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Old 09-06-2008   #41
Entropy
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Default MG Scales, Clausewitz and WWIV

Clausewitz and WW IV (PDF File)

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Enter Alan Beyerchen, distinguished historian at Ohio State University. He's adopted a fundamentally different approach and by doing so has captured the intellectual high ground in the battle to amend theory in light of modern war's realities: Beyerchen would embrace rather than replace the master. Beyerchen has developed a taxonomy of war in the modern era in terms of four world wars. Each war was shaped by what he calls "amplifying factors." Amplifiers are not "multipliers" or "enablers" in that their influence on the course of war is nonlinear rather than linear; amplifiers don't simply accelerate the trends of the past, they make war different.

For example, World War I was a chemists' war in that the decisive strategic advantage on the battlefield was driven in large measure by new applications of chemistry and chemical engineering. The war should have ended for the Germans in 1915 when their supplies of gunpowder nitrates exhausted. But the synthesis of nitrates by German scientists allowed the war to continue for another three horrific years. World War II was a physicists' war. To paraphrase Churchill, the atom bomb ended the conflict, but exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum in the form of the wireless and radar won it for the allies. "World War III" was the "information researchers'" war, a war in which intelligence and knowledge of the enemy and the ability to fully exploit that knowledge allowed the U.S. to defeat the Soviet Union with relatively small loss of life.
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Beyerchen's idea is that the human and social sciences will change Clausewitz's perception of the constancy of the human influence in war. In effect, he argues that we are beginning the tectonic shift into World War IV, the epoch when the controlling amplifier will be human and biological rather than organizational or technological. From his theory we can postulate a new vision of the battlefield, one that shifts from the traditional linear construct to a battlefield that is amoebic in shape; it is distributed, dispersed, nonlinear, and essentially formless in space and unbounded in time. This war and all to follow will be what I would call "psycho-cultural" wars.

On my first read I think it starts of strong, but several of his conclusions have weak foundations and seem to suggest that future war will resemble Iraq and Afghanistan. Overall very thought-provoking and makes me want to read more about this Beyerchen fellow.
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Old 09-07-2008   #42
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I do not think the article addresses whatsoever war as an abstract idea. Yeah, it pays tribute to Clausewitz, but it never really gets to talking about his ideas; so it's really just a different way in which Clausewitz's ideas may be 'expressed' in a particular circumstance.

Certainly, there are obvious cosmetic changes in the how, but I haven't read much convincing evidence in the why. So I'm not sure if I agree with the idea of "amplifiers" as defined by the MG and Beyerchen because they seem to rework the ways in which wars are defined. I think its a mistaken assumption to define wars in the first place by the perceived dominant factor of influence because that introduces a kind of "heirarchy" of eras in which we can say such and such war was different from this other war when it might not really be the case based on the political conditions of the conflict. It also suggests some kind of progression which also might not exist. I further dislike the idea of supposing some kind of "world war" as if any other (or every other) war which could take place at the same time would somehow have the same shape (how much of the proposals would be relevant in a war with North Korea, or a culturally homogeneous society in general? Even in WW2, the Nazis pursued different strategies in the West and East based on political conditions in the same world war). So, for example, while we can find comparison between "WWIV" and Caesar's conquest of Gaul based on the shrewd manipulation of the enemy's culture and identity politics, there's really no political comparison whatsoever and so it's very much difficult to assert at all that the "psycho-cultural war" actually exists as a type of war rather than a specific strategy suitable for specific conditions (which might not always exist). Was there actually any "evolution" between Caesar's day and now in war itself, or are the (perceived) changes simply reflective of the sophistication of warfighting? I think wars should be defined by their political causes, not the strategies employed in them; to do the latter turns the entire equation upside down. Otherwise, we're left with apparently absurd contradictions as to why the Germans, for example, did not capitulate under years of strategic bombing in WW2 but Zanzibar surrendered to the British in 30 minutes of off-shore bombardment some 40 years earlier. How does that fit into the neatly defined so-called phases, progressions, evolutions, and what-have-you of war?

