RANGER AGAINST WAR: Mission and Objective <

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mission and Objective

--War, Agony in Death, Hans Burkhardt (1939)

 Chaos, control. Chaos, control. 
You like, you like? 
--Six Degrees of Separation (1993) 

Sometimes you're better off dead 
There's gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head
You think you're mad, too unstable
Kicking in chairs and knocking down tables 
--West End Girls, Pet Shop Boys

War is the spectacular and bloody projection
of our everyday life, is it not?
--Think on These Things,
J. Krishnamurti

The terms "mission" and "objective" are easily confused, especially since the military uses them interchangeably. But they are different words, y'know, with different meanings.

The common reaction to the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East is emotional and unfocused. If the United States intervenes with a greater military air campaign, then this would be the mission. However, the objective of the mission remains unstated.

Since 1898 the U.S. has used violence in the objective of winning wars. Today, we have substituted generalized violence as an objective, sans mission. We use violence and bombs to force our will upon the enemy, but the bombing campaign has no significance or national purpose without a quantifiable and reasonable objective.

Today violence is both mission and objective, sans any achievable and delineated objective. However, reactive vindictiveness is neither a military concept nor an objective.

Assuming that following the bombing campaign these countries roll over -- then what? Have we not learned in 120 years that, while violence can force people to bend to our will, the effect is always short-lived? Violence does not necessarily produce long-term stability (unless that is a desire of the subdued people.) So is the resultant temporary cessation of violence worth the outlay (in manpower, lives and money)?

If U.S. national policy now relies on bombing campaigns, that is somewhat akin to using assassination as a political tool. Without a plan, we have become the violence, and are merely a participant in the relentless destruction. 

We live in a violent and troubled world, and should ask how our actions are helping to mitigate or contribute that violence.

Violence is a dead-end unless a greater good is the mission.

[NOTE: Neither we nor Krishnamurti are saying "the West is to blame for all of this." The burden of the violence within is harbored by all. The only difference is in the outward wealth accumulated by the players.]

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