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Home | Opinion | For Paris, and for all Civilization, a real war must be fought

For Paris, and for all Civilization, a real war must be fought

As we approach what should be the season of great joy, family togetherness and peace, it pains me to write this column. My heart aches for all the loss in Paris; but my head fears the larger losses looming.

There was a brief period of time in my life when war was a game. We joyfully played soldiers vs Nazis, gleefully using the old helmet my Grandfather brought back from his stint in Europe.  I must have been about 7 or 8, but never thought to ask him how he got the helmet home, or what he did to get the helmet.

He would watch us, sticks for guns, replaying the landing at Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, the push to Berlin. He would smile, but there was something behind it. An unease.

As I got older, and I asked, his stories of battle and what he witnessed came in bursts; as we rocked on the swing in front of his Tornillo home or in the quiet times, riding in his truck back from a semi truck repair run.  But they were always prefaced with the following warning: I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

The story of the just-completed carnage of Omaha Beach as his huge  6-by-6 Dodge army truck -with a .50 caliber gun mounted above the cab – sloshed ashore, the tide and beach stained red.

Or the story of the odd, low hum as he and his buddies ate lunch in a field outside of St. Lo, a hum that grew louder and shook the ground and rocked the truck, forcing them to stop eating and gaze skyward: a clear French sky now populated with hundreds of  B-17’s heading east, carrying millions of pounds of bombs destined for cities they never heard of, about to be laid to waste – but knowing each city destroyed brought them one step closer to victory and home.

Or the story of having to share socks with buddies, as the temperature dropped in the Winter of ’44, and seeing Nazis in full winter gear – but dead none-the-less, counting each one as a victory as they marched toward Berlin.

Then, along the tidy, wide freeways of Germany, rumors of factories where people were marched in, used up and then killed by the Nazis. His simple upbringing could not fathom anyone intentionally killing whole families, but he knew the evil that they had done in the past, so why not that as well.

And the story of one day, being ordered around a German city; a city they clearly saw the skyline of – like seeing El Paso from the road in Clint as he once said – and the next day seeing nothing but endless columns of smoke, and smelling what they were sure was not a bbq. But it was all on the way to victory.

And on that day of Victory in Europe, there was a weariness among his friends, because the fight was not over. Rumors of a ‘super invasion’ of Japan, and of everyone mobilizing over the next few months. Of all the bullets they dodged, most knew this next phase of the war would be far deadlier, but it had to be done.  Preparations were underway.

And then the fantastic story, a fancy rumor – dreamed up by some bored Captain to tease his unit he thought – of a single bomb that wiped out some city in Japan. And then another. and then Victory.  A victory that was hard fought, and documented, and reluctantly shared with his young grandson.

 I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

But we did. Pundits even got comfortable enough to question the need for weapons used to end World War 2. And I knew, deep down, that we were in for another sucker punch. Little did I know, that sucker punch would turn into nearly a decade and a half of weak-kneed waffling and excuse making, at the expense of thousands of our fighting men and women.

I know my grandfather was a practical man, he’d seen humans at their worst, and what other humans would do to ignore that behavior. He hoped no one would forget that lesson: When our way of life – the entire civilized world’s life – would be threatened with domination or extinction; but he was also prepared for what happens when evil shows itself, and people make excuses.

9/11.  Our generation’s Pearl Harbor. Only telecast live for all to see. And my grandfather lived long enough to see it and knew: This was war and we weren’t remotely ready.

It woke us up, but only for so long. President said no sacrifices were needed by us, the American people. Go buy a house and another car, we’ll run the ‘war’ from here. So we bought, spent and lived through a burst bubble,  while our best and brightest were shipped off to what was called a war.

Weapons were used, code names given and reports filed from the field.  Two Presidents made sure of it. Coffins were returned, soldiers with injuries brought home, and the battles raged on.

And since no one wants to ‘lose’ a war, we will pull out and all will be well. How do we know? Saddam is dead, so is Bin Laden. Seems like victory.

So the cities and towns where we declared victory and left – where our men and women gave their blood and bodies – were quickly turned into terrorist training camps.  Christians and other ‘non-believers’ were beheaded and anyone else killed, hung, shot, pushed off buildings or gassed for disagreeing, or for being a woman, or homosexual, or what ever their twisted version of religion said was incorrect.

Men, women, children all wiped from the earth because they did not believe as they were told to. And not in secret either. A quick internet search will bring up these atrocities as easily as a movie from Netflix. Yet we did – do – nothing. It could be 1943, but we’ve forgotten 1943.

 I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

We’ve given them a name. We know where they operate. We’ve even used drones to kill selected members of their command structure. Because this is war now, not like in the past. We have to make sure to minimize all casualties at all costs. We don’t want to make ‘them’ madder.

And now Paris joins the long list of bloodied world cities. And we are faced with the simplest  of questions: If this is war, when will we begin fighting it as the enemy has dictated we must?

At what point are we going to wake up, look up from our iPhones, Black Friday inserts and inane coffee cup protests and understand we are in yet another world war and there will be no negotiating peace or settlements.

We do not believe as they do, and therefore we will not be allowed to live. Regardless of country, color, race or religion we are the ones who are ‘in the wrong’ and all will be killed as they set up their caliphate.

In a French cafe, in a NYC high rise office building, in a London tour bus or South Pacific hotel, walking down the street in Tel Aviv or attending a family member’s funeral in Baghdad -they will not stop until we’re all gone.

We don’t need to defend New York, London or Paris from this evil, we don’t need additional guards at the baggage check in, or to send out missives to see if they’ll meet with us – we need to take the fight to them and crush them where they live and breathe.

And we certainly do not need to blame the tens of thousands of refugees who fled this barbaric group, as they are with us now and are targets just as we are.

Time to wake up, open up the history books and see exactly how the Greatest Generation got it done. There were no half-measures, or selected strikes against enemy camps.

It was all-out war. A war of survival. A war for the soul of civilization. As one columnist for the New York Times put it: To Save Paris, Defeat ISIS.

And once we sweep their misguided ash from the scorched ground, we will rebuild every town, bring back the families they ran out and make sure they understand the world community is here for them.

Don’t think it will work? Seems like the last time we all stood together and applied corrective action, a couple of countries learned their lesson well. And now they’re part of the civilized world.

We need to this sooner, and not later.

For every day that passes, what happened in Paris will again become a memory, and we will divert ourselves in our iPhones, coffee-cup protests, and internet memes. The enemy will be emboldened once again, and another city will suffer the same fate.

 I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

Courtesy: USA TODAY
Courtesy: USA TODAY

About Chris Babcock

Editor in Chief: El Paso Herald-Post, horizoncity.com Chris began his long journey in Journalism back in the early 70’s. Armed with a Bell and Howell 8mm camera and tape recorder. Chris would go on to document such events as the great plastic dinosaur attack on Tornillo, GI Joe’s dramatic rescue of Barbie from a backyard mud pit and a massive toy train derailment caused by Godzilla. FULL BIO

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