I take it that "almost all" doesn't include Dick Cheney. Here's the offending portion of my last post:
The only thing I wish to add is an emphasis on John Boyd, who surprisingly is not mentioned in connection with the OODA Loop, instead that being associated with the "Clausewitz cult". So is there, or has there been a cult? I would point out that in the distant past - all the way back in 2003, if anybody can dimly remember back that far, the cult if any was associated with John Boyd, who according to the hagiography of Robert Coram had "changed the art of war" itself. Boyd's ideas where seen everywhere in 2003:In all that time, in all that glut of information, I've yet to hear any coherent explanation of U.S. fighting doctrine, strategy, or tactics, especially with any reference whatsoever to the man who very clearly (to my mind) laid out that doctrine and those tactics, just as he did in Gulf War I. That would be John Boyd.
With two teeny, tiny exceptions. Last week the Navy League sponsored its annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. On April 16, Army Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the exposition's luncheon gathering (I didn't go, but I heard it that evening on C-SPAN radio driving home from Pax). In the course of his talk Myers mentioned how we had gotten "inside Iraq's decision cycle." That's Army-speak for the OODA Loop. And he mentioned "maneuver warfare."
The next day, April 17, the luncheon speaker was Adm. Vern Clark, the CNO himself. In his talk I actually heard him say the "O" words, "OODA Loop."
Not only do I think it is quite clear John Boyd's theories and tactics "designed" the conduct of GWII, I also think a great deal of the criticism of the war's tactics, especially in its early days, stemmed from the fact that few people understood Boyd's (and the Pentagon's) doctrine, and nobody bothered to explain it after it was over, when it would do no harm to say, "Look, this is what we did and why we did it."
The most famous point of contention occurred when critics (some "armchair" critics and some former and current Army generals) blasted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for "not sending enough troops" to Iraq. Close behind was all the brou-ha-ha over the ballyhooed "Shock and Awe" campaign that never happened.
Boyd's theories spend a good deal of time talking about using psychological weapons ?"psy-ops" in the modern parlance ? to break the enemy's morale even before the battle begins. In retrospect it now seems reasonably clear that all the pre-war talk about launching a Shock-and-Awe campaign that would bomb Baghdad "back to the Stone Age" (to use a Vietnam-ism) using 5,000 Tomahawk missiles and "smart-bombs" was pure psy-ops.
How was this possible? As everyone knew who had followed Boyd's thought at time, Boyd had powerful people among his closest followers. As Coram explained in an interview:Boyd met all of the above when he was the leader, the spiritual leader, if you will, of the reform movement. Dick Cheney, then a young congressman from Wyoming, heard his briefing, then had a number of one-on-one sessions with Boyd. When Cheney became secretary of defense, he was rare in that he knew more about strategy than most of his generals did. He called Boyd out of retirement in the early days of the Gulf war, and from him got an updating, if you will. And it was Boyd`s strategy, not Schwarzkopf`s, that led to our swift and decisive victory in the Gulf war.
The vice president, Cheney, gave me about 30 minutes to talk about Boyd. And on television, he seems very reserved and controlled, but when he talked to me about John Boyd, he was enthusiastic, and I could tell he had great respect for this man.
Cheney knew more about strategy than most of his generals. That was the view among the war party in 2003, that being based on his close association with John Boyd who "had changed the art of war". Cheney of course had his own followers within the military who were also praising Boyd:"John Boyd was a thinker ahead of his time," said retired Gen. Michael Dugan, who was chief of staff of the Air Force during the buildup to the first Persian Gulf war. "Without giving him a lot of credit, the U.S. military is following his ideas."
The Marine Corps was also heavily influenced by Boyd:Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf had presented Cheney with a plan for a head-on offensive. "Not only did Cheney reject it, he used Boyd's colorful language to do so," wrote Boyd's biographer, Robert Coram.
As vice president, Cheney exerts considerable influence on strategy in Iraq as one of President Bush's inner circle of war advisers. But the most significant convert may have been Gray, who first heard Boyd's briefings as a colonel. Later, as commander of the Second Marine Division, and later still as commandant of the Marine Corps, Gray was in a position to implement Boyd's ideas about "maneuver warfare."
Their first combat test came in Grenada in 1983. They passed.
"We've got two companies of Marines running all over the island, and thousands of Army troops doing nothing," an Army general was quoted as saying at the time. "What the hell is going on?"
Pentagon analyst Franklin "Chuck" Spinney, Boyd's closest associate for many years, said, "The Marines [later] used Boyd's tactics in the first Gulf war, and they worked like gangbusters."
My point is if there is "a cult" associated with the military adventures of the Bush administration, it has nothing to do with Clauewitz. Rather, the most influential theorist in the period of US military history Astore is talking about is probably John Boyd. Boyd of course followed Liddell Hart's flawed interpretation of Clausewitz and never really was able to link political purpose to military strategic effect. His emphasis was on tactics and technique, which has remained the case up to now.
So, if there was a "cult" - this is Astore's word, not mine - it obviously wasn't connected with Clausewitz, but would have been probably connected with the most influential theorist of the time, who given his influence on Richard Cheney, the Vice President of the US at the time . . .
John Boyd died in 1997, he obviously has no connection with the invasion of Iraq, but there were plenty of US officials who thought in 2003 that his ideas offered the way forward to an easy victory, even a "cake walk". To point that out is not an attack on John Boyd, but rather to question what has become part of his legacy.