Small Wars Journal

Why America Isn't Winning its Wars

Why America Isn't Winning its Wars by Anna Mulrine, Christian Science Monitor

When Michael Vickers was making his name as the Central Intelligence Agency operative depicted in “Charlie Wilson’s War” – running a covert war against the Soviets in Afghanistan through Muslim jihadis – it was by no means a war of decision by committee. 

It was the bold and resourceful work of a maverick.

The wisdom of that approach remains controversial – it vanquished the Soviets but planted the seeds for modern terrorism. Yet this week, Mr. Vickers, a former undersecretary for intelligence, told lawmakers that the qualities that guided him in Afghanistan have been in too-short supply in America’s recent warfighting. Put bluntly, American efforts to respond to the security challenges of today simply aren’t working…

Read on.


J Harlan

Sun, 12/13/2015 - 1:18am

The reason the US has lost it's recent wars is that they were optional and the US is a democracy. It simply doesn't matter if the US wins or loses and the troops know it. The wars have been fought for domestic political concerns, personnel and institutional goals and profit. A tiny % of the US population actually go into harms way. They are professional soldiers so while the NFL can be paid for its public support, most Americans don't really care much about what happens to them. As the initial burst of often faux patriotism wanes and the public question what good the tens of billions being sent are bringing the government class looks for the next war to fill their busy days.

The modern combat soldier is like a SWAT cop in a crime ridden inner city. He does his job but never expects to end crime or depravity. He goes to work, has the odd it of drama and hangs around long enough to collect a pension. No one expects him to "win" so the police aren't organized for victory just sustainability.

Dave Maxwell

Sat, 12/12/2015 - 8:18am

Rather than a new "Goldwater-Nichols" do we instead need a new National Security Act of 1947 (2016)?