If the U.S. Administration and Congress considers going to war, it must do three things: First: Declare war only when it is absolutely necessary and stop the partisan bickering. Formulate a plan that both sides can live with, and get behind the troops. Second: explain the need to declare war to the American people: the mission; the projected time-line both for the beginning and the end; the manpower requirements; and the projected costs. Third: Re-establish the Military Draft whereby all young men, between the ages of 18 and 26 are subject to a pool for possible military service. There should be no deferments or exceptions whatsoever, except legitimate medical ones. This must be explained honestly to the American people that everyone must bear the burden–even the families of politicians.
Before we even consider warfare, we should consider Negotiations first, and the potential use of small, clandestine Special Operations troops instead of committing large military forces. Special Ops are highly-trained, used to operating in small groups and are designed for laser-like strikes–such as the Navy SEALs’ successful mission to remove Osama bin Ladin from Pakistan. When we send large forces, generally composed of tens of thousands of troops, they draw attention to themselves and often alienate the civilian population. Unfortunately, when we send massive numbers of troops, they become an occupation force; and the terrorist groups often use that as a recruitment tool for their own nefarious purposes.
For the past fourteen years, most of America has been insulated from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington must openly sell any war to all of America and explain that their sons and daughters may very well be placed In Harm’s Way. It is not fair that the wars in the Middle East are currently being waged by a small group of: career military “lifers”; National Guardsmen and volunteers. In fact, only about one percent of Americans today even know anyone who is serving, or has served, in those wars.
Many of the lifers have served four, five, even six deployments, and a significant number of Guardsmen have often been deployed multiple times, as well. Greater time spent in a war zone can multiply the chances of death or serious, even life-long, medical injuries. The cumulative effects of stress and concussive forces can also multiply the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exponentially.
And hey, what about the impact of these wartime absences on the troops personal lives? Multiple and extended absences have resulted in high divorce rates and children growing up with extended absences of one or both parents during their formative years. There was a report of a high school near Ft. Bragg, NC–home of the 82nd Airborne Division, Special Forces Training Center and Paratrooper school–where 60% of the students attending a high school, had one or both parents deployed.
So, when America changed its collective mind about sending military forces to iraq and/or Syria, they must be made aware of the true commitment that they must make personally. At the same time, Congress and the Administration should also realize they they must all get behind any war effort. Let’s face it: it doesn’t make any sense to send our future generations to fight our wars, while Washington cannot even make peace among itself.