Monday, December 24, 2018

Trump Pulls Troops Out of the Mideast

And the Left freaks out.  I think Bush's hope to turn Iraq into a Western-style democracy was a good idea, but that idea is incompatible with Islam, so it failed.  Afghanistan's Taliban should have been bombed out of existence and left alone.  Both invasions made sense at the time, but not so much now.


  1. There is zero justification for nation building. Even Commodore Perry (IIRC, but it was in that era) when asked about what the future held for the U.S and Japan, answered "either teach them the Bible, or prepare for war with them". It became apparent that we did neither, at least sufficiently.

    Also, I fault GWB for not seeking (and very easily obtaining a day or 2 after 9/11) a declaration of war and thereby requiring Congressional ownership of the action. Failure to use the lawful method for U.S. military intervention, and then a failure of aggressive prosecution of war has consistently led to great losses for the last almost 70 years. (You must remember that DoD used to be called the War Department, back when people understood the intent.) When you impress upon the mentality of all involved that you are At War, it changes the perspective and the actions taken. If it is needed, then declare war, go in, crush the enemy until they are either annihilated or sue for peace, then get out.

  2. I actually think it makes sense to leave troops in Iraq and Syria - as long as it is't a huge number. Both countries are critical to the real cold war with Iran, and keeping ISIS tamped down is useful, although secondary to putting Iran back in its box.

    ISIS doesn't represent a major military threat, but terror attacks inflict an ever increasing cost on society - financial and social.

    Iran represents a real threat - it will get nukes sooner or later if we don't keep pressure on it. And, once it has nukes and IRBM's to be ICBM's, which will also come along, it will be able to cause big trouble in the Middle East and we won't be able to stop it. North Korea should have been a wake-up call: sh*t-hole backwards countries can develop nukes and the ability to send them to our shores, and worse, to credibly threaten to destroy us with H-EMP attacks - see my articles @

  3. Congress passed an AUMF (Authorization of Use of Military Force) which the courts have ruled is equivalent to declaring war.

  4. There is quite good justification for nation building. Note our success with Japan, Germany, and South Korea. However, one has to be realistic, not over-optimistic.

    As for seeking a declaration of war... I think that would make no difference to the wars of the last 70 years. Congress is no more bound by a previous declaration of war than it is by an AUMF, or for that matter, any act of a prior congress.

    The problem with those wars was that they went on longer than the American people were willing to support.

    In Vietnam, it was due to Johnson's misunderstanding of warfare and of the enemy, abetted by Westmoreland's failure to understand guerrilla warfare. Vietnam was effectively won by the end of 1972, but the Democrats took Congress and forced a defeat. Had we fought as hard in 1965 as we did in 1968-1972, the war would have been over very quickly, with far fewer casualties. Or, if we had simply, early on, invaded and held a bunch of Laos, interdicting the Ho Chi Minh trail, it would have ended quickly. My definition of winning there would be the same as we had ended up with in Korea: a southern country strong enough, with the help of some US troops stationed their, to stop the northern neighbor from invading. It wouldn't require a democratic government, and in Korea, we had corrupt autocrats and it worked.

    In Iraq, it was due to over-optimism about nation building, along with a failure to understand both the fanaticism of the Iraqi Sunni's (who feared Shia domination), and a failure to recognize that Iran would use proxy forces to fight us. George Bush, to his credit, recognized the failure and changed course, but it was too late - the war plus the collapse of the economy gave us the Democrats, and if there's one thing the Democrats know how to do better than wasting money, it's losing wars. Again, had we been willing to put up with a puppet government rather than some glowing democratic vision, and been willing to leave 5,000 to 10,000 troops there, we would have won.

    Syria was best left alone, but once ISIS arose, we needed to squash it. Pulling out now may be the right thing, if we supply just enough support, bolstered perhaps by Sunni troops from Arabia, to keep the Kurds afloat and ISIS subdued.