Article in Atlantic magazine points out what I’ve been thinking: the American military has lost almost all of its recent wars, even though the USA spends more money on its military than all other nations combined, and has the highest-tech, best-trained, most highly-armed military the world has ever seen, and has won most of the pitched battles as well.
But you cannot defeat a people who are determined to eject an invader, come what may. It’s also the case that you can only rent friends, you can’t buy them – as famous celebrities find out when they run out of money, and as the US found out when the shrink-wrapped pallet-loads of hundred-dollar bills, that they used to dole out to the Sunni tribes in northern Iraq, ran out. Those same tribesmen who were rented as allies for the US turned to ISIS.
It also doesn’t help if you support utterly corrupt and brutal regimes, the way the US has been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A personal note: I know someone who was raised in Iraq, got medical training, and left during one of the times when the US was supporting Saddam Hussein against the Iranian regime. She hated Saddam. However, in comparison to the current regime of murderous, corrupt, Shiite extremist thugs (pretty much her words), she feels that Saddam was a saint.
Let’s count the losses by the US:
1. Gulf War 1 (mostly)
2. Grenada (remember that one?)
3. Does Panama count?
Got any others?
Here is a quote from the article, by one James Fallows:
“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. [July 11, 2014; note that this is a presitigious, semi-official blog of Foreign Policy magazine – gfb] “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.