Last year we gave too short shrift to the question of which missions we’d sacrifice to the budget cutters. Now it’s apparently too late. Which missions are being sacrificed in favor of others? Too many ships are held in port, too many squadrons of fighters, bombers, and tankers are grounded. Like the helter-skelter budget cuts, there’s no plan or rationale for which missions we’re cutting. And that makes planning for our outcome-based warfare an illusion. You simply cannot do it.

And that, with an unaccustomed awkwardness (unaccustomed before Obama, that is), we come to the last question. How can the enemy be convinced that it is defeated?

In short, if we continue on this path he cannot. There is no reason for the terrorist groups and their nation-state sponsors to believe they have been defeated while we daintily decline to even think about winning. They watch, amused, while Obama fusses and fumbles to determine how little defense we can get away with. They haven’t, since 9/11, been able to bring a massive-casualty attack inside our shores. But they can and will dream of the day when they can do it again, and they will.

Which means, in the end, that there is no foreseeable end to this war while Obama’s policies prevail. Ten years, twenty, or a hundred years from now we will still be at war. Unless we have, by then, been defeated.