I think we make war too complicated and in so doing we lose.
Yes, the tactics of war have changed throughout the ages, but eventually the most powerful and/or best supplied force prevails, I think, except maybe in some instances where there is some type of struggle where that is not necessarily the case because there are cultural and geographic and political issues.
(Okay, if we must quibble, you might have two essentially equal forces and one has better leadership.)
So sometimes conflicts are not traditional wars.
But we always talk about our armed conflicts as war in the popular parlance, even though the Obama administration has used some ridiculous euphemism that I can’t even recall to rename “the War on Terror” or the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.
I just looked it up in a Washington Post story. The Obama administration has sent out an in-house memo that the war or war on terror should be referred to as the “overseas contingency operation”. Now that is Orwellian Newspeak aimed at mind control over the people if I ever heard it.
(It’s disappointing, to say the least, that the Obama administration is playing that deceptive mind game with the public by not calling a war a war. You know they are lying to us. For those of you too young, look up “The Pentagon Papers” in Wikipedia.)
Some say we have actually won or are winning in Iraq. I doubt it, but if that is the case it was likely the result of stepped up military operations, i.e., the surge, and being able to buy off some of the belligerents.
And actually that is what we are doing in Afghanistan, that is putting in more forces and trying desperately to buy off some of the opposing forces.
I think we have forgotten what the heck we are there for, even though President Obama did state Friday that we were going after Al Qaeda, the group that is credited with and blamed for the 9/11 attacks and threatens us still. But there is all this talk of training the Afghans and making deals with certain factions of the Taliban.
We won World War II in four years. We’ve been stuck in Afghanistan, letting our troops get picked off, for some eight years.
We have been supporting our pretend ally Pakistan, who in turn helps Al Qaeda, and we have had disagreements with them over that. And I know it all involves various factions within the various countries who play one against the other (and we are among those being played) and so on.
So, shades of Vietnam. We are back to trying to “win the hearts and minds of the people”. Who cares for that? I don’t. Do you? And the people there do not think with one mind. They all have their various tribes and religious sects and allegiances and they are one heck of an independent people (and good for them).
Did we try to win the hearts and minds of the Germans or the Japanese in World War II? No we struck back at the Axis powers who attacked us (Japan, part of the Axis) at Pearl Harbor, and with our allies put together an overwhelming force with the goal of total defeat of the enemy and unconditional surrender and nothing less. And, in case you didn’t see the movie, we won. And my apologies to the remaining vets for my sarcasm.
And we should do that in the Middle East or we should just quit and cut our losses and maybe come home and defend our nation from the invasion of the drug cartels and their violence from Mexico. Mexico is fast approaching the condition of a failed state, if it has not already met that criteria.
Not trying to be an alarmist, but we are for the first time in my life (since 1949) in danger of going bankrupt as a nation because of our own collective unwise use of our money and the tremendous financial burden our military adventures present.
Some economists warn that we as a nation could really become insolvent. We have ignored economic warnings before and have suffered the consequences.
I’ve written previously and I will write again that Mr. Obama may well find that he is stuck to what President Lyndon Johnson called the tar baby (then Vietnam), the trap Brer Fox and Brer Bear set for Brer Rabbit in the old Uncle Remus story. (Mr. Obama is too young. He probably didn’t read the stories by Joel Chandler Harris about Brer Rabbit or watch the related movie by Walt Disney, Song of the South, when he was a kid.)
At least Brer Rabbit was smart enough after he got stuck to escape by feigning fear of being thrown into the briar patch, knowing that as a rabbit he had special abilities to maneuver in there.
And Al Qaeda has played the parts of Brer Fox and Brer Bear and set the trap for the U.S. as Brer Rabbit, and we took the bait. Now will we be nimble and clever as Brer Rabbit was to extricate ourselves?
Maybe we could. Maybe Mr. Obama could do like one Senator said we should have done in Vietnam, declare victory and come home.
His move to turn the war in Afghanistan and as well as in Iraq over to local and supposedly friendly forces may be the thing to do and soon is not soon enough.
And to the moronic question of whether we should fight them over there or fight them here, I would answer, fight them here. We will prevail on our own terrain or we don’t deserve to win.
I’m not a defeatist or a militarist, but even a top general knows the limitations of situations and his own forces.
And while I would be the first to decry any requirement that the President of the United States have military experience, in this case it may be too bad Mr. Obama does not.
I’m not naive enough to think that politics plays no part in war, but I wish we would leave it out as much as possible and look at it as simply something we do to maintain our own security, not to remake societies in our own image.
If Afghanistan, for instance, is that vital, call up the military draft, and let’s go all out. And whoever hides or gives comfort to our enemies is our enemy.
But we have to be selective. No way we can take on the whole world!
Some decades ago we helped Afghanistan defeat the Soviet invaders. Of course we did so for our own perceived self interests, but nonetheless, the reward for our efforts is that it harbored the terrorists who apparently perpetrated 9/11.