Death by Small Cuts

Apparently, United States military forces now are going to stay in Afghanistan until we win the war there.

When will we know that we have won it? Is it when the last terrorist is dead?

But what if our activities there increase the number of people who hate us and continue to feed terrorism networks? And what about the terrorists in Syria and Yemen and Somalia and a host of other nations? Are we going to fight wars there, too?

Two wars “against terrorism” have already ballooned our national budget beyond anything imaginable in previous eras. The costs of our wars are choking off investments even in those programs favored by both political parties, like infrastructure.

Perhaps this is exactly what our terrorist enemies have in mind. They will siphon off our national treasure by turning on many small spigots. They will tempt us to fight “wars against terrorism” in a dozen different countries.

They will not aim one single mortal blow. They will slash at us with many small cuts until our resources bleed away.

The attacks in New York, Washington, and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, did not cripple us or threaten our infrastructure or render us helpless.

It was a despicable act against innocent victims that called for a response but not for endless war.

During our past conflict with a much more formidable foe, the Soviet Union, in the Cold War, our biggest mistake was going to war in Vietnam. Better if we had concentrated more on what finally did win the Cold War for us, an economy that benefitted most Americans and the growing inclusion of all classes of citizens.

U.S. diplomat George Kennon, writing from Moscow in the early days of the Cold War, advised his country how to win that war:

“Much depends on health and vigor of our own society. . . Every courageous and incisive measure to solve internal problems of our own society, to improve self-confidence, discipline, morale and community spirit of our own people, is a diplomatic victory over Moscow . . . the greatest danger that can befall us in coping with this problem of Soviet communism, is that we shall allow ourselves to become like those with whom we are coping.”

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