So, I do agree that the MG's conclusions are excellent and thoughtful, but that's only in the context of the present conditions of war and he provided no reason to think that any other war, now or in the future, will take on that same shape.
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Old 09-07-2008   #43
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Default So right and yet...

There are some things in this that I really want to agree with, but the context he presents them in, causes me to be less than enthusiastic.

What I like, if I read it correctly, was the observation the military technology does not progress logically, but is basically the product of opinion, both faulty and accurate. Tanks are not products of physics. They are products of opinion.

Yes, armies would benefit greatly from "better" infantry and tactical forces. Yes a better understanding of the social sciences would help,

BUT...

The whole set up of US and NATO Armies is biased against creating "cross spectrum" tactical excellence as they have somehow elevated the so called "Operational Level" to near G@d like status. - if indeed it exits in the way folks say it do...

Currently, the military thought, so central to the Generals article, is in love with taking the back off the watch, rather than just telling the time.

What is more, when the social scientists turn up and ask, "why do you do this," most military men, will have no idea, as to why they do the things they do, and even when they do, they may well find that the reasoning is faulty. This is not true for all as the CARLS archive so amply shows. Thus I submit there is a limited role for social scientists to analyse the why and how. There is an ample role for the gifted members of the military. The truth really does set you free, but who tells you what is true makes a huge difference.

To take a not so extreme example, how do you practice "COIN" when the enemy is both insurgent, a regular army and special forces? - as in Vietnam. .. or even South Ossetia?
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Old 09-08-2008   #44
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Default Wilf's correct...

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Certainly, there are obvious cosmetic changes in the how, but I haven't read much convincing evidence in the why.
I didn't see it either; though it should be obvious. The lesser reason is political correctness and the kinder, gentler folks of today (mostly...) compared to their Grandparents. Note that no leading Nation has really started a war since the Argentina bit in the Falklands (and that was an aberration) except the US and just recently, Russia, neither of whom are now or ever have been particularly kind or gentle when provoked. The greater reason is the expense, conventional war in the 20 Century model has gotten too expensive for most nations.
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Otherwise, we're left with apparently absurd contradictions as to why the Germans, for example, did not capitulate under years of strategic bombing in WW2 but Zanzibar surrendered to the British in 30 minutes of off-shore bombardment some 40 years earlier. How does that fit into the neatly defined so-called phases, progressions, evolutions, and what-have-you of war?
Uh, because Hitler had a desire to fight on regardless and had a power structure to enforce his views plus a population that was broadly supportive and Khalid had none of those? I'll also point out that both were chemical 'wars' while the later one did transmute to physics as it went on.
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So, I do agree that the MG's conclusions are excellent and thoughtful, but that's only in the context of the present conditions of war and he provided no reason to think that any other war, now or in the future, will take on that same shape.
I thought he did -- but was constrained by the fact that as Wilf said:
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"Currently, the military thought, so central to the Generals article, is in love with taking the back off the watch, rather than just telling the time.

What is more, when the social scientists turn up and ask, "why do you do this," most military men, will have no idea, as to why they do the things they do, and even when they do, they may well find that the reasoning is faulty. This is not true for all as the CARLS archive so amply shows. Thus I submit there is a limited role for social scientists to analyse the why and how. There is an ample role for the gifted members of the military. The truth really does set you free, but who tells you what is true makes a huge difference.

