The cost of war

By Mike Scinto

July 2, 2014

While it may be somewhat of an oversimplification there was a goal, a methodology and rules of engagement for both World War I and World War II. Let’s face it, war is hell but if you have some set of common rules at least you can make tactical moves and see the results of what you’ve won or lost after the conflict concludes.

Once we began fighting communism, really with the Korean Conflict and then Vietnam that changed. Civilians rather than uniformed were now used to deliver deadly devices to take out American troops, only a portion of the enemy actually wore those identifiable uniforms or insignia and sniper fire became less the exception against allied troops and more the rule.

As I said, that is really an oversimplification but a good representation of where we’ve come with our “wars”.

Today’s terrorist battles resemble war much less and look more like an expanded street fight with much deadlier outcomes. These are not wars our grandfathers would recognize at all. And the clear and decisive outcome we could achieve in a war; well, it’s not the case in today’s conflicts.

In Iraq I and II, and Afghanistan, there was no clear-cut goal and no realistic end to the fighting once the major combat was over. Terrorists don’t respect rules, decisions or treaties.

Quite the contrary; the technology, theater of fighting and ultimate goals simply shift. It’s really a perpetual war against an ever-changing enemy. And often the “enemy” we fight and find ourselves allied with are shift with the wind. Sects and tribes battle each other for goals and reasons we can never understand.

Add to that an American President in Barack Obama who is clueless as to how to command the most powerful military operations in the world, a watered down combat force that has in many cases become more political with less combat readiness (ether mental or physical) and you have an out of focus, inept and dangerously misguided armed forces.

I have always backed our troops and nation’s battles totally. Whether I agreed or not with methodology or desired outcome I gave the benefit of the doubt to our leaders. I still give 100 percent to our soldiers but am changing my attitude about when and where we fight; and for what.

We are looking at involvement AGAIN in Iraq. Does that make any sense for us? The sects within that nation have fought and shifted power for centuries. We don’t “get it” and never will. The same is true with Afghanistan.

I find myself more in alignment with Rand Paul these days. I would almost call myself isolationist. Rather than having our brave soldiers slaughtered and disfigured, mentally and physically, in a land where we have no real control, and with no real goal or hope for a peaceful solution, let’s worry about US. Let’s use our brave military to defend our borders; closing them off to those who try to sneak in and guarding them from evil that wants to destroy us from within.

As I look at the billions we spend, the body bags returned and the American Flags being burned where we helped fight their battles it seems far more important for us to protect our own population and way of life. I say this as a proud USAF veteran; and disabled veteran at that. I’m not even certain my new attitude is how I truly feel or if it’s ultimately in the best interest of America. I just know the situation today is not acceptable to me. I’m open to suggestions.

Mike Scinto is a 37 year veteran talk show host serving locally, statewide and nationally behind the microphone. For the past dozen years he has authored this award-winning column. “Friend” Mike at www.facebook.com/mikescintoshow or visit http://mikescintocolumns.blogspot.com.