Ask the Chief: no one is coming

On social media, a former Green Beret, Scott Mann, succinctly describes veterans’ loss of confidence in the United States Government after the debacle which allowed the Taliban fighters who sheltered the 9/11 terrorist network to retake the country of Afghanistan. If the aim of the United States was to punish an ideology that murdered thousands in the United States, and to convince that ideology’s adherents to abandon those efforts, the cost in lives, injury, emotional and physical suffering over twenty years failed. Changing a fourteen hundred year old culture of Islamic traditions, tribalism, misogyny, and history of repelling foreign invasion by military occupation, electrification, and educating young women was unlikely to be permanent in one generation. It was the same lesson the Soviets learned and the British before them. The lessons that America’s hasty exit left in the minds of adversaries and allies, is that the United States can be defeated when drawn into a long, bloody conflict with facile understanding of its adversaries. It is the historical view that politics at home shifts America’s commitment. With such an eventual outcome, it emboldens her adversaries, economic and military, to convince nations with strategic geopolitical importance to partner with them. While nations like Russia rattle sabers (nuclear weapons, natural gas supplies) against Europe, annex the Crimea region and invade the Ukraine (which has proven to be Putin’s equally bloody miscalculation), Iran continues to develop weapons and relations with regimes that do not favor the US nor its allies; North Korea continues development of nuclear-capable missiles; and China builds bases, militarily-useful seaports and industrial capability globally. It also flexes naval power to remind the United States that it plans to eventually retake Taiwan. The seeds of future conflict with the United States, to support alliances or to defend trading partners, is being sown all the time. Meanwhile the United States military has experienced an internal conflict shifting resources and capabilities to align with societal change in identity- gender, attitudes ( regard for authority, character, politics). Accidents, expensive but short-lived weapon systems, and ethically-challenged members in the officer and enlisted ranks (bribery, sexual abuse, and “loss of confidence” in those chosen to command) reflect deficiencies in training, design, threat analysis, and personnel selection.

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