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by Craig B Hulet?
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2003 at 12:10 PM
email@example.com 360-288-2652 P.O. Box 710, Amanda Park WA 98526
You know you never defeated us on the battlefield, said the American colonel.
The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. That may be so, he replied, but it is also irrelevant.
bombingiraq2.jpg, image/jpeg, 520x385
On Tactics and Strategy: How Bush has Misunderstood Military Strategic Doctrine and Constraints on Political Objectives -- Had Bush and his academicians posing as military advisors read Clausewitz’s On War America would have been better served.
“I recognized that it was not the job of the military to
defend American commitment and policy.
Yet it was difficult to differentiate between pursuit of a military task
and such related matters as public and congressional support
and the morale of the fighting man,
who must be convinced that he is risking
death for a worthy cause.
The military thus was caught in between.”
--General William Westmoreland,
By Craig B Hulet?
The wars fought during the second half of the 20th century were lost or at best some half-way measures taken to be stalemates or wins by lowering the threshold of what constitutes victory. According to certain respected military experts, we lost in Vietnam, achieved nothing but the status quo ante in Korea, 1 a divided nation-state today, August 2003, and on the brink of an even worse catastrophe than the 1950s. We have not won in Afghanistan nor Iraq as the world now knows; Mr. Bush declared we won, an end to hostilities during November 2001 and May of 2003 respectively. Some analysts argued we wouldn’t win easily early on in the immediate aftermath of invading Afghanistan.
Northern Alliance troops moved into Kabul on Nov. 13, less than a week after launching an offensive that has swept the Taliban from most of northern Afghanistan....On the surface it appears a lightning offensive by the Northern Alliance -- supported by U.S. aerial bombardment. -- has shattered the Taliban army in a matter of days. But have the Talban been defeated? An examination of the Taliban withdrawal suggests the group intentionally surrendered territory in the interests of adopting tactics more amenable to its strength.”2
Added were these comments as well: “The towns abandoned have no strategic importance to the Taliban, nor anybody else; they cannot even be called pre-industrial towns. Abandoning these primitive bombed-out facilities had only propaganda value to the western forces; virtually only Americans in the world will believe this matters one whit. The war was always destined to be fought as a guerrilla war within the territories and mountains, arid wastelands and urban centers of far more developed nations as the war’s zones of attack.” (Ibid.) It is now evident that the above argument, while by some was seen as premature given Mr. Bush’s declarations of an early victory during November of 2001, was correct. The Taliban wisely withdrew their forces in a strategic retreat, we did not defeat them, we did not rout them at all, only to return today stronger than ever. In the past few months of mid-2003 the Taliban and al Qaida have all returned to Afghanistan to re-engage their enemies who are weaker now than during the initial phases of assault; weaker as well from the growing guerrilla resistance in Iraq taking American lives daily, post-May 1, 2003, when Mr. Bush again declared victory only this time in Iraq; the attacks numbering 30 to 50 every day throughout the region (only when there are American deaths do these attacks [harassing tactics all guerrilla armies use] get well-reported). Indeed the growing level of assaults is increasing daily as the warmer Spring weather set in.
Interviewed by the English-language daily The News, Mohammad Amin and Mohammad Mukhtar Mujahid, two Taliban spokesmen, said their fighters had already begun striking targets in the north, and would intensify the northern campaign in the coming weeks.
Taliban fighters have been waging a campaign of grenade and rocket attacks against foreign troops, and the U.S.-installed government of Hamid Karzai for months.
Amin named three former Taliban commanders have been positioned in northern Faryab province to undermine the power of northern strongman and deputy defense minister Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam. (Sources: Islam Online.News and Information Clearing House August 10, 2003)
The story is finally beginning to receive some serious attention even if only and primarily in the foreign press: “The leader of the ousted Taliban regime, Mullah Mohammad Omar, has urged his followers to step up ‘jihad’ against the U.S. and other foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan,” (Source: ISLAMABAD, June 24 IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)
And so it begins, the real wars America has gotten itself into in the Middle East proper, and in Afghanistan of all places! That the Pentagon knew well this would be the outcome in both locales is known and should be understood, it isn‘t that Mr. Bush and the self-proclaimed Cabal (Paul Wolfowitz‘s term not mine) of civilians did not receive proper intelligence, they simply rejected it if it didn’t fit their agenda according to intelligence officials who quit rather than “go along‘ with this abuse of proper intel. channels. 3
Once again, as in the not-so-recent past with Vietnam, the military professionals, their intelligence analysts and counterparts at CIA and NSA, Defense Intelligence and too many military affairs experts to count, were ignored by the seemingly arrogant civilian academicians appointed (sometimes self-appointed to even higher importance in decision making as has been so eloquently reported by Seymour M. Hersh 4 ) to run these wars. Men with no active duty combat experience at all, few with military experience of any nature, most never even a National Guardsman, these men have taken unprecedented control of the American war-making capability; in short, men which do not know what it takes to meet the enemy and find victory conduct the wars. Mr. Bush, the most embarrassing of all the noncombatant civilians, could not discipline himself enough to simply not declare that hostilities were over, that we won, only to find America enmeshed in full blown guerrilla wars! And in both Areas of Operation (AO): Iraq and Afghanistan.
Seemingly bereft of the needed intelligence, both kinds, some of these academics have prosecuted these wars in a way they think, especially Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, is all-so-new, with new names attached to every phrase, as if by “saying” these words they are akin to some magical talisman: here are the terms of endearment to some of these non-warrior elite -- Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and Shock & Awe. With its mantra-like quality, its subtext repeated on CNN by aging retired generals obedient to Mr. Bush’s propaganda machinery (most retired for good reason): Achieving Rapid Dominance. That we did not achieve any such thing cannot today be admitted; but it will, upon reflection, be admitted one day when the history and analysis of these wars is written. Which has already begun as we shall see below.
What is Rapid Dominance?
Shock & Awe is the title of the book which outlined the doctrine itself. 5 According to the text “Rapid Dominance is the full use of capabilities within a system of systems that can decisively impact events requiring the application of military/defense resources through affecting the adversary’s will. Rapid Dominance envisions execution in real or near real time to counter actions or intentions deemed detrimental to U.S. interests. On one end of the spectrum, Rapid Dominance would introduce a regime of Shock and Awe in areas of high value to the threatening individual, group, or state. In many cases the prior knowledge of credible U.S. Rapid Dominance capabilities would act as a deterrent.”
