Skip to comments.Geopolitical ADHD (Mark Steyn)
Posted on 03/22/2013 4:23:24 PM PDT by neverdem
The Iraq Wars fair-weather hawks revealed an emptiness at the heart of American power.
Ten years ago, along with three-quarters of the American people, including the men just appointed as President Obamas secretaries of state and defense, I supported the invasion of Iraq. A decade on, unlike most of the American people, including John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, Ill stand by that original judgment.
And so a genuinely reformed Middle East remains, like the speculative scenarios outlined at the top, in the realm of alternative history. Nevertheless, in the grim two-thirds-of-a-century roll call of Americas un-won wars, Iraq today is less un-won than Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan, and that is not nothing. The war dead of America and its few real allies died in an honorable cause. But armies dont wage wars, nations do. And, back on the home front, a vast percentage of fair-weather hawks who decided that it was all too complicated, or a bit of a downer, or Bush lied, or wheres the remote, revealed America as profoundly unserious. A senator who votes for war and then decides hed rather it had never started is also engaging in alternative history albeit of the kind in which Pam Ewing steps into the shower at Southfork and writes off the previous season of Dallas as a bad dream. In non-alternative history, in the only reality there is, once youve started a war, you have two choices: to win it or to lose it. Withdrawing ones support for a war youre already in advertises nothing more than a kind of geopolitical ADHD...
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
I don't think we can go to war again when we have a left in America that's bound and determined to undermine it again for political purposes. It's three for three now with Iraq and Afghanistan, the supposedly good war. That's nuts.
The same as Lyndon Johnson and now Zero.
It is not an accident that they went that way. They are Democrats.
Somewhat. But if MacArthur had had his way, the entire Korean peninsula and all of China would likely now be like South Korea and Japan.
History tells us that Democrats who start wars are unable to finish them. And Democrats who vote to start wars under Republican Presidents will not allow them to be brought to a successful conclusion.
Hence, so long as the left is an active player in our government, we will never win another war. They themselves are incapable of winning. And they will not allow the other side to win.
Yes, although Iraq was a successful conclusion, they call it a mistake and that we never should have gone there. They still can't admit it was a success.
If they admit it was a success, that means Barry Junior has to be The One who gets all the credit for that success. The trouble is that he was opposed to the war, very loudly. And by the time he became president, Bush had already done all the heavy lifting. Not even Barry Junior's bootlickers in the news media could pull this off.
If it's a success, Bush has to get at least half of the credit, and that's unacceptable. So it must be permanently marked down as a miserable failure, in spite of all those pesky, annoying facts to the contrary.
Last night on Charlie Rose, a tableful of New York Times demigods and demiurges and other priestly colleagues of Apollonius of Tyana came very close to saying "Bush won the War". Very, very close. The "we lost, we lost" contingent was represented, but they did not carry the evening.
I considered the discussion to be evidence that the Conventional Wisdom is reconsidering the Iraq War and the stewardship and leadership of George W. Bush. I even heard the word "noble" several times.
My conclusion: the Left is about to take a beating, and is reduced to hoping that the AQI remnants, resuscitated by Iranian aid and the Syrian Civil War, somehow manage to pull down the government in Baghdad.
Mark Steyn ping.
Freepmail me, if you want on or off the Mark Steyn ping list.
Thanks for the ping neverdem.
excellooont! thanks for posting
you raise a good point
read the whole thing. Best from Styne for a few months. He and Victor Davis Hanson know what the score is and Ch Krauthammer too a lesser extent (he pisses off the gun guys***) only due to being limited by his wheelchair.
**** I like guns too
I stand by the effort in Iraq.
It is a damn shame that our leaders and the people did not.
Iraq was all but done and we squandered the efforts away.
We could have divided the middle east with western freedom but we never saw things through.
We allowed Turkey and Cyprus to slip away too.
And now on another continent, Egypt and Libya.
But we are still in Afghanistan.
The one place in the world that I never figured could be brought into our line of view.
It appears we are losing this war.
