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Yah, I was goin' to go back and edit what I wrote to include Gunny's point, but now I'll just ditto him. War is da last resort, so if yeh get to that point yeh are in it to win it. Yeh know what victory is, victory is somethin' that will genuinely solve da problem, and yeh are committed to doin' what it takes to get there.




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I think you should use force with a great deal of hesitancy. When you chose that option you have to accept that young men and women are going to their deaths and that civilians will inevitably get caught in the cross fire.


Perhaps coming from a much smaller nation militarily I see this from a different perspective but I can see very few military interventions by the UK which I think were justified in my life time. The Falklands was one, (although how the hell we pulled that one off is still a mystery) Kosovo the other. Possibly the first Gulf War although I'm still not convinced that all non violent means were exhausted there.


As others have said the cause must be justified and you must be able to achieve your objective and get out again.


I disagree that you have to be prepared do what is necessary. Fact is you could mop up an awful lot of Taliban positions by carpet bombing villages or even go further, how about tactical nukes? I'm sure that no one here would be ready to justify that level of force to win in Afghanistan. Or how about committing the entire US military to it, or that of all NATO countries? That might be sufficient. Would you be prepared to do that if it proved necessary? I doubt it. I'm sure we would all prefer to admit defeat than go down that road

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I'm gonna build off Cambridgeskips comment.


What constitutes victory? Is Iraq a victory? A emerging young democracy in the current hotbed of unrest in the middle east? A nation that proves sectarian strife can be overcome? I'd consider that a victory. Even if they are still having some issues and unity problems.


I think Afghanistan will end in defeat for the United States and it's NATO allies.


The Allies have failed to make capital improvements to Afghanistan, (Electrical services, roads, water, other important building projects, frequently the money has been stolen by local warlords, and is used to fund their militias.)


Afghanistan has no native industry, (Iraq has oil).


The Afghans themselves are tired of 11 years of warfare, and are tired of Allied interference.


Hamid Karzai (President of Afghanistan) is hopelessly corrupt.


In 2014 when the American combat troops leave, I expect the Taliban to continue their insurgency against the Afghan government. Talks of a "Settlement" with the Taliban is a joke. The Taliban is also a fractured movement, and not really under a single leader. Some branches may end the conflict, but other pockets will continue to attack the Western Backed Karzai( or his successors) government. The Afghan government(since it lacks industry, also lacks tax revenue) will be unable to sustain Military expenditures large enough to combat the Taliban, and will crumble by 2016.


All of this is my humble opinion and estimation, based on my research and various historical examples I have open to use.

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I'm not making this argument, but it is a viable argument that no U.S. military action taken since and including Korea meets the criteria for war.


On the other hand, left unchecked, Communist expansion and control over some of the resources they would have gained, and in another era, again unchecked those Saudi Oil fields in Saddam's hands could have gotten very interesting.


Then there's the question of stepping in on humanitarian issues where force is required to settle things down so the humanitarian work can be done. Why do it for some and allow genocide in others.


All interesting and I'm interested in thoughts, but not in debating those questions.

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Unlike many people, I believe all countries have a duty to intervene in genocides. However, most nations don't and most civilians don't support that kind of action. I think it's reprehensible that nations like Sudan, Syria, and Rwanda can get away with the mass killings of civilians, and get an ineffective slap on the wrist from the ICC, and a wink-wink from major power nations who should know better than to support such countries.


Before I get accused of being a war chicken, I'm a member of U.S Army ROTC. So I have no problem fighting in any of those sort of conflicts. I'd much prefer to fight and die for civilians than many other reasons countries fight wars.

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You guys can throw around all the high-minded fantasyland reasons for military action you want. But this country has demonstrated empirically that we are willing to go to war for a reason that can be summarized with a single word: oil. It's that simple.


Our strategic interests in the Persian Gulf region I think are well known but bear repeating today. We do of course have historic ties especially to the Saudis and other governments of the region that hark back with respect to Saudi Arabia to 1945 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz on the USS Quincy towards the end of World War II and affirmed at that time that the United States had a lasting interest in the security of the Kingdom.


Before the first Gulf War, Iraq controlled 10% of the world's oil reserves prior to the invasion of Kuwait and once Saddam Hussein took Kuwait he doubled that to approximately 20% fo the world's known oil reserves. He was clearly in a position to dictate the future of the worldwide energy policy and that gave him a stranglehold on our economy and on that of most of the other nations of the world as well.


This is why we went to war in the Gulf. It's about our own national security interests and insuring the peace and stability of the entire world.

We sent forces to defend Saudi Arabia. The integrity of Saudi Arabia, its freedom, are very, very important to the United States.

Our jobs, our way of life, our own freedom, and the freedom of friendly countries around the world would all suffer if control of the world's great oil reserves fell into the hands of that one man, Saddam Hussein.


So we declared war.

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To say everyone war America fights is over oil smacks of conspiracy, and a downright disconnect with reality.


While 3 previous wars have been over oil or oil played a central role (or even a minor one)


Gulf War

Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom



How many wars or military actions happened without Oil being a primary concern?







Libya bombing 1987

Hondura- Special forces deployed

Somalian Intervention.

Bosnia Hergovina and the bombing of Serbia.



I could go ON and ON Packsaddle. To summarize. While recently the United States has used Troops to protect oil interests, that is not the ONLY reason Soldiers are sent into combat. Quite frankly, I find the assertion that our Military is only used to protect oil insulting.


Yours in Scouting,


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Sorry, I failed to mention that nearly everything I wrote in that previous message consisted of direct quotes from either Dick Cheney or George H.W. Bush.

I'm merely reporting what they said with respect to the Gulf War.


Now I agree that oil is not the ONLY reason we choose to go to war. But if you read my first two lines, I said that we have demonstrated that we are willing to go to war for oil. And THAT contention, backed by direct quotes from Cheney and Bush, has not been refuted by a single thing you wrote in reply.


Edit: Moreover, I'll also contend that oil is the MAJOR reason for the creation of CENTCOM.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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But this country has demonstrated empirically that we are willing to go to war for a reason that can be summarized with a single word: oil. It's that simple.


Nah, it's not that simple at all, eh?


No oil in Korea. No oil in Vietnam. None in da Dominican Republic, Grenada, or Panama. No oil in Bosnia or Somalia. None in Afghanistan.


Lots of oil in Venezuela under a hostile regime, but no war there.


Would yeh like to try again on that thesis? :)



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Exactly, and when Reagan created CENTCOM, that was also an expansion of one of Carter's creations. The doctrine wasn't put to the extreme test until Desert Storm. But put it there, we did. And sowed the seeds for so much that has happened since.


Edit to add: I'll go further and say that Carter recognized what that oil meant, just like every President before him back to Roosevelt at the end of WWII, and after we lost our surrogate in the Shah, Carter headed us in the direction of putting our forces in the region to protect the Saudi Kingdom. But Reagan didn't repudiate that doctrine. Instead he fully embraced Carter's doctrine, expanded it and formalized it with CENTCOM.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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