More on this factor below, but most important is the concept that rapid dominance would achieve a quick end to hostilities, something Mr. Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld never entertained, admitting that the War on Terrorism might last anywhere from six to ten years. But the original conceptual integration of this doctrine was to assure the opposite. “Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues at minimal loss of lives and collateral damage. The concept ideally should be able to impact adversarial situations that apply across the board, addressing high-, mid-, low-, and no-technology threats. Some of these aims may not be achievable given the political and technology constraints, but need to be explored. (Appendices, Reflections of Three Former Commanders: “Thoughts on Rapid Dominance” Admiral Bud Edney, Shock & Awe, 1996, p.149)
The authors, primarily active duty or recently retired high-ranking officers from all the major branches, seemed to grasp the problems facing any future wars in their specificity: “The reality of current politics is that the trauma of Vietnam, the results of the Gulf War, and our status as the only remaining superpower after the Cold War equate to some new constraints (real or perceived) on the application of military force to support our foreign policy.” Constraint was the watchword of these newest concepts for the future use of military force in dispute resolution. They argued that “These political sensitivities need to be understood up front and include the following”: (Ibid. p. 147)
· The U.S. is not the world’s policeman
· Involvement of U.S. Forces must be justified as essential to vital U.S. security interests
· Support of Congress and People is a necessary prerequisite
· Avoid commitment of ground forces
· Offer instead U.S. intelligence, air lift, sea lift, logistics support, etc.
· Avoid risk of loss of U.S. lives at almost all costs
· Ensure decisive force applied for mission assigned
· Rules of Engagement allow U.S. forces to defend themselves aggressively
· Minimize civilian casualties, loss of life, and collateral damage
· Specify achievable mission objectives up front with an end in the not-too-distant future sight before committing
· U.S. led coalition force preferred-U.S. Forces remain under U.S. Command. These political restraints may limit the application of Rapid Dominance to Major and Minor Regional Conflicts. This is an issue that needs further exploration and analysis.” (Ibid. pp. 147-148)
Given the above constraints envisioned by the team and noted in their specificity by L.A. “Bud” Edney, coupled with the specific constraint in the previous section above, whereby the, “Rapid Dominance capabilities would act as a deterrent. Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues at minimal loss of lives and collateral damage,” it would seem the Bush Administration, while pronouncing upon the language of Shock and Awe, with its rapid dominance of the given situations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, failed to take cognizance of the advice. Mr. Bush prosecuted both actions, ignoring sound advice from these and other military professionals. Instead, much like our previous wars noted by Admiral Edney, specifically Vietnam, relying upon non-military “experts” within the civilian command (Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Perle and Feith, to name a few) and upon the language, without the constraints, both wars were “sold” to the public (which bought it initially due to the incredibly pro-war bias reporting of major news outlets). But history, as in wars in the past, creeps up upon the reality.
While the concept might have been used as deterrent, which the team highly valued, it would seem, and cannot really be argued any other way, the Bush Administration’s elite civilian experts, never seriously considered this in either case. That is to say, it is now obvious, deterrence was never tabled, never seriously entertained. Admiral Ednay felt this area was of signal importance stating he felt that “Rapid Dominance cannot solve all or even most of the world’s problems. It initially appears that Rapid Dominance should be applied sparingly for egregious threats or violations of international law, such as:
· Blatant aggression involving a large state crushing a small state
· Rogue leader/state sponsored terrorism/use of WMD
· Egregious violations of human rights on a large scale
· Threat to essential world markets.” (Ibid, pp. 151-152)
None of the above violations were present in Afghanistan though Mr. Bush certainly tried to make it seem so. Not even 9/11 was known with any certainty the sole, nor even primary responsibility of al-Qaida and Usamah bin Laden as late as March 11, 2002. 6 The case to remove the Taliban from power was held with even less credibility. In Iraq there was no “threatened use” let alone “use” at all of WMD on the part of Saddam Hussein; even less of a threat now that the so-called intelligence culled and selected that was utilized to sell the war has fallen entirely out of favor. I am not going to rehash the partisan politics of these issues as we have more important issues at stake, in my humble opinion. We are in these two wars now, wars which have predictably escalated to a higher level of urban guerrilla warfare in both Areas of Operation (AO).
All the authors and analysts which outlined the new doctrine of Shock and Awe agreed on something which I shall address in much greater detail below, that is the following:
We note for the record that should a Rapid Dominance force actually be fielded with the requisite operational capabilities, this force would be neither a silver bullet nor a panacea and certainly not an antidote or preventative for a major policy blunder, miscalculation, or mistake. It should also be fully appreciated that situations will exist in which Rapid Dominance (or any other doctrine) may not work or apply because of political, strategic, or other limiting factors. (Ibid. Prologue, p. xix, emphasis in original)
It is here that we must begin to assess what we are “in” and if there is any way “out.” America’s policy blunders has us in two guerrilla wars in AOs that have always been considered not amenable to control, let alone “winning.” Shock and Awe and its attendant Rapid Dominance has in fact failed to achieve its main objective. An objective that has always been the primary objective of military victory, if it is victory we are after that is. That signal concept of war is to end the adversaries “will to fight.” In this we have failed. Their will in both countries (arguably the entire region) has instead been aroused to a fever pitch and promises to grow for as long as we occupy their territories, place puppet regimes in power, and maintain control over their natural resources. It matters little, no, not at all, whether you or I, Mr. Bush and his coterie of civilians, the media and our public polls, believe we have broken their will, or the regimes in place are not puppet regimes, that we are administering “their natural resources,” primarily oil and gas, and the attendant pipelines in both nations to the benefit of their people, rather than “controlling them.” All that matters is that this “is their perception” that it is so.
Tactics and Strategy: The Objective
We must not hide behind fate’s petticoats.
