we leveled what got in our way. This war will not be won any other way. I have a son who will be an officer in the Air Force, will probably fly in combat in some capacity, and do not relish the idea of him being in harm’s way. I also do not like the thought of my family being murdered in a theater or restaurant while our country sits back and does nothing. .

  2. Mr. Ellsworth, you offer a thoughtful characterization of the state of this already-long war that promises to last much, much longer. Perhaps, as the jihadist hopes, even transgenerationally. I appreciate your willingness to explicitly acknowledge that not all Muslims are our sworn enemies. That some Muslims have fought side by side with Americans, and of course some Muslims wear American military uniforms. All this is to your distinct credit. At this moment in time, when a recent crisis–the Paris tragedy–have many people hyperventilating and declaring all color of plan to rid the world of terrorists, Muslims, and whatnot…and call for hermetically sealing our borders to anyone who even looks vaguely Middle Eastern (perhaps excepting Israelis), I find myself deeply uneasy at the type of ambitious reprisals are clamoring for. Which has me thinking about who the folks making such claims are, and what their role will be in any American response.

    I am a veteran. I completed 26 years of active military service in the US Army as an officer, retiring in 2007 after my third tour of duty in the Middle East. At that time, I can to the conclusion, which I have adhered to ever since, that in the absence of a total war declaration by our citizens to confront and defeat our enemies, and including a full-scale draft and mobilization, any calls for military action were puerile. They are calls for someone else’s son or daughter to sacrifice more, to deploy endlessly, to bear any and every burden, and I find myself unenthralled with such prospects. If we are not all in this together, with skin in the game and ass hanging out to get shot at, that I would just as soon acknowledge that our national will is lacking, and we already have conceded defeat by virtue of apathy, indifference, and complacency. That has been the chosen course since 2001, when the nation turned to the active military, and soon after the reserves, to carry the entire weight of sacrifice. I saw all the “Support the Troops” bumper stickers, and I am sorry to be ungrateful, but I am. When I ask average fellow citizens how many have fallen in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, I get dumb stares. When I ask how many men and women are serving in today’s armed forces and what percentage of the American population they comprise, I get dumb stares. When I ask how many amendments there are to the US Constitution, which so many of the zealous hawks claim is untouchably sacred, I get…well, you know what I get. These same people, I submit, would know these facts and much else if they themselves were at risk of multiple tours of duty in some very ugly, faraway land. I am not interested in hearing proposals any longer from anyone unless they themselves are ready to make the trek down to the local recruiting station and demonstrate by action their personal and selfless commitment to this endless mission. My stomach for well-meaning Monday morning quarterbacking has had its fill.

    Read some of what Andrew Bacevich, the retired Army colonel and Vietnam veteran, has to say. He has been there, done that, and lost his son in Iraq to boot. I believe he has earned the right to speak out. But for the other 99% of chatter I hear, over coffee or in chatrooms or on blogs on the Internet, I am afraid that until we put the necessary sacrifice into proper perspective, it is much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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