Opinion: Our Military Exists To Fight And Win Wars — Except In Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, And Korea


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Gen. Martin DempseyThe following is an opinion piece by General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As our nation stands on the brink of another military intervention, I’d like to speak directly to the American people in this moment of grave crisis.

On behalf of the entire Department of Defense, I want to reassure you that the men and women of your armed services — your husbands, sons, daughters, and wives — are always ready to defend America, night and day. They are the best trained and equipped military in the world, and will carry out whatever mission our political leadership asks them to, against any threat: foreign or domestic.

Well mostly just domestic. In fact any foreign threat at all would be kind of a crapshoot. We’re not really in the business of fighting and winning foreign wars.

Now don’t get me wrong, every single one of us volunteered to do whatever our country asked. I’m just saying that it really helps if what you’re asking us to do is maintain a garrison environment for a few decades. We never actually thought you would ask us to fight a multi-decade conflict in the same place, especially a shithole like the Middle East.

If we had, we wouldn’t have fired all our Arabic linguists, burned all our maps of Iraq, or joked that anyone who wants to send a large American army into Asia, the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.

If I had my way, we’d be preparing for the coming war with China. Unless that actually happened, in which case I’d remind everyone that we should never fight a land war in Asia. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

I’m not trying to be negative. Again, our military is the greatest fighting force on earth…you know, as long as it’s doing something it’s spent decades training for. Take Desert Storm: we’d spent over fifty years training to fight a conventional mechanized conflict on the plains of Central Europe, so it wasn’t too hard to transport that type of warfare to the Middle East. It’s like our Marines say, “we will fight in every clime and place”.

That is, unless the fighting involves unconventional warfare, which we’re not very good at. Actually, now that I think about it, the same goes for conventional warfare if it has to happen in jungles or mountains.

Or cities.

Or during the winter.

To be perfectly honest with you, our battlefields are pretty-much limited to green pastures in the summer, and those pastures better have plenty of paved roads since even the slightest rainfall can bog down the thousands of combat and support vehicles we now need to go anywhere.

Also, it would really help if there was a pretty robust power grid, because we’re not very good at managing batteries. And speaking of power, we’ll probably also need a couple extra bucks to rent non-military generators and pay third country nationals or locals to maintain them, but not more than a couple million dollars a year.

It wouldn’t hurt if the people there spoke English, even as a second language.

And because all our new aircraft have the range of a spitball, it better be near someplace that we’ve had decades to build heavy infrastructure in.

Except Turkey.

I know all of this may not sound very reassuring to you, so don’t mistake my meaning. We’ll always do our best with any mission you have for us. The customer’s always right, you know? I just wanted to remind you that the service is usually better when you order something off the menu, so I’m really glad we had this chance to get on the same page about foreign wars.

Because as long as we’re being totally honest here, we’re not having the easiest time maintaining a garrison environment either.

Investigative reporter Dark Laughter also helped with transcription.

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