Skip to comments.Patrick Buchanan: What Did Our Wars Win? – OpEd
Posted on 01/24/2014 5:04:25 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
He ended one war and kept us out of any other, is the tribute paid President Eisenhower.
Ike ended the Korean conflict in 1953, refused to intervene to save the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and, rather than back the British-French-Israeli invasion, ordered them all out of Egypt in 1956.
Ending America's longest wars may prove to be Barack Obamas legacy.
For, while ending wars without victory may not garner from the historians the accolade of great or near great, it is sometimes the duty of a president who has inherited a war the nation no longer wishes to fight.
That was Nixons fate, as well as Ikes, and Obamas.
And as we look back at our interventions in the 21st century, where are the gains of all our fighting, bleeding and dying?
We know the costs 8,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion in wealth sunk. But where are the benefits?
After Moammar Gadhafi fell in Libya, the mercenaries he had hired returned to Mali. The French had to intervene. In Benghazi, the city we started the war to save, a U.S. ambassador and three Americans would be murdered by terrorists.
Libya today appears to be breaking apart.
While Gadhafi was dreadful, what threat was he to us, especially after he had surrendered his weapons of mass destruction?
In Egypt, we helped overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and hailed the election of the Muslim Brotherhoods Mohammad Morsi.
A year later, we green-lighted Morsis overthrow by Mubaraks army.
Terrorism has returned to Egypt, the Sinai is now a no mans land, and almost all Egypt hates us now.
The Shia regime we brought to power in Iraq has so repressed the Sunnis that Anbar province is now hosting al-Qaida. Fallujah and Ramadi have fallen. President Nuri al-Maliki is asking for U.S. weapons to retrieve Anbar and for U.S. personnel to train his soldiers.
Unlike the bad, old Iraq, the new Iraq tilts to Tehran.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a status of forces agreement giving our troops legal protections if they remain. This could cause a complete U.S. pullout in 2014, leading to the return of the Taliban we drove out in 2001.
Sunday saw terrorism in the heart of Kabul, with a restaurant favored by foreign officials targeted by a car bomb, followed by a machine-gunning of dining patrons in which 21 were killed.
Americans have fought bravely there for a dozen years.
But how has our nation building in the Hindu Kush benefited the good old USA?
Pakistan, with nuclear weapons, has become a haven of the Taliban, perhaps the most dangerous country on earth. Anti-American elements in the Khyber region have, because of our drone attacks, been blocking a U.S. troop exodus to the sea.
How enduring is what we accomplished in Afghanistan?
Last summer, Obama, goaded by democracy crusaders and the War Party, was about to launch strikes on Syria when America arose as one to call a halt.
We did not attack Syria. Had we, we would have struck a blow for an insurgency dominated by the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The ISIS goal? Detach Anbar from Iraq and unite it with jihadist-occupied sectors of Syria in a new caliphate.
Can we not see that Bashar Assads worst enemies are ours as well?
Syrias civil war, which has cost 100,000 dead, with millions uprooted and a million in exile, has spilled over into Lebanon, where Hezbollah backs Assad and the Sunnis back the rebels.
The neoconservatives say much of this might have been averted, had we left a stronger contingent of U.S. troops in Iraq and supported the Syrian uprising before the jihadists took control.
They were for attacking Assad last summer, are for more severe sanctions on Iran now, and are for war if Iran does not give up all enrichment of uranium.
But the neocons have broken their pick with the people. For they have been wrong about just about everything.
They were wrong about Saddams WMD and a cakewalk war.
They were wrong about how welcome we would be in Iraq and how Baghdad would become a flourishing democracy and model for the Mideast.
They did not see the Sunni-Shia war our intervention would ignite.
They were wrong about how our interests would be served in attacking Libya.
They did not see the disaster that would unfold in Pakistan.
While we did not follow their advice and attack Syria, how have we suffered from having taken a pass on Syrias civil-sectarian war?
From Libya to Lebanon, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Afghanistan, the Maghreb and Middle East are aflame. What have we lost by getting out of the wars Obama found us in? How would we benefit from parachuting back into the middle of the fire?
Which raises a related question: Was Obama wrong in extricating us from the wars into which George W. Bush plunged his country?
How will history answer that one?
Hmmmmm....doesn't the Islamic enemy have a say as to when the fighting stops?
