In World War II, both Germany and Japan were totally defeated. The Germans were overrun, but it was only after their cities had been bombed to rubble and they were starving and suffering. The Japanese were beginning to feel the pain of the bombing raids, but most of their cities were intact and the population still had food and necessities. They would've fought indefinitely had they not witnessed the possibility of total nuclear annihilation. In the end, neither the German populous, nor the Japanese populous wanted to incur any further wrath.
The last several wars we have engaged in have not enjoyed the willingness of the American public to make the general populous of the enemy countries suffer. We end up only doing the minimum necessary to end the major fighting in our favor. Anything more is met by condemnation by the bystander countries, the UN, bodies calling themselves "World Courts", "World Tribunals", etc. and oh yes, the liberals. The result is that we win wars "half way".
Nuclear weapons are no longer a deterrent, because people like Kim, Saddam, Osama and that clown in Iran are convinced that we don't have the will to use them. They threaten us and even attack and kill thousands, because they don't fear retribution. Suicide bombers are willing to sacrifice themselves, but I wonder what their attitude would be if they knew that a suicide attack would mean that their entire family would be rounded up and executed as accomplices. I think the number of suicide volunteers would shrink immediately. But here again, that is deemed too brutal and we won't make them suffer. Heck we wouldn't even embalm al Zaquiri's body in pig fat as a warning - a la Black Jack Pershing!
The liberal media keeps pushing the idea that innocent civilians must be spared during war, such as in the latest Israeli war. The big problem with that new and untested moral code is then the civilians don't have much stake in the matter. What do they care? Pulling your punches against innocent civilians, for religious or other reasons, will lead to a never ending mini-war, which is precisely why the Israeli-Arab conflict, going on now for thousands of years, will never end.