When one looks at the two wars being fought in our name we ought to look it all in the face; there is never a better time to do so than while the wars are escalating. We might wait until it is all over, as we did with the Vietnam war, to look at what we had been doing all along. We might look at it the way George Santayana suggested when he stated “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Or we might choose to ignore this advice with the axiom, “One of the most somber aspects of the study of history is that it suggests no obvious ways by which mankind could have avoided folly.”7
Things change. We all know this. Even military doctrine changes with the times. But do we ignore the basic truths of war that endure for the fancy of the moment. There really are not any books that can address, as yet, the tactics we are presently utilizing in either Afghanistan nor Iraq. For some time there were no books about Vietnam either. Not until around 1982 when On Strategy was first published. I have drawn upon the works of this author and upon my own reading of Clausewitz’s On War (as he did) because I fear, we may have set course on a war-footing we shall ultimately lose. I am no progressive Leftist as those who know me would readily attest. My meager contribution to the Vietnam war was during 1969/1970 with the 101st Airborne Division, C Troop/ 2/17 Air Cavalry. That we did lose the war, though we could have won the war had we, that is to say, had our [then] crop of civilian masters, wanted to win the war, is not a moot point. But they did not want victory; they fought what was then called a “limited war.” That the two terms joined into a doctrinal phrase are themselves then contradictory in the history of warfare will become understood later in this piece.
We must, in my opinion look to the errors of the Vietnam war to discover, in part, why we lost that war; why, or better, how we could have won that war. Now that we are “in” the Middle East, Afghanistan, maybe North/South Korea (again) and threatening Iran and Syria, should give one pause. Vietnam is the only past war we can realistically look to as all else that has followed were not only limited wars in character even further, some are now seen as downright foolishness (Somalia readily comes to mind). With the new strategic doctrines bandied about, like the above Shock and Awe, we need to look closely at what works in war-making capability. What works means, victory, what brings peace.
Some will say I write this because I think we (our military forces, the troops in particular) “ought to win” if we are already there fighting. I do not have to make that distinction. As in the Vietnam war, since we did lose the war (what I mean by “lose” the war follows below), and that it was to some analysts apparent at the time we would lose, we, therefore, could have pulled out much earlier, or not escalated as we did, when we did; in short, we could have saved lives on both sides by not doing what we did for the reasons we did it. True hindsight about Vietnam is 20/20. But there is no reason we can’t achieve 20/15 by using what we learned then and since. Maybe this is futile on my part. The troops on the ground will certainly not think so.
When looking into the history of the Vietnam war Colonel Harry G. Summers Jr. noted this important doctrinal change during the period in question:
It is revealing that during the course of the Vietnam war there were changes in both the strategic and tactical definitions of The Objective. What had been a clear relationship between military strategy and political objectives was lost in an abstruse discussion of national objectives, rejection of aggression, deterrence and the whole concept of a spectrum of war. 8
The new definition is similar in respect to where we are at today. We may ask what are the objectives in Iraq, in Afghanistan, elsewhere Mr. Bush and his civilian commanders (if I may use the term very loosely) intend to go next? Karl von Clausewitz had argued that “the political object--the original motive for the war--will determine both the military objective to be reached and the amount of effort it requires.” While the 1962 edition of FM 100-5 still discussed The Objective as requiring “the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces and his will to fight,” the 1968 edition reduced this to, “defeat the enemy’s armed forces.” 9 As Summers pointed out then (1982) and one might point out today (08/2003) “we had eliminated the very factor that was to cause us the greatest difficulty--the psychological objective of destruction of the enemy’s will to fight.” As Summers further notes and it seems more convoluted today: “This was especially paradoxical since this was ostensibly what we were trying to do in Vietnam, having been denied the objective of destruction of the enemy’s armed forces.” Which was why we did not entertain the invasion of North Vietnam, thinking instead, we could win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese that we believed was more important and made up the better part of the Viet Cong. The idea was built upon the doctrine of “counterinsurgency” as our main tactic. That we seemingly misjudged the war in this way, seeing as we were fighting actually two distinct enemies, the one, the Viet Cong, which was a guerrilla war orchestrated by the North, and a conventional war with the Army of North Vietnam was the whole point. It wasn’t the Viet Cong that took the South, they just kept us occupied in all corners while we fought our limited objective of fighting them specifically, while the real war was mounted from the North in conventional fashion, eventually overrunning Saigon with 17 Northern Regular (NVA) Army Divisions and armored columns. It was the doctrine of counterinsurgency, according to Summers and his sources which contributed greatly to the doctrinal flaws.
Afghanistan and Iraq:
It was claimed that our objective in Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban from power and “get Usamah bin Laden” as “all roads lead to bin Laden,” so we were told. Then after the Taliban moved out of their strongholds “to fight another day,” with the only tactics available to them, tactics well-earned one must add, without their forces being “decisively defeated,” one wonders what we have won? What are the real political objectives in Afghanistan? Now that we are embroiled in yet another guerrilla war, no differently than the Soviets, who it was never necessary for the guerrillas to decisively defeat either, we are fighting the very same guerrillas by name in many cases; what are we going to do?
“The political objective is a goal, war is a means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose....It is clear that war should never be thought of as something autonomous but always as an instrument of policy.”10 It is not at all clear that Mr. Bush and specifically Mr. Rumsfeld understand what this means. The objective of simply removing the Taliban from power, removing the regime from power in Iraq but not decisively defeating either of them, not using enough force, enough ground forces in both cases to cause the overwhelming defeat of their armies, crush their “will to fight,” I fear will be the cause of our defeat in both regions. No one in their right mind should start a war without the planning for peace in place. And nation-building is not a plan and not something an army can do, let alone ought to be doing. “There was a brief period in the late 1960s when military intellectuals were advancing the notion that the U.S. Army was the arm of the government best equipped to carry out in the field the entire range of activities associated with ‘nation-building.’” (Summers, p.71) We failed in Vietnam, but the doctrine holds today, whereby “the fundamental purpose of the U.S. military forces is to preserve, restore, or create an environment of order or stability within which the instrumentalities of government can function effectively under a code of laws.” (1968 successor to Field Service Regulations quoted, Ibid., On Strategy). Clausewitz argued:
War plans cover every aspect of a war, and weave them all into a single operation that must have a single, ultimate objective in which all particular aims are reconciled. No one starts a war--or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so--without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it. The former is its political purpose; the latter is operational objective. This is the governing principle which will set its course, prescribe the scale of means and effort required, and make its influence felt throughout down to the smallest operational detail. 11
It is clear Mr. Bush did not plan for the peace, the immediate aftermath of the invasion (the looting and arson), the resistance which we can now see clearly was planned all along as a guerrilla war. (Saddam knew he could not defeat American forces in a conventional war--did anyone believe he would try?) I do not think one professional soldier advised that Saddam Hussein would fight in any manner than what we are seeing now, post-May 1, 2003, i.e., an urban guerrilla war. “The original means of strategy is victory--that is, tactical success; its ends, in the final analysis, are those objects which will lead directly to peace.” (Clausewitz, On War, II:2, p.143)
That there have been claims within the military and civilian policy-maker’s ranks of surprise by the level of resistance in both countries only strengthens my argument that the civilians, as S. Hersh’s sources argued over pre-war intelligence assessments, received proper advice, but the professional soldiers were arrogantly ignored. Mr. Rumsfeld in particular, as a true believer in the Revolution in Military Affairs and its doctrine of Shock and Awe, believed it would, in and of itself, bring unqualified victory. But like Clinton’s, “it depends...what is the definition of is”... what is Rumsfeld’s definition of victory? I must point out that, as meager as my personal contribution is here, I stated on September 20th, 2001, live in Washington D.C. on the Jim Bohannon Show immediately five minutes after Mr. Bush’s Terrorism Speech, that we would have to occupy the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan, and this would entail ground troops in the tens of thousands and we would be there for years. If I knew, Bush knew.
