"War Without End" NY Times Sunday magazine article

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Wishful, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    685
    Subtitled: The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.

    The Times' article condemns the Pentagon (for their Vietnam-era ways) for failing to win as seen through the eyes of a disgruntled soldier. Some thoughts:
    • If our military were only restrained by the Geneva Convention, they'd win.
    • "War is the continuation of politics by other means."
    • Unlike terrorists, the Vietnamese had no precondition of American conversion to Communism to occur for peace
    • The CIA isn't part of the Pentagon & aren't subject to their directives (as far as I know)
    • Journalistic Restraint: detail problems where applied solutions didn't achieve 100% success but not offer any
    • While President Bush is directly mentioned, the "O" word is only referred to once, & that was as a senator/presidential candidate thus really no direct connection to the events written about
    • The photography is impressive
    Though firmly placed in the basket of deplorables, I'm really interested in the thoughts of those posters who are in the know: those who have more info/experiences, etc. to weigh in on the article linked below...

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/magazine/war-afghanistan-iraq-soldiers.html
     
    THParent likes this.
  2. THParent

    THParent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    1,831
    I just looked at the pretty photos.
     
    AF6872 and Wishful like this.
  3. Nemo567

    Nemo567 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    86
    That's just not true at all.
     
  4. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    685
    Would you please expand on this? Thanks
     
  5. unkown1961

    unkown1961 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2016
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    225
    Why the inaccurate disparaging of Obama? I don't know if you read the whole article, but I found Obama mentioned three times, including twice as "directly" as Bush was in his one mention. And why not just state "Obama" as opposed to phrasing him as the "O word"?
     
    VelveteenR and scoutpilot like this.
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    954
    This sounds just a touch like something an old crank at the Chatterbox Diner with a MAGA hat and some stories about how tough the (choose branch of service) used to be would post. I assume that's your chosen brand, given the proud waving of the "firmly in the deplorables" banner...that said, at some point you're probably going to have to abandon that bandwagon, seeing as the wheels are falling off by the minute. Why you'd so proudly support a man who dodged the draft 5 times, pissed on the memory of fallen officer (CPT Khan) because of his religion and ethnicity, disrespected not only John McCain and the handicapped but basically every woman he's ever met, well...the list goes on. I suppose you have your reasons, but at this point I'm not sure what they'd be.

    Now, leaving politics aside...

    I'm not sure what answers you're looking for here. The Geneva Conventions point is just foolish. What are you even saying with that? Which part of the Geneva Accords prohibit us from winning? Surely you must have some idea as to which are the impediments.

    Journalists are not required to offer solutions. Their role is to be the fourth estate--a lever of accountability against a government who could and would otherwise turn American sons and daughters into casket fodder in far off lands while never answering to their mothers and fathers. Journalists exposed Nixon. Journalists exposed the Iran-Contra deal. Journalists report on the heroics of the volunteer force that would otherwise be totally forgotten in a society so blithely willing to let someone else's kid die in Afghanistan. I'm perpetually amazed at how the same folks who exhibit such white-knuckle fear at the idea of government overreach somehow also enjoy attacking the very constitutionally-protected reporters who make our government answer to the people. I suppose it's the other side of the "Blue Lives Matter" coin, often spouted the loudest by those who demand right to keep guns in case they need to someday shoot at the government (for the record, I own many firearms).

    Our military wins wars all the time. We fail to win the peace and build nations. This happens because America's leadership at the highest civil-military levels are reminiscent of that Imperial German Army. We are excellent planners, but abysmal strategists.
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,446
    Likes Received:
    3,991
    Maybe I misread the statement, but I took it to mean that if the Geneva Accords were the only restriction on the troops, then they would win. The restrictions beyond those imposed by the Geneva Accords were prohibiting winning. I don't agree with it, but that's what I read as the intent.
     
    StPaulDad and SMP like this.
  8. StPaulDad

    StPaulDad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    37
    Agreed. And once there are no restrictions at all you can not only choose your methods but select your own definition of victory. In modern wars defining clean boundaries around the problem and establishing ground rules is often harder than the actual fighting and flag planting. This is a lot more subtle than rows of Nazis in grey uniforms that you can point to on a map.

    EDIT: To clarify, I'm not sure I agree with the notion either since the current world is more complicated than "back in the day".
     
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,917
    Likes Received:
    509
    A decent article. For me the author did a lousy job of making a case for Pentagon’s failed campaigns. I don’t think the author never established or stated Pentagon’s campaign plans are. On a side note, I would argue that Pentagon is a building and if the author was referring to the DoD, I would argue that the DoD don’t do campaign plans. I believe we, US military, are good about advising, executing, and accomplishing assigned tasks. But if the given task is impossible, we can’t accomplish it. What were the tasks for Iraq and Afghanistan?
     
  10. Sleeplessnights

    Sleeplessnights Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    39
    The is from an article in the NY Times on Sept 2, 2018, about the departing US commander for Afghanistan (General Nicholson). I think the quote from Karl Eikenbery says it all. As the parent of two children on active duty (one was recently in Afghanistan), I'm very much in favor of a return to the draft. The US involvement would end within weeks.

    ...
    His departure comes as the war seems to spiral deadlier even as it recedes from American attention — General Nicholson did not meet once with President Trump in the 20 months since he moved into the White House.

    “Our soldiers are volunteers, permitting the American people and their elected representatives to be indifferent about the war in Afghanistan,” said Karl Eikenbery, a former commander of the American forces in Afghanistan who later served as the United States ambassador to Kabul. “We continue to fight simply because we are there.”

    ...

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/02/world/asia/afghan-commander-us-john-nicholson.html
     
    unkown1961 and StPaulDad like this.