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The Basics of War and How the U.S. Went Wrong
Right Side News ^ | 24 September 2012 05 | Thomas Snodgrass

Posted on 09/24/2012 11:24:09 AM PDT by arthurus

n view of the public frustration with a decade of largely unsuccessful U.S. war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impending cuts to the U.S. military budget, there is an active debate at present as to what military strategy and force structure should be fashioned for the future. Unfortunately, many taxpayers and most politicians are totally illiterate when it comes to the subject of warfare. (Judging from the dismal results in the last ten years, a similar conclusion might to drawn concerning the U.S. officer corps.) In an attempt to fill this critical knowledge void and perhaps raise the level of the on-going national defense dialogue, this essay is offered to provide the lay reader with an awareness of the basics of warfare.

(Excerpt) Read more at rightsidenews.info ...


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: limitedwar; war; winning

1 posted on 09/24/2012 11:24:11 AM PDT by arthurus
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To: arthurus
Not sure if they still do, but the Service War Colleges used to teach the principles of Mass.

Deploy adequate forces to defeat the enemy in the shortest period of time, with the least loss of our lives, and the least cost.

But when we skip the Constitutional provisions for a Declaration of War, to be sent up from the Congress to the President and then funding of the war for only 2 years, what should we expect.

The last declared war was WWII. Since then we have engaged in four major conflicts lasting for years, costing multiple billions of dollars and more importantly over 119,000 dead Americans coupled with over 328,000 wounded and the best the results are one draw, one loss, and two where the jury is still out, but looking like losses.

2 posted on 09/24/2012 11:48:47 AM PDT by ImpBill ("America, where are you now?" - Little "r" republican!)
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To: arthurus

This is “THEE” basic of war. You win wars by destroying the enemy totally and not by gaining territory.

Politicians make wining wars impossible.


3 posted on 09/24/2012 11:59:42 AM PDT by crz
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To: arthurus

The powers that be have embarked on a plan to make at least 50% of the military female, and to further dilute it and weaken it by making it a family friendly career for dads and moms, and single moms, in fact a well paid, good benefits, refuge for parents.

This form of military is limited in what it can do, what it can accomplish, even who it can fight, and the length of time that it can survive on the battlefield before crumbling internally.

New limits on our capabilities will shape our foreign policy.


4 posted on 09/24/2012 11:59:59 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: arthurus
most politicians are totally illiterate when it comes to the subject of warfare.

Or economics, health care, job creation, and the Constitution.

5 posted on 09/24/2012 12:02:17 PM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: arthurus

I have been saying this for the longest time! The American public are NOT long on conflict unless they see the enemy as an imminent threat - WWI/WWII.

Because of this and the US war fighting policies of “limited war,” the US is destined to continue to lose our war-power standing! Don’t get me wrong, China and Russia both know better than to mess with us, but these little piss-ant countries and people (Al Quieda, Venezuela, etc...) know that we are not going to actually invade, destroy all that needs to be destroyed and reside in every town - so they will just piss us off and then wait us out!

We are trying to win wars by using butter and beans (but those are being shipped right out to our enemies as fast as we give them to the towns), when we should be using bullets and bombs (so as to break the enemies’ spirit to fight)!

It is kind of like providing Embassy security without bullets or not using US Marines to guard Ambassadors - we are tying the hands of our military behind their backs and then sending them to war and wondering why we aren’t kicking the crap out of the enemy! FOOLS!


6 posted on 09/24/2012 12:03:53 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: ExTxMarine

And then the draft too after we have a formal declaration of war.


7 posted on 09/24/2012 12:10:22 PM PDT by ex-snook (without forgiveness there is no Christianity)
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To: arthurus

Where we went wrong was electing Obama as Commander in Chief.


8 posted on 09/24/2012 12:14:15 PM PDT by Parley Baer
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To: Parley Baer

“Where we went wrong was electing Obama as Commander in Chief.”

Where we went wrong was “nation building” and saying it was OK to have a “victory that wasn’t like the one our fathers and grandfathers” achieved in WWII.


9 posted on 09/24/2012 12:28:52 PM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: arthurus
Unfortunately there is ambiguity in the term "limited war." A war may be limited in geographic area (we didn't attack China during the Korean war). It may be limited in the weapons used (we didn't use nukes in any of our wars since 1945). It may be limited in the objectives (recover captured territory but inflict no further punishment, as the Brits did regarding the Falklands).

The term "limited war" cannot be used without stating just what the limits are. Which in turn means deciding what constitutes "victory." For the Brits, recovering the Falklands was victory. Was pushing the Iraqis out of Kuwait a "victory?" Was destroying the Al Qeda infrastructure in Afghanistan a "victory?" Without deciding ahead of time what our war objectives are, it's impossible to define "victory," and likewise impossible to determine what kind of limits should be accepted in a war.

