Ralph Peters is right: we can't win in Iraq if we're unwilling to kill the bad guys.
What really matters is what our forces are ordered - and permitted - to do. With political correctness permeating our government and even the upper echelons of the military, we never tried the one technique that has a solid track record of defeating insurgents if applied consistently: the rigorous imposition of public order.
That means killing the bad guys. Not winning their hearts and minds, placating them or bringing them into the government. Killing them.
If you're not willing to lay down a rule that any Iraqi or foreign terrorist masquerading as a security official or military member will be shot, you can't win. And that's just one example of the type of sternness this sort of fight requires.
That's the difference between a war and a police action. Our enemies are fighting a war, and we're wasting lives trying to arrest them.
Arrest them? We've tried that. Iraq's judges are so partisan or so terrified (or both) that they release the worst thugs within weeks - sometimes within days.
How would you like to be one of Iraq's handful of relatively honest cops knowing that any terrorist or sectarian butcher you bust is going to be back on the block before your next payday? And yeah, they know where you live.
Our "humanity" is cowardice masquerading as morality. We're protecting self-appointed religious executioners with our emphasis on a "universal code of behavior" that only exists in our fantasies. By letting the thugs run the streets, we've abandoned the millions of Iraqis who really would prefer peaceful lives and a modicum of progress.
We're blind to the fundamental moral travesty in Iraq (and elsewhere): Spare the killers in the name of human rights, and you deprive the overwhelming majority of the population of their human rights. Instead of being proud of ourselves for our "moral superiority," we should be ashamed to the depths of our souls.
We're not really the enemy of the terrorists, militiamen and insurgents. We're their enablers.
He's right, and even though "political correctness" is losing favor in America when it comes to trivial issues and comedy, we're still not willing to give up our fantasies that everyone is equal, that we don't have any real enemies, and that all problems can be sorted out through conversation and mutual understanding.