Thursday, October 4, 2012

Downsizing American Expectations (3): The Fallacy of Exit Strategy


When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. . . . if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

~~Sun Tzu, The Art of War

What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.

~~Sir Winston Churchill,


Back when one of the most urgent national questions was whether to surge or not to surge our troop commitment in Afghanistan, President Obama publicly agonized over the issue of how to fulfill a campaign promise.  To wit, the “bad war” that was Iraq must end; the “good war” that was Afghanistan must be sustained.


Like the good Nobel Peace Prize Laureate that he is, he summarily withdrew from Iraq without leaving any vestiges of our investment in blood, lives and material resources that we could subsequently leverage to influence the next unfolding of events.  To add injury to insult, he deployed to Afghanistan a troop surge that was 33% the size of what the field commanders requested.  Simultaneously, he made the announcement to withdraw not only for the “surge” on a date-certain timetable, but also for the entire contingent.


In so doing, our deployment in Afghanistan was deprived of the element of surprise so valued by Sun Tzu for winning wars (emphasis added):

In conflict, direct confrontation will lead to engagement and surprise will lead to victory. . . . Those who are skilled in producing surprises will win.

Above and beyond that, he ceded an undue advantage to the enemy who got the luxury of waiting out the announced schedule for withdrawal.  As Clint Eastwood astutely observed,

I think you've mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, "Why are you giving the date out now?  Why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning?"

Recognizing the folly of the exercise, back then I commented in passing [c.f., p. 264 in chapter 20],

It is noteworthy that this same dysfunction allowed the elevation of BHO to the Oval Office to become the Ditherer-in-chief and make America the laughing stock of the world, not to mention the de facto betrayal of our troops who are holding forth in Afghanistan.

What was not sufficiently emphasized then was the basic fallacy integral to the template of war engagement adopted by the American policy-making establishment.  The conventional wisdom which evolved from the Vietnam debacle mandated that any commitment of forces abroad must be governed by a well-defined strategic objective, supported by some definite tactical missions necessary to attain the objectives, and an even more obsessively streamlined exit strategy.

Purged from the template was the notion of victory.  So we effectively went to war more obsessed with how to disengage from, than with how to prevail over the enemy.  With any kind of enemy, the mindset is faulty at best.  But when and where we are at war with the soldiers of the Quran, as we now are, Sir Winston Churchill had it on the money: “without victory there is no survival.”  The only acceptable exit strategy is total and complete victory.

That President Barack Hussein Obama has effectively vanished “victory” from the national lexicon except as pertains to his re-election campaign is yet an incontrovertible evidence of his immeasurable contempt for the intelligence and good sense of the American people.  Can the country really survive four more years of his medicine?   

In the movie, The Edge, Charles Morse, the character played by Anthony Hopkins, volunteered the statistics that a majority of people stranded in the wilds die of embarrassment.  They are embarrassed that they have put themselves into such a predicament that their very survival is at stake.  As a result, they forget to use the only faculty, viz., thinking, that could ensure their survival.   

Similarly, should President Obama get re-elected, the nation shall die of embarrassment that they can be so gullible.  In their reluctance to admit that they made a fool of themselves by electing him four years ago, they double down on their mistake and ignore the wise admonition of Clint Eastwood, to wit:

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you're libertarian or whatever, you are the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let him go.

So beware America, the sanity you save shall definitely be your own.  It behooves to find a viable Exit Strategy from your own cognitive dissonance.

{Next: Downsizing American Expectations (4):
Debating the Campaign Debates}

1 comment:

  1. This is third in a continuing series on how the Obama Regime is cutting down "to size" anything American to fit into his post-colonial ideological template that all the ills of the world have been caused by Americans using a disproportionate share of the world's resources at the expense of the rest of the world.