Thursday, April 19, 2018

What is Victory?

Over the years, I've periodically addressed the issue of victory and the idea of "just what on Earth do you people expect victory to look like?" as a counter to complaints that we are losing or have lost wars.

I recently addressed the Iraq War as well as our other post-World War II conflicts.

And I recently ran across a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre that pretty much sums up the problem:

A victory described in detail is indistinguishable from defeat.

There's a lot of truth in that. What other endeavor assumes death and destruction as the cost of doing business even if you win?

Would World War II have been considered a win if subjected to today's standards of mistakes and post-war problems?

Which addresses my points as well as including the strange ability to see our foes achieve victory no matter what. Because our critics see us in detail and hardly know the broad brush strokes of foes.

This is the corollary to the problem of assessing the progress of a war during the war when you see all your side's flaws but the enemy is concealed by the fog of war:

Man cannot tell but Allah knows
How much the other side is hurt.

That's from Rudyard Kipling.

People who expect perfection annoy me.