The Only Way To Win America’s Wars Is To End Them
Today, I saw another article on why America is losing its wars in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The gist of this and similar articles is that America’s wars are winnable. That is, if we bomb more, or send more troops, or change our strategy, or alter our ROE (rules of engagement), or give more latitude to the generals, or use all the weapons at our disposal (to include nukes?), and so on, these wars will prove tractable and even winnable. This jibes with President Trump’s promises about America winning again, everywhere, especially in wars.
Nonsense. The U.S. military hasn’t won these wars since the wars themselves are unwinnable by US military action. Indeed, US military action only makes them worse.
Consider Iraq. Our invasion in 2003 and our toppling of Saddam kicked off a regional, religious, ethnic, and otherwise complicated civil war that is simply unwinnable by American troops. Indeed, the presence of (and blunders made by) American troops in Iraq helped to produce ISIS, much-hyped as the current bane of American existence.
Consider Afghanistan. Our invasion in 2001 toppled the Taliban, at least for a moment, but did not produce peace as various Afghan factions and tribes jostled for power. Over time, the US and NATO presence in the country produced instability rather than stability even as the Taliban proved both resilient and resurgent. US and NATO forces have simply become yet another faction in the Afghan power game, but unless we want to stay there permanently, we are not going to “win” by any reasonable definition of that word.
You could say the same of the US military’s involvement in similar conflicts like Yemen or Syria (look at the mess we made of Libya). We can kill a lot of “terrorists” and drop a lot of bombs, spreading our share of chaos, but we aren’t going to win, not in the sense of these wars ending on terms that enhance US national security.
This hard reality is one that the US military explains away by using jargon. Military men talk of generational wars, of long wars, of fourth generation warfare, of gray zones, of military operations other than war (which has its own acronym, MOOTW), and so on. A friend of mine, an Air Force captain, once quipped: “You study long, you study wrong.” You can say something similar of war: “You wage war for long, you wage it wrong.” This is especially true for a democracy.
America’s wars today are unwinnable. They are unwinnable not only because they are not ours to win: they aren’t even ours. We refuse to take ownership of them. At the most fundamental level, we recognize they are not vital to us, since we don’t bother to unify as a country to declare war and to wage it. Most Americans ignore them because we can ignore them. The Afghans, the Iraqis, the Syrians, and so on don’t have the luxury of ignoring them.
Trump, with all his talk of winning, isn’t going to change this. The more he expands the US military, the more he leans on “his” generals for advice, the more he’s going to fail. Our new commander-in-chief needs to learn one lesson: The only way to win America’s wars is to end them.
William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.
Sometimes when the best you could do was not good enough, it's best to quit doing.ReplyDelete
60 years of failures followed up with unmitigated failures and absolute disasters were observed and reported by the citizen soldiers dragooned into Washington' failures. We hardly hear a peep from the current US Foreign Legion of mercenaries.
We are well on the way to the Hundred Years War of Calamity against Basic Common Sense.
...America’s wars today are unwinnable. They are unwinnable not only because they are not ours to win: they aren’t even ours. We refuse to take ownership of them. At the most fundamental level, we recognize they are not vital to us, since we don’t bother to unify as a country to declare war and to wage it. Most Americans ignore them because we can ignore them. The Afghans, the Iraqis, the Syrians, and so on don’t have the luxury of ignoring them.
Trump, with all his talk of winning, isn’t going to change this. The more he expands the U.S. military, the more he leans on “his” generals for advice, the more he’s going to fail. Our new commander-in-chief needs to learn one lesson: The only way to win America’s wars is to end them.
The only way to end the wars is to end the enemy.Delete
Well, I guess it comes down to how you define enemies.
If you define enemies as the neocon/liberal interventionist cabal and their minions define it, that is, as anyone who doesn't agree with the US in terms of democracy (our version of democracy), or capitalism, or the other liberal values we purport to hold dear then you are talking about a good portion of the world.
If you confine your definition to those countries who actually pose an existential risk to US' vital national interests, the total can be counted on one hand.
It's my contention that those who choose the broader definition are mistaken.
My enemy is the self proclaimed enemy of life, joy, happiness and liberty.Delete
They are your enemy too. Why you don't recognize this, I don't know.
I have many enemies.Delete
They don't confine themselves to borders.
While the US pursues the long wars and various interventions around the world at great expense and little positive effect, China, which represent the biggest long term threat to US hegemony in the world is concentrating on building its economic interests both at home and abroad.
Yesterday, I put up a map of US troop deployments around the world. It showed US deployed in most (if not all) the countries in the Western Hemisphere including those in Latin America. China is also interested in Latin America both a market for their goods and as a source of vital raw materials needed for its own industries.
