The Long Run Al Haig is Still Wrong After All These Years
Former Nixon adviser Alexander Haig said military leaders in Iraq are repeating a mistake made in Vietnam by not applying the full force of the military to win the war.
“Every asset of the nation must be applied to the conflict to bring about a quick and successful outcome, or don’t do it,” Haig said. “We’re in the midst of another struggle where it appears to me we haven’t learned very much.”
Gen. Haig's remarks make sense in the context that he has not learned very much.
As a nation, we are outspending every other nation on earth, and we can afford to do so. Although we could be spending a lot of that money better, we have the money to spend and can maintain this expense indefinitely. Although the New York Times would do almost anything to avoid you becoming aware of it, our economy is as strong as it has ever been and getting better. We can maintain this pace.
Gen. Haig is from an entirely different era of military thinking, one that assumed that you fought a war and then rested. In effect, during the 20th this resulted in four major binge and purge cycles and a hellishly large number of dead troops. We do not have the luxury of resting on our victories anymore, so we can no longer afford to sprint.
The rest of the world has always wanted the US at least humbled; now they are wealthy enough to make it happen if we let them. Regrettably, there is no longer a margin for allowing ourselves to be defeated. The will it takes to attempt attacking the US requires more than humiliation as a goal. The only reason people attack us is because they want us to die. While we can still afford to engage in limited wars, all of our opponents are fighting total wars. Thankfully, the coordination of our enemies has been weak, possibly because each of their total wars is for individual extreme reasons and on different timetables.
After we finish Islamism to the point where they are a controlled annoyance, there are the warlords of China, and our grandchildren will have to clean up the sewer of Africa. Beyond that none can see without transitioning straight to science fiction. Who knows what intolerant people will someday be adamant in their insistence that the US must fail? As a child I dreamed of peace but history proved me wrong. Gen. Haig is still dreaming if he thinks there will ever be a time when we can afford to rest again. If we cannot rest, we cannot sprint.
We are engaged in the longest and most crucial marathon ever run. Gen. Al Haig is still thinking in terms of war as a massive but short event. We can no longer afford anaerobic engagement. If we overwhelm Iraq now, what well we do when Iran attacks? Or will we ignore a resurgent Russia annexing Ukraine? Do we sacrifice Lebanon to Syria or Iran or Hezbollah? Who else do we throw to the wolves so that we can finish this fight quickly?
Gen. Al Haig is still focusing on the conflict, not the consequences.
Hat Tip: Michael Totten and Co.