One nation may support another’s cause,
but will never take it so seriously as it takes its own.
A moderately-sized force will be sent to its help;
but if things go wrong the operation is pretty well written off,
and one tries to withdraw at the smallest possible cost.
Clausewitz, On War, VIII:6, p. 603
And seriously, things are going wrong! The confusion over objectives detailed in Summers’ volume about Vietnam reflects our present situation more than anyone wants to admit. In Vietnam this “had a devastating effect on our ability to conduct the war,” according to Summers. “As Brigadier General Douglas Kinnard found in a 1974 survey of Army generals who had commanded in Vietnam, “almost 70 percent of the Army generals who managed the war were uncertain of its objectives.” Kinnard goes on to say that this “mirrors a deep-seated strategic failure: the inability of policy-makers to frame tangible, obtainable goals.”12
I think this is the most important aspect of Summers detailed study of Vietnam and to some extent his historical take on the Korean War. It is not the duty of the military to judge the policy-maker’s goals and objectives but it is his duty to give his full and unqualified brief. I believe, given what we already know about the current crop of neo-conservatives, who dominate this administration and their inability to entertain advice that doesn’t fit their already conceived notions, we have been misled by these policy-makers. In an interesting quote by Summers, this very thing was addressed early on in the Spring of 1954 regarding whether American ground forces should be brought into the Vietnam war the French were then fighting. On the relationship between the Army leadership and its civilian decision makers:
The statesman, the civilian authority, says to the soldier (and by “soldier” I mean the professional military man - the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force as represented in the persons of the Chiefs of Staff): “This is our national policy. This is what we wish to accomplish, or would like to do. What military means are required to support it?”
The soldier studies this problem in detail. “very well,” he says to the statesman. “Here is what your policy will require in men and guns, in ships and planes.”...
If the civilian authority finds the cost to be greater than the country can bear, then either the objectives themselves should be modified, or the responsibility for the risks involved should be forthrightly accepted. Under no circumstances, regardless of pressures from whatever source or motive, should the professional military man yield, or compromise his judgment for other than convincing military reasons. To do otherwise would be to destroy his usefulness.”13
The Offensive War:
In our Shock and Awe bombing of, first Afghanistan, then Iraq, we have been treated to articles in the prestigious journals like Foreign Affairs by too many authors with a certain bias in presenting the wars, the actual combat itself, as unmitigated successes. Mr. Rumsfeld was the most obvious and all the more unseemly because of its obviousness. The swagger in Rumsfeld’s ruminations cannot be stated any other way. 14 Yet the bombing, the overwhelming devastation brought upon both these countries did not achieve its central war objectives. We neither decisively defeated the armies, nor broke their “will to fight.” We have not brought victory, period.
At about the time Mr. Bush declared an end to hostilities in Iraq on May 1, 2003, and that we had won the war, a close associate of Donald Rumsfeld’s at the American Enterprise Institute, and the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Max Boot, wrote these words:
Coalition forces in the second Gulf War were less than half the size of those deployed in the first one. Yet they achieved a much more ambitious goal--occupying all of Iraq, rather than just kicking the Iraqi army out of Kuwait--in almost half the time, with one third the casualties, and at one fourth the cost of the first war....Although the Iraqi army was much degraded from its pre-1991 heyday, it still deployed more than 450,000 troops, including paramilitary units, the Republican Guard, and the Special Republican Guard, whose loyalties had been repeatedly demonstrated. Traditionally, war colleges have taught that to be sure of success, an attacking force must have a 3 to 1 advantage--a ratio that goes up to 6 to 1 in difficult terrain such as urban areas. Far from having a 3 to 1 advantage in Iraq, coalition ground forces (which never numbered more than 100,000) faced a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 disadvantage....That the United States and its allies won anyway--and won so quickly--must rank as one of the signal achievements in military history. (Foreign Affairs Vol. 82 No. 4, July /August. p.44)
It is not like a neo-conservative to ever admit of error, so one does not expect Mr. Boot to write another article clearing it all up and admitting that not only was he naive, immature in the greatest degree or maybe just an overzealous apologist for this war. Nevertheless by the time the article hit the newsstands every point he made was either entirely erroneous or must be read with a completely different understanding. Point of fact, Saddam Hussein’s army never intended to defend Baghdad 15 but acting in the same fashion as the Taliban, their strategic retreat was “to fight another day” towards using tactics more suitable to success against a superior conventional force: i.e., urban guerrilla warfare. Having done so, Mr. Bush and Max Boot (as but one of many examples of the war’s apologists) now find every point Mr. Boot made to have the reverse applicable. The war will cost America many times that of Gulf War 1 (running approximately 1.2 billion dollars a week); the casualties have already surpassed the first Gulf War and are mounting weekly; and, as far as accomplishing anything in half the time, we now find ourselves mired in an urban guerrilla war that could last a decade, if not twice that. Not only have we not occupied “all of Iraq,” we don’t control all of Baghdad, nor the Shi‘ite South which is rising-up in anger as each day passes. Thus we have (or he ought to be) a fully embarrassed Mr. Boot. But the admittance that not only are our troops outnumbered by a guerrilla force possibly numbering 400,000, or a 4 to 1 ratio, we must leave the existing troops in place with one year rotations, 16 activate the Army Reserves to full status along with much of our National Guard, and we will still need to fix the proper ratio for the attacking American forces as specified in military doctrine at 6 to 1 (properly 10 to 1 in an urban guerrilla war) to attempt to reverse the situation. This will, if we intend to stay any longer than two years, require the reinstitution of the draft (Selective Service) in the very near future, likely after the next election. or we could withdraw.
