This is the first time most Americans have ever seen our nation win a war. Now we can shake off our self-5-mage as a defeated nation, characterized by that embarrassing picture of the helicopter lifting its last load of refugees out of Saigon.
Let’s peek under the national feeling of exhilaration and identify some lessons of lasting value.
1. The dramatic success of our Patriot anti-missile in zapping the Iraqi Scud proves the value and necessity of anti-missile defenses. We saw the clear proof on our television screens.
For the last 25 years, the liberals have been talking, conniving and voting against anti-missile defenses. Just last year, the liberals in Congress slashed SDI funding in half
Their arguments ricocheted back and forth, inconsistent and often incoherent. They said, “It won’t work, it’s too costly, it’s provocative and will upset arms negotiations with the Russians, even if it does work it’s a bad idea, and it’s better to rely on Mutual Assured Destruction.”
Now we know it does work, it’s feasible, it’s cost-effective, and it saves lives. American technology has demonstrated the near- impossible feat of hitting a bullet in flight with another bullet in flight.
The Patriot isn’t the full-blown SDI which President Reagan called for in his famous 1983 speech. But Patriot is an anti-missile, it uses SDI technology, and its anti-missile capabilities wouldn’t have been available in the Gulf War without. the technology developed through SDI funding.
At least 15 other nations are expected to have ballistic missiles by the year 2000, so why can’t American civilians have the same protection against missile attacks that we provided to Saudi Arabia and to Israel? Congress should go full-speed ahead with SDI now that it has proven itself in the Middle East.
2. The Gulf War has fully validated the (controversial) farsighted defense policies of Ronald Reagan. It proved that American defense capabilities should be based on the most sophisticated technology that money can buy plus a professional, all-volunteer fighting force.
3. The Gulf War proved that the way to minimize casualties is to confront the enemy with overwhelming force — and to escalate fast, not slow1y (as we did in Vietnam). The reason we had such a small number of casualties was that Saddam Hussein’s troops (including the vaunted republican guard) didn’t put up much of a fight. They mostly surrendered or deserted; and so our troops never had ts engage in hand-to-hand combat or aerial dogfights as our soldiers did with the Germans and the Japanese in World War II.
Overwhelming superiority, overkill, redundancy — those are all positive factors when it comes to winning battles. They do not mean we waste unnecessary resources; they mean we shed less blood because the enemy gives up sooner.
In 1956 when the Butcher of Budapest sent merely-superior numbers of troops and tanks into Hungary, the fighting was bloody until a beaten nation capitulated. In 1968, however, when the Soviets sent 550,000 troops with their full complement of artillery into Prague against an ill-equipped Czech army of only 175,000, there was no bloodshed; just a clean surrender.
4. The Gulf War proved that, if we get into a war, the President should let the military win it, which is what George Bush did. We can be grateful that George Bush didn’t imitate Lyndon Johnson, who kept a map in the White House where he selected and approved every target our bombers were allowed to hit.
5. The Gulf War proved that we should never rely on missile treaties because, even with all our high tech, spies in the sky, and “national means of verification,” we couldn’t find Saddam’s mobile Scud missile sites. If we couldn’t find them in Iraq, we surely can’t find Soviet mobile missiles in the vast areas of Russia and Siberia.
6. Finally, the Gulf liar reconfirmed the fact that Mikhail Gorbachev is not our friend. He tried to help his pal Saddam Hussein with the hoary Communist ploy of calling for a cease-fire when the bad guys were on the run and needed a pause to regroup.
Fortunately, George Bush didn’t fall for. it because he understood the lesson of previous wars that “there is no substitute for victory.”