Problem 1: Uniforms
It’s very difficult to fight a war when the opposing soldiers don’t wear a uniform to distinguish them from civilians. The Geneva Conventions provide certain protections for “Lawful Combatants,” but such protections do not apply to “Unlawful Combatants.” One of the requirements to be a “Lawful Combatant” is that they be “a member of a militia, volunteer corps, or organized resistance movement belonging to a State party engaged in such hostilities, which are under responsible command, wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and abide by the law of war.”1
Since terrorists (or “freedom fighters” as your beliefs prefer) do not wear a “fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance” (commonly referred to as “uniforms”), nor to they “carry their arms openly” they are, by definition and legal code, “Unlawful Combatants” and not protected by the Geneva Conventions. But that doesn’t do anything to help win the war, so what to do?
Solution 1: The U.S. Military needs to put together a definition of what the enemy’s “uniform” looks like, as politically incorrect as that may been. That might include the wearing of a turbin and/or burka, and/or any other “distinguishing” or “distinct” sign, symbol, or attire. Under this new definition many civilians will be classified as “Lawful Combatants” erroneously. There are two solutions to this quandary: (1) the enemy may choose to carry their arms openly and wear a distinguishable uniform in accordance with law, or (2) the civilians can distinguish themselves from the “uniformed army” by not wearing clothing that would apparently align themselves with the standing army’s “uniform.”
Problem 2: Religious Buildings/Shrines
Presently, religious buildings and shrines are off-limits to attacks. The reason? They’re religious buildings.
Solution 2: Any religious building that hosts enemy soldiers and/or Unlawful Combatants is being used as a military outpost and is no longer “protected” as a religious building. It’s ridiculous not to strike a religious building if the religion (or branch thereof) is “proselyting” military orders. That’s like expecting the enemy not to hit our barracks or command posts because inside them we’re “preaching” marching orders. Absurd! If the religious leaders don’t want their buildings bombed, they must disallow use of said buildings by soldiers and/or Unlawful Combatants.
Problem 3: The Media
The media reports on the items of interest, that means things that will get them the most ratings. As sad as it may be, people love blood and gore, and get outraged when they see the realities of war. Do you remember how unified we were as a country when the Towers were struck and we were under attack by an “unknown enemy”? Everything in the media was about the realities of war that were forced upon us, the dead and dying, and the destruction. We were united.
Now, the media is reporting all the things that “we” are doing “wrong” and showing how “poorly” the war effort is being run. Why? It’s all about the ratings. The downside is that this drives public opinion, which shapes the war policy, and forces the war effort to be “politically correct.” Political Correctness will do more damage than the enemy!
Solution 3: Prohibit the media (any media) from being present in or around the theater of war. Detain any and all media representatives (including corporate officials) that broadcast any material that may give aid and comfort to the enemy. By definition, that’s High Treason (or sedition, espionage, or sabotage as the circumstances warrant). Detain them, deny them habeus corpus until after the war is over.
Yes, all these problems are controversial, and yes, the proposed solutions are even more so. The bottom line is that to win the war, you need to fight the war, not pander to public opinion which is too easily swayed by a biased media. Let the Legislature and High Ranking Military perform oversight, not the media conglomerates.