Barack Obama did not explain precisely why he believed that an acceptable alternative to victory existed, when he contradicted General Douglas MacArthur‘s famous dictum (War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory.), but he did contend that simply not being successfully attacked was good enough for him.
President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but “victory” in the war-torn country isn’t necessarily the United States’ goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.
“I’m always worried about using the word ‘victory,’ because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur,” Obama told ABC News.
The enemy facing U.S. and Afghan forces isn’t so clearly defined, he explained.
“We’re not dealing with nation states at this point. We’re concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda’s allies,” he said. “So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can’t attack the United States.”
Obama’s view on war objectives would never have sold in America in times gone by. Today… well, Barack Obama’s opinions and perspectives coincide perfectly with those of a very elite and influential American constituency.