Can America Stop Fighting Wars of Attrition?

In simple terms, the only way to stop wars of attrition is to change the paradigm by which the U.S. fights wars from one of minimal impact, to fighting wars to win. If our plans for a particular engagement were predicated completely and solely on performing whatever steps were necessary to win the conflict, and were not based on what was politically expedient, wars of attrition would cease. Why?

Fighting to win would stop attrition wars for two reasons. If politicians understood that any conflict they engaged us in meant that the armed services would use all of their tools at their disposal to reach the singular objective of complete acquiescence by the enemy and that doing so would inescapably create significantly higher civilian losses, they would be far more reluctant to engage us in a war in the first place. Secondly, once other countries leaders understood that antagonizing the US to the point of war meant a guarantee of their own regimes demise, they would be far less likely to push us to that point. Many antagonistic leaders push the envelope simple because they know we won’t fight to win. In a morbid twist of fate, they use America’s sense of humanity against us so they can unleash their own brand of inhumanity against their own people.

In the old days, fighting a war most often meant desiring to take over land or resources from another kingdom, or to stop them from taking yours. Today, for the US anyway, fighting a war simply means protecting political interest in one place or another, and surreptitiously spurring on the economy of large corporate entities, the very engine that keeps those same politicians in power. EX: The State Department paid nearly $4 billion for projects to aid in Afghan reconstruction from 2002 to 2013. $2.5 billion or 69% of all that money went to a single company, DynCorp. Do you think DynCorp is on the speed dial of many U.S. Senators and Representatives now serving? How many of those Senators or representatives will be “consultants” to DynCorp after their time in office is over? Would you like to wager that any of that investment made in Afghanistan will remain ten years from now, five years from now?

This lack of desire to win wars is not something new. My father-in-law was a big shot at the Pentagon during the Vietnamese war. A war that was winnable by the military in three days anytime we chose. A war that was instead played out for many years and at great cost to both sides. Everyone lost except the DynCorp’s of the world. And the result from all the lives lost or changed forever? Vietnam ultimately ended up back in the hands of the original inhabitants anyway.

Yes this same sad story has unfortunately been played out many times just in our lifetime, and there is no final chapter to the book on wars of attrition yet in sight. Unless a major paradigm shift takes place in US politics that affords the military the ability to win its wars, the same pattern of attrition based losing will continue unabated. Time to buy DynCorp stock.

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