Sunday, October 31, 2004

What Is the Nature of Victory?

Generral Zinni of the US Marine Corps discusses the nature of victory in 4th Generation Warfare.

And so the question we ought to ask ourselves-if we're going to start thinking about what our military needs to do and what its role is-is why is that happening? It used to be that if you defeated the enemy's forces in the field, what was left was just mopping up or restructuring, and the war was won on the battlefield. That hasn't happened.

It hasn't happened in the time I served, for 39 years. It probably hasn't happened since the end of the Second World War. There's a difference between winning battles, or defeating the enemy in battle, and winning the war. And I think the first question we have to ask ourselves is why is that happening and what is the military's role, then, in taking it beyond just defeating the enemy in battle?

What strikes me is that we are constantly redesigning the military to do something it already does pretty well. I mean, I think you heard from the last panel that breaking the organized resistance in Iraq, even though it may not have been the greatest army in the world, was done extremely well. We've very proud of our troops and very proud of the way that was executed and led. But it wasn't enough.

"Whatever blood is poured onto the battlefield could be wasted if we don't follow it up with understanding what victory is."
As usual Read The Whole Thing.

The General overall is rather pessimistic. He believes there is no strategy and the field forces are not equipped to deal with the aftermath of a war, the rebuilding phase. He is to a certain extent correct. But only to a certain extent. Afghanistan now has an elected government. It is their job to rebuild their own country. The same is true of Iraq. Once elections are held they will have not only the power but the authority to take matters into their own hands.

Healing Iraq shows what the American strategy looks like on the ground. It looks like a bunch of dull boring open meetings where people discuss facts figures and who is or isn't practicing nepotism. The most important part of the war is the least exciting. Self government.

Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping has some thoughts on what victory means in light of the latest Osama tape.
Syndicated columnist Austin Bay, who just returned from several months in Iraq, wrote about how we are winning in August 2003. To students of this war, it is no surprise that many of al Qaeda's claws have been pulled. I say as always, we must not let down our guard but neither should we relent in the attack to crush al Qaeda now once for all. I think that there is a good chance the new bin Laden tape shows the corner has been turned. President Bush said after 2001 that the war against al Qaeda would occupy several successive administrations after his. I myself wrote in Sept. 2001 that the task ahead would take decades. Now I am more confident than ever. The collapse of Islamist terrorism may well come very quickly, especially as an internationally-coordinated effort. Casual Islamist terrorist groups will still work death, as in Chechnya, but the days of central resourcing and coordination out of al Qaeda are pretty much done. And I would emphasize that the problems of Iran and North Korea must still be resolved, Syria too. But I think that regarding al Qaeda, the bin Laden tape signifies we are no longer at the end of the beginning, but the beginning of the end.
Donald, ex-arty Colonel that he is suggests kicking Osama while he is down. I concur.

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