With Memorial Day still close in the rear-view mirror, let us reflect on the following “wars” our nation has engaged in since the Second World War, which ended nearly 66 years ago:
No victory in the Korean War.
No victory in the Vietnam War.
No victory in the Afghanistan War.
No victory in the Iraq War.
No victory in the Libyan War.
No victory in the War on Poverty.
No victory in the War on Drugs.
See a pattern? I’ll bet you do.
But the madmen (and madwomen) who run this country apparently do not. They cannot win foreign shooting wars or domestic social wars. Yet they keep looking for more wars to fight.
A recent front-page story in The Wall Street Journal carried this banner headline: “Cyber Combat: Act of War.”
The article begins:
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.”
A few paragraphs later we read this: “The report will also spark a debate over a range of sensitive issues the Pentagon left unaddressed, including whether the U.S. can ever be certain about an attack’s origin.
It looks like our nation’s leaders have taken the saying “shoot first and ask questions later” too much to heart. Remember at the start of this month, Navy SEALS (they say) snuck into Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden and dumped his body in deep water to sleep with the fishes. We were told Pakistan’s leaders absolutely, positively must have known bin Laden was there.
Then, just a few days ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to Pakistan, where she announced the U.S. had “’absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest level of the Pakistani government’ knew where Bin Laden was and said she would return to Washington ‘ever more committed’ to the relationship.”
There’s no way to know if Clinton is telling the truth, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. What do you suppose the repercussions would be if we were now at war with Pakistan because we believed that nation’s leaders had been protecting bin Laden — and some weeks or months from now the world were to learn we were wrong?
Yet now the Pentagon has a report that apparently suggests making war on countries on the belief – not on the knowledge, but on the belief (shades of non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq) – that they are the source of cyber attacks.
Reminds me of the scene in Doctor Zhivago, where Zhivago is hauled before Strelnikov, whose forces had destroyed a village suspected of selling horses to the enemy. Turns out Strelnikov hit the wrong village. He tells Zhivago it doesn’t matter because destroying the village made the point: Don’t sell horses to the enemy.
“Your point,” Zhivago answers. “Their village.”
Our point. Their village. It’s the essence of contemporary American foreign policy.