At War with Palin

After having read this I am inclined to take my chances with Obama who has a relatively good track record on war. Let's go through them.

"First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake, period."

So only selfish wars allowed? No foreign aid allowed? If that's what it means to be American these days, then I'll take my chances with the French who were at the forefront of using their troops to help others in Libya.

"Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win."

Sure. And be cunning about it.

"To do that we use overwhelming force."

No, that's what non-cunning people do. Cunning people outsource the fighting to the locals wherever possible. Get the locals into a position where they can claim that they won the war themselves - because they did!

"We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible."

The enemy you generally face is in fact a culture. Changing a culture is not something that is even a military job, let alone being tasked to do it quickly.

"We do not send our military and stretch out the mission with an open-ended and ill-defined mission."

The mission is "change the culture so that people like Timothy McVeigh do not commit terrorism". Also other things like Koran-burning should not cause a hostile response. It takes a long time to get such tolerance built. The military doesn't need to be involved in the final stages of that, which make take generations, but sometimes is involved in the initial stage.

"Nation-building, a nice idea in theory, but it’s not the main purpose of our armed forces."

Sure. Afghanistan and Iraq were unique in that respect. Normally you can just reuse the old military.

"We use our military to win wars."

9/11 demonstrated that the war is between ideologies, not nation-states. Defeating an ideology needs more than just the military.

"And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending our troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly, concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent to battle. Period."

Why is it the government that needs to define the goals? Why not allow the government to have "plausible deniability" and then throw it open to pundits to make the case for why converting a dictatorship into a democracy is a good thing for humanity?

"Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side by our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and command of the American officers."

Why? Are you implying that other NATO allies are not trained to NATO standards?

"And fifth, sending our armed forces should be the last resort."

Why? Why not simply "a resort", "another tool in the toolbox"? What's so damned special about war? Do you send in police as a last resort too? Why not? Why not send in 3rd grade teachers to check out a burglary report? Why the immediate escalation to armed cops? There may not even be any burglars!

"We don’t go looking for dragons to slay."

You should. Otherwise small dragons become big dragons because nobody was out and about slaying small dragons. Continuous warfare, even if in non-combat, is the position that needs to be taken to ensure you're not asleep at the wheel and will eventually prevail.

"However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual."

How about giving them real help - which is well within your power to do - rather than just yelling "encouragement" from the sidelines, or shedding crocodile tears?

Palin, if there were any justice in this world, you should have to trade places with a Libyan rebel who is currently stuck and in desperate need of external assistance.

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