Editor’s Scratchpad

No room for
whining in wartime

During the past few days, our forces in Afghanistan have taken casualties. The fighting is fierce, hand to hand, face to face. Casualties are inevitable. These are fanatics, mind you -- they don't mind dying or killing others. That's why we're there in the first place.

Eventually, we need to get out. No one ever has successfully occupied Afghanistan. Alexander the Great gave up and conquered India instead. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be ready to go back in, given provocation.

The nature of war has changed, as it does every couple of years. The hands-off, remote-control, panic-if-we-take-casualties U.S. military of the '90s Gulf War learned the hard way in Kosovo that nothing beats the grunt on the ground.

Gen. George S. Patton said that war-fighting isn't dying for your country, it's making some other poor bastard die for his country. That wasn't an observation; it was advice.

We're going to take casualties. Deal with it. This is serious business. Don't complain that the United States is acting as the world's policeman -- this world needs policing, after all.

--Burl Burlingame

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