As for us not trying, I sure humped a lot of ammunition in an effort we weren't serious about. We tried pretty damned hard to win for a while, but in the end, we realized that it was never our battle to begin with, and keeping the Goodyear rubber plantation and a few bauxtite mines in the free world wasn't really worth the cost in blood and treasure. Fortunately, Nixon had the good sense to put an end to Kennedy's war.
We fought the vietnam war with one arm tied behind our backs. If we were prepared to kill a lot of people and fight an all out war like we did in WW2, we would have won.
Afghanistan was technically supposed to be about getting bin Laden... that's done.
The soldiers didn't fight with one arm tied behind our backs. Technically I think our soldiers won every battle in that war. Militarily we kicked ***... unfortunately that war was much more about politics and geo-political concerns than anything else... and we didn't come out too well on that end.
Proxy wars are morally reprehensible. That's why we keep losing, or shall we say, not winning. Immoral behavior has repercussions and it's not victory.
Because Napoleon was so successful in the field people tend to forget that in most of his campaigns it was he fighting on the defensive and his opponents acting as the aggressors. It was only after 1810, when his Continental System began to flounder, that he became a bully-boy in the true sense of the word.
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