< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Winning

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I don't care if you're a Republican or Democrat, a Greenie or a staunch member of the Reform Party, an independent or someone who never votes, you have to care about not winning GWOT. And yes, I didn't say "lose", I said not win. There's a difference. We can sit around and not win for decades, long before we finally lose. But the longer and longer we wait to develop the force and the strategy necessary to win, and win completely, the more likely it is no resolution will occur in our lifetimes. In that respect then, ask yourself, do you want your children and your grandchildren to be fighting a war you couldn't win?

I'm quoting from some recent Congressional testimony to the House Intel Committee:
It is now four years and one month since the 9/11 attack on America.

The comparable date for World War II would have been January 19, 1946. By that point the United States was largely demobilizing its forces after a victorious global war.

During the comparable length of time that we have been responding to the 9/11 attacks on America, the World War II generation of Americans had rebounded from the attack on Pearl Harbor and defeated Germany, Japan and Italy, built a worldwide military and intelligence capability, built the atomic bomb, massed and organized industrial power, and laid the foundation for the worldwide network of alliances that has stabilized the world for the last sixty years.

This difference in energy, intensity, and resolve should worry all of us.
That was Newt Gingrich, and if you read it a couple of times, it is the most blistering criticism to date of the way this war has been handled. In the early 1940s, we were half the country facing twice the enemy. Our GDP at the beginning of the war was equivalent to that of Germany, Italy, and Japan. It was easy to see that if we didn't act strongly and decisively, our very existence was in jeopardy. German U-Boats off the coast of Carolina, Japanese bombers in Hawaii, the squeeze was on, and we pushed back.

Today, we're twice the country, with 10 times the GDP. Our enemy is not even a single state, much less a collection of states, and the funding it has at its disposal is comparably insignificant compared to the trillion dollar economies of the West. This may give some of you a great deal of comfort. But consider the fact that Hitler, with his exceptionally advanced war engine, was never able to strike at the heart of New York City.

What we're witnessing is a profound change in the way war is conducted. Today's elite military technology, UAVs, night-vision, shoulder mounted IR missles, are tomorrow's cheap imitation knock-offs available for a few thousand bucks at your local Radio Shack - some assembly required. Gone are the days of mechanized infantry battles across the desert of North Africa. And here to stay for awhile are the days of inexpensive, highly leveraged attacks against economic infrastructure.

It could easily be the case that America is simply too big to fight this war, and that the great unwinding of great nation-states is completely inevitable. But it also could be the case we're simply using the wrong tools to fight it. I have a lot to say about this. But for now, I want the A9 readers to reflect a little on where we are today versus where we were in 1946.