Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by NEO_CON, Feb 5, 2006.
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Utter pants. Theoretically and conceptually he is all over the shop, to the extent that I honestly don't know what he's on about most of the time.
The Triumph of the Wills, for want of a better expression, that he finally harps on about in the end (so I assume that it is his conclusion) is all well and good if you're into that sort of thing, but the logic of the rest of his article gives no clue as to how to operationalise this idea. For most of the article, he keeps on explaining how basically we're fcuked. Conventional warfare hasn't worked, public diplomacy and attempts at discourse haven't worked. If we can't stop the suicide bombers and we can't dissuade them, then what's left?
From an operational perspective there seems to be little more than "We know we're right, because we know we're always right- so lets just get down on our knees and pray that everything will be okay." Is his idea for victory against terrorism really based upon the need to make sure that Janet Jackson doesn't show the world her nipple clamp on national tv again?
Jesus Tapdancing Christ.
Shows the dangers of going to church just that bit too often.
This is a drum which Colonel Ralph has been banging for years, now. He's a retired US MI Lt Col, not a bad novelist - and an occasional commentator on military affairs. He has a particular thing about the Triumf des Willens and has read entirely too much Sun Tzu for his own peace of mind.
I looked in vain for some suggestions in the article as to what we should do, his having demonstrated thoroughly that what we are doing is not the right thing.
Maybe his point is that we should start looking for alternative ways to win rather than pouring huge amounts of money/effort/time into the latest military fad (NEC/NCW). I have to say I find his article a fairly eloquent position on why we radically need to change our defence thinking. Can I also recommend his paper In praise of attrition.
In the article you suggest, he singularly fails to define his terms of reference. It could be inferred from his argument that manoeuvre warfare only entails posturing and positioning. Of course manoeuvre warfare also involves the timely and accurate application of force as required to have the required level of shock to either decapitate an enemy or sap its will to fight.
But, one could argue that an insurgency campaign is itself a form of manoeuvre warfare. As we are all now aware the three week campaign, did not signal an end to the war- no matter how pretty George W looked when he played dress-up on the aircraft carrier.
To use the parlance of my studes- "Well, like- D'uh!" Rule No.7 for how to succeed without talent- When asked for your opinion, pick out a platitude and defend it righteously.
The irony of the fact that he himself is theorising about warfare, is apparently lost on him.
I do generally agree with his assertion that the application of appropriate amounts of shiny kit to a given problem is not a panacea. However, the manner in which he approaches the issue leaves a lot to be desired. He offers no way of remedying the shortcomings and he fails to recognise that the establishment of theories and doctrine regarding the application of force provides a cognitive framework for commanders in the field that allows them to operate. Nobody is bright enough to co-ordinate a campaign while making everything up on the fly.
I could go on, but it's past 0200 where I am and I need to get my head down.
For a far more reasoned, coherent and well thought out work on this subject, I recommend The Utility Of Force by General Sir Rupert Smith.
Peters would benefit from reading it.
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