Emboldened Joint Chiefs Say: “No Long Wars”

18 Sept. (LPAC) Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, spoke before the Association of the U.S. Army September 12. “We’ve seen very recently that the American people are very wary of getting into an extended war of any type,” Winnefeld said, in a veiled reference to Syria. “We should take to heart three principles that [Maj. Gen.] Fox Conner imparted to Eisenhower and Marshall when they were both young officers: never fight unless you have to, never fight alone, and never fight for long.”

“I’m talking about a national commitment on a large scale to a long-term combat operation,” Winnefeld said when a skeptical soldier pressed him on the point during the question-and-answer session. “We just don’t see that happening in the near future. But we do need to hedge that bet by keeping enough capacity in case that’s wrong.”

“Marty and I both would say that the nation needs to keep the capacity to defeat another nation on the ground — if nothing more than as a deterrent, but we don’t see that as being a long fight. We can’t afford it,” he went. (“Marty” is Winnefeld’s boss, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey).

Dean Andromidas told the inspiring story of Fox Conner’s mentoring of Eisenhower and Marshall for the World War II he knew was coming, viewable here.

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