Afghanistan: Dying for a Strategy

Are we closer to fulfilling mission-strategy? This past weekend we marked the loss of more American lives in a mission whose objective remains unclear. From an historical military perspective there should be no doubt; it’s about strategic-positioning. From the perspective of democratizing a culture into becoming a pro-western apple-pie eating satellite, or as a case study for making the world safe for democracy, my first impression is to describe the ambition as a form of dystopia. For many reasons, among them being cultural, religious and regional vice, the normalizing of the region is simply not possible; at least not on western terms. For this reason I have long held that that the goal has never been to homogenize the region but in fact to make it inhospitable (by advancing tribal discord); to render the region decidedly unattractive to a would-be aggressor. 

Let us take a quick side-track for a moment and return to circa November 27th, 1941 and a specific alert that was sent out to all Commands, including General MacArthur’s Post in the Philippines: (Note: This alert occurred ten days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.) 

“Negotiations with Japan appear terminated…Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot repeat cannot be avoided the United States desires Japan commit the first act.” 

The purpose of introducing this alert is not intended to re-adjudicate the causal forces attributed to the U.S. entry into World War II but to apprise those interested in risks associated with history repeating itself that the metaphor is about to be proven yet again. Not unlike the U.S. effort to democratize the Philippines, which became a U.S. Protectorate following the Spanish-American War (1898), there are quite peculiar similarities with Afghanistan theater particular with regard to strategic-positioning; militarily speaking.  

Now then let us return to the subject of present-day Afghanistan and the conditions-on-the ground and then simply review the above referenced alert with one minor change in mind; in every instance that the word Japan appears simply replace it with Iran. Rest assured (if you dare) that the similarities (with the U.S. lead-in to WW II) do not end with this simple exercise; the use of pre-positioning military resources, the use of embargoes and the court of public/diplomatic munitions have been similarly applied. (For those who find the issue provocative I recommend the following article: MacArthur’s Failures in the Philippines, December 1941 – March 1942, by Robert C. Daniels.)  

From a purely analytical vantage point the only reason a full-scale assault has not been waged against Iran (as there have been many documented an act of hostile intent) is simply due to the current U.S. President’s diminutive approach to Foreign-Policy (or indifference) and quite possibly an overriding deference toward his personal animus on issues of faith.  

On purely ethereal terms this whole affair illustrates the most refined exhibition of a wanton departure of truth, reason and noble/virtuous cause. The complete demoralizing of the human being to nothing more than a token resource to be manipulated and disposed of at will. To frame the greater cause of the American Ideal, one which is framed about sovereign and sacred ideals, as nothing more than a placard at the point of a gun is to, simultaneously, contradict the very structure upon which the Ideal is based. One does not make the world safe for democracy at the point of a gun; one demonstrates its virtues in practice before an unsafe world compelling those who are victimized by the tyrannical to find in it (the Ideal) a compelling cause worth pursuing.  

We have a fair distance to go in our own perfecting of the Ideal as clearly, from my own observations, we have not yet advanced the cause in a manner that many would find compelling; if we consider our own (individual) commitment to the process it seems safe to say that few Americans are suitably compelled as well. 

“One does not make the world safe for democracy at the point of a gun; one demonstrates its virtues in practice before an unsafe world compelling those who are victimized by the tyrannical to find in it (the Ideal) a compelling cause worth pursuing.” 

Curtis C. Greco, Founder

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