"A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit." - Thomas Jefferson, 1785, letter to James Monroe, in which he rejected the idea of paying tribute to the Barbary pirates and advocated the creation of a naval force to destroy them instead.
In World War II, it was the policy of America to seek victory and to utterly vanquish the enemy. A policy which, after four long years of fighting, we achieved - and, as a consequence, we have no more Nazis or Imperialist Japanese to bother us any longer.
Come the wars in Korea and Vietnam, however, that approach had changed: "containment," the contemptible idea of merely attempting to halt the spread of the enemy instead of attacking and obliterating the enemy at his source, was the order of the day - and, as a consequence, a large portion of the globe still finds itself enslaved under the totalitarian decrees of communist dictatorship.
Which policy, today, are we practicing in regard to the threat to the United States posed by Islamic jihadists? The latter - and, as a consequence, after spending more than twice as much time "fighting" the enemy as we did the Nazis and Japanese in World War II, we are more vulnerable to attack than ever before.
And yes, it is true that, in our current war, we are not fighting nation-states as such but tribes of terrorists instead; and that fact, precisely, is the problem. For such tribes do not exist independently of the nation-states which do sponsor them, and it is with those entities - primarily Iran and Saudi Arabia - that we need to be dealing with.
Iran's decades-long funding and training of such terrorist groups as Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad are well-known and well-documented. As for Saudi Arabia, "The origins of al-Qaida are intimately bound up with the Saudi charities, intelligence analysts now realize." (U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 7, 2003.)
In 1941, Hitler's alliance with the Japanese, who attacked us at Pearl Harbor, was enough for us to declare the Nazis as our enemies as well. Such decisive and clear-cut thinking with respect to our current enemies, however, seems to have vanished along with the rubble at ground zero.
Indeed, the U.S. government - under both presidents Bush and Obama - has continually referred to the Saudi regime as our "friend" - and, if the stupidity of that policy is not enough for you, consider that Obama is currently negotiating a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Imagine the folly of trying to empty out the contents of a bathtub with a thimble - while your other hand continues to crank up the spigot flooding the vessel. Welcome to the realities of our currently-waged "war on terror," folks, where we are practicing exactly this approach, slicing our own throats in the name of "national security."
As Craig Biddle has pointed out: "Although American soldiers are already fighting (and being maimed and killed in the process), they are not aiming at the heart of the enemy - Iran and Saudi Arabia - and they are not using the full capabilities of the U.S. military. Instead, they are fighting tribes of savages in Afghanistan and being constrained by sacrificial rules of engagement." (The Objective Standard, Fall, 2010.)
Keep in mind that the very purpose of war is to destroy your enemy, wiping out his ability to ever threaten you again. That is what war is; that is what war does. And, when that mission is accomplished, you go home. You certainly don't hang around to build the enemy's country back up again. Have we lost our minds?
It's bad enough that our government officials have utterly failed to properly identify and eradicate the root source of the terrorist problem - inactions that would make our forebears hang their heads in shame. By continuing to provide "aid and comfort" (U.S. Constitution) to those same enemies, however, the U.S. government's role in this so-called "war" actually qualifies as treason. But the feds don't seem to be too concerned about that; they'd rather focus their energies and our tax dollars on "domestic" terrorists instead. And if it be "treason" for me to point that out, then make the most of it.