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May 26, 2019

From Foreign Policy Hawk to Careful Partial-Isolationist....


[The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial: Colleville-sur-Mer, France]

In my callow youth the idea of a robust and aggressive military presence in most of the world seemed like a fine idea. Why not back up our foreign policy blather with some actual, concrete control of world events. I lived in a part of the country that had a significant military presence, and the people I met in that community were overwhelmingly intelligent and thoughtful. I don't recall a single person who was even remotely the Hollywood image of a soldier.

If those were the people who would conduct our foreign interventions, then we were in very good hands. They cared for their men, they loved our country, and they were careful and wary and did not romanticize war.

But they are not the people who conduct our wars. They are the men who die. The people who conduct our wars have -- while perhaps not believing it -- behave as if the lives of our men in uniform are worthless; that their sacrifices are simply tools to further a political agenda quite detached from the best interests of the country and its citizens.

September 11, 2001 was a watershed moment for many, because the great majority of Americans had no concept of an existential threat. Oh, they heard stories from their fathers and grandfathers about World War II, but America was the greatest and most powerful country in history...nothing could shake our foundations!

Except for 19 men and four passenger jets. As usual, the tools of war had changed faster than the minds of the men who planned them, and we were faced with a new kind of enemy, one that had very little infrastructure, very little in the way of...well...anything except an ideology, and in fact had no country of its own.

So off we went, determined to kill them all and rebuild them better than ever, with no thought of how that would be done, or if it could be done at all. And on the way we lost sight of the "kill them all" part, and collapsed into a morass of conflicting goals and political correctness, and the shocking idea that our armed forces weren't supposed to kill people and break things.

All that did was get a lot of fine men killed, a lot of money wasted, and create a discordant set of ideas about the military.

But it did change my mind, and the journey is mostly complete. The current state of affairs in the world requires one of two responses from America. We either enter conflicts with overwhelming force and a clearly defined goal of winning, or we do not enter at all. The lives of American servicemen are simply too valuable to use them in politically calculated half measures.

No more rules of engagement that guarantee American deaths. No more carefully titrated responses that are vetted by multiple layers of bureaucracy.

Should we assist our allies with logistical support? Of course! Should we use air power and naval power in their support and in support of our own objectives? Yes, if the benefit far outweighs the risk. But boots on the ground in faraway places where American soldiers shed their blood in place of others who should be bleeding and dying for their causes?

No. Never.

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posted by CBD at 02:15 PM

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