So long as our leaders don't understand Clausewitz, let alone Sun Tzu, we're going to be mired in no-win wars because we don't know what our objectives are.

10 posted on 09/24/2012 12:44:13 PM PDT by JoeFromSidney ( New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. Buy from Amazon.)
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To: JoeFromSidney

-——Was pushing the Iraqis out of Kuwait a “victory?”——

Yes and the objective was defined


11 posted on 09/24/2012 1:17:01 PM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Present failure and impending death yield irrational action))
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To: ExTxMarine

“unless they see the enemy as an imminent threat - WWI/WWII”

What imminent threat were we under in WWI? So long as you avoided transatlantic ocean liners carrying ammo belowdecks you were fine. Okay, Japan was a threat. Not so much to invade the US, but they did attack us. What about the whole half of the war that was fought in Europe? Where was the threat there?


12 posted on 09/24/2012 1:23:44 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: RFEngineer

Huh? Post-WWII was classic nation building.


13 posted on 09/24/2012 1:29:31 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane
What imminent threat were we under in WWI?
Good question - and the answer is that a VERY large portion of the United States were NOT interested in WWI!
However, when Germany tried to enlist Mexico to go to war with the United States, it alerted the American people and started a change in the American thought process! And it showed the American populace that they were not completely out of reach from the war.

What was the European threat during WWII?
After Pearl Harbor was attacked, the United States declared war on Japan. On December 10, Germany declared war on the United States, on December 11, the United States declared war on Germany. I believe the threat from Germany was their expanding European and African foot prints TOPPED by their declaration of war against us.
14 posted on 09/24/2012 1:49:40 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: ex-snook
The way to win any war is to be absolute ruthless, well supplied and well manned. Strike with enough force to overwhelm the enemy, and kill everything that moves.
15 posted on 09/24/2012 1:58:33 PM PDT by ANGGAPO (Layte Gulf Beach Club)
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To: Tublecane
Post-WWII was classic nation building.

I think you are mistaking the reasoning behind the initial combat and then the subsequent dividing of the spoils of war.

A portion of the problems facing the world today (heck, ever since WWII) can be attributed to the multitude of mistakes made by ALL parties following WWII.

But, WWII was NOT fought for nation building purposes; it was specifically fought to THWART Germany's and Japan's attempts to EXPAND their national foot prints.

Those who won the war then made many mistakes, but the war itself was NOT one of those mistakes.
16 posted on 09/24/2012 1:59:49 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: Tublecane
The Threat was from them being here. We were next after England, or didn't you know.
17 posted on 09/24/2012 2:02:16 PM PDT by ANGGAPO (Layte Gulf Beach Club)
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To: JoeFromSidney

[[ Unfortunately there is ambiguity in the term “limited war.” ]]

There can be no “limited war” with Islam.

In its quest for world domination, what are -Islam’s- “limits” ??

Where does Islam draw such a line ??


18 posted on 09/24/2012 2:06:44 PM PDT by Road Glide
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To: arthurus
Unfortunately, many taxpayers and most politicians are totally illiterate when it comes to the subject of warfare. (Judging from the dismal results in the last ten years, a similar conclusion might to drawn concerning the U.S. officer corps.)

You aren't kidding there. War, or even peacekeeping, has become a jobs program for half the poor countries of the world.

19 posted on 09/24/2012 3:00:14 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: ANGGAPO

“or didn’t you know”

I know people pretend as if that’s so, or used to, but not that they could still say it out loud with a straight face. The Nazis could have conquered Britain if they put their besr efforts to it. Never could they have come over here. But that’s moot point; they didn’t want to. Nor did they want Britain. Whoever told you they did?


20 posted on 09/24/2012 3:10:15 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

The Nation Building in Iraq and Afghanistan was clearly a mistake. It was clearly in the best interests of the world, especially in the interest of stifling communism in WWII

The victory in WWII was clear and unambiguous

The premise that Iraq/Afghanistan simply needed “stuff” to become a democracy was the error.

Not letting them wallow in their defeat, and not treating them like the enemy they are was also a mistake.

the passage I quoted about Victory was our president commenting about just what sort of victory we would get in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was right about one thing. we did not achieve a victory as we did in WWII.

Unfortunately if victory is not as recognizable as it was in WWII, it’s probably not a victory.


21 posted on 09/24/2012 3:10:31 PM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: ExTxMarine

Point is nation building was the endgame. Does it matter that it wasn’t the plan from the get-go? Granted, it wasn’t. Churchill, FDR, etc. were shockingly shortsighted. They ended up with nation building, and therefore that is what the war was fought for.


