One keeps hearing the American military described as the “world’s greatest military.” On what is this accolade based?
The last war the American military won – and this claim is not without equivocation with respect to colonial powers and their colonies’ desires for independence – was World War II. The Korean War remains to this day a stalemate. Vietnam was an unequivocal loss. The various interventions – as in Lebanon and Somalia – were less than successful.
The first Gulf War was an unmitigated failure at the negotiating table; Iraq saw the U.S. military literally sneaking out of Iraq under the subterfuge of continuing training. And Afghanistan will be an abject failure, as no empire has ever conquered that country.
It is high time for those generating U.S. military strategy to heed Sen. J. William Fulbright’s warning against the arrogance of power. In truth, and I say this upon reflecting on 26 years of uniformed service in two wars, the reflexive reliance on military force and military solutions does a grave disservice to our country.
Like the rest of the developed world, we need to depend on the rule of law and civil court solutions to violations of international laws. The military is not tailored to enforce civil law – no matter its relation to the security of our populace.
If we continue to resort to military solutions to criminal matters, we will inexorably descend into irrelevance in the world, as those who read foreign newspapers are well aware.