We (Americans) don’t seem to do “interim” very well. We are totally tits at accomplishing specific tasks – deposing evil regimes, incapacitating opposing militaries, yanking down odious statues – with efficiency and alactrity, but seem to drift when the mission isn’t well defined, as during “interim” periods such as Iraq’s, between war and functioning self-rule. Victor Davis Hanson has a suggestion:
- As was the case in Afghanistan, our victory in Iraq was achieved so quickly that most enemies were more likely to run or surrender than fight, thus allowing a number either to drift back within the civilian landscape or fool themselves into thinking we were far from being exacting victors. What a funny world for a soldier fighting Americans: One day in a trench can get you blown to smithereens by a GPS bomb; the next, after surrendering, you are ensured of impunity in a street rally to throw rocks at Americans before international cameras.
To meet such challenges, perhaps it is time to create a permanent division-strength body of peacekeepers, police, and civilian reconstructionists. Their duties would be to follow the military into captured enemy cities and – within a matter of days, if not hours, rather than the current months – hunt down government criminals in hiding, keep order and security, provide the populace with food and water, resurrect infrastructure and utilities, and begin near-immediate resumption of television, radio, and newspapers. [National Review]
This would turn what is now a gray area of conflicting responsibilities and political maneuvers into hard, specific tasks, our military’s greatest strength. Rock on VDH.