- Nov 22, 2003
Extremely interesting take on WOT, from a US strategy POV. Includes Barnett's 'new map', etc:
January 20, 2007
Into the Gap, Dear Friends!
Hatched by Dafydd
In the comments section of an earlier post, a commenter took exception, rather testily, to my point that none of the dissenting generals summoned to testify before Sen. Joseph Biden's Foreign Relations Committee hearings -- the generals summoned by Biden to oppose our strategic change of course in Iraq -- had any post-9/11 military experience (in fact one of them, Gen. Odom, didn't even have any post-Soviet Union military experience... he's two paradigm shifts behind the power curve!)
The commenter responded,
What the hell does that have to do with anything? What exactly changed in military sciences since 911?
Pretty much our entire military strategy. It was a seminal event, like 1917 or the dropping of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
What the commenter was asking was akin to asking, in 1950, 'What the hell does the atomic bomb have to do with anything? What exactly changed in military sciences since Hiroshima?'
9/11 was not the first indication that our entire military posture was out of whack with the world; but the earlier warnings were polite wake-up calls from the front desk at the hotel: 9/11 was the drill instructor bursting into the barracks and flipping your bed over (with you in it).
From the end of the Cold War until to the attack of 9/11, we more or less ignored the "lesser includeds" until they actually did something; and we gave no thought whatsoever to transnational non-state groups, thinking them only a "police problem." Osama bin Laden declared war on us in 1998 or so... and most Americans (including the top brass in the 5-sided triangle) just laughed. What could some bearded cave-hermit do to the mighty United States of America?
("Lesser includeds": during the Cold War, we focused entirely on fighting the Soviets... believing that if we had an army capable of handling Moscow, it could surely handle any smaller, more primitive country that threatened us, or whom it was in our national interest to attack. Hence, such countries were called "lesser includeds."
(1965-1974 demonstrated that the theory did not always work. The Soviets learned the same lesson during their occupation of Afghanistan a few years later.)
We kept an eye on some about the lesser included states -- Iraq and Iran, North Korea, the former Yugoslavia, etc. -- but we thought about them purely in nation-state terms, and more or less as a nuisance, not a threat: they might invade their neighbors, and we might have to respond, e.g., to push Iraq out of Kuwait. But they couldn't do anything to us; we were the lone superpower, the hyperpower! We would strike at our leisure, using some variation of the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming military force.
I have called that doctrine "refighting World War II;" we fought WWII six times from 1941 to 1999: Kosovo, Bosnia, the Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, and of course the original itself. We used the same tactics and had more or less the same military understanding in each conflict...