I am watching a documentary on the Vietnam war. How did we loose that war? We won every battle and we devastated the NV army, but we still lost. Iraq was so similar and we "won" in Iraq, but once we pulled out, it has devolved into a mess. I think we have never learned the lesson that we can't win an unconventional war. Maybe the best thing we can do is make it so costly for the enemy that they give up the fight? So keeping the military intervention in Syria to air assets might be a good idea. Putting boots on the ground might just be a waste of resources. Maybe we should never have put troops in Vietnam or in Iraq? Maybe we should have just bombed every inch of what we could and waited till the enemy gave up. We should have bombed North Vietnam into the dark ages. We could have done the same with Iraq. Then when they just gave up, or been pounded into dust, we could have negotiated a surrender on our terms and never risked the lives of our troops.
Would that have worked? Maybe, but an air campaign would have had to go on for many months, and possibly years. Would the nation alow that? Today with all the air assets we have, it might not take as long. I think so since an air campaign does not cost as many lives, just a lot more treasure. Putting troops on the ground does not work. Once you pull them, the enemy will move in. They just have to wait it out.
The truth is we will never know if just using air power would have worked in Vietnam or Iraq. Let's see if it will work in Syria and the occupied territories in Iraq. There are reports that ground troops are going to be sent to Iraq and Syria. That would be a mistake. I guess we never learn.