I don’t think your analysis is correct. S. Korea is typical of American war fighting and you see it even with our victory in WW2. We’re not conquerors, we’re winners. There’s a difference.
Our armed forces did their job, yet we have civilian oversight. The military’s job is to destroy the enemy. It’s a plain, clear objective. It’s the schizophrenia of the civilian oversight that makes things difficult.
The Morgenthau Plan for punishing Germany was unAmerican and caused conflict between Americans administering the plan. There simply wasn’t a plan for Korean victory and MacArthur over-stepped his mandate going all the way to the Chinese border. He forgot his logistics and lines of communication and firm redoubts weren’t in place. We had Pyonyang and reports of Chinese massing. They were wrong.
The same thing happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. State got it wrong, just like any bureaucracy gets it wrong. There were plenty of people giving good advice, it just never percolated past the political appointees up to the Oval Office. FReepers knew what was coming and advised clarity.
How many times have we confounded our own policies due to short-term political considerations? All that blame doesn’t just lay at the feet of the left. There were plenty of hawks willing to spend our blood and treasure on their folly.
Wars need to be debated, declared and executed with a single-mindedness. Clarity of purpose and publicly declared goals are critical in a well functioning republic. Of Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq every one of the above were violated. Moreso, there were international and regional powers involved who undermined our goals, but didn’t suffer for it.
For instance the Taliban were creatures of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - both US “allies”. Our energy policy (why a free republic should have one I don’t know) and our foreign policy worked to enrich our enemies friends. That’s nuts.
Shortly after Gulf War One, when the worlds superpower assembled a mighty coalition to fight half-a-war to an inconclusive halt at the gates of Baghdad, Washington declined to get mixed up in the disintegrating Balkans. Colin Powell offered the following rationale: We do deserts. We dont do mountains. Across a decade in Iraq, America told the world we dont really do deserts, either.
I can not say whether it would be better to isolate America, and allow the rest of the world's nations to go their own way. That would seem a dangerous plan in the long run. But perhaps it's ultimately just as dangerous to commit, engage, and then "walk back", not to mention the human consequences of fighting the battles and reneging on the war.
We need better leadership. "Winning" or "losing" outcomes can't always be clear-cut or totally definitive, but nevertheless, we need to come much closer to the "clear win". That cost is high. But real leadership would inspire the nation to support a just war, and not leave the soldiers to do their work in a vacuum. They are out there with everything on the line, and I never again want to hear some politico go on about how selfless our troops are and what a great job they are doing (which is SO true) and then go on to say "but I've evolved into thinking that we should never have gone there, and I wouldn't vote for it again"...
Who perceives us as winners in Vietnam and Iraq, and who will think of us as winning in Afghanistan once our withdrawal is complete and the Taliban is there?
Korea's geography was the key to getting an armistice.
Having a policy that allows sanctuaries in neighboring countries like Laos and Cambodia for your enemy to retreat, regroup and resupply in Vietnam was nuts. We repeated that in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can't allow sanctuaries when the enemy's strategy is a war of attrition.
Our "peace" party just about guarantee's any future enemy's strategy of attrition.
You’re making my point. Americans like to win. Korea followed the same goofy pattern of all US wars. The geography made a significant difference, but so did slaughtering so many N. Koreans. They’ve never ventured another invasion of the south.
America got lucky with Germany and Japan. The people there would rather switch than fight, but we also treated them as conquerors should. Our failures in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq all have the same source - the Democratic Party and liberalism.
They undermined our ability to conquer, despite winning. I’m using conquer in the sense that the subject population isn’t resubverted by the enemy, becomes a stable ally and remains so through a long transition period from imposed control to self-management. I don’t believe Islam is so different from Japan as to not be conquerable. What’s different is the hydra of competing interests created by liberals in government.
We don’t have a logical or coherent foreign policy. Therefore our military can win wars, but America loses the peace. That’s stupid and wasteful and why I’m against war, particularly undeclared wars. Not that war in and of itself isn’t useful, but that we blow it.
I’m tired of watching our blood and treasure go for naught. We lose too many heroes we could use here at home, leading and raising the next generation of Americans.