Where at least I know I'm free
--God Bless the U.S.A.,
There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy
There's only you and me and we just disagree
--We Just Disagree,
God help your men.
They'll be torn apart by the wily Pathan.
--How I Won the War (1967)
We ended SITREP I saying that wars were based on objective facts which underlie and precede the action.
In contrast, the War on Terror (WOT) is based primarily upon false assumptions and cruel cynicism. Prior to the initiation of the WOT proper in 2002, we had the Iraqi - Kuwaiti event known as Gulf War I, named as though to lend the WOT a provenance which then-President George H. W. Bush's Most Excellent oil adventure most certainly had not.
Saddam Hussein was kicked out of Kuwait, but it was not a strategic victory for the United States. The U.S. gained nothing beyond a show of power politics. Kuwait was never liberated and will never be a democratic society.
Of course, neither will be Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, but many have yet to see the failure as they do not have the benefit of an end date which would allow a perspective to see the failure that is. (The Marines returned to Helmand Provence this year, and so it goes.)
The U.S. has precision weapons and artillery and mortars with GPS fuses, but we cannot fix the enemy. We cannot even define the enemy. Is he "militant", "insurgent", "terrorist", "militia"? Is he an amorphous and fungible pool of "Bad Guys"?
It is a poor way to conduct a war.
If we cannot define the Bad Guys, then how do we identify the Good Guys? He is a squidgy enemy on a non-linear battlefield.
The U.S. and battle buddies (do we still have them?) can kick the baddies out or kill them, but that does not cut their main supply and support routes which are remote from the battlefield.
Clearly, the battlefield has never been isolated in the WOT. The best that can be achieved is local tactical security. There has been no strategic thought or action in the WOT because this is not a war.
If this was a war, we would have allies that were not disingenuous and duplicitous.
Neither Iraq, nor Afghanistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia or any other country in the mix share our values or our goals, either military or political. Our NATO ally Turkey is at odds with our policy regarding the Kurds whom we support, though they have no value to the U.S. as allies.
We have no friends in the region and our actions are at cross-purposes to our interests. There are no moderates in any of the regional equations.
So, if there is no war to be won and no chance of political accommodation, then what is it that we hope to achieve in the region?
Remind me: why are we back in Afghanistan?