The Best Defense

A 'Foreign Affairs' headline that made me cringe: 'The Irony of American Strategy'

Richard Haass is a pretty smart guy, but he let someone talk him into this headline: ‘The Irony of American Strategy.'

Like, gag me with a spoon. Cute? Maybe. But I think that headline could only be written by someone who had not lost someone in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last 12 years.

Actually the article isn't bad, although it leans heavily on the weak thought that 10 years ago the United States got deeply involved in the Middle East when it didn't need to, but now when it wants to get out, it can't. That strikes me more as an op-ed (or blog post) than a full-blown Foreign Affairs thumbsucker. 

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The Best Defense

Did we really 'win' in Iraq? Tom doesn't think so -- and neither does General Dubik

The other day a couple of commenters discussing innovation in the military mentioned one change (fwiw, the company-level intelligence cell) as a big reason why "we won in Iraq."

Hmm, I thought: Did we actually win that war? I am not sure. It doesn't feel like it. Yes, we got out with our shirts on. But win?

I thought about this again when I read this thoughtful comment by Lt. Gen. James Dubik in the May issue of ARMY magazine:

America is confusing "withdrawing from a war" with "ending a war." The two are very different. A war ends when strategic objectives are met or an enemy is defeated and recognizes its defeat. In Iraq, the war continues -- albeit at a level that the Iraqi security forces are, so far, able to handle and the Iraqi government can manage.

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