Another rarely discussed problematic in the entire region is demographics. The United States has, just as most fully developed nations, an aging population. In Iraq and throughout the Gulf region their population has doubled in twelve years, with 60 percent under 21 years of age.17 Thus we mirror again our Vietnam experience. A rather young population fighting a guerrilla war against our conventional forces. Hanoi more than once proclaimed their willingness to expend enormous human losses and draw upon an endless supply of their youth to see America leave their country. One author, Mr. Leonardo Maugeri, also pointed out this important factor: “This demographic explosion has created expectations and frustrations to which stagnant, single-industry economics cannot give a credible answer. Only sustained oil revenues allow these countries to temper social unrest by preserving huge assistance programs. Gulf countries’ oil revenues are already much lower than they were 20 years ago, and cheap oil prices mean a dramatic dip in per capita oil income. Therefore, frustration and violent revolt may erupt whenever the minimum living standards are endangered by decreasing oil prices. Today’s Islamic fundamentalism, like yesterday’s pan-Arab socialism, finds fertile ground among hopeless people.”18
Recall that our Rolling Thunder bombing of North Vietnam was supposed to bring about just such a success as our current doctrine of Shock and Awe: “Bring them to the negotiating table.” But even then we neither shocked the Vietnamese into submission, nor were they in awe of our unsurpassed air supremacy; they, like both Iraq and Afghanistan, had no airpower to speak of, what was to awe them exactly? The failure to achieve the objectives through the carpet bombing of Hanoi and it was the on again/off again nature of the bombings that one Admiral Sharp argued caused us “temporary military disadvantages” and that Summers argued were “fatal flaws.”
If the enemy is to be coerced you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of the situation must not of course be transient--at least not in appearance. Otherwise the enemy would not give in but would wait for things to change.”19
The Iraqi and Afghan guerrillas have all the time in the world. Al Qaida even more time.
They can always wait for things to change, change in America, change in Iraq, change!
A brief look at the war in Afghanistan:
In a ground-breaking article in Foreign Affairs Stephen Biddle 20 took a close look at this war that Mr. Bush has already declared over and the U.S. media underreports. We shall not belabor the point that the guerrilla warfare with a combination of original Taliban commanders (who fought the Soviets) and a newly reconstituted al Qaida are back with a vengeance and intend to “fight forever” the American and foreign occupation and Harmid Karzai’s U.S. backed regime. (The idea there were anything like elections in Afghanistan is as fraudulent as one can get). What needs to be explored and what Biddle discovered about our initial defeating of whatever Taliban and al Qaida fighters did stay and fight a tactical defensive withdrawal (this defeat was a given) was that the doctrine of Shock and Awe, the transformation of our U.S. military in some revolutionary fashion, (RMA) just simply did not happen. Biddle suggests this will remain untrue for some time to come. It was this belief put forward mainly in the media by Donald Rumsfeld that in the so-called defeat of the Taliban there was created what he termed “The Afghan Model.” A model purportedly so successful it would set the stage, transform, all wars of the future. It was the use of Special Forces Operation’s teams directing overwhelming airpower with the ground fighting primarily done by the indigenous people themselves. (In Afghanistan it was the ruthless Northern Alliance whose true allegiance is with Russia not the West) The new Model was supposedly that U.S. ground forces didn’t have to engage the enemy at all and the Northern Alliance only sporadically and not in close combat. As though the entire war was fought from a distance and what came to be called a “standoff affair.” I’ll let Biddle speak for himself.
[Yet] the war was not purely a standoff affair. Contrary to popular belief, there was plenty of close combat in Afghanistan. Although they were initially taken by surprise, Taliban fighters quickly adapted to American methods and adopted countermeasures that allowed many of them to elude American surveillance and survive U.S. air strikes. 21
The Taliban and al Qaida fighters withstood the devastating bombing and the “actively resisting Taliban had to be overcome by surprisingly close-quarters fighting.” (Ibid.) Nobody, and certainly not this analyst, is suggesting that the Taliban could have defeated U.S. ground forces in a straight-up contest. That they didn’t attempt to is clear in Biddle’s report. The problem as I see it, from what I still hear, is that they didn’t put up any fight at all except a tactical (fighting) withdrawal; according to Rumsfeld and his Cabal of Wolfowitz, Fieth and Perle, and others, they were slaughtered like lambs and were awed and in shock over our superior firepower. They couldn’t even put up a fight, so it was reported. America rushed out to buy yellow ribbons and flags. All this we heard. But, what actually happened was somewhat different and does not bode well for the future wars we intend to fight in the Middle East. Biddle reports that,
...within days of the first SOF-directed air strikes, American commandos were already reporting that Taliban vehicles in their sectors had been smeared with mud to camouflage them. By November 5, the Taliban were making aggressive use of overhead cover and concealment. In the fighting north of Kandahar and along Highway 4 south of the city in December, al Qaida defenses were well camouflaged, dispersed, and making use of natural terrain for expedient cover. This pattern continued through Operation Anaconda in March, by which time al Qaida forces were practicing systematic communications security, dispersal, camouflage discipline, use of cover and concealment, and exploitation of dummy fighting positions to draw fire and attention from their real positions. 22
“The Taliban,” Biddle notes, “did not just passively suffer under American attack; they adapted their methods to try to reduce their vulnerability. And as they did, the war changed character.” (Ibid.) Among the more important changes Biddle reports, was the increasing difficulty U.S. forces experienced in finding targets for precision attack. They hid in old Soviet entrenchments and used the natural terrain for concealment.
By the time of the December fighting along Highway 4, even less information was available. In fact, concealed al Qaida defenses among a series of culverts and in burned-out vehicles along the roadside remained wholly undetected until their forces drove back an allied advance. An al Qaida counterattack in the same sector using a system of wadis, or dry valleys, for cover approached undetected to within 100-200 meters of allied and American SOF positions along the highway before opening fire. 23
When we did encounter the Taliban fighters through our enormous high technology capabilities, drones and satellites, something else of note occurred. “Just as enemy targets became harder to find once the Taliban adapted to the new model, the ones that were found also became tougher to kill.” (Ibid., p. 39) At one location, Bai Beche, all the defenders could not be located easily so American commandos called in two days of heavy bombing across the entire position. “Yet even after this extensive effort, enough defenders survived to thwart the initial attack...(by allied forces). (Ibid.)
