Vietnam taught the United States that fighting an asymmetrical war against an enemy willing to suffer horrendous losses is foolish. It’s too bad that the student didn’t pay attention to the teach:
Despite waging nearly 17 consecutive years of war and spending up to $1 trillion, the U.S.-led attempt to defeat the Taliban has left the insurgents openly active in up to 70 percent of Afghanistan, according to a BBC study published Tuesday. The report also found that a rival ultraconservative Sunni Muslim organization, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), controlled more territory than ever, further complicating the beleaguered effort to stabilize the country.
Or did it? Even the simplest of strategists would realized that this war isn’t winnable with the strategy being used and would decide to either change up their strategy or cut their losses and pull out. The fact that the United States has suffered through this kind of war before and is still waging this one using the same strategy indicates that the higher ups want this war to continue as it has been.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four Oceania took great care to ensure the war it was engaged in was perpetual. Oceania’s government’s goal was to use the war to destroy any surplus wealth that might otherwise empower the masses against it. I believe that the government of the United States has a slightly different goal. It is taking great care to wage a perpetual war to keep the military contractors enriched. The wars aren’t about fighting any specific enemy. There is no victory condition. Its purpose is purely economic. If the United States did manage to crush the Taliban or ISIS then it would have to find another enemy to fight just as it did once Saddam Hussein was toppled.