Winning the War is Not the Same as We Have Won

War Soldiers Military Afghanistan

The on going war in Iraq and Afghanistan we are told is going well and we are winning.  Meanwhile there are soldiers being killed, the Iraqi government is running a surplus of 79 billion dollars and we are using up material, ammunition, resources for restoring Iraq and many productive Americans are stationed away from home and family under threat of life and limb.  The notion that winning a war is sufficient is complete and total nonsense.  We could go on winning by the definition of not losing for decades and decide nothing.

There has been more than enough time to have won the war.  World War II took less time than this stalemate we are experiencing.  We are told how successful the surge is and yet we cannot declare victory and we are still slogging along waiting for the Iraqi’s to tell us they don’t need us any more.  As long as they can shore up their power base by way of the U.S. military and our expenditures, why should they step up and say they can now govern their country?  If an individual was taken advantage of the way the Iraqi’s are taking advantage of our nation that individual would instantly see the injustice and the futility of allowing themselves to be taken advantage of.  Today’s politicians ( products of misinformed academia) cannot project principles as they are too hung up on pacifying mobs to stay in office.  Meanwhile they let our military deteriorate winning an ongoing war but never declaring victory.  There is no reason to fight a war if all you are going to do is hold a winning edge and never get it over with.  Korea is a good example of the holding action that could have been over decades ago if Truman had backed Mac Arthur instead of dismissing him.  If Truman had used the same logic on Japan we would still be flame throwing pill boxes in the Pacific.

Why is the false alternative of withdrawing or simply staying and declaring we are winning offered to the public and never questioned?  It as if the Emperor is not only naked but absolutely cockeyed and looney.  Isn’t there a reporter who can ask, “When will this war be won?”  Are we so hung up on conventional wisdom that we ever question it?  This is especially repugnant as we see our finest youth picked off daily all because we are not indignant enough to demand answers from arrogant politicians that are either too stupid to ever recognize what is going on or too blinded by their own fantasies that they just cannot grasp reality?

What of the military advisors?  Willing to plod on acquiescing in the political jargon of appeasement and never saying, “Enough.  What are the war colleges telling their students?  That it is all right to fight any war indefinitely if that is what the politicians decide is in their best interest? What of the objective of “keeping the peace?  How is this accomplished with ongoing war?

The pundits prattle on for hours about how well or how badly the war is going.  They never talk about what ought to be ( i.e. victory), but only lament it has not been defined.  All the editorialists fall into the same line and only comment on whether withdrawal or continuance is preferable.   The beat goes on and on and on.

The nature of the enemy requires assessment and that assessment must factor into how we define and achieve victory in the most effective and efficient manner.  We cannot grant the enemy the stature of equality.   We are better than they are and they deserve to be defeated.  We talk about our higher standards of treatment of prisoners and then overlook the prisoners we are being respectful of are barbarians who treat their prisoners any old damn way they please and laugh at our indignation. This folly should be recognized and rejected for what it is and what it fails to accomplish.  The world looks at us as fools for playing the game of “we don’t want to offend the offensive.”  We should be instilling fear in the barbarians instead of trying to persuade them we want to be their friends. Once war is launched, the niceties of civilized behavior become secondary to the necessity of winning the war.  Who ever heard of a soldier demonstrating compassion for an enemy trying to kill him? Yet that is the message our politicians are sending as they live for the mantra of not offending someone who may someday translate into a vote. I’ve got news for these placaters.  The enemy will never be a constituency.

Who is this enemy?  It is not some undefined terrorist who may smile one day and blow you up the next.  It is the state who sponsors and harbors people intent on doing us harm.  Nations such as Iran do not have to have invading standing armies to be deadly enemies intent on destroying us.  There are other ways to defeat us than direct confrontation.  Our leaders are waiting for some recognized physical attack to occur and then we can in good conscience respond.  This may or may not ever happen but in the meantime we are losing our soldiers and material by an insidious method of being lured into countries to flounder and placate nebulous “leaders, unknown insurgents and a people who shift with the sand looking for the winning alliance.  This is different kind of war and enemy.  They don’t have the intelligence to build a conquering standing army that can invade and occupy.  They are stumbling barbarians willing to blow themselves up at the request of a leader who has no other means to inflict casualties.  Yet we treat this enemy as if they are okay as long as they do not engage in conventional attacks and appear to favor our presence if we are willing to protect them for some faction that is willing to do the same.

We need to draw a line in the sand ( literally) and say the game is over.  All who are a threat need to be treated as such.  Those who boast of building arsenals of nuclear weapons need to be notified that we are not interested in negotiations or even in proving they have the capability.  A threat is a threat and we have too much at stake to ignore or placate intimidation attempts.  We need to inform the saber rattlers we are ready to go to war to win,which means we will take over the country, install martial law, require the establishment of the recognition of individual rights and free elections and once we are convinced there will be no further threats we will leave.  This warfare policy will be short and sweet and we will not waste time and money on “carrots and sticks’ diplomacy.  Either the enemy gets what we are about or they suffer the consequences.  No more stalemates.  No more “police” actions.  No more armistices that leave remnants of enemies to rearm, reassemble and retaliate.  We should have learned our lesson in the Gulf war when we let Saddam off the hook, but we didn’t and now we are dealing with the residual of his legacy.  What we didn’t teach him in our first invasion was what came back to bite us today.  Those in Iraq saw how Saddam thumbed his nose at us and got away with it. Yes, he fell but those waiting in line to replace him saw only his defeat as their victory.  They are using us to shore up their power for a similar rule.  This is why we are still struggling with surges and withdrawals depending on the pulse of the activity.

The issue is clear.  The old woman running for office is afraid to offer something that might smack of radicalism.  There might not be enough support for such an approach.  Never mind that it might make sense or be the right thing to do.  That is what leaders should be unafraid of but we hope that kind of leader wiling to emerge and take the heat.  We don’t have a Netanyahu in the wings.  We only have thousands of me too yes men and women wiling to ride the coat tails of whoever wins.  This is our greatest deficit and it is mounting daily into a debt that cannot be forgiven.  Meanwhile “we are winning” seems to be enough to satisfy an apathetic public.  That after all is all the dregs content with the status quo are looking for.  Victory is beyond their grasp as a vision and consequently as a reality.   Only one candidate constantly talks about winning and if that translates into a cessation of endless stalemates a new dawn may be on the horizon.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Dale Netherton

Author of four published books, former Marine, forester, former plant services manager,former KT facilitator, former campgound builder and manager, handyman now retired to writing , chess , golf and fishing. ISU graduate, M.B.A. from Nova University and longtime supporter of ARI. http://www.amazon.com/Dale-L.-Netherton/e/B00G1T6A26/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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