We heard nothing of these things, and more and worse scenarios during the actual time period of the combat mission. All we were treated to was how Shock and Awe was wiping out all resistance. That the Taliban were routed, al Qaida but a memory. We were lied to, as simple as that. And there is no point to this. The nation’s people, who must be fervently behind the deployment of U.S. military force, so as to not lose public support as happened during the Vietnam war, have been, instead treated as stupid little children who must be told “we are winning,”-- “now go shopping,” as Mr. Bush actually proclaimed on more than one occasion. This was supposed to be reassuring? The American people could not be told how very ineffective our high technology revolution in military affairs was at the time which included massive amounts of munitions used in often just one skirmish; how ineffective against a dug-in enemy. Here was another battle reported by Biddle:
During Operation Anaconda, well-prepared al Qaida positions survived repeated aerial attack by U.S. precision munitions On Objective Ginger on march 4, for example American troops inadvertently disembarked from their assault helicopters almost on top of an unseen al Qaida position; after being pinned down for much of the day, they were extracted that night. They then spent much of the next ten days fighting their way back toward the Ginger hilltop from more secure landing zones well to the north. In the meantime, American aircraft pounded the hill. Yet in spite of more than a week of sustained heavy bombing, al Qaida positions on Ginger survived to fire on U.S. infantry when the latter finally reached and overran the objective. One dug-in al Qaida command post was found surrounded by no fewer than five 2,000 -pound bomb craters. Still, its garrison survived and resisted until overrun. 24
Throughout every war in the past, with the exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not even the fire-bombing of Dresden during the latter half of World War Two brought an abrupt end to resistance, even if it proved effective ultimately. As Biddle pointed out in his article, “In the past, firepower has been critical, but against resolute, well-prepared defenders, it has rarely been sufficient; taken together, Bai Beche, Qala-e-Gangi. and Operation Anaconda, (each proclaimed at the time easy victories in the press) suggest that it is not now, either.” 25 In fact the Taliban and alQaida have predictably returned in force.
By August 13, 2003, the Taliban had wrested control of most of Zabul province in southeastern Afghanistan - for the first time recapturing a province since being ousted from power by the US military in November 2001 - geopolitical analytical firm Stratfor reported. The advance also underscores the stalemate between the United States and its Afghan allies against the Taliban. It indicates that the alliance formed in early 2002 between the Taliban, al Qaeda and Hizb-i-Islami - the party led by Afghan war lord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - is paying off for the militants. It said Zabul is of strategic and military importance for a number of reasons. Taking Zabul cuts off US troops stationed to the south in Kandahar from the bulk of US troops located to the north toward Kabul, and given that Helmand and Oruzgan provinces to the north of Zabul already are Taliban strongholds, the group can better try to isolate U.S. and local provincial troops in Kandahar and eventually attempt to retake Kandahar as well. 26
Reported in the New York Times but rarely re-reported anywhere else are stories like this one: “In the most violent day in Afghanistan in nearly a year, 15 people, including six children, were killed when a bomb exploded on their bus in southern Afghanistan, and another 20 people were killed in fighting in the country’s east....The bomb exploded in Helmand province aboard a bus en route to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, according to news agency reports. It was the deadliest such attack since a bomb exploded in Kabul last September, killing 35 people. In the east, suspected Taliban fighters attacked government soldiers in the province of Khost, about four miles from the border with Pakistan. Fifteen attackers were killed, as were five government soldiers, according to a spokesman for the provincial governor quoted by The Associated Press. 27
The attacks come two days after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in a historic departure from its European theater of operation, assumed control of the International Security and Assistance Force, the multinational peacekeeping force that patrols Kabul and its surrounds. Clearly the war in Afghanistan is escalating, not over.
The attacks also come as the United States was preparing to invest another billion in Afghanistan in an attempt to accelerate the pace of reconstruction. A significant amount of the aid, according to Afghan officials, will be devoted to expanding and strengthening national institutions - namely the national army and the police - that could help provide security outside Kabul. Stepped-up attacks in the southeast, including some on aid workers, have prompted aid groups to restrict their movements and work in a region already deeply underdeveloped.
Apparently the Taliban and al Qaeda are now strong enough to retake an entire province, and it’s a province that’s strategically located on the main road between Kandahar and Kabul. 28
What might this have told us about the excursion into Iraq?
There are some who feel like, that conditions are such
that they can attack us there,..
My answer is bring them on.
--President George Bush Jr. 7/2/03
Biddle early on had this to say about our upcoming invasion of Iraq; he didn’t believe the “Afghan Model” much talked about by Cheney and Rumsfeld in press conferences, would work well at all, arguing instead “In Iraq, for example, the lack of a credible, trained opposition bodes ill for an Afghan style campaign without major American ground forces.”29 This didn’t stop Mr. Rumsfeld from advancing the theory that Iraq would be a cake-walk and American troops would be, “met with flowers pushed down the barrels of their guns,” and “treated as liberators.” Biddle understood what we would be up against, but the civilian managers are today those neo-conservatives who do not seek advice from those whose advice contradicts their preconceived point of view.
In most countries the central geo-strategic objectives are urban areas. Even where the bulk of the national land area is open desert (as in Iraq), the cities are both the key terrain and an ample source of cover (Baghdad alone covers more than 300 square kilometers). The natural complexity of such surfaces offers any opponent with the necessary skills, training, and adaptability a multitude of opportunities to thwart even modern remote surveillance systems. 30
Even with such a powerful caveat already written before March 2003, and at the newsstands by late February, the Administration refused to acknowledge just how wrong they were about the RMA and the effect shock and awe would (not) have, as opposed to what they still remained committed to. Biddle made it clear even if the administration wasn’t listening: “Even more broadly, we should be wary of suggestions that precision weapons have so revolutionized warfare that either the American military or American foreign policy can now be radically restructured . Some now argue that the revolutionary potential of precision weapons teamed with SOF and indigenous allies, can underwrite a neo-imperial American foreign policy in which the Afghan model enables cheap but effective military intervention on a potentially global scale. 31
The Afghan Model was no model at all, as Biddle made this as clear as could be when he stated, “So what does this analysis tell us about the future of warfare? The answer is that Afghanistan, at least, suggests a future more like the past than most now believe. Precision firepower did not simply annihilate well-prepared opponents at stand-off range in Afghanistan. To overcome skilled, resolute opposition required both precision firepower and skilled ground maneuver; neither alone was sufficient.” 32
We instead went into Iraq with our troops believing there would be little resistance; in the south they were met with a Shi‘ite population that hated Saddam Hussein, which the administration thought meant they would automatically support our invasion of their land. But instead they hate us even more than Saddam Hussien. The resistance shocked some of the ground commanders and certainly the troops which met fierce resistance. Hussein and his transformed army, including the Republican Guard, never intended to hold the ground, cities, territory at any point. Putting up a mock and deceptive defense was planned all along, retreating into the urban centers “to fight another day.” Hussein transformed his military into an urban guerrilla army and sucked-us into its vortex. In other words, “What the Afghan war ultimately shows is that even today, continuity in the nature of war is at least as important as change. To ignore the continuity and focus exclusively on the change risks serious error and fundamental misunderstanding of this war’s true meaning for the future--which is neither as transformational (Rumsfeld’s favorite term) nor as idiosyncratic as many have asserted.” 33
Commitment and Interests:
"We have a soldier wounded or killed every other day" in the Baghdad area.
