stockingfull wrote:Couldn't disagree more. WWII required great bravery and heroism, to be sure. But it was a political no-brainer once Pearl Harbor happened. (And there's no analogy to 9/11 because Pearl Harbor was a military attack by a state, not a guerilla attack by some zealots who can't be found ... , er, who we weren't willing to kill when they were found.)
But, to the point, there hasn't been so simple a political choice since then (with the possible exception of the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo). So the John Wayne-esque political-think of WWII is not only literally as old as Mr. Estes, it just doesn't cut it anymore.
We make a terrible error when we think every conflict comes down to the simple choices and heroism of WWII. And we've done that over and over since Mr. Estes wore his uniform. When will we all learn that the world ain't so simple anymore? If the geezers can't comprehend that, they need to find the wisdom to listen more and talk less.
The unfortunate truth is that Afghanistan is a no-win morass. We may long for the simplicity of the old-fashioned answers, but they just aren't there. We're in a country which didn't invade us, wasn't invaded by some other country from which we can heroically liberate it, we're uninvited, and we'll have 100,000 troops looking for about 100 Al Quaeda killers, and killing a bunch of Afghani civilians in the process.
Old Mr. Estes never lived through any of that, so his "guidance" just isn't helpful. And he only underscores that problem by his attempt to be condescending about it.
Germany didn't invade the US. Actually, Japan didn't invade the US either, though it did attack a military target in a remote territory of the US. Highly trained, well-funded and regionally influential terrorists did in fact attack a US civilian target with intent to inflict as much damage to civilians and property as possible.
The world wasn't simple in 1945. People weren't substantially different in 1945. "Geezers", as you so eloquently stereotype the most senior of citizens, have the same collective judgement as their modern counterparts. "Geezer" wisdom is lost only on fools.
Applying such wisdom would would lead the prudent to recognize that nation-states and tribes have only borders as their difference. Before the powerful western nations imposed borders on the middle east in the first half of the 20th century, tribal values ruled the middle east. The western borders are largely ignored by Islamic sects and Arab tribes. Nothing has changed. Tribal values will remain after governments have come and gone in the middle east.
The Wahhabists, which are at the root of al Qaeda and Taliban values, are a formidable tribe and have popular influence and empathy reaching about 40% of Muslim populations. Hitler's henchmen, the nazis and brown shirts were zealots too. They also were taken lightly in the beginning.
An LATimes report in 2001 indicated that Wm Clinton missed the chance to retrieve bin Laden from Sudan in the 1990's. Apparently he took it too lightly or was incompetent. Rumsfeld today says the commanders never requested additional troops in Afghanistan. Obama ramps up the troop levels by 30,000 to chase the mere 100 Al qaeda killers you say are the problem. Is Obama that stupid? Or are you being casually inaccurate in your characterization of the problem?
Master Chief Estes has it right.