Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Losing the "Long War"

My contemporaries at the Pentagon, planners imprisoned in the mind-numbing drudgery and perennial politics that is high-level staff work in the Puzzle Palace on the Potomac, have, out of political necessity, seized on the concept of "The Long War" to which to hitch their wagons of war strategy. Not allowed to take this fight to the true centers of gravity supporting the radical Islamic insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have pulled a faded recipe from a discredited cookbook. The idea of fighting a war of attrition against Islamic terrorists without ever taking the fight to their state sponsors is an attempt to appeal to the squeamish majority in a democratic republic whose temper flashes and cools in a time span easily measured in months, not years. Here's why the "Long War" strategy won't work:

1. A "free" nation has never won a long (hot) war. War weariness (capitalized on by opportunistic politicians) prevents it.

2. We ain't ruthless.

3. Time is always on the side of the ruthless. (See reason 2.)

4. Attrition is the ally of the ruthless. (See reason 2.)

5. Long War focus requires ruthless control of the populace, both at home and abroad. (See reason 2.)

6. Long War focus requires ruthless control of the media. (See reason 2.)

7. Insurgencies are cheap. Counter-insurgency is expensive. Time is money.

8. Wars (long or short) require popular support. Popular support requires ownership. Ownership requires involvement and sacrifice. (I haven't seen any ration cards, have you?) America is not at war. The Army and Marine Corps are at war. America is at the mall.

9. We can't even control our own borders--how are we going to keep Amadawhatshisname from slipping arms and funds across the Iraqi border?

10. Roman...er, I mean, American, politicians care more about personal power than about what is right for our nation.

Remember 9/11. Remember. Remember.
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