Neither Barack Obama nor his Republican challengers have a strategy for victory and peace
In a scathing Memorial Day jeremiad against American foreign policy, Andrew Bacevich argues that elected officials are exploiting the troops by sending them to war when doing so isn't necessary. His whole article is worth a read, but one passage is so striking that it merits special attention:
As the 10th anniversary of what Americans once called their Global War on Terror approaches, a plausible, realistic blueprint for bringing that enterprise to a conclusion does not exist.
Isn't that something? He's absolutely right. There isn't even the equivalent of Richard Nixon's secret plan to get us out of Vietnam. Or popular demand for one (the best efforts of my colleague notwithstanding).
As Professor Bacevich puts it:
Those who might once have felt some responsibility for articulating such a plan--the president, his chief lieutenants, senior military leaders--no longer feel any obligation to do so. As a practical matter, they devote themselves to war's perpetuation, closing one front while opening another. More strikingly still, we the people allow our leaders to evade this basic responsibility to articulate a plan for peace. By implication, we endorse the unspoken assumption that peace has become implausible.
Our thought process is as follows: terrorism is a threat, and it justifies waging war anywhere on earth where there are terrorists. As we all know, however, it's impossible to kill every last terrorist. Thus the war on terrorism rolls on. Even if we leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, it'll continue.