The Vietnam War went from 1955 until 1973.
The Iraq War went from 2003 until 2011.
The war in Afghanistan began in 2001 and is just now winding down.
In between there was the war in Granada and the first war in Iraq.
For well over half my life our country has been engaged in an armed conflict which cost both money and lives. While it has been more than half my life, the experience/reality of anyone 21 years old or younger is of being a citizen of a country that is at war.
One can argue that there were good reasons for any and all of these conflicts, but one also has to acknowledge that the three major conflicts in my lifetime – Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan – which covered nearly 40 year, did not accomplish the expressed goals which led to our involvement in the first place.
Which makes one wonder.
At least, it makes me wonder.
Maybe there could be another way.
I am far, far from being an expert in any of the areas related to international policy and diplomacy and so my musing are just that. My musings. But it seems to me we view and treat the military in the same way we do the police. As the “catch all” response for any issue which arises.
It is an easy choice.
Both are there.
Both are organized.
Both are trained to respond.
We have invested heavily in both.
Are they always the correct “tool” for the situation?
I think our experience of the last 70 years would say “No.”
Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. While those more knowledgable than I would point out the differences and the nuances of these wars, sitting here today, watching what is unfolding in Afghanistan, it certainly feels eerily similar to what I have seen before. So, maybe it is time to seriously think about and to find another way.