Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 4 Comments
As the war in Iraq drags on, the fundamental problem in the whole modern strategy of American politicized warfare continues to take its toll. The United States boasts the best military in the world but the political leadership increasingly lacks the courage to use it.
Entering a war requires knowing and defining a course of action which your forces can take to achieve victory. In Iraq, the American government has refused to adopt any such course of action. Victory or defeat in Iraq is dependent on a philosophy that places responsibility on Iraqis rather than on American troops to win.
Politicized militaries lose the ability to win wars, instead becoming locked in by political goals that rely on winning over a hostile population and trying to prop up a local government fighting an insurgency. Such approaches handcuff the military and doom a war.
The US could not win in Vietnam because victory had become defined as the survival of a corrupt government unwilling to fight for itself. By defining the Iraq War as a war that Iraqis could win but that Americans could not, the victory over Saddam Hussein was thrown away in favor of trying to turn Iraq into a democracy in which squabbling secretarian factions did their best to jockey for power while the killing went on.
In Israel meanwhile, America and Israel is busy backing Fatah in a political and armed struggle with Hamas instead of directly fighting Hamas. The results in Iraq and in Israel spawns bloody and unwinnable proxy wars that become playgrounds for terrorists and every fanatic with a cause and a bullet.
By treating war as a political tool whose main purpose is to promote or support a new order composed of allied governments, the military and its strategies become subservient to a political order and the results are disastrous. The essence of war is to confront and destroy the enemy. A political war is a contradiction in terms and using soldiers as police and peacekeeping forces neuters the military, wastes lives and political credit in a lost cause.
The victory of the wars we fight must not be limited by the actions of our allies. If we cannot win unless the governments we are propping up do, then we have already lost.