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The U.S. Military’s Lost Wars

The U.S. Military’s Lost Wars

William Astore

One of the finest military memoirs of any generation is Defeat Into Victory, British Field Marshal Sir William Slim’s perceptive account of World War II’s torturous Burma campaign, which ended in a resounding victory over Japan. When America’s generals write their memoirs about their never-ending war on terror, they’d do well to choose a different title: Victory Into Defeat.

Whether the U.S. has won or lost its wars depends on the yardstick by which you measure. If you believe in the pronouncements that we go to war to bring justice to the countries where war takes place, then our wars are indeed a miserable failure. But if you recognize that the U.S. goes to war to protect and enhance the economic clout and profits of our corporations than you see the great success the wars have had. Over $150 billion in corporate profits in Iraq. The international profits of American corporations in overseas operations at an all time high. Measures of success are tied to the goals of an endeavor. America has been pretty successful in its imperialistic goals.


All of these “woe is war” articles that treat America’s wars almost as accidents of history are tiresome at best. Without acknowledgement of the planning documents such as Zbigniew Brzezinski’s (1997) The Grand Chessboard, such articles reflect a naive or perhaps purposefully deflective sense of history. History is planned. The plans don’t always come to fruition, but history is planned. There can be no honest assessment of war without simultaneous analysis of the motivations behind the planning. Journalism needs to step it up if Empire is to be restrained. Color me skeptical on that…


Astore sez:
“Victory Into Defeat … would certainly be more appropriate than (titles) on already published accounts like … General Stanley McChrystal’s My Share of the Task (2013).”

Every memoir of the U.S. War Of Terror should be titled My Share of the Loot.


During the second World War , a new military vehicle, ship or aircraft could take less then a year to get out into the field from the time it was conceived on paper. Added to that the costs per unit have increased exponentially . As example the P51 Mustang, the best US fighter jet cost 50000 per unit or 675000 in inflation adjusted dollars. The F-35 cost is 135 MILLION per aircraft or some 200 times the cost. From drawing board to production the P51 Mustang was designed on paper in late 1940 and was operational and flying in combat in 1941. The F35 program was launched in 1992 and after trillions of dollars is still not deemed fully operational as it enters service some 26 YEARS later.

Already it being deemed “old technology” and the Military pushes a next generation of Aircraft. This same thing has happened with the Zumwalt destroyer program and elsewhere. Technology evolves so quickly and the integration of it so costly (or dare i say profitable) that these things obsolete as soon as they are built.

The USA invested trillions in an anti-missile shield which was deployed to places like Poland and East Europe. Russia followed up by evolving hypersonic missile technology so as to render this system obsolete . The US Military now claims it needs trillions more to deal with this new threat even as Russia already has means to bypass the next iteration of expensive weapon systems in the works.

As example there a lot of hype about space based systems which can be used to intercept Russian missiles at launch. Never minding the fact that launching Nukes against Russia will wreak havoc with the weather and our ecosystems even in a “winnable nuclear war” , but Russia already works on submarine drones that park on the bottom of the ocean off a countries coast and can rise up to launch a missile impossible to intercept at will.

Russia does this at 60 billion a year while the US spends over a trillion a year to “Maintain their overwhelming advantage” If we can be divorced from the reality that this Military spending really all about ensuring wealth continues to flow to the 1 percent at an accelerated pace , the entire concpet of war in the modern age is sheer stupidity.

Peace is cheaper. Peace makes us more secure. The US Government does not want peace and just as with their for private health care system they do not want something that is cheaper or that makes its citzens more secure.

The US Government LIES. The entirety of US History is based on LIES. That the US must continually claim it the worlds one indispensible nation and that its Military the greatest that has ever existed just shows how pervasive the LIE has become. They are the greatest purveyor of violence on the globe and given they have been involved in wars of choise for some 90 percent of their history have always been so and will always remain so as long as the people keep cheering on that Military.


The worst part about getting read into the daily operations of politics and government is, getting older. The older and more informed I become, the angrier I get. That’s not good for my PTSD nor my heart condition that dislikes aggravations.

We need desperately to bust our General staffed military down to sergeants and lieutenants, so to speak. That would result in a large portion of our defense budget coming back home and spent here on necessary things, not bombs and bullets.


HI dpearl: But even if American corporations made over $150 billion in profits—that doesn’t help the People in America or the rest of the world . Besides, the military can’t even find its lost $21 trillion---------so I see no profit for anything in the long run. I have a weird feeling that the measuring tools aren’t even yardsticks------but very active snakes that can contort into so many positions that measurement soon becomes ridiculous. : )



My take is that $21 trillion has actually been very carefully tracked - and hidden (not lost). Take for example, the $3 billion difference the General Accounting Office found between the DoD Operating Budget for fuel and the actual receipts for so much more that they dug up that I mentioned in a post a few days ago. In the report, the GAO made two recommendations: 1) to bring the receipts in line with the budget and to report fuel purchases fully to Congress. The military accepted the first recommendation and the next year everything magically lined up - but they rejected the second recommendation claiming it would be too hard for them to do. Of course producing detailed receipts and showing them to Congress would not just show how much was spent but where it was spent.
Avoiding public understanding of the completely global nature of our interventions is something DoD takes very seriously.


HI dpearl: Hidden $—yes that makes sense, because all those retiring Generals need to stash away fro their retirement in case they don’t get jobs on TV or as lobbyists. : )
But all that money lost in Iran too…pallets full of it.
Americans should just declare a tax holiday and say that until that $21 trillion is found—nobody owes anything. That be fun-----and actually fair too. : )