The numbers are staggering. China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and its bilateral trade with Latin America and the Caribbean has since skyrocketed, from $15 billion in 2001 to $288.9 billion in 2013 -- an increase of almost 2000 percent. That number now represents 6 percent of China’s total foreign trade, an increase from 2.7 percent in 2000. (Some 13 percent of Latin America’s trade is now done with China, up from negligible levels in 2000.)
IMO, the US would be to wise rethink its perception of itself as policeman to the world and avoid conflicts that are at best peripheral to America's key and vital national interests and instead concentrate more on our economic development and that of our allies and others in the world.
Unnecessary wars of choice that the US has participated in have been expensive and have provided no net positive results. They are expensive, fail to achieve their often changing objectives, and in effect destroy the feed corn that could be used to grow our economy.
My enemy is the self proclaimed enemy of life, joy, happiness and liberty.
They are your enemy too. Why you don't recognize this, I don't know.
Hey Mr. Quixote, if you want to go and correct all the ills of the world pick up you pitchfork and sally forth. Don't try and convince any sane person it makes sense.
I have many enemies.
They don't confine themselves to borders.
Who doesn't, but if you try to fight them all you are soon worn down and eventually dead.
I'll put up my flag and let my enemies come to me.Delete
My home field advantage.
Less collateral damage that way as well.Delete
Yet, you were arguing the exact opposite above.
I guess I'm just an unpredictable loose cannon...Delete
No wonder you like Trump.
I don't like the current pResident.Delete
I voted against Hillary.
OOrah assholes, OOrahReplyDelete
One of Trump's most controversial advisers is reportedly out of the White House
Citing an unnamed senior administration official, the Washington Examiner reported Sunday that Gorka would leave soon for a new role dealing "with the 'war of ideas' involved in countering radical Islamic extremism."
CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta later tweeted that he had confirmed the report.
Yet Another Mindless Quirkian Meme ObliteratedReplyDelete
'Tax Cuts for the Rich'?
By Thomas Sowell
May 02, 2017
'Tax Cuts for the Rich'?AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
One of the painful realities of our times is how long a political lie can survive, even after having been disproved years ago, or even generations ago.
A classic example is the phrase "tax cuts for the rich," which is loudly proclaimed by opponents, whenever there is a proposal to reduce tax rates. The current proposal to reduce federal tax rates has revived this phrase, which was disproved by facts, as far back as the 1920s -- and by now should be called "tax lies for the gullible."
How is the claim of "tax cuts for the rich" false? Let me count the ways. More important, you can easily check out the facts for yourself with a simple visit to your local public library or, for those more computer-minded, on the Internet.
One of the key arguments of those who oppose what they call "tax cuts for the rich" is that the Reagan administration tax cuts led to huge federal government deficits, contrary to "supply side economics" which said that lower tax rates would lead to higher tax revenues.
This reduces the whole issue to a question about facts -- and the hard facts are available in many places, including a local public library or on the Internet.
The hardest of these hard facts is that the revenues collected from federal income taxes during every year of the Reagan administration were higher than the revenues collected from federal income taxes during any year of any previous administration.
How can that be? Because tax RATES and tax REVENUES are two different things. Tax rates and tax revenues can move in either the same direction or in opposite directions, depending on how the economy responds.
But why should you take my word for it that federal income tax revenues were higher than before during the Reagan administration? Check it out.
Official statistics are available in many places. The easiest way to find those statistics is to go look at a copy of the annual "Economic Report of the President." It doesn't have to be the latest Report under President Trump. It can be a Report from any administration, from the Obama administration all the way back to the administration of the elder George Bush.
Each annual "Economic Report of the President" has the history of federal revenues and expenditures, going back for decades. And that is just one of the places where you can get this data. The truth is readily available, if you want it. But, if you are satisfied with political rhetoric, so be it.Delete
Before we turn to the question of "the rich," let's first understand the implications of higher income tax revenues after income tax rates were cut during the Reagan administration.
That should have put an end to the talk about how lower tax rates reduce government revenues and therefore tax cuts need to be "paid for" or else there will be rising deficits. There were in fact rising deficits in the 1980s, but that was due to spending that outran even the rising tax revenues.
Congress does the spending, and there is no amount of money that Congress cannot outspend.
As for "the rich," higher-income taxpayers paid more -- repeat, MORE tax revenues into the federal treasury under the lower tax rates than they had under the previous higher tax rates.
That happened not only during the Reagan administration, but also during the Coolidge administration and the Kennedy administration before Reagan, and under the G.W. Bush administration after Reagan. All these administrations cut tax rates and received higher tax revenues than before.
More than that, "the rich" not only paid higher total tax revenues after the so-called "tax cuts for the rich," they also paid a higher percentage of all tax revenues afterwards. Data on this can be found in a number of places, including documented sources listed in my monograph titled "'Trickle Down' Theory and 'Tax Cuts for the Rich.'"
