In the past, wars were waged by nations. Beginning in the wake of the Crimean War and culminating after World War II, countries around the world agreed to a set of rules for armed conflict designed in large part to protect civilians. The United States and our allies abide by these rules, and it is vitally important that we continue to do so.
The enemies we face today – terrorist thugs such as ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban – are abusing these rules in ways we never foresaw. This greatly hinders our ability to defeat them, and it puts the brave men and women of our armed forces at unnecessary risk. We must act with urgency and do something to help ensure their safety, that we are able to defeat our enemies.
The United States military clearly remains the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known. The men and women of our armed forces are deserving of great respect; they overcome substantial challenges each and every day in the course of defending our nation and our people. Those challenges are evolving, and our leaders and the public must take a hard look at how to win the wars of the future.
Historically, our troops and their leadership have enjoyed significant advantages. They have the best training. They have the best weapons. They have the best equipment. They fight for the most just causes and conduct themselves according to an incredibly high moral and ethical code.