Author’s note: The following is an article I wrote almost 14 years ago regarding the failed concept of “containment”. Due recent events and the behavior of our current elected officials and their Administration, I felt the time was right to once again share my thoughts on this topic. Please forgive me if the article seems at times to ramble or disjointed, as it is one of my earlier pieces of work. If you will overlook what may be a slight lack of polish, I think you will find the words I wrote at the onset of the War on Terrorism to be apropos considering the threats we face and the (in)action of those responsible for setting the policy for dealing with such threats.
The more things change, the more they stay the same…
Carl Lee Wheless, Jr. September 9, 2014
"Why didn't we finish the job we started in the first place?"
Carl Lee Wheless, Jr.
Webmaster/Writer - www.TheWarOnTerrorism.com
December 16, 2002
This is the question so many people seem to ask, with regards to why Saddam Hussein is still in power after the defeat of Iraqi forces, during the Persian Gulf War, in 1991.
The answer to that question is that it was not the goal of that conflict to overthrow Saddam Hussein. That was not the mandate of the U.N. Security Council, nor that of the United States Congress or the International Coalition. The mission was to remove the invading forces of Iraq from Kuwait and to liberate that nation.
In order to fully comprehend why the objective of the Persian Gulf War was to only eject the Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, you have to have an understanding of the failed concept known as "containment" and its history. First, you must look to the Korean War.
That was the first conflict where the United Nations was involved in defending a nation from an aggressive government and invading military force. At that time, the U.N. was still a relatively new organization. They had been caught off guard and did not have the ability to do what was needed. As such, they did not carefully consider what was and was not a part of the mission in defending South Korea. Basically, the conflict was prosecuted by the United States, with General MacArthur being named as the Commander of all U.N. Forces. Without going into volumes of military and political history, it should simply be stated that General MacArthur and President Truman did not agree as to what were the strategic goals of that conflict.
General MacArthur was masterful in his defense of South Korea, executing a very risky invasion at Inchon, cutting off the over-extended North Korean army's supply lines, Command/Control/Communication structure, and logistical support. This allowed the beleaguered defenders of the Pusan perimeter to go on the offensive. Then came the controversy that led to the differences between the General and the President: General MacArthur was not satisfied with just ejecting the North Koreans back across the 38th parallel, which was the dividing line and border between North and South Korea. He ordered the forces under his command further north with the goal of completely defeating the North Koreans.
Was he right in doing so? What were the objectives of that war? What was the mission of the U.N. forces? Should have the U.N. stopped General MacArthur at the 38th parallel? Should the front lines been held at the 38th parallel, and a massive air campaign was used to bomb the North Korean infrastructure and strategic targets? What should have been done in regards to China and the U.S.S.R., for their support of and complicity with the North Koreans? Hindsight is "20/20", and history allows for things to be seen, which may not have been clear at the time the events were unfolding.
The lessons learned from the Korean War played a significant role in what happened in 1990-1991, in deserts of Kuwait and Iraq. That conflict had a clear mission, with a clear objective, whereas the Korean War did not. Unfortunately, complete military and political victory was not the final objective. The liberation of Kuwait and "containing" Saddam Hussein was the objective.General MacArthur proceeded north, in spite of the fact that he had extended supply lines and unprepared troops, which were ill-equipped for the winter season that was at hand. Intelligence sources and battlefield reports were hinting that the Chinese Army was operating in North Korea. In spite of all of these factors, he continued to advance his forces. The results? Ask the men who were trapped at the Chosin Reservoir. Look at the lives lost, as well as the time and money spent. Look at the "second half" of the Korean War.
The world has been satisfied to attempt "containment" in North Korea since the 1950's. What has it achieved? Today, North Korea poses a "clear and present" danger to the world, through spreading weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering such weapons. It remains a rogue regime, which oppresses and abuses its domestic population.
The international community also chose "containment" in the case of Iraq, since 1991, and what has it achieved?
