Can Americans Win Wars?

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Sertorio
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Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by Sertorio » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am

The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It
by Philip Giraldi - April 8, 2021
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/ ... t-over-it/

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.
Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...

neverfail
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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by neverfail » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:44 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am

Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...
They won the first Gulf War spectacularly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War

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cassowary
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:30 pm

Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by cassowary » Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:20 pm

neverfail wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:44 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am

Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...
They won the first Gulf War spectacularly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War
And also the Second Gulf War.
The Imp :D

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cassowary
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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by cassowary » Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:26 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am
The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It
by Philip Giraldi - April 8, 2021
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/ ... t-over-it/

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.
Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...
In Korea, it was a draw. They lost Vietnam but saved SE Asia outside Indo-China. Russia lost Afghanistan with US help for the Mujahideen. This was key for winning the COLD WAR. That's the big one you didn't mention.

Image

There should be an International Holiday to celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War.

It is too early to say the US lost Afghanistian. They lose only if I see Al Qaeda reestablished there. If whatever regime takes over don't cause the outside world any problems, that is good enough. If they don't shelter any terrorist groups that launch another 911 type of attack, then it is a right decision to leave.

Anyway, they stayed longer than the the Russians. The main reason why Afghanistan is called the 'graveyard of empires' is because it is so poor. It did not make sense why anyone would expend so much treasure and blood for so little gain. Besides that it is so rugged a terrain, making it very costly to hold that land. High cost + low gain = not worth the trouble.
The Imp :D

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Sertorio
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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by Sertorio » Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:51 am

cassowary wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:26 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am
The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It
by Philip Giraldi - April 8, 2021
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/ ... t-over-it/

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.
Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...
In Korea, it was a draw. They lost Vietnam but saved SE Asia outside Indo-China. Russia lost Afghanistan with US help for the Mujahideen. This was key for winning the COLD WAR. That's the big one you didn't mention.

Image

There should be an International Holiday to celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War.

It is too early to say the US lost Afghanistian. They lose only if I see Al Qaeda reestablished there. If whatever regime takes over don't cause the outside world any problems, that is good enough. If they don't shelter any terrorist groups that launch another 911 type of attack, then it is a right decision to leave.

Anyway, they stayed longer than the the Russians. The main reason why Afghanistan is called the 'graveyard of empires' is because it is so poor. It did not make sense why anyone would expend so much treasure and blood for so little gain. Besides that it is so rugged a terrain, making it very costly to hold that land. High cost + low gain = not worth the trouble.
I see. That's your idea of "victory", staying longer than the Russians... It only shows that Russians are smarter than Americans, and know when to cut their losses...

As to the Iraqi wars:
As of June 29, 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Defense casualty website, there were 4,424 total deaths (including both killed in action and non-hostile) and 31,952 wounded in action (WIA) as a result of the Iraq War.
Some victory, seeing that contrarily to Vietnam, in Iraq insurgents had nowhere to hide in order to attack American soldiers.

In Afghanistan, in ten years, the Soviets lost 13,833 soldiers. Which is bad but not as bad as American losses in Vietnam.

Now extrapolate American losses to conflicts in Iran, South China Sea and the Ukraine, and you will realize that against better armed foes American losses would be several times what the US suffered in the above mentioned wars.

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cassowary
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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by cassowary » Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:32 am

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:51 am
cassowary wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:26 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am
The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It
by Philip Giraldi - April 8, 2021
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/ ... t-over-it/

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.
Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...
In Korea, it was a draw. They lost Vietnam but saved SE Asia outside Indo-China. Russia lost Afghanistan with US help for the Mujahideen. This was key for winning the COLD WAR. That's the big one you didn't mention.

Image

There should be an International Holiday to celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War.

It is too early to say the US lost Afghanistian. They lose only if I see Al Qaeda reestablished there. If whatever regime takes over don't cause the outside world any problems, that is good enough. If they don't shelter any terrorist groups that launch another 911 type of attack, then it is a right decision to leave.

Anyway, they stayed longer than the the Russians. The main reason why Afghanistan is called the 'graveyard of empires' is because it is so poor. It did not make sense why anyone would expend so much treasure and blood for so little gain. Besides that it is so rugged a terrain, making it very costly to hold that land. High cost + low gain = not worth the trouble.
I see. That's your idea of "victory", staying longer than the Russians... It only shows that Russians are smarter than Americans, and know when to cut their losses...
No, no. I never called it a victory. I said its too early to tell. My yardstick is whether al Qaeda gets reestablished in Afghanistan. If the new regime do not bother America with another 911 type attack, then we don't care what they do in Afghanistan.

