Military historian and best-selling author Bing West offers readers a concise look at how America plans and fights wars. Bing concludes that we are performing poorly and offers several policy lessons that may be learned. On balance, he writes, the results in Iraq or Afghanistan were not worth the costs in American casualties, money, and global influence.
Our enemies do not fear us and our friends do not trust us. Sensible steps can turn that around, but that depends upon the next commander in chief. So far in the twenty-first century, due to our vast wealth and technologies, we have not been sorely tested. Our beloved nation does not have a martial spirit, and perhaps does not need one. It does need a military inculcated with a warrior spirit.
President Bush rashly overstepped in extending war to include nation-building. President Obama ideologically retreated by imposing restraints that encouraged our enemies. Congress proved irrelevant, lacking the cohesion to play its constitutional role in declaring for—or against—war.
In summary, a leaderless America is drifting. That should scare us all.
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