Before We Start Another War Let's Figure Out Why We Lost The Last One
Iraq Will Fall Next
After twenty years of conflict, the United States recently ignominiously withdrew from Afghanistan. That nation has now been transformed into a terrorist super state from which attacks will be launched on nations not only in Central and South Asia but around the world. Joe Biden and his gang of incompetent Chinese pawns may choose for political reasons to attempt to convince America that this is not a defeat. Their lies and smoke screens do not make it so.
We just lost a war. Before we start bumbling our way into another one, we ought to figure out why.
What did we do wrong?
You could likely search the entire history of the Afghan war and not find a single, notable instance in which American forces were actually defeated on the field of battle by the Taliban. Our troops remain the best in the world. Our equipment remains the best in the world. For the most part, the Taliban did their best to avoid pitched engagements with American forces. They had a very keen appreciation for the likelihood of their survival.
And, yet we lost. The Taliban won. Why?
Because our leaders, including our senior military leaders, have lost track of the nature of war. They no longer understand that the mission of the American armed forces is to “kill people and break things.” Blinded by an almost religious belief in their own infallibility and the superiority of the American military over all enemies they have replaced the concept of waging war with something that looks more like corporate managing principles.
Junior officers get ahead by mastering the art of briefing PowerPoint presentations. Senior officers manage programs and produce status reports. The top brass nod sagely and assure everyone that they are “managing the battle space,” “shaping the environment” and on a “glide path to victory.” Anyone who dares to question this approach and suggests the enemy might have other ideas is shoved aside and disregarded.
For years, over the course of the Afghan conflict, there were lots of indications things weren’t going all that well. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) wrote a virtual library of reports telling anyone who could read that we were wasting our money, deluding ourselves, and at best getting nowhere. Nobody who mattered listened.
The Afghan war is over. At least until we are forced to go back in after the next 9/11. We are still heavily engaged in Iraq, and the same handwriting is on the wall there.
A recent Department of Defense Inspector General report detailed how Iran and its Shia militia allies are seizing control of the nation, threatening our forces, and preparing to transform that nation into a client state of the mad ayatollahs in Tehran. It also laid out how hollow our “victory” over ISIS has been and the likelihood that group will resurge. As in Afghanistan, the report made clear that our efforts to build a “new Iraqi military” have been an abject failure.
“ISIS remained entrenched in Iraq and Syria during the quarter. Although the United States’ partner forces in Iraq and Syria were able to conduct successful operations against ISIS without Coalition involvement during the quarter, they also continued to rely on Coalition support. Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) reported that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued to experience organizational shortcomings—ranging from inefficient command and control systems to ineffective maintenance and logistical processes—that hindered its ability to operate independently. The Syrian Democratic Forces, while able to gather intelligence through their human intelligence networks, remained fully dependent on the Coalition’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, according to CJTF-OIR.”
“The DIA reported that Iran-aligned militias continued to pose a threat to U.S. personnel in Iraq during the quarter.”
“According to the DIA, the Iraqi government’s ability to assert control over the Popular Mobilization Committee (PMC) or hold its affiliated militias accountable remained tenuous, with no noticeable change during the quarter.” (PMC militia are Iranian surrogates.)
“The Iraqi government did not issue orders for the ISF to directly challenge or confront Iran-aligned militias this quarter. The DIA said the PMC continued to demonstrate its ability to exert influence in Iraq’s judicial process through the use of intimidation tactics to stymie investigations and rely on sympathetic judges to have cases dismissed.”
“…Iraqi Army’s 5th and 8th Divisions are the units thought to have the greatest Iranian influence, officers sympathetic to Iranian or militia interests are scattered throughout the security services.”
The truth is rather straightforward. We have not eliminated ISIS. It continues to exist and is rebuilding. We have poured money and effort into building Iraqi security forces that remain dependent on our support. Left to stand on their own they will vaporize the same way the Afghan Army did.
The Iranians have built a shadow army in Iraq consisting of Hezbollah-style militia. They have infiltrated the military. They have tremendous influence inside the Iraqi government. They regularly attack our forces via these proxies. Step by step they are edging toward the day when the last Americans will be airlifted from the roof of the embassy in Baghdad, and another disaster will unfold.
We just lost a war. After twenty years of pouring blood and treasure into Afghanistan, the military that claims to be the best in the world was forced to flee and to ask for assistance from its adversary in doing so. We are in the process of losing Iraq, and the end there may come a whole lot sooner than anyone realizes.
Back in the comfortable offices of the top brass in the Pentagon, it is essentially business as usual. More contracts with Raytheon and Lockheed are being awarded and generals who never won a war are being promoted. The concept that you can’t fix a problem until you acknowledge it exists seems unknown to anyone that matters.
We were lucky to get out of Afghanistan without a much greater loss of life. We may not be nearly so lucky in the next adventure. We might want to get busy figuring out why we lost before we start a new war.