As a source more congenial to some, a front-page story in the New York Times on July 9, 2006 -- during the Bush 43 administration -- reported, "An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year." Expectations, of course, are in the eye of the beholder.
What bullshit. I thought this old fart retired a while back (or was it just he went disability for his increasing dementia.) I mean the old guy is trapped in some time warp like in the
Rocky Horror Show
He spent half of his extended article urging people to go to the library. Who the hell goes to the library anymore?
I've never complained about the Reagan tax cuts as 'tax cuts for the rich', in fact, the rich complained loudly because in addition the other changes Reagan put in he also flattened the system by eliminating a lot of exemptions and loopholes that worked to the advantage of the rich.
That's a hell of a lot different than what has been going on for the last twenty years.
You THIMK. This article and your comments are just the latest example.
Ignorance is not a trend.
I've never complained about the Reagan tax cuts as 'tax cuts for the rich'
However, what I did say was that there is no evidence that they produced any significant growth which is what Trump and the GOP are claiming for these new cuts.
The fact that Reagan also busted the budget (his military build up didn't help)and started the national debt on its vertical rise was a different issue altogether.
What Trump is proposing now eerily mimics what Reagan did in the 80's.
You're a racist.Delete
And can't stand anyone who is smarter than you AND black !
Arthur Laffer: Trump's tax plan should follow the Reagan modelDelete
by Arthur Laffer | May 1, 2017, 12:48 PM
And don't call it the Laugher Curve.
Read, struggle to understand, and learn.
You might be interested to know, I told the pastor of the church I once attended of my experience of being released from depression. He concluded that I was not visited by the spirit of the Lord, as I wasn't healed of my afflictions or addictions.ReplyDelete
So I asked him what he thought happened to me.
He said it may have been a trickster or an agent of the liar in chief but that I could use anything for the good.
I'm starting to question what is good?Delete
Hemingway said it was anything you felt good after, but he meant that in an ethical/moral way.Delete
Secret to honesty revealed: It feels better....DRUDGEDelete
The secret to honesty revealed: it feels better
The striatum is key to valuing decent behaviour CREDIT: PA
1 MAY 2017 • 7:30PM
It is a mystery that has perplexed psychologists and philosophers since the dawn of humanity: why are most people honest?
Now, using a complex array of MRI machines and electrocution devices, scientists claim to have found the answer.
Researchers at University College London discovered that at a physical level the brain finds decency far more satisfying than deception.
The trial revealed that, despite accumulating a large amount of money, most participants derived no deep-seated satisfaction if the success was gained at the expense of others....
All advertising executives, being pleasure seekers, follow this rule and are universally honest.
Korea. No, not North Korea
Trump: 'South Korea, you need to pay up on those US THAAD missiles.'
South Korea: 'Hell, we may not even want your stinking missiles.'
SEONGNAM, South Korea — South Korea is on the brink of electing a liberal president with distinctly different ideas from the Trump administration on how to deal with North Korea — potentially complicating efforts to punish Kim Jong Un’s regime.
He’s also a candidate who fears that the United States government has been acting to box him in on a controversial American missile defense system and circumvent South Korea’s democratic process...
Erdogan gets initiative passed that restricts democracy in Turkey. Trump calls to congratulate him.
Duterte calls Obama a 'son of a whore'. Seven thousand people have been killed in his recent drug crackdown, 2500 of them by the police. The media reports many of those killed were merely suspected of crime some simply for using drugs. Duterte says that in the past he has personally killed some. Trump has a 'very friendly' conversation with him and invites him to the White House.
Trump indicates that under the right conditions he would feel 'honored' to meet with Kim Jong-in at the White House.
Genius or Confusion?
I agree we should have direct diplomatic relations with every nation. It costs nothing to talk and it could do some good if for no other reason than minimizing any 'lost in translation' issues that can occur when operating through third parties. However, a visit to the White House is still and honor and you could make the argument it shouldn't be extended to people of questionable morals when necessary negotiations can be handled at a lower level.
Xi and Pooty have never killed any innocents for sure....:( :o)Delete
Churchill and Roosevelt met directly with Stalin, though, admittedly, not at the White House.
If only people of true merit were allowed to visit the President at the White House, you'd be the only possible visitor.
And what good would that do ?
How many divisions do you command ?
A company of bimbos is about it....
Maybe The Donald is trying to lure Kim Fatty III out of N. Korea so Seal Team 6 can capture him ?Delete
Pull that off and win re-election....
You still haven't revealed your solution to the crisis.
I hope you saw this suggestion -
May 2, 2017
How to Defuse the Crisis with North Korea
By Herbert E. Meyer
You still haven't revealed your solution to the crisis.
Damn, Bob why do you do this?
You keep asking the same asinine question over and over for a couple weeks. I try to ignore it but after a while it becomes irritating.
