The United States has probably the most powerful military in the world—provided, of course, that it is used to fight the battles of the Second World War over again. You know what I mean: Those large set-piece battles with penetrations, encirclements, flanking maneuvers, the whole West Point 101 ball of wax.
Too bad that the wars we have gotten entangled in since the Second World War do not play to our strengths. One doesn’t need a college degree in military science to appreciate the following factors:
- Whereas the people of the United States know nothing about foreign languages and cultures, all cultures know a great deal more about us than we know about them.
- Because our news media blares all around the world, guerrilla fighters know when the American people are tired of a war and want to end it.
- If the “bad guys” a.k.a. “freedom fighters” want to win, they just have to blow up one or two Americans to smithereens every day or so. Just so long as every news cycle has some bad news in it.
- The nationals who have allied themselves with the American forces are highly suspect as to their allegiance. The ARVN (Army of the Republic of Viet Nam), for instance, acted as intelligence for the North Vietnamese. (Guess why so many incidents of “terror” in Afghanistan are committed by fighters wearing the uniforms of Karzai’s army and police.)
- Before long, the American forces will be confined to “Green Zones” or “strategic hamlets” or other fortified places where they could be picked off at will—usually just one or two at a time.
The thought keeps hitting me between the eyes: If we’re so stupid about it all and keep making the same mistakes over and over again, why do we even bother? What do we accomplish?