In matters strategic, as in so much else, the satirical newspaper is far ahead of our neoconservative and neo-liberal policy establishment. Consider “U.S. Military Desperate to Be Handed One Solid War It Can Knock Out of the Park“:

“Given all these messy, ambiguous conflicts we’ve been fighting against enemies you can’t even put your finger on, what we could really use right now is a plain old war against a clear-cut bad guy employing conventional tactics and weaponry,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “No roadside bombs or plainclothes militants hiding out among innocent civilians—just a fair fight where two sides shoot at each other and someone wins. That’s it.”

“If Congress or our commander in chief could pull a few strings to make that happen, I swear we could totally nail a war like that, no question,” Dempsey added. “The sort of thing where you go in, blow up a number of actual tanks and jets, declare victory, plant a flag, and then exit—that’s all we’re asking for.”

Citing the country’s long history of winning wars against sovereign nations with actual standing armies, the Pentagon’s top brass repeatedly assured reporters they would “completely wipe the floor” with such an opponent if given the chance, and promised they would make America “very, very proud.”

The world won’t give us the wars we want but, so the likes of Mitt Romney assure us, we can’t possibly reduce the defense budget. If we don’t build more aircraft carriers and joint-strike fighters, how can the U.S. ever win the next re-enactment of World War II? And wouldn’t a half-dozen more aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines have stopped 9/11?

On a related note see William Lind’s column in the current TAC for a demolition of the Pentagon’s anti-China hype. If the U.S. ever did fight another “third generation” war with a major state, even victory would mean strategic defeat, opening vast new territory for non-state actors of all kinds. (You can read Lind every month by subscribing to The American Conservative here, or try our Kindle edition.)