This weekend, 22 Navy SEALs, 3 USAF Spec. Ops., five U.S. Army Rangers, and seven Afghans were killed when a single Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. A PRG is 1930s technology; the NAZI Panzer Faust.
There are two immutable rules of war: Rule number 1. Good, brave, young men will die in combat. Rule number 2. Nothing can change rule number 1. C'est le guerre, such is the nature of war.
Ignoring the fact that so many special ops. members were aboard a single helicopter, ignoring that it is the largest and least maneuverable helicopter in the U.S. inventory, ignoring that the Taliban states that it has infiltrated the Afghan military and thus has access to our military plans, why was this allowed to stand?
Karl Von Clausewitz famously stated: "War is politics by other means." What does it mean when we allow our enemy to obtain retribution on those who killed their leader?
While it is hard to imagine why those men were not divided among several fast attack helicopters, improving odds of avoiding being shot down and depriving the enemy of the ability to kill so many with a single shot, it is beyond understanding why attack aircraft with night vision, guided by satellites, followed behind with B52 were not immediately put on scene to make the attackers pay a Hellishly high price! The Taliban should be left unable to deny that there was an unacceptably high cost for this victory. Not only have our finest men given their last greatest full measure of their devotion, but also the enemy has paid no cost for it. What is the political impact to us by waging war this way?
This tragic event has caused many devoted American patriots to ask why we are still there. Moreover, history is filled with examples of nations who lost everything by going broke waging endless war.
For me, it is a perfectly valid strategy to give our enemies a point of focus for their rage in their own home turf. Let's keep this fight against Islamic extremism an away game for us. I can accept the proposition that if we pull out, our enemies will have more opportunity to focus their efforts on our home turf. But if this is our strategy, the enemy must always be denied a victory without terrible cost. After our aircraft have changed the topography of that chunk of real estate that the enemy fired upon us from, ground troops should be definitively putting an exclamation point on the message; it's not worth attacking us.
History shows that it is nearly impossible to win an enemies heart and mind. However, history is also filled with examples of enemies being forced to accept that they are no longer able to resist and shifting into trying to make the best of being defeated.
The past 50 years shows example after example that politicians fight wars for political gain. This always compromises the ability to attain military victory. When we allow soldiers to fight wars, military victory is typically swift and decisive but may make the squeamish blanch.
The history of the Pax Romana was written in the blood of the enemies of Rome. Those enemies were taught that the Roman Soldiers were not squeamish but they would make sure that even the most hardened who resisted them would be rendered squeamish by their ruthlessness.
Presently, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several other places, we are simply wasting the lives of the greatest Americans among us. I don't pretend to be privy to the intelligence and advice provided to our two most recent Presidents. But to this observer, whatever we are doing, it needs to be seriously re-evaluated.