"Is it slowing us down? Yes, because some soldiers who would otherwise be doing reconstruction, we have to use for security.
Every attack means we're going to have to be here a little longer."
-- Maj. Scott Slaten
In a most audacious attack on American troops, an Iraqi fired a rocket-propelled grenade from the sunroof of a Chevrolet car at a passing patrol yesterday, incinerating one of the army vehicles and seriously wounding four of those traveling in the convoy. 34
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, insisted “that Iraq was not a new Vietnam,” there are no jungles there! 35
07/01/03: BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. troops in Iraq are getting ambushed everywhere and every day - while guarding gas stations, investigating car thefts or on their way to make phone calls home. Each new attack is raising questions about whether the violence is a last gasp from Saddam Hussein loyalists or signs of a spreading revolt. The Pentagon is puzzling over how many resisters there are, how well they are organized and how they can be stopped. Private risk analysts are warning of an even chance of Iraq descending into open revolt. And although the term is rarely used at the Pentagon, from every description by military officials, what U.S. troops face on the ground in Iraq has all the markings of a guerrilla war - albeit one in which there are multiple opposition groups rather than a single movement. 36
It was finally admitted by at least one on-the-ground general that America is in a full-on professionally organized guerrilla war; we are not fighting disgruntled homeowners who are angry with the lack of electricity; we are not facing foreigners paid by wealthy Hussein “loyalists,” nor are we facing (only or primarily) classical terrorists of the Al Qaida “ilk.” As this analyst had stated in interviews and articles for almost two years since 9/11 and at the time, we will be facing an international urban guerrilla war which began on 9/11 on our own soil. Our involvement in the Caspian region, Afghanistan and now Iraq, now possibly Iran, less likely but certainly on the Bush banquet platter, North Korea and Syria, will bring more American deaths abroad, a growing guerrilla resistance wherever we have troops on the ground, and further attacks here at home. Here is what one General stated during late July 2003:
“It think describing it as guerrilla tactics being employed against us is, you know, a proper thing to describe in strictly military terms...” 37
Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq, said a “guerrilla war is exactly what U.S. troops are confronting,” not what Mr. Rumsfeld claimed himself on June 30th, that it was not “anything like a guerrilla war or an organized resistance.” 38 Ground commanders are contradicting the civilian managers and given Summer’s analysis above, we need to take note of this.
Abizaid said U.S. forces are fighting remnants of Saddam’s Baath Party throughout Iraq. He said mid-level officials of Saddam’s government, including from the old intelligence and security agencies and the Special Republican Guard, “have organized at the regional
level in cellular structure.” Abizaid said they “are conducting what I would describe as a classical guerrilla-type campaign against us. It’s low-intensity conflict in our doctrinal terms, but it’s war however you describe it.”39
Will this escalate into a furtherance of conflict here at home? Will, given the protracted nature of every guerrilla war, they can only hope to win if it is in fact protracted, will more Americans die here at home and abroad in classical terrorist attacks? U.S. Military intervention has been identified as the major cause for terrorist acts against Americans and American facilities, corporate, military and governmental by none other than the United States Pentagon’s Defense Science Board:
As part of its global power position, the United States is called upon frequently to respond to international causes and deploy forces around the world. America’s position in the world invited attack simply because of its presence. Historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.40
“The level of resistance, I’m not so sure I would characterize it as escalating in terms of number of incidents. But it is getting more organized and it is learning. It is adapting -- it is adapting to our tactics, techniques and procedures. And we’ve got to adapt to their tactics, techniques and procedures,” Abizaid said. Does this sound at all familiar or must we wait until Harry Summers or Stephen Biddle writes another volume as they did on Afghanistan and Vietnam? To face this growing threat without alarming the American people the Pentagon will have to send more troops and keep those already there maybe indefinitely.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Pentagon could start a call-up of as many as 10,000 U.S. National Guard soldiers by this winter to bolster forces in Iraq and offset a lack of troops from allies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the U.S. military thin, the report said, and soldiers there still face danger every day. One senior U.S. defense official, asked by the Journal if he had ever seen the Army stretched so thin, said: "Not in my 31 years" of military service.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to sign off later this week on a plan that would set up rotations to relieve Marine and U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Iraq, the newspaper said, citing a Pentagon official. 41
The American people have gone to war often in the interests of America’s interests; Vietnam was one; Somalia was different, Afghanistan different still, Iraq differs even more. The war on terrorism holds that we must make “pre-emptive war” world-wide against those who may “harbor or support terrorism anywhere they are found.” Interests are not a very good argument most of the time. Colonel Harry G. Summers hits the mark in his chapter To Provide for the Common Defense. We are almost always told that if we do not deal with our enemies here or there we will be fighting them in the streets of America.
Although our military policies are often justified in terms of the first mission--protection of the Homeland--it is the third mission--protection of American worldwide interests--that has most often led to the commitment of American armed forces. It was easier to say “fight them in Vietnam or fight them in the streets of San Francisco” than it was to attempt to explain the complex network of interests behind our Vietnam policy, and “protection” is much less open to argument than “interests” over which one may or may not agree. 42
As Vietnam illustrated, and I can recall quite vividly from personal recollection, and as Summers pointed out “the divergence between what we were doing and what we said we were doing led to such serious problems as the ‘credibility gap’ and the loss of public support.” (Ibid.) These wars over interests always escalate, more troops are sent, reserves called-up. The tactics the enemy employs is as old as wars themselves. Our shock and awe revolution in warfare is not new to the guerrilla and the past practitioners of this ancient art of war.
