How to Win


I write from the point of view of an ex-soldier. The lessons of history teach that one wins a war by having the last infantrymen standing with loaded weapons and the enemies’ will to resist throughly shattered. That was the outcome at Mexico City, Appomattox, Berlin, and Tokyo. Since then, Mexico, the Confederacy, Germany, and Japan have never troubled us. That was not the case in 1918, 1953, or 2011. WWII was required to settle the open issues of 1918. North Korea still festers. And now, ISIL/ISIS/IS.

Air power is a wonderful asset. However, it can’t hold ground. It can’t root out an enemy surrounded by civilians. (After days of air strikes, the Israelis had to use soldiers in Gaza.) The alternative is to use carpet bombing (Dresden and Tokyo) or nukes (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) to make a desert that can be called peace.

At some point, men with rifles are going to have to personally confront ISIS. Obama seems to hope that these men will be Kurds or Syrians or Iraqis—anyone except Americans, with the possible exception of a few SEALs or Delta operators. We shall see, but I’m betting that the matter won’t be settled in any way favorable to our interests until American soldiers and/or Marines get involved.

UPDATE—Meanwhile, it seems that some Brits understand the problem. From the BBC:

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said it was vital that Britain took some “serious action” against IS.

“The key issue here is that we cannot rule out the use of large-scale ground forces. I don’t mean the kind of thing that’s happening now. I mean large-scale intervention forces,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Failure to do so would mean Britain would “just accept the fact that the Islamic State will continue to expand, continue to decapitate our citizens, continue to pose a threat to our country and countries in the region”.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister Cameron doesn’t.

This is not about British combat troops on the ground. It is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat.

When He’s Lost The New York Times …


The NYT has an op-ed piece by Bruce Ackerman that opens with these words:

PRESIDENT OBAMA’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.

Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.

Read the whole thing.

How to End a War


Victor Davis Hanson has an essay over at NRO called Only Deterrence Can Prevent War. He makes the case from history that wars happen when one side thinks that it can beat the other. He makes the further point that wars end when one side becomes convinced that it has been beaten.

Not the League of Nations or the United Nations. Unfortunately, war is a sort of cruel laboratory experiment whose bloodletting determines which party, in fact, was the stronger all along. Once that fact is again recognized, peace usually follows.

Read the whole thing.

As a Viet Nam veteran, I note that the United States could have crushed North Vietnam at will, but that we lacked the will. Strength is more than superior firepower. It has a moral component.

Taking Sides


I support Israel in its existential battles with enemies dedicated to its destruction. Israel is the only country in the region that is recognizable as a democratic state. It is at war with totalitarian thugs. In such a struggle, I support the democracy against the thugs.

Some folks seem to favor Hamas. Over at the Justice Through Music Project website, they’re headlining a video by Op-Critical called My Eyes.

In 2010, JTMP teamed up with musical-activist band Op-Critical and made the music video “My Eyes” criticizing the use of disproportionate force the Israeli Defense Force always uses against innocent Palestinian civilians. Four years later in 2014, the video still is relevant and needs to be reposted in light of the hundreds of civilians recently being killed by the IDF in the Gaza Strip. … Watch “My Eyes” below, and contact the Israeli embassy in DC and tell them to stop responding with such disproportionate military force in civilian areas.

If you can stomach the singing, you can watch the music video on YouTube.

Hamas has brought about the situation in Gaza. I’ve been amazed by the restraint the Israelis have shown. If I were going to call their embassy, it would be to offer my support.

Disaster Du Jour


Bret Stephens discusses the fruits of Obama’s foreign policy over at WSJ.

Yet when it comes to leadership, we have our very own Clement Attlee at the top, eager to subtract the burdens of international responsibility so he can get on with the only thing that really animates him, which is building social democracy at home. Actually, that’s unfair to Attlee, who could count on a powerful ally to pick up England’s dropped reins, rescue Europe, stop the Soviets. Mr. Obama’s method is to ignore a crisis for as long as possible, give a speech, impose a sanction, and switch the subject to climate change or income inequality.

Read the whole thing.