I’d dismantle the 1st part of his argument but, that it is needed to bolster the second part.
Still, Communism was improve, the USSR dismantled, Sandinistas defeated and in general liberty, personal rights and capitalism continue to expand....
Ain't that simple. "Benefits" should be calculated not on the position at start and end of fighting, but on position at the end with and without having fought.
Which is of course a hypothetical and therefore impossible to prove one way or the other.
Communism was disproven .....
Pat’s all over the map here. Can’t figure out where the heck he’s going with this one.
“And as we look back at our interventions in the 21st century, where are the gains of all our fighting, bleeding and dying?”
Gains are little. Much of what we gained, though small, was squandered by the Lead From Behind president.
0bama didnt end the war in Iraq, just our active combat participation.
We haven’t gained much from our wars of the last 40-odd years. Lots of dead Americans, plenty of wore-out equipment, and, big bills for the American taxpayer. Economic gains? Political gains? Geo-political gains? Not much. We today are leaving Afghanistan and Iraq and Al-Qaida and Company are simply rushing back in as we do.
Just saying. What exactly do we have to show for the last several decades of sending Americans to armed conflict?
The last war we won was WWII . That was the last time we had enough courage to DEFEAT an enemy. The rest of the “wars” have been “politically correct” and have gained us NOTHING. For example, we still have troops in Korea, we lost in Vietnam, we’ve now lost in Iran and we will lose in Afghanistan. We should never again get into a war unless the reason is strong enough to produce the goal of DEFEATING the enemy...killing them along with their women and children.
Saddam Hussein was no Islamist. He was a secular nationalist who had as much to fear from militant Islam as anybody.
none of those wars were wrong.
How we conducted them was wrong.
We should never have sent ground troops into ANY of those places. Tactical nukes from 50,000 feet, problem solved.
Al Qaeda is the enemy, and they are not going to stop. Period.
Interesting summary by Buchanan
The problem with the whole Middle East wars was the lack of commitment to win the war on Islamic Terrorism by our civilian leadership...GW Bush stating “Islam is a Religion of Peace” way too many times was the obvious signal he was not committed to win.
Obama lack similar commitment to win. Even worse...his anti US and No. American development (Fracking, Keystone) would take away the economic threat of Islamic Terrorist supporters in the Middle East...something GWB did not have
Buchanan may be anti-Semitic....but his analysis is accurate here
We shouldn’t get into a war until postmodernism is deposed as our dominant philosophy. We had no moral abhorrence to razing entire cities in WWII because we knew our cause was just. Now we wait until the enemy, hiding among children, shoots at us. If they run into a mosque, they’re safe. If we capture them, they’re set free to fight again.
Good point, but the American people can be easily coaxed into a war if others are doing the fighting for THEM.
Yes...it was the execution of the wars...not the decision to go...that was the error
There again, we “won” WW2, but lost the peace immediately thereafter.
Remember how GWB swore more than once that his Iraq venture “against terrorism” would NOT be “another Vietnam”. Maybe one day George P. will get it right and redeem his family failures.
if we are not willing to do what is necessary to WIN, then we have no business starting a war to begin with!
Basically it boils down to this... Every time we are tempted into starting a war... we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to nuke a city over the issue. If the answer is no... THEN DON'T GO TO WAR!!
I believe and will always believe that the American people right after 9-11 would have supported a nuclear strike on Iraq (in particular on the city of Fallujah when they were cutting off Americans heads on a daily bases and hanging the burned bodies of Americans from the bridge there. Had we done that then, the war would have ended instantly and none of the blood and treasure we have spilt since would have occurred.
Surrender is neither victory nor peace.
If you read “On War” (Von Clauswitz) he says that victory IS destroying the enemy AND his ability to continue war or to make war.
I think we’d have a lot more live Americans, our nation’s finest, and a lot more real security if we spent half the effort we put toward remaking the world into securing our borders.
One part of the war strategy that we failed miserably was focusing too much on winning hearts and minds in regions where those hearts and minds can only be won by devastating displays of power and the constant, direct threat that such power will be used against them.
Thus, our concentration should’ve been on more than just an “exit strategy.” Missing was the strategy for complete, undeniable triumph over those animals. The arab/muslim enemy can never be allowed to think he attained even the smallest of victories. He must be crushed and humiliated, and forced to capitulate totally. Until that comes to pass, victory isn’t happening.
