Carl von Clausewitz, Letter to Fichte, 1809
William F. Owen has published a noteworthy article in the Armed Forces Journal:
. . . Yes, the U.S. Army needs restructuring, but the demise of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 provided a far greater strategic justification for change — and still does — than fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan ever could.
U.S. forces are drifting toward viewing counterinsurgency and war-fighting as distinct forms of activity. They are not. They are inextricably linked, in terms of equipment, training, doctrine and education. Thus the Victorian expression of “big wars and small wars.”
War is not changing. The aims and purpose of organized violence for political gain are enduring and unchanging. Insurgencies are war, and most if not all of the observations made in the Army’s new FM 3-24 “Counterinsurgency” manual could have been written in 1991 or earlier. Future wars will be born of future politics, not “globalization” or the Internet. Yes, there will be “unknown unknowns,” but they are just that: unknowable. New words won’t change that. . .
Language is basic, communication necessary. Propagandists will tell you that language is power.
The words we use do make a difference, words do have specific and concrete meanings, they are a basis of social communication, unless of course following Thucydides we are in political turmoil in which the inability to communicate with words reflects political chaos. In chaos, words that can be linked to interests take on these new meanings, subverting the old meanings, making everything in effect political, a matter of contention. Societies cannot withstand such conditions for long without suffering serious effects.
Prior to this quote, William Owen does a number on "hybrid warfare", another item in the current menagerie of pseudo-strategic notions and potions (N&S).
"Today, we no longer need strategic theory, such an outmoded concept" the N&S guys and gals say, "it's all about politics, which as everyone knows is a thing of the past. We no longer do politics. We just follow and applaud."
Ahhh, the marketplace of "strategy" which is so easy to find, just follow the most current jargon . . . and other loud noises. That being of course because we no longer do "strategy" in the meaning of how our government is organized and structured to do strategy, that according to Clausewitzian definitions . . . not since Cheney decided he wanted to do everything off the books . . .