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The Pipe Dream of Easy War
NY Times ^ | July 20, 2013 | H. R. McMASTER

Posted on 07/21/2013 11:39:05 PM PDT by neverdem

“A GREAT deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep,” the novelist Saul Bellow once wrote. We should keep that in mind when we consider the lessons from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — lessons of supreme importance as we plan the military of the future.

Our record of learning from previous experience is poor; one reason is that we apply history simplistically, or ignore it altogether, as a result of wishful thinking that makes the future appear easier and fundamentally different from the past.

We engaged in such thinking in the years before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; many accepted the conceit that lightning victories could be achieved by small numbers of technologically sophisticated American forces capable of launching precision strikes against enemy targets from safe distances.

These defense theories, associated with the belief that new technology had ushered in a whole new era of war, were then applied to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; in both, they clouded our understanding of the conflicts and delayed the development of effective strategies.

Today, budget pressures and the desire to avoid new conflicts have resurrected arguments that emerging technologies — or geopolitical shifts — have ushered in a new era of warfare. Some defense theorists dismiss the difficulties we ran into in Afghanistan and Iraq as aberrations. But they were not aberrations. The best way to guard against a new version of wishful thinking is to understand three age-old truths about war and how our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq validated their importance.

First, war is political. As the 19th-century Prussian philosopher of war Carl von Clausewitz said, “war should never be thought of as something autonomous, but always as an instrument of policy.”

In the years leading up to the...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; hrmcmaster; iraq; mcmaster
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To: gusopol3

21 posted on 07/22/2013 7:53:53 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: MasterGunner01
The American Left sees this country is the aggressor in everything we do. It undermines
American interests every chance it gets. The Soviet Union is gone, so the American Left has made
common cause with the Muslim Islamofascists. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Until there's a way to counter the American Left, America can never successfully win a war. The
problem is that the U.S. State Department also undermines American interests because it is
heavily penetrated by the Left.
Neither SecState John F’ing Kerry or SecDef Chuck Hagel are the
sharpest knives in the drawer. Neither has American interests in mind; they are surrender
monkeys. Ditto for their bosses, Barry Obongo and Vallerie Jarrett.

There it is.

22 posted on 07/22/2013 9:06:54 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum -- "The Taliban is inside the building")
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!

23 posted on 07/22/2013 9:42:19 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: SunkenCiv; Jeff Head; archy
The Chinese wouldn’t commit troops to Indochina because the Vietnamese didn’t want ‘em there, historically they are enemies.

The reds took a break from history during our Vietnam War.

Support requested and provided

The most immediate need was for anti-aircraft artillery, units to counter the overwhelming American air power over North Vietnam. Ho would request Chinese AAA units during a meeting with Mao in May of 1965 and PLA forces would begin flowing into North Vietnam in July of 1965 to help defend the capital of Hanoi and the transportation network to include railroad lines and bridges.[50] This movement of troops from China was not lost on the U.S. as reported in a Top Secret CIA Special Report which identified seven major PLA units in North Vietnam to include the 67th AAA Division, and an estimated 25,000 to 45,000 Chinese combat troops total. [51] Recent Chinese sources indicate that this PLA AAA Division did indeed operate in the western area of North Vietnam. [52] In addition to AAA forces the PLA also provided missiles, artillery and logistics, railroad, engineer and mine sweeping forces. These forces would not only man AAA sites but would also build and repair Vietnamese infrastructure damaged or destroyed by U.S. airstrikes. [53] Such units would have quite a bit of repair work to do given that there would be more than a million tons of bombs dropped by U.S. aircraft upon North Vietnam from 1965 to 1972. [54] The Second Vietnam War would drag on for years as a sort of operational stalemate existed in the skies over North Vietnam. The U.S. could and did bomb the North at will, but the sheer numbers of Chinese forces, to include a total of 16 AAA divisions serving with a peak strength of 170,000 troops attained in 1967, would ensure that a high price would be paid by U.S. pilots with targets often rapidly rebuilt after destruction. [55] Chinese engineering and logistics units would perform impressive feats of construction throughout their stay in North Vietnam effectively keeping the transportation network functioning.

The Korean DMZ should have been established along the border with China, and I’d be surprised if that isn’t accomplished sometime in the next twenty years.

That's why and when the Chicoms got directly involved in the ground combat in the Korean War. Our forces were on or approaching the Yalu River, the historical border between China and Korea, which the Middle Kingdom viewed as another vassal state. An American ally on their border was unacceptable.

The reason the headline is a straw man is, there is no Easy War Pipe Dream — main combat really results in rapid success, but our armed forces shouldn’t be used as the local gendarmes. It has to be followed by effective local recruitment.

That's only been done in Grenada and Panama, both relatively small and isolated.

24 posted on 07/23/2013 12:54:21 AM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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