The simple, basic lesson that Americans willfully refuse to learn
As President Trump considers escalating our invasion of Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix that the American media largely ignored.
Assad voiced two observations that Americans try very hard to pretend don't exist.
"Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one," he charged.
This is not just an interesting opinion. It's an obvious, undeniable statement of fact. Or as Dennis Kucinich put it: "The U.S. presence in Syria is an illegal act of war. It violates international law and it is unconstitutional. Syria did not invite the U.S. to come in. Congress has not approved it"
Assad's observation alone would be a show-stopper, if people actually cared about what is and is not illegal these days. We don't.
It's Assad's second observation that I find even more interesting, and the consequences to be even more far reaching.
"And we don't think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan," Assad continued. "They didn't succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions."
We don't win, and we make things worse.
These are measurable facts that even a cursory review will confirm.
Just a few centuries ago, results like this would cause kings and generals to have their heads chopped off. It would often cause revolutions, or at least popular revolts.
In a sane world, in a world with consequences, this would cause serious self-examination of military tactics, political strategy, and moral values.
We don't live in that sane world.
Instead we live in a world in which failure at every level means doubling-down on those very same strategies.
Consider how Sen. John McCain accused Sen. Rand Paul of treason for the crime of not wanting to further over-extend our military. The word "conservative" has been redefined.
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) raised concerns Sunday about U.S. cybersecurity, warning that the country is "not necessarily winning."
"We are in a cyber war in this country, and most Americans don't know it. And we are not necessarily winning," he said in an interview with John Catsimatidis that aired on AM 970 in New York.
Not winning means we are losing, just like all our other wars.
For further proof, Congress has decided that it needs a "cybersecurity policy that defines cyber war."
Just like our War on Terror, we start wars and only later decide that we need to define our enemies and what we hope to achieve. That's not a failure of our troops, that's a failure of politicians.
Is there any wonder why we keep losing?
Meanwhile, instead of fixing what is wrong, we are looking to double-down on failure again, except this time our failure will be too large for this planet.
Space is now a potential battle zone, Goldfein explains in an interview. The Air Force wants to ensure “space superiority,” which he says means “freedom from attack and freedom to maneuver.”
If you think cyberwar raises some tricky issues, get your mind around this next big threat worrying the Pentagon. Similar problems exist in both the cyber and space domains: U.S. commercial and military interests are interwoven but deeply suspicious of each other; the technologies are borderless but are being weaponized by hostile nation-states; and attacks on satellites and other systems may be invisible and difficult to attribute.
America needs to have its head examined.
How do we not demand more, or anything, from our leaders? How is this not a failure of the American public for criminal apathy, as well as of our politicians?
It's ironic that Republicans like to hate political correctness, yet give their own full-throated endorsement to their own version of political correctness - militarism. They are so committed to militarism that they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the repeated unmitigated failures of our military empire.
Meanwhile, America's corrupt psychosis rolls on.
As with budget deficits or cost overruns on weapons purchases, members of the national security apparatus — elected and appointed officials, senior military officers and other policy insiders — accept war as a normal condition.
Once, the avoidance of war figured as a national priority. On those occasions when war proved unavoidable, the idea was to end the conflict as expeditiously as possible on favorable terms.
These precepts no longer apply. With war transformed into a perpetual endeavor, expectations have changed. In Washington, war has become tolerable, an enterprise to be managed rather than terminated as quickly as possible. Like other large-scale government projects, war now serves as a medium through which favors are bestowed, largess distributed and ambitions satisfied.