The enemy will pass slowly from the offensive to the defensive. The blitzkrieg will transform itself into a war of duration. Thus, the enemy will be caught in a dilemma: he has to drag out the war in order to win it, and does not posses, on the other hand, the psychological and political means to fight a long-drawn-out war....43
Mr. Bush is about to discover that the inevitable escalation of the war in Central Asia’s Caspian region centered in Afghanistan cannot be so easily won. (Arguably the war is, in part, over the pipelines today being presently funded by the Asian Development Bank and under construction and viable control of the region’s vast oil and gas reserves, although not as the sole or maybe even one of more important political/economic objectives, it cannot any longer be denied. 44 And in the overall Middle East (whereby Iraq is seen as but the beginning) oil reserves cannot be ruled out as at least one of the primary objectives for our pre-emptive attack on that country. This is going to return with a vengeance on this Administration. These objectives cannot be dismissed, should have been spoken to from the beginning, rather than the worn out song of Homeland Security and WMD neither of which will hold weight in the years to come. Summers’ reasoning bears repeating here, “the divergence between what we were doing and what we said we were doing led to such serious problems as the ‘credibility gap’ and the loss of public support.” It is here that the troops suffer the most. They are the least informed as to what the real objectives are in every war; they are the last to understand the constraints or limits place upon their commanders; they are the last to find out, many much too late, that they were sent to war over reasons, resources and for a reality never explained.
The first the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish...the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature. This is the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive.45
There is no longer any lingering doubt that Mr. Bush and his Cabal have, to the point, misled the world, the UN, the United States Congress and the American people as what our true objectives were in both Afghanistan and Iraq. This alone is being argued whether this is an impeachable offense. Misleading Congress is a felony. This first failing might be overlooked by the cynical and unwise, by the people so easily occupied with the latest T.V programs. But the strategic necessity of getting it right regarding “the kind of war” we are to fight, not trying to “turn it into something alien to its nature,” is, to my way of thinking the more impeachable offense than the former. It is this, this not reckoning that we would be facing a protracted urban guerrilla war in Iraq, a classical guerrilla war in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, one we at one time funded and aided the same Mujahadeen against the old Soviet Union, that bears the brunt of history. It is the failure to fight the proper “kind of war” to achieve achievable objectives necessary to the first mission, “protecting the American homeland,” that cost American (and the rest) lives, and is unforgivable. The language Mr. Bush himself has used to garner public support has been downright un-statesman-like in every sense. Good versus evil, them or us, is the language of demagogues not republicans.
“We have failed to perceive that people will probably respond to arguments made on the basis of enlightened self-interest....The apocalyptic language of the past has tended to deceive those who used it as well as those who got the message.” --Senator Jacob Javits, 1973
As Summers pointed out regarding the American war manager’s deceptions of the past wars, “In the future we must take care to avoid jeopardizing American public support for their military with misstatements -- either intentional or unintentional -- of what we are about.”46 The American people are still grappling with what we are about. I have argued that what we are...is an empire of sorts, not a Roman style empire as in Rome’s day as the Roman people benefited by Rome’s imperial policies, her wars, her objectives. Even Roman legions stood to gain. Everyone understood just what they were about. But this new empire, the new imperial project here in America if masked and veiled (if not to the rest of the world which tends to see us in our historical light). It is a corporate empire whose interests we are at war over. it is the giant monopoly multinational corporations whose interests we fight to defend, acquire, dominate and rule in behalf of. But misleading the American people over this aspect is nothing compared to misleading our youth into what kind of war they are to fight in whose interests.
Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumseld and Richard Perle, Dick Cheney and Ms Rice, Mr. Wolfowitz and Mr. Armitage, and even Mr. Powell, have to one degree or another misled the American people; worse, they have misled the troops themselves if not the commanders in the field. Have these followed the past thinking regarding making war? Thinking, like that of Robert S. McNamara:
The greatest contribution Vietnam is making--right or wrong is beside the point--is that it is developing an ability in the United states to fight a limited war, to go to war without the necessity of arousing public ire.47
“Right or Wrong” was not beside the point, as Summers pointed out, and neither was the intangible of “public ire.” The failure to invoke the national will of the American people was one of the major strategic failures of the Vietnam war. It produced a strategic vulnerability that our enemy was able to exploit. The troops rebelled, morale was horrendous, the youth protested and parents were outraged. (Ibid.,pp.7-18) It is the belief our leaders today hold that the, primarily Muslim populations, in the regions we are fighting, have got to lose; we are simply too powerful; they will be shocked and in awe. As doctrine Shock and Awe has only deluded our leaders, not convinced our enemies; we have not broken their will to fight, their will to resist. We have guaranteed the opposite. As Clausewitz wrote almost 200 years ago:
Not every war need be fought until one side collapses. When the motives and tensions of war are slight we can imagine that the faintest prospect of defeat might be enough to cause one side to yield. If from the very start the other side feels that this is probable, it will obviously concentrate on bringing about this probability rather than take the long way round and totally defeat the enemy. 48
Nobody believes Saddam Hussein and his (now transformed 49) guerrilla army of maybe 400,000 fighters believes they can totally defeat the American conventional war machine in all-out-war; nobody believes Mullah Omar believes his Taliban and friends like Usamah bin Laden 50 and al Qaida can totally defeat the American conventional war machine in all-out-war; they do not.
We believe they cannot wear us down with years of protracted guerrilla warfare, the only kind of warfare, protracted, guerrillas can and will fight, as it is the only chance they have of “winning without defeating” American forces. Without defeating American forces they can win. Americans today view war as a sporting event, one side is better and therefore wins the game. This thing called war is no game, those of us who have seen it close up understand this. Those, like almost every single member of the President’s team, inclusive of himself, George W. Bush Junior, have never seen war except on T.V.; trust me not, though I have seen war close-up; but do trust those men like Col. David Hackworth (ret.) Col. Robert K. Brown (ret.), and so many others like them, we can lose both these wars and defeat the enemy tactically at every turn, if they stand and fight. That was always the question: would the Taliban, al Qaida, the Special Republican Guard and Saddam Hussein’s 450,000 soldiers stand and fight us? No intelligent military professional
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