The Military Powerless

Political candidates seem to think “declinism” is just a state of mind…and that economic and military success can be had by act of willpower.

“Decline,” writes Charles Krauthammer, “is a choice.”

And it’s a choice the candidates think they can avoid just by giving more money to America’s military industry.

“I will insist on a military so powerful no one would ever think of challenging it,” adds Mitt Romney.

But military spending is not a way to resist decline; it is a sign of it…and a cause of it. Osama bin Laden understood how it worked. By 2000, he had already brought one great empire, the Soviet Union, to its knees, luring it to spend money it didn’t have in a war it couldn’t win. He thought he could do the same to the US. So far, it looks as though he was right.

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis has been described as a “whistleblower.” He’s ratting out the military for failing in Afghanistan, just as Osama bin Laden predicted.

He doesn’t seem to understand. The military is not protecting the US in Afghanistan; there’s nothing to protect it against. Nor did it ever intend to “win” a war in Afghanistan. It never even identified what winning would mean or how it would know when it had won. This was always a zombie war, not a real war. Its purpose was only to transfer wealth and power to the military industry. In that sense, the war is a great success.

The Armed Forces Journal has the story:

Truth, lies and Afghanistan
How military leaders have let us down


I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with US troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by US military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self- sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.


Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

Latest posts by Bill Bonner (see all)

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "The Military Powerless"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
A witness

The proponents of military force believe beating people into submission is victory.

They lack conviction that their opponents hearts and minds can be won over by their actual “superiority”. And this flaw leads them to abandon the fight for hearts and minds and real victory. It leads them to resort to beating peoples into subjection – which sows the seed of their ultimate defeat and decline.

Good article Bill.

Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to