Here’s what DID happen (Only the three most prominent presidential wars since WWII). No speculation, no ifs thrown in, just reality:
Undeclared Presidential War #1:
Korea: no strategy to win:
Result? 50,000 US casualties, 50 years of US occupation with no end in sight. (The forbidden IF:) IF we hadn’t spilt all that blood to save Korea the Soviets or Chinese MIGHT have taken over Korea and Japan, robbing them of their manufacturing capacity and ability to compete with US products.
Undeclared Presidential War II
Vietnam: no strategy to win, carried out by presidents of both parties.
Result? 100,000 plus US casualties, Vietnamese president assassinated by the CIA, escalation justified by a contrived incident, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the country eventually polarized against the task. There was never any strategy to win, never any intention of winning by any definition of the word. The final outcome couldn’t have been worse if we’d saved the 100,000 American casualties and let the Vietnamese decide their own fate. The best possible outcome we could have hoped for was a divided Vietnam (like Korea) with US troops still on patrol, occasionally getting themselves killed, South Vietnamese producing products for sale in the US at cheaper prices than US workers could produce them.
Undeclared Presidential War III:
IRAQ I. no strategy to win, carried out by the father of this president. Stated purpose: Save Kuwait, Saudi, other Persian Gulf oil producing states from Iraq.
Result: More US treasure spent, more US casualties, US troops withdrawn before victory was secured. $66 per barrel crude barely more than a decade later.
But this one’s going to be different because we’ve carefully avoided examining our mistakes of the past. Merely used fragments of them to trumpet patriotic platitudes about what should have happened, what might have happened if whatever US presidents occupied the position at the time hadn’t been what they were.
Which, of course, this one is not.
(If you get bored do a Google search on the phrase, 'miserable failure')