I'm an electrical engineer with a BS in physics, mathematics, and philosophy. I served as a naval officer for 6 years. Married with a 4-year old son.
My political leanings have always been conservative, as in libertarian and not really republican. I used to be a real hardcore right winger, Xtian fundamentalism and the whole bailiwick, but I have mellowed quite a bit.
I'm registered republican so I can vote in primaries, but after seeing what Rove & Co. did to McCain in 2000, not to mention what they've done to the presidency over the past 4 years, I do not feel I have much of any identity with the elephants.
I'm drifting left with age, though I still have a penchant for the libertarians--I just wish I could believe that American society is ready for such a challenge as minimal government. I'm not what you would call an optimist.
To the topic at hand:
Given the success (or lack thereof) of the war in Iraq, what lessons will we learn and what can we expect of U.S. warfare in the future? Let's review some of the strategies and policies employed by this administration:
1. Ignore your generals when they ask for more soldiers on the ground. What do they know? They just do that stuff for a living and are too resistant to change. They are like my mom and dad who use a VCR but refuse to learn how to turn the blinking "12:00" into displaying the proper time.
2. Don't bother closing up the borders with neighboring countries. This will accomplish two things: (a) people and stuff (like WMD) that you wanted to capture can easily escape and come back to haunt you another day, and (b) stuff and people (like Syrian and Iranian militants) you don't want to fight can pour over the unguarded border and then you can fight them door-to-door in the streets of the cities where you are trying to restore order. Besides, border patrols take a lot of people--see #1.
3. Air power is all we need. Use precision-guided munitions to 'moralize' warfare. The less collateral damage we cause, or at least try to cause (because accidents will happen, but we try real hard--take a looksy at this video of something hitting right on target: see? nice, huh?), makes us better than the terrorists because they specifically target collateral damage and innocent civilians. Just make sure you have a population who doesn't read history or that really wants to forget what we did to Japan's and Germany's civilian population in 1943-45. In keeping with this, never bomb religious sites. That way your enemies know just where to go and hide if they are getting their asses kicked. They can also complain about the damage to these sites caused by the bullets that they are shooting at you. It's great.
4. Never declare war again. Who needs that pesky Constitution when you can get a spineless Congress to pass waiver after waiver of the War Powers Act rather than exercise their Constitutional authority to officially declare a state of war? They are more than happy to let you run with the ball so they can criticize you later for political gain, or if you don't fail they will say they were behind you all along.
5. War is great for keeping the presidency. There's nothing like a war as both the ultimate scapegoat for a floundering economy and record budget deficits as well as a way to say, "I'm a wartime president. Look at my leadership. All you guys misunderestimated me before." When people are scared, they'll vote you a Congress full of your party in midterm elections. Make sure you've won those elections before you start your war, though. Also, use patriotism every chance you get--either they're for us or against us. What good is freedom if you are afraid for your life? Give up some of that luxuriously frivolous liberty for the sake of security. You know you want to, admit it. Vote yes for the children.
6. Don't worry about failure. Just declare victory and say we are 'safer'. It doesn't matter if, by every objective standard, we lose the war. Declare victory and declare that your decisions created a safer world and a safer country. If that doesn't work, just repeat yourself over and over until people start believing you.
7. If things go poorly, and they most likely will if you follow #1 through #4, distract the public with meaningless debates about something else. This way they forget to debate how much you screwed up the war and how obviously incompetent you are in the field of warfare in general and will occupy themselves with something that is harmless. A good strategy is to drop some forged documents whose forgery is easy to prove into the hands of someone who hates you, and when they "break" that story you can easily prove that someone was trying to set you up. If it is about something that is true it is even better, because nobody will believe it is true because it was already proven that those documents were forged. Beautiful! Whatever it takes--just don't let them focus on your performance for too long a stretch. Another strategy--pick a political fight like gays in the military, gay marriage, abortion, or faith-based social services. The key is that the issue must be completely stupid and distracting, and if it involves sex of some sort they will talk forever about it and not about your incompetence as a commander in chief.
So, do you think this "winning" war strategy will be our legacy? How many future wars will be as "victorious" as Iraq? Will this administration get its just reward for the flawless execution of the above strategy?
(Note that I actually supported the war and still do think it was a good idea to make a statement in the Middle East by toppling a regime and replacing it and then saying to the remainder of the Middle East, "shape up, or you are next." This was a bold and strategic vision. That being said, I could not have imagined how much one administration could screw up a military strategy with such resounding incompetence. There was a way to do it, but this was not the way.)