Monday, January 18, 2010

Exit Strategy-

When we were attacked on 9/11, it was necessary to go to war. We went to Afghanistan and bloodied some of those who attacked us, and some of those who supported those who attacked us. I supported that, because it was necessary. If you are strong and powerful, insults can be tolerated. Assaults can never be tolerated, or there will be no end to them.

I was, however, concerned as to the objective. Capturing Bin Laden and his associates was a laudable objective, but not necessarily a sound condition of victory. We were not there to take over the country, or destroy whatever government was in place. Afghanistan is not a singular entity, and such a condition for victory can never be met.

Then we became entangled in Iraq. That was simply ill advised, though I could buy a surgical action to take out Saddam Hussein. Threat eliminated, we could have withdrawn and simply promised to return if they didn't behave. It could have gone like that.

That didn't happen, so now we had two protracted wars with no clear definitions for victory in either case. Then came a lot of political jargon and some kind of offal about "exporting democracy." At this point it was clear that our decision makers did not have any idea as to the nature of our enemies.

I am not a genius, but I certainly do not assume that the rest of the world longs to adopt the American Way. I find it hard to believe that any of our "leaders" could hold to that. I am not convinced that the world would become a particularly attractive place if we compelled the "rest of the world" to become JUST LIKE US. Narcissistic paranoia is not a particularly attractive state of mind, and certainly not worthy as a major item of export.

So, the Presidential Election of 2008 loomed. I did not wish for any Bush clones. He and his masters had not proved to be particularly good stewards of my future. Obama? Not my first choice. I actually supported Libertarian candidate Christine Smith. However, she was too hard core as a Libertarian for even the Libertarian Party, and I didn't want to vote for compromised Libertarianism, especially since the stood very little chance of success.

Eventually it was Obama as the most likely candidate to win and (hopefully) end these wars. Though slow, his administration has been (seemingly) winding down the war in Iraq. Well, that's half of the battle.

Afghanistan, however, may prove problematic. Obama seems committed to shifting resources being wasted in Iraq to being wasted in Afghanistan. Those resources are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and whatever economic future we may all have. All to be spent on an ongoing war in a distant land, and no real victory in sight.

So, we still have a war with no clear exit strategy, and no clearly defined condition for victory. We still have a politician in the White House dispensing rhetoric instead of wisdom. I don't believe any one administration can do too much damage to the country, so I don't fear Obama being nominally at the helm. However, I had hoped for more.

If Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are our objective our current method will not work. Armies topple governments. To hunt weasels you need hounds. Hounds that are not restricted by rules. Hounds that do not recognize national borders as impediments. Hounds that will fight just like the enemy fights, only better.

War is an ugly business. Politicians like to dress it up and make it pretty. It is not. Soldiers know what it is, but serving the politicians they dress pretty and allow their hands to be tied. Consequently the wars go longer than necessary, rarely accomplish much more than filling graves, and the world muddles on making redundant history.

It is time to release the hounds, and bring the other soldiers home. If our "leaders" cannot find the testicular fortitude to release the hounds, perhaps it is time for a rogue pack to go out and do what is necessary.

Hounds don't necessarily need an exit strategy. Just a suitable Scooby snack.


Anonymous said...

Michael, great post, I concur almost 100% but who do you propose should act outside the authority of the US gov't as 'hounds?'

Michael Lockridge said...

I suppose any dedicated people with the necessary skills and resources could do the work of the hounds. Unfortunately, they would have to be discredited by the government, at least officially. They would probably have to be hunted, as well, for the sake of "justice."

Then again, if the government can't find and bring to justice Bin Laden, perhaps they could apply similar incompetence in hunting rogue Americans. It would at least be consistent.

Jared said...

I just find it funny that the US can't find an 50 year old man on dialysis...

It's easy; look for the man attached to his luggage. I'm pretty sure he died long ago, and now he's a ghost propped up by Zawahiri...