Foreign Relations

Little Wars Waste Lives. Go Big Or Stay Home

War is too damn serious to fight in half-measures or for a president’s pride.

And I am sick of American troops leaving our shores filled with vigor and ambition and hope only to return disillusioned, scarred, maimed, or dead. On this, left and right are beginning to agree.

Here are just some of the wars we fought half-assed in my lifetime:

  • Vietnam
  • El Salvador/Nicaragua
  • Libya
  • Iraq I
  • Iraq II
  • Afghanistan

By “half-assed,” I mean sending troops into harms way with no better purpose than to stop fighting on some arbitrary date and time. A date determined by crusty old men and cracked old ladies in Washington whose net worth doubles every time the US flag drapes another coffin.

A calendar isn’t worth killing our kids for. You can buy calendars at Walmart for a $14.95, and they come with pictures of hot women or cute puppies, not dead Marines.

So if we’re going to have this debate, let’s go all the way.

I will support war with Syria if we are fighting for unconditional surrender of the enemy.

I will support a war resolution that tells the executive branch to any and all means to bring the enemy to his knees, including nuclear weapons.

I will support a war of massive proportions if we’re in it to win it and fight until the last enemy—or the last American—is dead or captured.

I will support a war in which every American suffers to some degree. No toilet paper, no Comedy Central, gasoline once a week, no new cars or computers, and no entertainment awards shows of any kind.

I will support a real war that meets the criteria I wrote about (with embarrassingly stilted language) in my 1993 book The Conservative Manifesto:

The United States seeks to be left alone. Therefore, when we are provoked to the point that force is required against a foreign country, the objective of the United States’ action will be total and unconditional surrender of the enemy. Likewise, the United States will not place its armed forces in harm’s way unless the objective of our action is total and unconditional surrender of the enemy.

My son Patrick, who just grabbed something out of the refrigerator behind me, was just a baby lying in his playpen next to my desk when I typed those words. He turned 20 this summer. When I wrote that, I was wearing my summer whites—the Navy’s summer office uniform. I was living in Navy housing in Groton, CT.

My position on war isn’t new. And it’s been consistent. Unlike Secretary of State John Kerry who opposed every action America undertook until he became Sec State and eligible to put his name on the trophy if we win.

So here’s my bill for Congress, the one I will support:

1. A state of war exists between the United States and Syria and shall remain until Syria’s government surrenders to American forces without condition.

2. The Executive shall prosecute this war to its successful end as defined in paragraph 1 using all weapons available—or that become available—including nuclear weapons.

Bring up that bill, Senator McCain. Have that debate with the American people. Say it! Have the balls to tell the American people and the world we mean business. Or shut up.

If you’re not willing to fight a total war, read up on the current conditions in Libya, Egypt, and Iraq.

Stop getting people killed and leaving messes for other people to clean up—or die trying.

It’s time to choose.

War or peace.

Defeat or victory.

No more Vietnams.


Author: William Hennessy

Co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Persuasive design expertLatest book: Turning On Trump: An Evolution (2016)Author of The Conservative Manifest (1993), Zen Conservatism (2009), Weaving the Roots (2011), and Fight to Evolve (2016)I believe every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work as the only path to human flourishing.

4 Comments on “Little Wars Waste Lives. Go Big Or Stay Home

  1. I too agree with your position. Congresswoman Wagner (who is a military mom) should be asked if she agrees with your point. The time has come to stop talking and actually deal with our enemy, Radical Islam.

  2. Von Clausewitz couldn’t have said it better! His oft-quoted and usually misinterpreted axiom that “War is just a continuation of policy by other means” has been the basis for half-measure military actions ever since WW2 (I could include Korea in your list!) because another axiom of his is usually forgotten (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Half-measures in War avail you nothing. They prolong the conflict, increase the destruction and loss of life, obscure the goals and minimize the chances of victory”. And when your “goal” is political gain, especially domestic political gain, you are screwed before you even begin.

    I was lied to in Viet Nam. My son is a proud Marine officer serving now and is about to be misused by our government in this recent folly of covering Obama’s hurt pride and providing media distraction from his long list of recent unconstitutional acts.

    We do not have the national will to fight the war that needs to be fought against the enemies that threaten us. Until we do, stay out of this 12th-Century tribal quagmire that is the Middle East.

    1. Wonderful words, sir. Thank you. And salute your son for me.

      I am encouraged that, on this issue, I don’t feel like I’m shouting into the abyss. People get it, and they get the strategic disaster the President has created with irresponsible, testosterone-driven talk.

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