Why Are We Losing?

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Troop surges, tactical air strikes, and withdrawal and retreat. These are all terms Americans should be familiar with by now, especially considering the recently proposed U.S. surge in Afghanistan, which is justified as being “necessary to stabilize a deteriorating [military] situation” in the Middle East. The current administration, much like its predecessors, assures us that more of the same – a mere escalation of the status quo – will be enough to defend against the rising tide of globally active Islamist forces.

But many Americans have been impelled to ask a truly frightening question: Is it enough? The fact that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the head of American military operations in Afghanistan, has warned that America is on the verge of losing the Afghan front, seems to answer in the negative.

Why, eight years following 9/11, are we losing a war effort against some of the most primitive individuals on Earth? Is it, as President Obama suggests, that we lack diplomatic sensitivity? Is it really our hubris that is causing all the problems?

Elan Journo, writer and Fellow at the Ayn Rand Center, adamantly rejects these notions. In a recent op-ed, Mr. Journo argues that “the inverted war policy governing U.S. forces on the battlefield” is the primary reason we are losing what should be a relatively easy war. A war in which “we give the enemy every advantage,” based on “the allegedly moral imperative of putting the lives and welfare of [Middle Easterners] first,” is a war we cannot win.

Further illustrating Mr. Journo’s point is his recently published book, Winning the Unwinnable War, which shows why war policies governed by altruism – an ideology of self-sacrifice – can lead only to self-destruction.

Posted by on October 28, 2009. Filed under Fall 2009, Foreign Policy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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  • Dan Edge

    Damn straight. It’s truly bizarre to consider that the most powerful nation in the history of the world can’t defeat a cave-dwelling band of murderous theocrats. But it’s happened before (Vietnam comes to mind), and it will keep happening until either we actually wage a war against these people or the US is cowed into submission under Sharia law. –Dan Edge

  • Dan Edge

    Damn straight. It’s truly bizarre to consider that the most powerful nation in the history of the world can’t defeat a cave-dwelling band of murderous theocrats. But it’s happened before (Vietnam comes to mind), and it will keep happening until either we actually wage a war against these people or the US is cowed into submission under Sharia law. –Dan Edge

  • Daniel Casper

    Funny thing about Vietnam – America refused to bomb Hanoi until way late in the war (see Operation Line-Backer 2). We only bombed strategic targets, and even this was enough to bring North Vietnam cowering back to the peace table, at which they made concessions to the Americans. This proves that even limited bombings have positive effects.

    Americans refused to take their defense seriously, and that is the case here. While Vietnam was a different war, this book (I have read it) does an excellent job of explaining how to beat this different enemy.

  • Daniel Casper

    Funny thing about Vietnam – America refused to bomb Hanoi until way late in the war (see Operation Line-Backer 2). We only bombed strategic targets, and even this was enough to bring North Vietnam cowering back to the peace table, at which they made concessions to the Americans. This proves that even limited bombings have positive effects.

    Americans refused to take their defense seriously, and that is the case here. While Vietnam was a different war, this book (I have read it) does an excellent job of explaining how to beat this different enemy.