Particularly in Iraq and Iran?
"After finding the skeletons of the girls the serpent had eaten, Chi Li said, "Poor girls! The monster conquered you because you were too timid to put up a fight."
What is the point of the story in relation to fighting the war?
This applies to the official American view on fighting the war against terrorism in at least one way, perhaps others. The Presidential position was that if America does not engage in a war against terrorists and terrorist groups, then America is like the timid girls found by Chi Li : Our nation will be "eaten up" by the "monster" of terrorism. While terrorism is a monster, and while the innocent or victimized must take action to defend themselves, some have strong doubts about how Government chose to go about defensive and protective action. Yet all agree that being timid ones who are reduced to skeletal form through cowering inaction is not acceptable.
I would imagine that in terms of the quotation by Chi Li, one's destruction is brought about by one's failure to act or fight back. Had the girls that were eaten by the snake found a way to fight it, even overcome the serpent, perhaps one or two might have died, but the others would have survived in killing the serpent.
In terms of Iraq and Iran, if we apply what Chi Li writes, we might assume that he would require that instead of being fearful and giving up to be vanquished, Americans would have to take steps to protect themselves rather than falling prey to potential enemies.
In Iraq, it was important to ascertain whether there were, indeed, weapons of mass destruction. Had the Iraqi goverment had these kinds of weapons, the chance of nuclear warfare was much higher. Waiting for something to happen would be like the girls hesitating rather than subduing and/or killing the dangerous serpent.
Polls of U.S. citizens also had similar concerns about Iran and its suspected building of nuclear weapons:
...it was more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action than to avoid military conflict.
In both situations, Chi Li would suggest a more offensive move than a defensive move, joining to overcome a threat and be proactive: with a better chance for survival and less chance for victimization.