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MILITARY: U.S. can’t be the world’s enforcer

Letter by Richard G. Lillie, Tacoma on Jan. 16, 2012 at 11:20 am with 4 Comments »
January 17, 2012 9:58 am

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.

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  1. “One keeps hearing the American military described as the “world’s greatest military.” On what is this accolade based?”

    Because it’s TRUE!

    And about all those battles and police actions since WW-II: The first Gulf War was a SUCCESS! We drove Saddam out of Kuwait, that was the mission.

    Oh, and by the way, WE KICKED GRANADA’S TUKAS!

    We, the United States, can depend on “the rule of law” when the rest of the world (Iran et. al.) also depends on the rule of law.

    I’m not saying we should ever invade another country like we did Iraq. What an unholy mess that was!

    But, as long as we have Predators, cruise missiles, and Stealth Bombers, I think we can pretty much kick anyone’s tukas if we need to.

  2. alindasue says:

    The problem, muckibr, is that “if we need to” is seriously up for interpretation. Sometimes politicians’ “needs” are not necessarily what this country needs.

    As a former Army wife who is glad that her husband never got beyond being on alert sitting on the runway in standby mode during Granada, I’m afraid I have to agree with the letter writer on this one.

  3. The problem is – having the world’s greatest military has made our politicians (and much of the electorate) think that military solutions are the answer to every problem.

    A carpenter with only a hammer in his tool box – even if it is the world’s best hammer – sees everything as a nail that needs to be banged on, even when what is really needed is a little WD40. Americans need to pay attention to the other tools in their toolbox.

  4. Well, I would still maintain that countries like Iran, who apparently are developing nuclear weapons, need to recognize that America has a lot of tools in it’s tool box, and some of those tools are equivalent to hammers, and if Iran continues to develop nukes after they have been warned not to, because we know Iran has also stated its intent to wipe our friends in Israel off the face of the Earth, then Iran needs to know that it can get NAILED!!!

    But, we don’t need to send troops in to do that.

    We have lots of tools in our tool box. Stealth fighters. Stealth bombers. Cruise missiles. Predator drones with heat seeking weapons. And a few more tools that we can use to FIX IRAN’s WAGON.

    Maybe I seem a bit hawkish on this issue, but its not at all like the U.S. is sneaking around and just waiting to pounce like a cat on an unsuspecting bird. The U.S. has, and will continue to issue warnings to Iran’s leadership to stop their foolishness with nukes.

    I fully expect that if an attack is warranted at some point in the future, and the final option to put an end to Iran’s nuclear armament, that the U.S. would first issue a warning to Iran either directly, or through back channels, so that Iran has a chance to evacuate it’s people from the facilities before they are bombed.

    I do not believe the goals of the U.S. leadership would ever to be to kill Iranian people in such a surgical strike, but the goal would be to simply stop their nuclear weaponization programs.

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