Winning a war takes more than strength of arms, it requires willpower to see the fight through to its conclusion, and that’s why America’s military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is failing, writes Time’s Mark Thompson.
The progress made by U.S. troops over the last 14 years of war is swiftly being lost, Thompson argues. In June 2014 the Islamic State swept through Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and in May of this year they did the same in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. In Afghanistan, the Taliban took the city of Kunduz on September 28, and Afghan security forces have been stalled in their efforts to retake the provincial capital from the Taliban.
“The answer is pretty straightforward: there are two basic building blocks of war: weapons and will,” Thompson writes. “The U.S. can spend billions arming and training friendly forces, but if they lack the will to fight, no arsenal is going to save them in the long run. Both Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from weak, U.S.-nurtured central governments, which has led to ill-trained and poorly performing troops.”
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.