In War, There is No Substitute For Victory

In his 1951 Farewell Speech to Congress, General Douglas MacArthur famously said, “Once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available 롤대리 means to bring it to a swift end. War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory.”

MacArthur had been dismissed by President Harry S Truman as general in charge of the United Nations Command in Korea because he publicly disagreed with Truman’s strategy of a limited war which hamstrung his efforts for victory.

The best we could achieve in Korea was a stalemate, an uneasy armistice which led us to what we have today, a divided Korea and a maniacal despot in Kim Jong Il. We never learned from MacArthur’s words, as evidenced by our ignominious loss in Vietnam and now by our imminent defeat in Afghanistan.

The consequences of a defeat in the Mideast would be far greater than losing ‘Nam. As with Korea and Vietnam, the Afghan war will be lost in Washington, D.C.

The Afghan war was “forced upon us” by the 9/11 attacks orchestrated by al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and history may be on the verge of repeating itself not on the field of battle but in the cozy confines of the White House.

President Obama has summoned the Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal to the executive mansion to explain critical and dismissive comments the general and his aides made of top administration and Afghan officials.

McChrystal is in a situation very similar to that of MacArthur in Korea. He wants to win the war in Afghanistan but the administration won’t allow him to. He has issued an abject apology to the president for his remarks published in Rolling Stone; he should have resigned. MacArthur apologized to no one; he didn’t believe he was wrong.

Instead of the “limited war” restraints dictated by the Truman administration MacArthur faced in Korea, McChrystal faces the contraints of the “rules of engagement” as determined by the Obama administration.

As commander-in-chief, Obama has every right to conduct the war as he sees fit but it would be more honorable, and would save countless lives, if he simply called it quits today, began withdrawing our troops, and fired McChrystal when he meets with him tomorrow.

Needless to say, Obama won’t for political reasons announce we were done in Afghanistan and that we were retreating in defeat. Nor should he.

However, the alternative is a gradual, military retreat which we have been doing for years via the civilian policy of winning hearts and minds and the imposition of those rules of engagement. They are designed to insure the safety of Afghani civilians, which is admirable, but they come at the cost of lives in our military.

In an excerpt from “The Runaway General” in Rolling Stone, McChrystal recounts one sad tale of those rules of engagement because of which a soldier was killed:

“One soldier shows me the list of new regulations the platoon was given. ‘Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force,’… that’s like telling a cop he should only patrol in areas where he knows he won’t have to make arrests. ‘Does that make any f-king sense?’ [asked] Pfc. Jared Pautsch. ‘We should just drop a f-king bomb on this place. You sit and ask yourself: What are we doing here?’ “

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