Why Is the U.S. So Good at Nation-Breaking And So Poor at Nation-Building?

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Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson

The U.S. military drops humanitarian goods to the Yap islands of Micronesia

As the colors are cased in Baghdad on Thursday, and U.S. military says its goodbyes, Iraq remains a nation with large, gaping wounds nearly a decade after the U.S. invaded. While the U.S. military remains the world’s best at breaking countries, it doesn’t do so well in what the Pentagon calls “Phase IV ops” – putting them back together again. Is this a flaw in our national DNA (“Do Not Attempt”)? Is it because it’s too hard to do? Too costly? Over at Small Wars Journal,  Army officers Brian M. Michelson and Sean P. Walsh sum it up:

Our national ability to conduct timely reconstruction and stabilization operations remains anemic due to our limited ability to project “civilian power,” the full, non-military capabilities of our nation in a “Whole of Government” manner. We will remain so until we respond to the fundamental changes demanded during this era of persistent conflict by providing our interagency community with a legislated mandate for change, the resources to achieve the mandate, and accountability for progress. Should we continue to embrace the status quo, we will not only jeopardize our ability to achieve the aims of our current National Security Strategy, but continue to risk additional blood and treasure in future conflicts.

Full article here.