Monday, April 12, 2010
WAR = Large Explosions = Victory?
It smells like victory . . .
Having posted a case study on the Danish campaign of 1940 and observing the response to the Wikileaks video among military related blogs - although not MilPub, which imo has been a model in how to deal with these types of subjects, more specifically FDChief's thread and the following comments. Anyway, not claiming any special or particular expertise - this goes way beyond strategic theory, to "strategic culture" I suppose - I have the following points to make:
First, we in the US equate war with destruction, period. Other methods of coercion, either violent or non-violent, let alone negotiation and providing incentives, are not something countries at war really do, let alone soldiers. Soldiers, especially US soldiers and Marines, blow up stuff and kill large numbers of baddies . . .
Second, people who don't understand this, namely "civilians" (however vaguely defined), are best served keeping their views to themselves and not becoming an "annoyance" to the military as they do/did their job.
Third, there is no connection between policy and war, war is autonomous, a thing in and of itself. Politicians who make grave (and possibly intentional, even criminal) policy errors/decisions are to be judged in the fullness of time by historians alone. We have not a Clausewitzian view, or really any coherent view of war, only of destruction and methods of achieving destruction. All claims to the contrary are essentially spin and self-serving (as in war for profit-making) hogwash.
Fourth, although the war in question may be subjectively considered "stupid" or "pointless" it is nonetheless our patriotic duty to support our troops and continue our strategy of tactical destruction operating under the patina of an ill-described and ill-filling operational concept known as COIN or Counterinsurgency Warfare as currently applied to Iraq and Afghanistan.
This leads to the final point, which is simply, the military/destruction option is the only one we have because it is the only one we know and is how we as a culture define war. War is not really a struggle of opposing wills (see Clausewitz, On War, Book I, Chapter 1, Sections 1-4), but a pair of simultaneous destruction cycles carried out by both sides. The side with the most stuff undestroyed at the end of this process "wins" . . .