Illusions of Victory

September 28, 2009

There's No Strategy To Win in Afghanistan

By Douglas Macgregor

Douglas MacArthur is regarded as a great commander because he got some very important things right, most famously the Inchon landing. He also got some things wrong, such as his push to the Yalu River.

His catchy statement, "there is no substitute for victory," was also wrong, though not so wrong as the armchair strategists who quote it out of context. In fact, "victory" is often an illusion, a will-o'-the-wisp that can lead nations and armies deeper into the bog of history until they disappear.

Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan had the foresight to avoid the bog, to halt inconclusive military operations in Korea and Lebanon before they consumed America's strength. Such men are rare, and even more rarely honored for their actions. (Continue reading)

This article was published in Defense News, September 28, 2009 and is available in its entirety online.

Douglas Macgregor, COL, USA (Ret.), is a fellow at the Straus Military Reform Project and the author of Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting. COL Macgregor is one of 45 signatories to the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy's open letter to President Obama, which urged the president to rethink U.S. objectives in Afghanistan.

Posted by coalition at September 28, 2009 11:12 AM

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