Skip to comments.Indian Country: America's military faces the most thankless task in the history of warfare.
Posted on 09/24/2004 9:25:15 PM PDT by quidnunc
An overlooked truth about the war on terrorism, and the war in Iraq in particular, is that they both arrived too soon for the American military: before it had adequately transformed itself from a dinosaurian, Industrial Age beast to a light and lethal instrument skilled in guerrilla warfare, attuned to the local environment in the way of the 19th-century Apaches.
My mention of the Apaches is deliberate. For in a world where mass infantry invasions are becoming politically and diplomatically prohibitive even as dirty little struggles proliferate, featuring small clusters of combatants hiding out in Third World slums, deserts and jungles the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians.
The red Indian metaphor is one with which a liberal policy nomenklatura may be uncomfortable, but Army and Marine field officers have embraced it because it captures perfectly the combat challenge of the early 21st century. But they don't mean it as a slight against the Native North Americans. The fact that radio call signs so often employ Indian names is an indication of the troops' reverence for them.
The range of Indian groups, numbering in their hundreds, that the U.S. Cavalry and Dragoons had to confront was no less varied than that of the warring ethnic and religious militias spread throughout Eurasia, Africa and South America in the early 21st century. When the Cavalry invested Indian encampments, they periodically encountered warrior braves beside women and children, much like Fallujah. Though most Cavalry officers tried to spare the lives of noncombatants, inevitable civilian casualties raised howls of protest among humanitarians back East, who, because of the dissolution of the conscript army at the end of the Civil War, no longer empathized with a volunteer force beyond the Mississippi that was drawn from the working classes.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
Didn't get any farther. The vast majority of Union soldiers during the WBTS were volunteers, if sometimes bonused or shamed into volunteering.
Thanks for the post. That's a great model of the Iraqi situation. Strong writing, great points.
What's this guy smoking?
Small units of foot soldiers versus mounted guerrilla fighters who lived off the land. Sounds like a winning tactic!
A patient bow and arrow on a ridge will stop 5 impatient cavalry.
Oh, and it might be a good idea to keep some of our 'dinosaurian industrial era' army. Russia? China? European Union? They couldn't take us down, not right now anyway, but we all know how fast things like that can change.
Except for one thing. His analogy is way off base. The Apache's use of small unit tactics worked in the short run but not in the long run. You need to back that up with overwhelming force and the resolve to use it.
I think he's stretching a point on almost every point he makes - and he misses the one point that's the most significant: this war with medieval Islam is "settlers vs. Injuns", redux. You've got a civilized, literate, technological society at war with a bunch of maniacal, savage thugs. (Yes, that's what the American Indians were, regardless of how much the leftist textbooks rhapsodize over and idealize them. There's a reason why Benjamin Franklin said they all ought to be exterminated.)
As a friend of mine rather succinctly put it, "We're fighting a bunch of cavemen" (particularly apropos in Afghanistan, I'd say). It's no accident that these savages want to take us back to the 12th Century - that's where they feel the most comfortable.
Bush put it exactly right when he said they have declared war on the civilized world. He's got no illusions about it. But I suppose, in another 100 years, leftist textbooks will be full of vapid prattle about how much valuable culture we lost when we wiped out the Islamikazis - if we haven't succeeded in ridding the world of leftists as well, by then.
Meanwhile, "Manifest Destiny" is an idea whose time has come again...
at least this theme was one that 99.9% of Freepers would agree with ( i think)
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