In his National Review article “Three Wars, No Victory — Why?” (February 18, 2021), Bing West, my former colleague at the Pentagon and the Naval War College, lays out a compelling case for why the U.S. — which he argues is the most powerful country in the history of the world — has lost the three major wars it has fought over the past 50 years: Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Bing divides blame for each of these losses among three hubs — namely, the military, the policy-makers, and the popular mood among the people of the country. He argues correctly that the policy hub, or the policy-makers, were primarily responsible for the failures.
While I have some experience in each of these conflicts, having served in Vietnam and having visited Iraq three times and Afghanistan once, it does not match that of Bing, who is one of the bravest people I have ever known. However, I still believe that he presents a sometimes incomplete and misleading picture of why we lost these three wars.
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