How the United States Could Lose a War

U.S. Army soldiers during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 15, 2011 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).
U.S. Army soldiers during a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 15, 2011 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).
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The U.S. military doesn’t spend much time thinking about how America could lose a war. Neither do America’s political leaders and security experts. Whether described in operational plans, strategic wargames or even fiction, the pattern mirrors the Civil War or World War II: Things are hairy at first and defeat even seems possible since an aggressor struck first, but then the United States gets serious, turns the tide and fights its way to victory. In the collective American memory, armed conflicts that have not followed this script—Vietnam, Korea—are largely forgotten or attributed to political ineptitude. Victory is still considered the […]

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