"Ending the War"

One of the advantages in learning strategy is that it gives you a more precise vocabulary for discussing competitive issues. For example, lately Hillary Clinton has been claiming, in a variety of terms, that the Senate, or a Democratic president, can "end the war." This statement confuses the nature of war with the nature of battle and the utility of both. The war between radical Islam and everyone else around the world will continue regardless of what the Senate or the US President does. There is no way the Senate or President of the US or any other country can "end the war." I am currently in Thailand, where everyone realizes that the Islamic radicals, regularly killing people in the south of Thailand will continue to do so unless they are prevented from doing so. What Hillary means to say is that she wants to "withdraw from the battle," specifically, the battle in Iraq. In Sun Tzu's strategy, a "battle" is where you meet the enemy. Much of successful strategy is based upon picking the right time and place for battle. The question about whether Iraq is the right time and place is not the question here: wars continue even if battles are avoided and no war is ever won by any force who refuses battle.