Saw this post by Wiley on Pprune and it did get me thinking: Interesting to read rmac's selections of Sun Zhu's dicta and the way the Americans, since WW2, seem to have quite consciously ignored them. One could be forgiven for thinking that since the 1950s, there are faceless forces close to the top in the US hierarchy who see a long but limited (and remote from US shores) war as a preferable option to a quick victory, which could and should be attainable for the US given their overwhelming logistics and firepower superiority of any and all likely foes. Well might you ask what such faceless people high up in the US system (note I didn't say 'government') might think they could be achieving in seeing their forces bled white - and on more than one occasion humbled - by vastly inferior forces. I think it all comes down to money. A long war means massive profits for the military-industrial complex that is corporate America. it keeps a lot of lower class kids off the streets (all too many of them permanently) and most importantly, it keeps companies like Haliburton and many others literally reaping in the dough for years on end, making infinitely more profits than they would in a Sun Zhu-style campaign. Anyone who doubts this (as I'm sure many would) should seek out "IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (ISBN: 0375419330). It will leave you utterly in despair as to how US (and, I suspect, not just US) Big Business thinks and operates in time of war. Korea was as much to stave off recession after WW2. John Paul Vann's excellent "A Bright Shining Lie" tells in graphic detail how Viet Nam was mishandled, particularly in the early "advisor only" days. One could be forgiven for thinking that there were people in the US Administration who went out of their way to make sure the situation was allowed to deteriorate to the point where large US main force intervention was required - and after those forces were committed, also forgiven for thinking that a quick victory was the last thing the US hierarchy wanted. Someone once said to me that if you wanted to illustrate the Viet Nam war in one photograph that would encapsulate the most accurate picture of the war, it would not be a Huey helicopter or a B52 or a VC captive getting shot in the head by a policeman, but a balding, pot-bellied, middle aged corporate agent in ill-fitting jeans and journos photo vest cadging a freebie lift on a military transport on his way to oversee some lucrative building contract for the military. Hed almost certainly be an ex-serviceman, usually a SNCO, because as one, hed have all the contacts and know how best to work the System. Im lucky not to be involved directly in the current fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I suspect the same would almost certainly be true of this war.