The same exact results.
Since the end of World War II, the international community has not had the will, courage and strength to move beyond "containment". Once the immediate threat of a rogue regime had been addressed, they have been satisfied to simply "put the bad guys back in their box". There always seems to be too many other "important issues". It always seems time to move on to "other things"...
This leads to the following conclusion: The idea of simply "containing" an enemy does not work. "Containment" was, and continues to be a monumental mistake, as well as being a complete misjudgment in the simple realities of human nature.
Those that point to the Cold War and say that "containment" worked in that conflict, are incorrect. The Cold War was fought in the same manner in which the War on Terrorism is to be fought. It is to engage the enemy on all levels and with all available means; whether it is diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, intelligence gathering, covert operations, and where called for, military confrontation.
If you had cancer, would you be satisfied and content to simply "contain" it within your body? Definitely not! You would not be willing to accept the risk of allowing it to exist or have the chance of threatening your life and well being. You would do everything possible to ensure that it did not have the chance to grow, flourish and metastasize. If at all possible, you would have it completely removed or destroyed. You would never be satisfied with any less!"Containment" fails to recognize the concept of "good versus evil". Life isn't fair. There will always be the "haves" and the "have nots". "Containment" fails to acknowledge that there are, and will always be those who will seek to earn what they have in life, as well as those that will always seek to take from others. There will always be those who share what they have, and those who will steal from others. There will always be jealousy; the strongest and most dangerous of all human emotions. Human beings are flawed and imperfect creatures. As governments are human creations, they are reflective of the will and desires of human beings. They will never be completely just. They cannot afford to always have the welfare of other governments and nations as a consideration, when contemplating their own self-interests. Therefore, there will always be conflicts based on different ideologies, philosophies, cultures, and religions. You cannot live in a world where these realities are not recognized and accepted. You cannot simply walk away from such threats and challenges. People and governments must realize that once the immediate threat posed by those who are evil or present a threat to humanity have been "contained" one cannot simply declare victory and move on.
You face the same dilemma regarding the failed concept of "containment".
In the end, you must make a decision...
You must choose a side...
You must "play God"...
It is a matter of life and death...
We were all created in God's image, and as such, given the ability to listen to our own thoughts, as well as the ability come to our own conclusions...
No one else can do it for you!
There are too many people on this planet that will not listen to themselves and seek the truth that exists within their own heart. They refuse to choose a side. They will not decide what is right for them and their way of life. They are the followers. Then you have those people who have the will to accept that they must make their own decisions and make a stand for what they believe. They are the leaders. However, we all must remember and take into consideration that all humans are imperfect beings, which seek out perfection. Culture, philosophy and religion will always dictate the rationale of mankind. Mankind will always question who is right and who is wrong, who is arrogant and who is meek, and who has the right to judge these matters. As such, the two main questions for mankind will always be, "What side do you choose?" and "Are you a leader or a follower?"
This brings us back, full circle, to the issues of the "containment" of the regimes in North Korea and Iraq...
What is common to both situations?
Concern over world opinion and the involvement of the United Nations.
Now that the results of pandering to world opinion and following the United Nations has been fully explained; now that it has been illustrated through historical events, demonstrating that all those actions provided was nothing but confusion, indecisiveness, and the failed policy of "containment", which do you choose? Do you choose to follow world opinion and the governing body of such; The United Nations? Do you choose to accept that you are an American and to protect the interests of the United States? As an American, you have the choice to keep this great nation and to protect it. You also have the choice to give it away to others and trust them with its well being. I offer to you these quotes from a man who has made his choice. He has a clear understanding of the meaning of his choices. He has decided to be on the side of the interests of the United States and to be a world leader:
"This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil; but good will prevail"
"Either you are with us or with the terrorists."
- George W. Bush, President of the United States
Yes, life may have many "grey areas", but in this instance it is COMPLETELY "black and white". The choice is yours...
Make it wisely!