War is not pretty. It is not supposed to be pretty. Kinetic warfare of any kind is not pretty. However, recently it seems that the United States military leaders (not the on-the-ground soldiers) have not realized that. A report by Senator Tom Cotton, writer of the infamous op-ed “Send In The Troops,” found that there is an “insufficient focus on warfighting” in the military. The report cites interviews with military personnel. One lieutenant said “Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy. It’s criminal. They think my only value is as a black woman. But you cut our ship open with a missile and we’ll all bleed the same color.” (8).
The military cannot function if soldiers treat their fellow soldiers like trash. For example, there are a large number of sexual assault reports in the military. Soldiers should not be soldiers if they cannot respect their fellow soldiers. But instead of just investigating the claims, the bureaucracy routinely ignored them, and seems more focused on diversity training than investigating claims of sexual assault. In addition, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff is too busy trying to “understand white rage.” As someone who has had to deal with white rage for 4 years in high school… let’s just say it’s not that complex, or worth being studied in lieu of studying military tactics. All jokes aside, the military is meant to fight wars and defend the USA. We cannot fight a war with leaders who are not focused on combat. But that’s not the only problem.
I think when people think of warfare, they think that having a bigger arsenal automatically means that they will win the war. I do not agree with that premise. Recently, we have seen politicians such as Texas’ very own Robert Francis O’Rourke and the current President of the United States, Joe Biden, effectively say that you need fighter planes and nukes to take on the USA. I understand the sentiment. I mean the US spends more money on defense than any other country, so one would think they would never lose. My issue with that argument is that one can look around the world and through history. Just recently, the US-backed Afghanistan government fell to the Taliban who had been living in caves and mountains, despite the president’s promise that such an event would not happen due to the Afghan army being “better trained, better equipped, and more re-— [sic] more competent in terms of conducting war.” This was all while Biden was pulling air support from the Afghan military along with their contractors, then offering it back to the spineless Afghan president if he agreed to help “change perception” of the events unfolding in Afghanistan. This is not the first time the US has underestimated guerilla warfare. These are the same tactics that led to our defeat in Vietnam.
Before high school, I was essentially taught that the US had an unstoppable army and that we won every war we fought in. But at the time, I was only taught about the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II. It wasn’t until World History class in my freshman year that I was taught about a new set of wars the US fought. One of those wars was the Vietnam War. It surprised me to learn that the US lost a war. This war was one of the proxy wars of the Cold War, like the Korean War, and therefore the Vietcong had support from superpowers such as the Soviet Union and China, but considering it was mostly Vietnamese forces doing the fighting, it still counts. Besides, it’s not like the Vietcong used standard military tactics to fight. All they had to do was outlast the USA and decentralize their forces so that they couldn’t be taken out in one fell swoop. Take note, this war was fought AFTER the US had already possessed (and used) the “nukes” which certain members of our military think outmatch any other potential tactic. In the end, North Vietnam defeated South Vietnam and declared the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Our military leaders have not learned their lesson, if the eerie similarity between the ecuaciones of Kabul and Saigon are any indication. There are still Americans stranded in Afghanistan though it seems private citizens are helping with the evacuation. However, according to Biden and our military leadership, this could never happen due to our superior weaponry.
I think the lack of introspection within the upper ranks of the military about their inability to permanently win modern wars is baffling. I mean yeah, the US has the biggest arsenal in the world. But in the two examples I mentioned, it would seem that arsenal is not all it takes to win a war. Do not get me wrong; history has shown that a giant attack on the enemy can cause a war to end quickly. An example would be the only nuclear attack in human history causing Japan to quickly surrender. But it seems that the military leaders did not account for the tactics of the Taliban when it came to their takeover of Afghanistan. Our leadership keeps focusing on diversity in the military (which isn’t wrong if it is done naturally) rather than focusing on fighting wars. None of them will be held accountable it seems due to being “experts,” but it has gotten to the point where China is trolling the US and claims the US does not negotiate from a position of strength. Our leaders need to stay focused on protecting the US — or else there will be consequences.