Monday, March 24, 2008

V-T Day

Happily for the busy lunatics who rule over us,
we are permanently the United States of Amnesia.

We learn nothing because we remember nothing

--"The State of the Union," Gore Vidal

If you can accept losing,
you can't win
--Vince Lombardi

Thus it is that in war the victorious strategists
only seeks battle after the victory has been won,
whereas he who is destined to defeat
first fights and afterwards looks for victory

--Sun Tzu

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken
--Sonnet 116, Shakespeare


Shakespeare was talking of love, but his description fits democracy or any true and unwavering system just as well.

After the cessation of hostilities over 60 years ago, the U.S. put V's in front of the names of the belligerents they had been fighting, and meant it. Hence
V-E Day and V-J Day. Since then however, the "V" had deserted our lexicon.

The reason V is gone is that we consistently fight elective wars that we can afford to lose. Wars should not be begun frivolously or blithely as we have seen in this conjured up Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©). Iraq is not our enemy, therefore military success in Iraq is both elusive and meaningless.

Our military hijinks in Iraq are addressing the threat of al-Qaeda to Iraq. However, any threat posed to America is from a stateless group of terrorist operatives loosely gathered under the umbrella "al-Qaeda," mainly identifiable by their capability of bringing operations to our shores.

The effectiveness of this group of actors has never been clearly defined nor enumerated by our government. As such, Ranger denies and doubts the veracity of a threat necessitating a GWOT.

Our self-annointed War President Bush says the U.S. will be victorious in this proclaimed defining conflict of the 21st century. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is comforted by the long war and a U.S. troop presence of 100 years. This means that we will remain until democracy has taken hold, or they run out of oil.

They predict victory in the PWOT, but do not bother to describe or list what benchmarks would constitute victory, or what victory will entail. We see that the tactics include aggressive invasions, torture, unjust imprisonments of suspected terrorists, abridgment of U.S. citizen's civil liberties, tax cuts for the wealthy and military service for the poor. But they stop there, at the operations end of it.

However, military victory is only half of victory. In order to understand victory, one must examine what defeat would look like. What do you win, and what do you lose? Also, what do you lose when you win? Can we afford to win, and is winning essential for the people of America?

Wars are not about feeling good about yourself; if that is your goal, watch Oprah and vote for Obama. Wars are about addressing strategic interests that must be sustained.

Remember V-E and V-J Day? If a war is essential then a declaration of war is a definition of that interest, with the will of the electorate sustaining the effort. Minus the will of the people, all war efforts are unsustainable.

After V-E and V-J Day the U.S. engaged the former enemy states of the Nazi and Japanese alliances with a political program that expressed the will of America. We as a nation agreed on the vanquished becoming democratic states.

Our efforts were so successful that today those countries continue to resist tyranny or the overthrow of due process. The rule of law prevails in their approach to their own experiences with terrorism.

Democratic ideology is not selective. It is a constant that does not flicker in adverse times. The terrorists in these countries have been dealt with judicially. For example, in Germany, the jailed members of the Red Army Faction have since been released and reintegrated into their society.

So what would a victory in the PWOT look like? Would the world become a large secret prison in which terror suspects languish without trial, or is an equable accommodation for all parties to be reached? That, after all, is what ensued after V-E and V-J Day.

The vision for a post-PWOT world is lacking.
Our leadership must define an endgame that clearly expresses our goals and aspirations. Launching cruise missiles is neither the answer nor the tactic to achieve victory.

Sometimes victory lies in the middle ground, and the middle ground is the domain of politicians and statesman. The road to victory will not be measured by military yardsticks.

Why is there no meaningful dialog in our society or from our leaders on this topic?

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one of the most telling points i received while studying classics with victor davis hanson (who, despite being at complete odds with my political thinking is one hell of a great professor) was when he said this:

The most powerful tool of a democracy is that the nation may change its mind and its course quickly and in a drastic fashion. This vibrancy and agility of thought and action has saved many nations over the course of the years. When America went from neutrality to warfare in WW2 it took a year and a half to marshal a force and an effort that had never been seen before in the history of nations.

There are many questions which should have been asked at the beginning of this, they are still unasked. In their predictions of dire chaos and destruction if we leave Iraq I have heard no one speaking with an idea of what to do differently. If "staying the course" or "more of the same" is the best they can come up with for staying in Iraq then I recommend running away screaming.

In a headlong retreat, panic saves lives.

Monday, March 24, 2008 at 4:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB,It's actually amazing that what you say is true.All military knowledge and experience should put light on this issue BUT somehow the military has bought into the phoniness that is US policy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:03:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home