The US will end up getting its collective imperial butt kicked out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike other imperial territories, those two are remaining in an active rebellion – and the Arab Spring is happening in that neighborhood as well, just to add some spice to the occasion.
The biggest reason the empire cannot win wars is plain and simply American hubris. The typical American, whether in a leadership role or simply the guy (or gal) on the street, simply cannot comprehend that other people have other values. That’s why they’re “other people.” American “leaders” (more on that term in a later post) are particularly susceptible to the sin of hubris, imagining as they do – because of their exalted positions, which actually suck in a geologic sense – that because they were elected or appointed that they, QED, have all the right answers and that those answers must be inflicted on others, at gunpoint if necessary. Being certain you’re right, when that certainty only affects yourself, is no huge sin. Forcing that view on others, on pain of pain, is a problem.
Which brings us back to the Middle East. Are there people in Iraq and Afghanistan who want American troops there? You bet – most of them, like the corrupt government of Saigon, have personal stakes in hoovering huge amounts of wealth out of the country and in keeping their own personal fundaments intact and safe from any potential rebels or torch-and-pitchfork wielding mobs. The Mayor of Kabul would not last 30 days if American troops came home from Afghanistan tomorrow.
The key to America’s upcoming losses is another area of warfare that America has never understood, that type of warfare currently known as 4G Warfare. Wikipedia does a decent job of explaining it, in rough draft form, in this argicle. I’ve been following William Lind’s writings on the topic since they first appeared and have found nothing to quibble with.
America is locked into a 2G Warfare mentality. “He who bombs and kills the most wins,” is the guiding credo of 2G, and one only has to look at the budget imbalances between munition purchases when compared to language training to get some idea of America’s love affair with 2G. Why not? Learning a foreign language and culture can be difficult. Building and delivering a bomb is relatively easy. There’s no doubt that you can kill enough people to end any opposition to your rule – and the wind whistling through the empty eye sockets of the pyramids of skulls can be a soothing and pleasing sound to the conqueror.
As the imperial dotgov has grown abroad, it has grown at home as well. Can anyone imagine Thomas Jefferson or John Adams or Andrew Jackson appointing a TSA head? Now Abe Lincoln, on the other hand … but I digress. With that growth of empire and imperial mannerisms at home comes the imperial methodology of 2G Warfare, though now turned against the empire’s own citizens. Recent reports and articles have opined on the growing militarization of the police and the resultant propensity to treat more and more crimes as needing resolution through commando raids. It’s not an unreasonable nor fringe observation any more to note that law enforcement (cf. former description as “peace officers”) agencies are taking on more and more of the characteristics of an army of occupation, rather than local people keeping the peace. See, for example, further discussion here.
As a result and response, elements of 4G warfare are now appearing locally as well. If you can work your way through the gawdawful color combinations (don’t bloggers ever READ their own blogs when they pick their colors?) you can find an interesting sample here.
The US Army in Vietnam gave lip service to winning the hearts and minds of the locals, but were truly clueless as to how to actually go about doing so, and thus lost the war (while never losing a battle). Is that the future of America inside the borders as well?