ARLINGTON, VA—Reportedly fed up with complicated and protracted operations overseas, top Pentagon officials acknowledged this week they were desperate to be given just one straightforward, no-nonsense military engagement they could really knock out of the park.
"Given all these messy, ambiguous conflicts we've been fighting against enemies you can't even put your finger on, what we could really use right now is a plain old war against a clear-cut bad guy employing conventional tactics and weaponry," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "No roadside bombs or plainclothes militants hiding out among innocent civilians—just a fair fight where two sides shoot at each other and someone wins. That's it."
"If Congress or our commander in chief could pull a few strings to make that happen, I swear we could totally nail a war like that, no question," Dempsey added. "The sort of thing where you go in, blow up a number of actual tanks and jets, declare victory, plant a flag, and then exit—that's all we're asking for."
Citing the country's long history of winning wars against sovereign nations with actual standing armies, the Pentagon's top brass repeatedly assured reporters they would "completely wipe the floor" with such an opponent if given the chance, and promised they would make America "very, very proud."
Additionally, military leaders said that engaging in such a conflict "would be a huge confidence boost for [them] right now."
"We'd be really grateful if the United States became embroiled in a war requiring us to bomb munitions factories, engage in aerial dogfights, or torpedo battleships," said Marine Corps commandant Gen. James Amos, noting that when it comes to facing actual armies with actual naval and air weaponry, the U.S. is "great at that stuff." "I guarantee it would be an absolute slam dunk for us."
"Come on," the four-star general added, "we really, really need this."
Admitting they "can't even look at a map of the Middle East anymore," members of the Joint Chiefs also said they were still skittish about Southeast Asia and would prefer to "stay as far away as possible" from any situation in which the term "insurgency" might apply.
Additionally, the nation's top generals stressed it was vitally important that any new conflict have a clear standard by which to measure victory, front lines "that are actually lines," and conditions under which dropping bombs actually weakens the enemy instead of rallying more people to its cause and making it stronger.
"While we'd gladly take almost any conventional military confrontation, we'd really prefer to liberate an oppressed citizenry that would be unconditionally happy when we arrived," said Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command. "Ideally, we'd like to avoid that whole mixture of violent loathing toward us as occupiers and utter dependence on us as peacekeepers. That's not really our strong suit."
"I should also point out that it's been a while since we last had a good old-fashioned European war," Mattis continued. "Because that sort of thing might just do the trick for us. We know the area, the culture, and all the languages real well. Give us a war with a nice, dependable Western front, and we could bang that sucker out in our sleep, no problem. Just something to think about."
Pentagon leaders also said they were open to the option of a sovereign nation attacking the United States directly, stating that nothing mobilizes a country or boosts troop morale faster than the defense of one's home soil. In addition, they noted that a war in which America is not seen as the aggressor is "exactly the type of thing we're talking about here."
"Ultimately, we just want a chance to unleash our full land, air, and sea power on actual uniformed soldiers for a change," Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno said. "Believe me, if America let us do that, I've no doubt we could totally lay waste and come home victorious."
As of press time, the Navy had positioned its entire Atlantic fleet along the coast of Portugal and informed the president and Congress it was "ready to go" if given the word.