The ability to win wars and conflicts is vital to a nation’s sovereignty and security. However, in recent decades, the United States has faced numerous challenges in achieving victory in conflicts. This essay explores the notion that America has forgotten how to win wars, attributing this phenomenon to the divisive nature of politics, the lack of commitment to the nation’s founding values and principles, weak leadership, and a failure to support allies. This lack of strategic vision and operational effectiveness has hindered the United States’ ability to prevail in conflicts since World War II.

Divisiveness and Lack of Commitment to Founding Values

One of the primary factors contributing to America’s inability to win wars lies in the divisiveness and lack of commitment to the nation’s founding values and principles. Politicians, driven by partisan interests, have prioritized short-term gains over long-term strategies to combat enemies effectively. This partisan divide prevents the formulation of coherent policies, as politicians tend to focus more on scoring political points than pursuing winning strategies.

The erosion of national unity and a shared sense of purpose has further hindered America’s ability to win wars. Without a collective commitment to a common cause, it becomes increasingly challenging to rally the nation behind a war effort. Consequently, lacking a united front weakens the resolve and determination necessary for victory. Congress needs to do more in its constitutional responsibility to declare wars and then monitor, ensure accountability, and adequately resource the conflict on behalf of the people.

Weak and Politicized Leadership

Another significant factor contributing to America’s struggle to win wars is the growing focus of senior military and civilian leadership on politics rather than achieving victory. The rise of career politicians and the increasing influence of special interest groups have diluted leadership effectiveness as decision-making becomes entangled in political calculations.

This politicization of leadership has resulted in a lack of strategic vision and a failure to devise winning policies. Instead of prioritizing the nation’s security and interests, leaders often take short-sighted actions to appease their base, leading to a lack of commitment to long-term success.

Lack of Strategy, Operational Art, and Tactical Efficacy

The absence of a clear and comprehensive strategy, operational art, and effective tactics has further contributed to America’s inability to win wars since World War II. A successful military campaign requires a well-defined plan that aligns the nation’s objectives with the available resources and capabilities. However, a lack of strategic foresight has often resulted in disjointed and reactive responses to conflicts and an approach that takes a twenty-year war and fights it one year at a time.

Lack of Military Service in Congress and Groupthink

The shortage of military service in Congress significantly contributed to America’s struggle to win wars. Without firsthand experience in the military, lawmakers may lack the necessary understanding of the complexities of warfare, resulting in misguided decisions and policies. This knowledge gap can lead to a disconnect between the military’s needs and the resources provided, hindering the armed forces’ effectiveness.

Moreover, the reliance on think tanks and professionals from elite academic institutions can perpetuate a sense of groupthink within the decision-making process. The dominance of certain perspectives and ideologies can limit the range of ideas and approaches considered, leading to a repetition of past mistakes. This lack of diversity in thought stifles innovation and prevents the exploration of alternative strategies, tactics, and operational art that may be necessary for victory.