As the U.S. continues into a second decade of the war on terror, our citizens and our volunteer military are growing disinterested and weary respectively.
The Military Industrial Complex (MIC) continues to make grand strides in technology, spending billions on new air craft and naval vessels, cyber warfare tools and sensors, while we downsize the combat soldiers to stand in the job line or wait for admission to veterans’ hospitals.
CRITERIA FOR WINNING
“Although no one can agree on an exact figure, our dozen years of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and neighboring countries have cost at least $1.5 trillion. Yet from a strategic perspective, to say nothing of the human cost, most of these dollars might as well have been burned.
“At this point, it is incontrovertibly evident that the U.S. military failed to achieve any of its strategic goals in Iraq,” a former military intelligence officer named Jim Gourley wrote recently for Thomas E. Ricks’s blog, Best Defense. “Evaluated according to the goals set forth by our military leadership, the war ended in utter defeat for our forces.”
In 13 years of continuous combat under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the longest stretch of warfare in American history, U.S. forces have achieved one clear strategic success: the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Their many other tactical victories, from overthrowing Saddam Hussein to allying with Sunni tribal leaders to mounting a “surge” in Iraq, demonstrated great bravery and skill. But they brought no lasting stability to, nor advance of U.S. interests in, that part of the world.
When ISIS troops overran much of Iraq last year, the forces that laid down their weapons and fled before them were members of the same Iraqi national army that U.S. advisers had so expensively yet ineffectively trained for more than five years.”
Our government has not considered the risks, the indigenous cultural impact, the expense and the sacrifices required to sustain the nation building that must occur after we invade countries in pursuit of perceived enemies and place the burden of governance on military personnel who are not equipped to deal with it or manage USAID contractors who have profit motives in mind and corruption as a regular practice.
“Cost-plus contracts have long been criticized by government watchdogs like the Project On Government Oversight and waste-conscious lawmakers. Most recently, incoming Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) bluntly stated that these contracts are “disgraceful” and should be banned.” Your Tax Dollars Defrauded
THOSE WHO HAVE FOUGHT ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
‘NEW YORK TIMES”
“There are 26 veterans from the United States’ two most recent wars serving in the House and Senate. Many say their experience in Iraq and Afghanistan taught them that the American military cannot fix what is fundamentally a cultural and political issue: the inability of governments to thwart extremism within their own borders. Ted Lieu of California, said he would not support giving Mr. Obama the formal authority he had requested because, like many veterans, he finds it difficult to see how the conflict will ever end.
“The American military is an amazing force. We are very good at defeating the enemy, taking over territory, blowing things up,” said Mr. Lieu, who served in the Air Force and remains in the Air Force Reserve as a lieutenant colonel. “But America has traditionally been very bad at answering the next question, which is what do you do after that.”
Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now serving in Congress have emerged as some of the most important voices in the debate over whether to give President Obama a broad authorization for a military campaign against the Islamic State or something much more limiting.” Veterans in Congress Bring Rare Perspective
NO SKIN IN THE GAME
“A people untouched (or seemingly untouched) by war are far less likely to care about it,” Andrew Bacevich wrote in 2012. Bacevich himself fought in Vietnam; his son was killed in Iraq. “Persuaded that they have no skin in the game, they will permit the state to do whatever it wishes to do.” The Tragedy of the American Military
BUYING OUR WAY OUT?
Foreign aid in the billions continues to the Middle East. US weapons export sales have reached a crescendo, increasing by 31% to 94 countries. with the Middle East receiving the line share. US Arms Exports Increase 31% A single Weapon, the 1.4 Trillion dollar F-35 will soon account for 12% of our total national debt. The 1.4 $Trillion F-35 Aircraft
QUOTE BY ERIC PRINCE, EX- CEO BLACKWATER: “NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE”
“The world is a much more dangerous place, there is more radicalism, more countries that are melting down or approaching that state.” At the same time, the Pentagon is under growing pressure to cut spending and the cost of the all-volunteer force keeps rising, Prince said. “The U.S. military has mastered the most expensive way to wage war, with a heavy expensive footprint.” Over the long run, the military might have to rely more on contractors, as it will become tougher to recruit service members.
Prince cited recent statistics that 70 percent of the eligible population of prospective troops is unsuitable to serve in the military for various reasons such as obesity, lack of a high school education, drug use, criminal records or even excessive tattoos. In some cases, Prince said, it might make more sense to hire contractors.” What’s Eric Prince Been Up To?
QUESTIONS FOR THE READER: Did not the Roman Empire run into these issues when they outsourced their wars and went to the baths?
What makes us believe this worldwide war of attrition can continue indefinitely and that our younger generations are going to be willing to enlist and/or pay the bills? Can we insist our government representatives consider these factors and plan ahead? Future generations, their wealth, health and treasure will depend on our answers.