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  1. #1
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default The Best Trained, Most Professional Military...Just Lost Two Wars?

    The Best Trained, Most Professional Military...Just Lost Two Wars?

    (...) President Obama has described our military as “the strongest military the world has ever known.”

    There’s just one problem with this...

    That military just lost two wars in a row.(...)

    If our military is so great, why have the last fifty years been so disastrous? (...)
    He's got his opinion about this, and it won't come as a huge surprise to the usual suspects in here.

    (I don't agree completely.)

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Winning is achieving your objectives. If the selected objectives are not achievable through armed force, or if mission creep shifts the goalposts to a point not achievable by armed force, no military mission will succeed, no matter what level of training and equipment are employed.

    The US military is trained and equipped to defeat an opposing armed force. This it has done in the recent wars. When it was asked to build nations and install self-sustaining governments, success was a lot harder to find. These are not tasks that the US military is trained and equipped to pursue, and they are not tasks appropriate for a military force in the first place. Even the world's best hammer makes a very lousy screwdriver.

    Not that the training and equipment are perfect (nothing ever is), but IMO the failure to fully achieve goals (call it "defeat" if you must) in recent wars was less due to military deficiency than to the selection of impractical and unrealistic goals that were not achievable by military force in the first place.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Default Then why didn't anybody say so?

    If "...the failure to fully achieve goals (call it "defeat" if you must) in recent wars was less due to military deficiency than to the selection of impractical and unrealistic goals that were not achievable by military force in the first place." then why didn't anybody say so in the first place?
    Was it foreseeable that goals were unacheivable?

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjmc View Post
    If "...the failure to fully achieve goals (call it "defeat" if you must) in recent wars was less due to military deficiency than to the selection of impractical and unrealistic goals that were not achievable by military force in the first place." then why didn't anybody say so in the first place?
    Was it foreseeable that goals were unacheivable?
    I recall believing - and writing - before the Iraq war that while defeating Saddam's military forces would be relatively easy, installing a new government and bringing it to a functional level was likely to be a very formidable task for which the US had little effective capacity. I think a fair number of people pointed out that mission creep in Afghanistan and the emergence of "nation-building" roles was handing the military a role that is not trained or equipped to perform.

    Obviously nobody listened, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from those mistakes. To learn from them, though, we have to recognize them, and that means recognizing that the root problem is not lack of capacity in the military but the decision to assign the military a set of tasks that are simply not suited to achievement by a military force. The whole concept of "armed nation building" was fatally flawed from the start. My opinion only, of course.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Dayuhan correctly framed the issue, but to add when it comes to military capability there isn't any other military that comes close. Population centric COIN is a failed approach that the author of the article thinks would work if the military just adapted to it. The fact is the military did adapt to it and results are telling. When it comes to military activities to include engaging with civilians there is no better, but rightly so our core competency is waging and winning battles. In short we do have the world's best military, there is no other military who could have done better in either war (neither of which were lost) given the same policy objectives.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 10-26-2012 at 05:53 AM. Reason: author was right, it was a personal attack, so I removed it.

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    Idiot should check the scoreboard. It's a sure sign of ignorance to place these things in a win loss paradigm. Everyone loses its war. But there is a little less evil in some dark corners due to our efforts. We hear this too much. If you don't know keep your mouth shut.

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