Today, a “War Termination Conference” was held at West Point. No, no, no. Generals didn’t sit on panels and pontificate on how to end all war. Rather, participants mulled over a tragically overlooked military consideration.
Several prominent military historians tell West Point instructors training the next generation of Army officers that American wars usually begin with a bang, yet it’s the endings that have long-lasting influences.
Brian Linn, a professor at Texas A&M University, said Monday at the United States Military Academy that wars “don’t end simply.”
Which kind of complicates Barack Obama’s plan to unobtrusively slip out of two critical wars like an on-call doctor with a nation full of patients back home. Even the years-long run-up to our leaving Iraq and Afghanistan threatens to make things unmanageable. As Elliott Abrams recently wrote in the Weekly Standard, “Everyone [in the Middle East] sees clearly that Obama desires to be out of Iraq more than he desires to stabilize that country. Since a strong Iraq would be a force of resistance to Iran, this policy suggests that the rise of Iran will be unchecked by America.” Yet, Obama continues to call this mad escape plan a “responsible exit.”
In Afghanistan, Obama has been staring impulsively at the exit door. This has essentially cost us our relationship with the Karzai government. Our effort to defeat the Taliban is unraveling for lack of a reliable alliance with Kabul. Still, the White House insists the “end” is near.
There’s an argument to be made that wars not only fail to end simply, they fail to “end” at all. They are won or lost. For our current commander in chief, this is one big Obamian false choice: No longer do we have to choose between the responsibilities of securing victory and the partisan satisfactions of aborting the last president’s policies.