I have stated my views on what the US should do in its relations with others countries here numerous times. I mention general pieces of it here daily. I have gone into more detail at times when we were getting ready for something big like Iraq, Libya, or Syria. The reason you don't know what I would do with Korea is that you don't pay attention.
Would you deploy THAAD ?
Would you attack if Kim gets his USA capable nuke missile ?
Would you send ships, planes to the area, as The Donald has done ?
Would you leave it all up to the Chinese, the Japanese ?
You haven't really said squat.
Good Grief !
Just continual moaning about The Donald, from taxes, to foreign policy, to who he might invite to the White House....Delete
Moron, the answers are...
- The new guy coming in there seems to be more interested in SK's interests than he is in the US'. As he should be. If he doesn't want them, that should be the end of it. I've already mentioned about a billion times here my views on stationing US troops in forward positions where a single mistake could be disastrous. And frankly, in the end the missiles aren't likely to change much in the situation there.
- Hell no.
- That is a waste of oil, unnecessary, and ineffective unless you think silly gestures are necessary to stop Japan or SK from wetting their pants.
- I would work with China, Japan, and other countries in the region to promote a diplomatic solution to the problem if it's possible (unlikely, at least to our satisfaction). It's how civilized countries operate. I would look at other options like sanctions if they are specific enough to not cause additional pain to the NK people. In the end, though nothing we do is going to change the situation to any significant degree.
North Korea went through a huge famine in the 90's and Kim survived. Conditions there are reportedly improving some. That may or may no work to Kim's advantage. There is no way he is going to give up his nukes. There is no way he is going to stop developing ICBM's. He sees them as his only chance of survival. And that's all he cares about.
Kim has learned his lesson from what happened to Qaddafi when he gave up his nuke program. There is no way he will trust Western assurances. When Qaddafi took it in the ass, it was Kim's Dr. Strangelove moment.
- Etc, etc.
The only likely solutions to Kim are ones internal to NK.
Now go away, dipshit.
Thank you !Delete
Now we have it on record you wouldn't do anything.
Just as suspected.
No wonder you never had any suggestions about what to do, not having any.Delete
And what would you do?
This ought to be good.
Just watched an interview with Hillary Clinton. Damn, how did we get stuck with these two dolts as the only people to vote for out of 320 million people?
Her main reason for the interview seemed to be to tout her upcoming book. She must have brought it up a dozen times.
Secondly, she was still assigning blame to others for her election, the Russians, Comey, WikiLeaks, Fake News. She said she was looking for absolution for losing but didn't give one reason she deserved one, no answer to questions as to why she lost white women, etc.
The book ought to be laughable.
She's still bragging about taking a larger popular vote than Trump.
Her book will be laughable, and ghost written, too.ReplyDelete
How I lost The Election And Escaped Prison, Too (for now)
Though she won't admit it is ghostwritten, I'd bet.Delete
Did Hillary and Brian Williams crawl under withering fire when they made their escape?Delete
Brian took two bullets, Hillary five, yet she carried him out on her back to freedom....Delete
Sowell's "Vision of the Annointed" was one of the best books I ever read:
Maybe it was ghostwritten also, since he's a Moron and bullshit artist.
Sowell's "Vision of the Annointed" was one of the best books I ever read:
Why doesn't that surprise?
Limbaugh v Pence
He's a better talker than Trump, but it's still bullshit.
Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, slammed the new GOP effort in a recent Facebook post.ReplyDelete
“Congress has succeeded in making a bad bill worse. I will work with our delegation to ensure this ill-advised bill is defeated and that we protect health care for more than 700,000 working Washingtonians and their families,” he wrote.
With every vote crucial, vote tallies, or “whip counts” are being kept by multiple media organizations and interest groups — and rumors have been flying about arm twisting and deal making.
Rankin became the first female member of the U.S. Congress, when she was elected to the House of Representatives in 1916. Her win gained national attention, and she naturally drew interest. She was vivacious and attractive, breaking the stereotype of the suffragette as old and scrupulous. She devoted herself to women’s issues.
In 1917 she voted voting against U.S. participation in World War I, and later adopted a platform of pacifism. She lost her seat in the 1918 election, and then devoted her focus to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the National Consumer’s League. In 1928 she and Lucy Stanton established the Georgia Peace Society.
During the conflict leading up to World War II, Rankin ran for Congress again and won. On Dec. 8, 1941, Speaker Sam Rayburn refused to let Rankin speak against U.S. involvement World War II, and she was ridiculed for casting the sole congressional vote against the declaration of war on Japan. Her actions resulted in the loss of her electoral career.
Vice President Mike Pence is joining President Donald Trump in breaking the Obama-era tradition of making their tax returns public shortly after they file them.ReplyDelete
Trump has cited IRS audits as his reason for refusing to make his tax returns public.
Bannon for President!ReplyDelete