Best Defense

Don’t bring your allies to the surface and then fail to protect them from their foes

We need to redefine victory: It is not just removing the enemy, it is achieving the objective.

tory_refugees_by_howard_pyle

The British did it in the American Revolution. We did it in Iraq. I don’t know if we did it in Afghanistan, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

In a ring around New York and northern New Jersey, the British had Loyalists take loyalty oaths, which later were used against them by Revolutionaries. “As the war progressed, the British field generals time and again undermined the loyalists or used them ineffectively by not holding the ground the army had taken.”

This is more than inattentiveness. In a war for the support of the people, it is doing the job of the enemy.

We need to redefine victory: It is not just removing the enemy, it is achieving the objective. You have not won if your military operations just make potential supporters more vulnerable.

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.

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