The finest strategic thinker of the 20th century, Britain’s Maj. Gen. J.F.C. Fuller, wrote the object of war is achieving political goals, not military victory.
Politicians keep forgetting Fuller’s dictum. The last examples of wars without defined political objectives were Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Welcome a fourth: Libya.
US foreign policy is becoming permanently militarized. The Secretary of State and senior diplomats jet around the globe making speeches, but real state business is increasingly done by the defense secretary and the Pentagon’s senior generals.
Yet even in America’s latest little war, some generals and admirals are nervous over exactly what their nation is trying to achieve by bombing tiny Libya at an initial cost of over $100 million daily – and rising fast.
Even some Republican Party Rambos are nervous and confused. Everyone here wants to lynch Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi – called not long ago by President George Bush a “valued ally in the war against terror.”
But thoughtful Republicans are asking, where is this all going? They are blasting President Barack Obama for not laying out a political strategy over Libya, and an exit plan.
These are, of course, the very same Republicans who supported Bush’s open-ended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have to date cost $1.6 trillion, much of it borrowed money.
Now, Washington is in deep confusion over who will take command of what Russia’s Vladimir Putin termed a new “medieval crusade.”
President Obama, who tries to think before shooting, fears the US will get stuck into yet another conflict in the Muslim world. But he is being pressured to war by some Republicans, the pro-war media, and concerns over 2012 elections. Small, bloodless wars are always vote-boosters at election time.
Obama has been trying to get NATO to front for the Libyan war, even though the US supplies most of the alliance’s airpower and high tech muscle. However, NATO has so far been reluctant to lead the mission, with key members Turkey and Germany refusing to join the attack.
So the White House proposed France lead the war. But to Republicans, France is even more wicked and evil than Libya. Christian fundamentalists, who make up about 44% of core Republican voters, regard France as a Sodom of sin and godless anti-Americanism.
More important, France is deeply unpopular because it has been insubordinate since the 1950’s, refusing, until the election of neoconservative Nicholas Sarkozy, to obey America’s direction.
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- Is the US Ruled by a Military Junta? (lewrockwell.com)
- Obama to Address Nation on Libya as Lawmakers Press for Answers – BusinessWeek (news.google.com)