Obama and the Dem leadership see the writing on the wall in the upcoming election, and they are setting the table for a total bloodbath in the middle east, right after the GOP takes control of a fractured World stage, and further, a total tank of the US economy thanks to the Unaffordable Healthcare Act (the Act the Dems passed, that they now act as though they didn’t do it)..
A lot of folks talk about our wars as if they are football games.
We need to wean ourselves from this need to go to war. Yes, we need to defend ourselves. We need to protect ourselves. But Afghanistan stopped being about 9/11 after Tora Bora. It started being about Rare Earth Elements. And hardly anyone paid attention to that.
We go to war because we are the biggest economy and our system is so frail that we cannot imagine having to pay more for stuff.
Our wars never win anything when the American People prove stoooopid enough to elect Liberal Democrats to cut-and-run.
The truth is that all of our wars had good and valid reasons. North Korea and Stalin were driven back out of South Korea. For eight long years, we kept the "national liberation war" in South Vietnam from enslaving their people and the Soviet blue water fleet out of the straits of Malacca. That same eight years of determination kept "national liberation wars" from succeeding in Africa and South America, no matter how the Soviets tried to make them get going. Despite Mr. Buchanan's simpering, we don't have to speak Russian or Chinese or anything except maybe Spanish thanks to the patriotism and sacrifice of the real men and women who did serve this country in our wars.
Like other duty avoiders, he should just be thankful, pay his damn taxes and shut up. The rest of us took care of things.
Do we consider five deferment Dick Cheney to be a hero for being eager to send another generation overseas to do that which he worked so hard to avoid in Vietnam?
Who is running Nicaragua today?
The First Gulf War was a double disaster.
First of all, we shouldn’t have gone in the first place. Getting involved in intra-Arab squabbles shouldn’t have been our business.
Second of all, we left Saddam in power, and he turned his fury towards the US afterwards, which then necessitated going in again and removing him and getting into that cluster-you-know-what of a war against Iraq.
Same ol pineapple ....
Could be worse....
agree with all except us ‘losing’ in vietnam...we were nvr defeated in that war...we were not allowed to win as LBJ was a moron....we left, we didnt lose.
No, he's not a hero. Like all the other duty avoiders who somehow managed to get themselves into the big money and power, he ignores the shame of letting "other people's children" take all the risks for their country.
Despite lip service, I suspect that real respect for military service and military personnel is sadly lacking generally amongst DC big shots.
You’ve accepted the media and left’s dissection of the various campaigns of WW III (a.k.a. the Cold War — which had all the characteristics of a world war, albeit fought in slow motion thanks to the effects of nuclear deterrence) into separate “wars”.
We won WW III: the Soviet Union is no more, even though, for our part, the longest and bloodiest campaigns were lost (Vietnam) and fought to a draw (Korea), and the ultimate victory came bloodlessly through the pressure Reagan’s SDI put on the Soviet defense budget and economy.
Many times the victors in a war lose campaigns, often through idiocy inflicted on their generals by politicians. And really, I suggest you read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, if you think defeating the enemy is accomplished even chiefly by killing them. Find a good translation that does not have commentary applying his ideas to commerce.
We seem to forget the joy of ordinary Iraqis who brandished their purple ink stained fingers after voting in free elections for the first time. That should have been a victory, but the politicians pissed it away. Iraqi will soon be a puppet state for Iran and Afghanistan will be dragged back into the 6th century Islamic hell it was before.
Once we decided to go into Iraq, it should have been at least a 20 year commitment to stay there, else the country would fall right back into chaos the moment we left.
If we weren’t prepared to stay there for at least that amount of time, then we had no business going there in the first place.
Worse, we have a system where their political cronies are appointed into leadership positions within the Pentagon. These denizens occupy lofty Special Executive Service positions to lord over our service chiefs and other leaders. None of these every graced a uniform, of course but by virtue of their privileged Ivy League connections, they enjoy their power and perquisites.
It’s a sick system.
You got that right.
Buchanan is a moron when it comes to foreign policy. Nobody can judge win or lose until decades have passed. See Korea, Japan and Germany. But more to the point if it was up to Pat after 9/11 we would have just sat around waiting for the next delivery from jihadists.