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Gary Hart Headshot

Seal Six

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In the arena of global conflict, there is good news and bad news. The good news is reflected in the sensational success of the Seals in Pakistan. The bad news is that there will be a lot more actions like this, and they will not always be so successful.

Warfare is changing. The nature of conflict is reverting to pre-nation-state status. That is, the "warriors" more resemble criminals; the enemy doesn't wear uniforms. There are no final peace treaty ceremonies and victory celebrations. We made a huge mistake declaring "war on terrorism" because little of our Cold War forces can be used. We are not fighting regular military forces, and there will be no final "victory," at least until the bin Ladens of the world disappear. But don't hold your breath for that.

The one product of advanced warfare that was important in Abbottabad was technology: stealth helicopters, satellite surveillance, night-vision goggles, etc. But it all got down to kicking down doors and shooting people. More police work than regular warfare.

All this means is that we have to restructure our forces into smaller, faster, quicker units, such as the Special Forces, equip them with advanced, practical technologies, and find the bad guys. The bad guys are not warriors. They are criminals. They have to be dealt with as such. They should not be glorified as warriors. That's what they want the world to think of them. They are not. They are cowards who kill innocent people. They have to be hunted like criminals and eliminated. They should have no sanctuary in any nation that calls itself our friend and that received money from American taxpayers.

If we have learned anything in the two long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq it is that our overwhelming Cold War military superiority does not guarantee "victory" or success in any traditional sense. Our leaders claim we intend to establish stable democratic governments friendly to the U.S. in tribal, sectarian nations that have had internal conflicts for centuries. Good luck with that. Afghanistan will finally be "free" when Afghan men care enough about their wives and daughters to protect them from barbarian mullahs. But not before then.

Please visit Senator Hart's blog at Matters of Principle.