22 posted on 09/24/2012 3:24:06 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: RFEngineer

Victory was recognizable in WWII, certainly. But I think the whole big bloody mess that is modern warfare ought to realize victory isn’t everything. That was the big mistake in the climax of stupidity that was WWI, but also to a lesser degree in the supposedly “good war.”


23 posted on 09/24/2012 3:41:30 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

“But I think the whole big bloody mess that is modern warfare ought to realize victory isn’t everything.”

Victory is at least 50% of any conflict, so you’re right, it isn’t everything.


24 posted on 09/24/2012 4:15:10 PM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: Tublecane

Sorry, but it makes a WORLD officer difference to the American people. Just remember that correlation does not imply causation.

Nation building was not the end game, it was the end result - two totally different things.

If you are playing a game of football and the other team fires their coach because his team lost does not imply that you were playing to get him fired.


25 posted on 09/24/2012 4:22:51 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: ExTxMarine

But war is not a game, and it is mott over when the whistle blows. Because there is no whistle. Not to say that what happens thirty years down the road is still part of the last war, but certainly occupation, settlement, demilitarization, installation of new government, etc., are.

Now, you may define terms in such a way as to restrict warfare to physical combat, in which case I must agree nation building came afterwards. But that’s not the way people talk, and anyway it’s not the conversation I want to have. If what comes after major combat operations is not war, let us call it “x” and agree the “x” if WWII was nation building.


26 posted on 09/24/2012 4:37:39 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: ExTxMarine

“it makes a WORLD of difference to the Amrrican people”

What does? Knowing we won and crushed the Nazi/Hun and made the world safe fir the UN? Naturally. But what does that have to do with what we’re talking about, exactly?

“correlation does not imply causation”

Huh?


27 posted on 09/24/2012 4:43:56 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: ExTxMarine

Oh, wait, you meant it makes a difference to the People whether it was the plan all along. No, it doesn’t. We only pretend like it does when things end up badly. Ot should I say really obviously badly, since the tragedies that were post-WWI and II got by almost everyone.


28 posted on 09/24/2012 4:49:26 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: Sarajevo
The American military also goes through massive purges of the officer corps whenever there is a Democrat Administration. Carter did it. Clinton did it more thoroughly and with more noise and rancor and LeninObama has been more methodical but they have all done it. It is why it took so long to begin to get the upper hand in the Iraq war, the political generals and bureaucrat generals had to be replaced bit by bit by combat experienced troops coming up through the ranks on the battlefield. The Surge was a nice enhancement but it would have failed if the old Clinton commanders were still in place. You cannot have a consistent military policy when you do that to your military.

Leftists of all varieties always fear the military and feel they must tame it and get it under their immediate control or replace it when they accede to power. This President is even more ambitious in that respect than Clinton was. He is creating or has created a Praetorian Guard, his civilian force that is to be as well funded as the military. There are several parts to that, TSA, ICE, various Federal agencies that have been armed since 2008 and the militarized police departments in the cities.

I think we will find out more about the shape of this Civilian Force after November 6.

29 posted on 09/24/2012 5:14:17 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson)
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To: Tublecane

I’m sorry, but that IS how people talk. The war ended when arms were put down and the vanquished accept whatever terms of the victor.

Everything AFTER that is not war.


30 posted on 09/24/2012 5:40:36 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: Tublecane

Nation building occurred in correlation with the end results of WWII, but nation building is NOT what CAUSED WWII.

If you think that doesn’t matter, then you are surely mistaken and you can see that in the American response to Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even more so in the LACK of interest in the “Arab Spring” fighting over the last two years. Americans do NOT want to nation build, and when politicians start to do that, they lose favor with the American public (see George W. Bush as an example).


31 posted on 09/24/2012 5:47:00 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: Tublecane

Nation building occurred in correlation with the end results of WWII, but nation building is NOT what CAUSED WWII.

If you think that doesn’t matter, then you are surely mistaken and you can see that in the American response to Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even more so in the LACK of interest in the “Arab Spring” fighting over the last two years. Americans do NOT want to nation build, and when politicians start to do that, they lose favor with the American public (see George W. Bush as an example).


32 posted on 09/24/2012 5:47:41 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: Tublecane

Nation building occurred in correlation with the end results of WWII, but nation building is NOT what CAUSED WWII.

If you think that doesn’t matter, then you are surely mistaken and you can see that in the American response to Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even more so in the LACK of interest in the “Arab Spring” fighting over the last two years. Americans do NOT want to nation build, and when politicians start to do that, they lose favor with the American public (see George W. Bush as an example).


33 posted on 09/24/2012 5:47:41 PM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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