Best Defense
Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Have we forgotten how to win our wars? Or have we actually learned how to contain and manage persistent violence?

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn recently published a column in which he bemoaned the way we fight.

Green_Zone_Burger_King
Green_Zone_Burger_King

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn recently published a column in which he bemoaned the way we fight.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn recently published a column in which he bemoaned the way we fight.

His arguments are familiar, and I think largely correct. There is a lack of seriousness in the entire approach we take. As he notes, “a U.S. military organization that once prided itself on strategic acumen and historical understanding of how to fight and win the nation’s wars has devolved into a vast bureaucracy designed to rotate units efficiently in endless deployments that have no clear pathway to victory.”

His solution is to double down. “I say let’s stop just participating in this never-ending conflict and instead win it, once and for all.”

But as I read that, I thought, What if the American people have decided that simply containing it, keeping it over there, is the best we can do?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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