So when Russians are defeated (with US help) it was smart to cut their losses? Ha. You are sure biased.
As to the Iraqi wars:
As of June 29, 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Defense casualty website, there were 4,424 total deaths (including both killed in action and non-hostile) and 31,952 wounded in action (WIA) as a result of the Iraq War.
Some victory, seeing that contrarily to Vietnam, in Iraq insurgents had nowhere to hide in order to attack American soldiers.
No, no. They defeated Saddam Hussein. Then another war started, this time against Al Qaeda in Iraq. They were defeated and the Americans left Iraw with a democratically elected government. Not bad right? Ah, I forgot. You don't care for democracy.
In Afghanistan, in ten years, the Soviets lost 13,833 soldiers. Which is bad but not as bad as American losses in Vietnam.
It also cost them the downfall of the USSR. Or at least contributed to its downfall. America remained intact after Vietnam.
Now extrapolate American losses to conflicts in Iran, South China Sea and the Ukraine, and you will realize that against better armed foes American losses would be several times what the US suffered in the above mentioned wars.
There is no war against Iran or the South China Sea or in Ukraine between the US and China or Russia. What are you talking about?

Hmm. Such irrational outburst suggests to me that I struck a nerve. Perhaps, my posting the photo of the fall of the Berlin Wall as a symbol of the defeat of the USSR in the Cold War triggered you (referring to Sertorio) off.
The Imp :D

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Sertorio
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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by Sertorio » Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:41 am

cassowary wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:32 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:51 am
Now extrapolate American losses to conflicts in Iran, South China Sea and the Ukraine, and you will realize that against better armed foes American losses would be several times what the US suffered in the above mentioned wars.
There is no war against Iran or the South China Sea or in Ukraine between the US and China or Russia. What are you talking about?
I said "extrapolate", meaning: if there were wars in those places, American losses would likely be...

It is true that there are no wars against Iran, China or Russia, but the US is doing its best to start them. And when they occur you will see what the results for the US will be...

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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by cassowary » Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:59 am

Sertorio wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:41 am
cassowary wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:32 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:51 am
Now extrapolate American losses to conflicts in Iran, South China Sea and the Ukraine, and you will realize that against better armed foes American losses would be several times what the US suffered in the above mentioned wars.
There is no war against Iran or the South China Sea or in Ukraine between the US and China or Russia. What are you talking about?
I said "extrapolate", meaning: if there were wars in those places, American losses would likely be...

It is true that there are no wars against Iran, China or Russia, but the US is doing its best to start them. And when they occur you will see what the results for the US will be...
How would you know what the result will be? The US might even win a conventional war. But I don't think there will be a war because of nuclear weapons. Both sides can destroy each other in a nuclear exchange. MAD will prevent a war like in the Cold War against the USSR.
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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by Sertorio » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:04 am

cassowary wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:59 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:41 am
cassowary wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:32 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:51 am
Now extrapolate American losses to conflicts in Iran, South China Sea and the Ukraine, and you will realize that against better armed foes American losses would be several times what the US suffered in the above mentioned wars.
There is no war against Iran or the South China Sea or in Ukraine between the US and China or Russia. What are you talking about?
I said "extrapolate", meaning: if there were wars in those places, American losses would likely be...

It is true that there are no wars against Iran, China or Russia, but the US is doing its best to start them. And when they occur you will see what the results for the US will be...
How would you know what the result will be? The US might even win a conventional war. But I don't think there will be a war because of nuclear weapons. Both sides can destroy each other in a nuclear exchange. MAD will prevent a war like in the Cold War against the USSR.
You don't think, but the present US Administration is trying very hard to prove you wrong... One of these days they are going to miscalculate...

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Re: Can Americans Win Wars?

Post by neverfail » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:50 pm

cassowary wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:20 pm
neverfail wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:44 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am

Can Americans win wars?

"Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family."

That not being the case, the US lost the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. As it would lose any war against Russia or China fought in those countries backyards...
They won the first Gulf War spectacularly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War
And also the Second Gulf War.
The first Gulf War was a legetimate conflict sanctioned by a United Nations resolution. Saddam Hussein's army had invaded and occupied Kuwait without any threat from this small neighbour to justify such a drastic move. If ever there was a just war it was this one. But the second Gulf War was a mistake based upon wrong information. Instead of resolving a problem it opened up a Pandora's box of woe that continues unabated to this day.

Second Gulf War = the US won the fighting (it was really a no contest) but lost the politics.

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