Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Unwinnable Wars

It sounds like President Trump is going to follow in the footsteps of all his predecessors dating back to Harry Truman in continuing to fight unwinnable wars.  The US used to be pretty good at winning armed conflicts--beating Britain twice, Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, Germany twice, Austria and Japan.  But now, we don't "win" any of our wars.

Of course, it's nearly impossible to win wars when your strategy is "limited engagement".  We are more of a "total war" kind of country--where sheer resources and overpowering force can be brought to bear against our enemies.  Limited engagement handcuffs our military and gives our enemies the benefits of time and space to outlast our willingness to fight.

Did FDR ever say "Our fight is not with the German people but rather with just the Nazis?"  or "Our only goal is to drive out the War Council and allow the Japanese people to live in peace"?  No distinction was drawn between the people within those countries that wanted to destroy us and those who may not have harbored any ill will.  Everyone that died in the fire-bombings of Dresden and
Tokyo and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "enemy combatants".  And it was only when those nations' ability to wage war was destroyed, that the wars finally came to an end.

Compare that to today's military strategies, where small bands of American soldiers win hard-fought territory--driving out Al Qaeda or ISIS from a city or village--only to see those fighters return in a year or two.  Of course, it would help if the people that we are "liberating" in those areas would see the terrorists as their "enemies" as well--instead of their brothers, sons and nephews.

And that is why we have a North Korea to continue to menace the world 70-years after that war.  And its why Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq dragged on as our longest wars.  "Limited engagement" means "unlimited fighting". 

So that is why I continue to promote the withdrawal of our troops from the current theaters in the War on Terrorism.  But we will leave with a warning: If there is another attack upon our soil, we will determine where those attackers came from and what countries provided them shelter, training and aid--and we will not differentiate between the residents of that country and the terror groups they shelter.  And then return to those countries with the overwhelming force necessary to eradicate them from the face of the earth.

Wars like that will mean sacrifice on the homefront--like our grandparents experienced during World War II--and that will be good, because when you feel the effects of a war every day, you are more likely to want it to end as quickly as possible.

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