Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Rule of War

I'm not a great military thinker, but I've developed one axiom for living as a result of my military service. Its application is equally valid in both the civilian as well as the military sphere. To honor my site's namesake, we'll call it a corollary to Roger's Rules for Rangers. It is simply this: never fight a war that you can afford to lose.

If you can bail when the going gets tough, you will. You will exhaust you resources, your energy, your goodwill. Witness the military mediocrities of our time. Since WW II, U.S. Presidents, with Congresional compliance, have committed U.S. combat forces to action in Korea, RVN, Kuwait and Iraq. Additionally, minor engagements were undertaken in Greece, Dominican Republic, Grenada and Panama. U.S. national survival was not threatened by any of these enegagements.

The Powell Doctrine--which states that if you undertake a military action, you must have a clearly stated mission, adequate force with which to undertake said action, and an exit strategy or endgame--has come and gone, and is as discredited as its namesake.

If we still adhered to the doctrine, we would see that Iraq is one war we cannot afford.


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