The United States has been losing wars since 1945. In spite of spending huge amounts of money on its military, America has actually won very few battles, and lost all its wars. If the Korean War was a draw, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan are long, terrible and deadly wars that America has lost. So why keep fighting wars if one isn’t winning them? Does the American military need to improve its efficiency and military precision? But maybe winning isn’t the most important or beneficial goal of the conflict. America has the most devastating war machine in the world and continues to spend vast sums of money to develop more precise weaponry with ever more power to kill and destroy.
In the 2000s, many anti-war Americans, along with their counterparts around the world, were convinced that America invaded Iraq for its oil. But this was a rather naive view, Tom Streithorst argues in his article on America’s obsession with military exercises.
Well, if it wasn’t about oil or weapons of mass destruction, what was it about, then? Perhaps it was attributable to Dick Cheney’s desire to pump up the profits of Halliburton. Streithorst mentions the doctrine of neocon Michael Ledeen, who says that every 10 years, “the United States needs to pick up some small, crappy little country and throw it against the wall.” Neocons were never famous for being delicate in choosing their words. And yet, there is something missing in this theory. When, in 1991, Europeans were loudly arguing over whether or not to join the Coalition of Willing (the countries which supported the U.S. in pushing Iraq out of Kuwait and back behind its borders), I remember Gianni De Michelis, then Italian foreign minister, accusing the war’s opponents of not being smart. It is not the cost of the war, but the profit of the reconstruction that counts, argued the flamboyant Italian minister. Italy joined the war, but a couple of years later, De Michelis was accused of corruption and had to leave politics. Did the Italian minister have the right answer to why America doesn’t care if it loses wars?