Today is Patriots' Day. It's a state holiday here and in Maine, a public school observance day in Wisconsin, and though it's not given any holiday status in Florida, its celebration is encouraged.

There was a quarrel because Lexington wanted it called Lexington Day and Concord insisted it be called Concord Day. In 1894, Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge decided on a compromise and called it Patriots' Day. Maine celebrates it as a holiday, too, because Maine was once part of Massachusetts.

Monday, April 19, 2021, commemorates the 246th anniversary of the opening battles of the American Revolution in 1775 at Lexington and Concord. The night before, Paul Revere and other riders alerted the colonial Minutemen. So who fired off the first shot? Nobody can say definitively, but the British far outnumbered the patriot colonists. The British moved from Lexington and Concord but were surprised by a counterattack from the colonists, forcing the Redcoats to retreat all the way to Boston.

I'll stop here with the tutorial and ask the quintessential question: why has America not won any wars since World War II with one exception?

Since WWII, the United States has rarely achieved meaningful victory. We have fought in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and only the Gulf War in 1991 can really be classified as a clear success. If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then our nation has morphed from being successful at winning big World War-style fights, but we haven't mastered how to win wars against insurgents, in civil wars, with no uniforms to identify themselves.

No longer is war rooted in the thinking that, like a football game, there are two sides with different uniforms, we score points, and the one with the most points wins. That's not how war is fought today.

It's paradoxical, that the greatest military in the world can win on the battlefield against major forces, but can't seem to win the smaller ones. Have we failed to adapt to fighting the new, smaller conflicts? I believe that it's not best to continue nation-building, especially where we know little about their ways of life. We also have civilians in uniforms in those villages where civil war continues. The catastrophic loss of life has been mind-boggling, as has been the extraordinary amount of money we've spent.

On Patriots' Day, it's time we fundamentally rethink our vision of war and how we fight in them.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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