Posted By Deebow • [July 24, 2009]
There are reasons that military people use words like "victory" to describe winning...
President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
The United States and Afghanistan are struggling to shore up security in the country, amid increasing violence. The Obama administration this year stepped up U.S. military operations in the country as the U.S. military presence begins to wind down in Iraq.
"We are confident that if we are assisting the Afghan people and improving their security situation, stabilizing their government, providing help on economic development ... those things will continue to contract the ability of Al Qaeda to operate. And that is absolutely critical," Obama told ABC News.
WTF Over? We don't want to "win" now? Well, I have news for the President, every one of the men and women in uniform that is sweating, shooting, bleeding and dying to accomplish our mission there is looking for "victory." They know what is measurable and what isn't. And they definitely know what it looks like at the end.
Now, I know that in the COIN battle-space that it is difficult to get hard measurements for the Powerpoint Rangers to put in briefing slides, but I do know that one of the many "measurable goals" of war-fighting (thereby leading to "victory") is the surrender/capture/death of the enemy. Economic development and stabilizing the government are all legs of the stool, but the the rock solid base of the stool, the thing that "contracts the ability of Al-Qaeda to operate" is killing or capturing (although capturing now has a greatly lessened effect) the enemy. That is what makes all of the other things possible.
But our CINC, having never been at the point of anything except petitions drives and organized protests, may not understand what I am getting at...
This comment, to me, is like a football coach telling a team that one of the goals is not to win the game, but to merely allow the defense to prevent the other team from scoring touchdowns. Using the same analogy, I am guessing that the team being told that they are not out to win, but just to "not lose" would have a HUGE effect on the morale of the team as a whole.
And that makes this kind of thinking and this kind of war-fighting strategy unacceptable.
I hope that General McChrystal, given his history and operational experience, has a long secure teleconference with the President about what "victory" looks like and how important it is to recognize that if OBL walked out of the mountains right now and said "Uncle" that we would undoubtedly, at the very least, place him on the fast track to a deep, dark secret place and find out all he knows (or maybe not, who knows). Personally, I want the last thing for our enemies to see is rifling of a .45 pistol as they squirm under the boot of a member of Delta who is holding them down to get a better shot.
That Mr. President, is how we in the military measure "victory."