A desire for quick results is central to the American mindset, and that can be a great strength. But when it comes to wars, it’s a weakness that may prove fatal unless the US upgrades its war-fighting equipment.
Here’s the president:
President Bush yesterday said that he realizes that the American people are suffering from “war fatigue” but that the U.S. military must stay in Iraq long enough to give fighting Iraqi factions a chance to reconcile politically, or Iraq will become a haven for terrorists and will destabilize the region.
In the latter stages of WW1 and WW2, and in Korea and the Gulf War, the brave and competent US military with its excellent equipment prevailed quickly, the longest war taking 3 years 8 months.
But after Vietnam, America’s enemies learned to pace their wars, and that’s what’s happening in Iraq.
Changing the US mindset would be hard – my only suggestion is for American kids to learn the game of cricket. That teaches them to face extreme physical risk (or did in my youth) over periods of up to 3 days (ditto), and explains why the Brits have endured and won so many long wars.
But American kids I know would hate cricket.
So the alternative is to win every war within 3 years – currently impossible without extensive use of nukes.
The DoD must get working on alternative weapons fast, because when the US pulls out of Iraq the war will follow its army home.
They could start with a program to deploy a million or so drones, managed by artificial intelligence and armed with pinpoint kinetic weapons.
As a shakedown test, the US could use this system to kill every terrorist in the badlands of Pakistan.
That would level things out a bit.