To take a not so extreme example, how do you practice "COIN" when the enemy is both insurgent, a regular army and special forces? - as in Vietnam. .. or even South Ossetia?"
Trying to categorize warfare and put in a pigeon hole is quite dangerous. Also serves absolutely no useful function that I can see...
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Old 09-08-2008   #45
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because Hitler had a desire to fight on regardless and had a power structure to enforce his views plus a population that was broadly supportive and Khalid had none of those?
Indeed -- and that is my intended point. It's one thing to discuss how this or that war ended, but it really comes down to breaking the enemy's will regardless of how that's accomplished. That's why it irks me every time war is defined by the capabilities or strategies in use rather than the extent the belligerents are willing to pursue their desired objectives. I think it's dangerous intellectually to talk about the nature of war, or the outcome of any war, without first discussing its relationship to politics. Having looked through the article again, what I primarily dispute is (1) defining the wars by the capabilities in use which leads to a faulty, perhaps misleading, conception of war and its future; (2) asserting that "psycho-cultural war" is a kind of war instead of a particular strategy used in specific conditions; and (3) claiming said assertion is a revision of the nature of war itself (even if its an addition to the author's accepted idea of war rather than redefining it) rather than an "expression" of it in particular (political) circumstances which might not exist elsewhere or in the future.
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Old 09-08-2008   #46
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Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
I think it's dangerous intellectually to talk about the nature of war, or the outcome of any war, without first discussing its relationship to politics. Having looked through the article again, what I primarily dispute is (1) defining the wars by the capabilities in use which leads to a faulty, perhaps misleading, conception of war and its future.
I think there are two things in play here and they are not the same thing. Military force is a political or diplomatic tool. Military force is applied as a continuation of politics with an admixture of other means.

The political will to employ and persist with military means is not one that should concern the military. What should concern the military is achieving the outcome the politicians want. (it may include loosing or not winning.) - as soldiers that's none of their business.

The expression of military capability, usually refers to a "want to do." This is not the same as a "can do." My guess is that a lot of folks are very reluctant to discuss why an ACR squadron, for example, cannot perform certain missions they are supposed to.

IMO, we have got to recover the idea that military force is only applied to military problems. Military force is primarily destructive and coercive. Its benefits come from actual or threatened harm. How you apply threaten or apply the harm is basically what defines how you work. Just an opinion, but why make it more complicated?
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Old 09-08-2008   #47
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen
IMO, we have got to recover the idea that military force is only applied to military problems. Military force is primarily destructive and coercive. Its benefits come from actual or threatened harm. How you apply threaten or apply the harm is basically what defines how you work. Just an opinion, but why make it more complicated?
Wilf,
I suspect that part of the confusion arises because we have folks wearing uniforms who do a lot things that are neither destructive nor coercive. A medic administering vaccinations to children in Afghanistan, a construction engineer working to build a new school in Iraq, and a wheeled vehicle mechanic fixing a local farmer's tractor in Djibouti are three easy examples. These are not examples of military force in the sense you apply the phrase, but they are examples of a type of force that just happens to be applied by military personnel (among many others).

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Originally Posted by Ken White
Trying to categorize warfare and put in a pigeon hole is quite dangerous. Also serves absolutely no useful function that I can see...
Ken, it provides the economy with a lot of jobs for people who work in organizations that garner "lessons observed." Too bad we have yet to figure out a way to convert lessons observed effectivelt and efficiently into lesson learned. (No offense to folks like Tom Odom intended)
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Old 09-08-2008   #48
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I suspect that part of the confusion arises because we have folks wearing uniforms who do a lot things that are neither destructive nor coercive. A medic administering vaccinations to children in Afghanistan, a construction engineer working to build a new school in Iraq, and a wheeled vehicle mechanic fixing a local farmer's tractor in Djibouti are three easy examples. These are not examples of military force in the sense you apply the phrase, but they are examples of a type of force that just happens to be applied by military personnel (among many others).
Concur. They acts of kindness and are thus choices. The military does these things to help. They are humanitarian. It is "Military Humanitarian Aid" - and that has implications by itself!

If it "saves life and relieves suffering" I am all for it. I can little or no reason to build schools. I'd be genuinely interested in hearing the justification for why that is deemed important.

The militaries primary contribution should be the provision of security to the population and Government. The desired end state should be the level of security where non-military humanitarian aid can be provided. If 90% of the effort is not going in that direction, then I think there is a problem.
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Old 09-08-2008   #49
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Concur. They acts of kindness and are thus choices. The military does these things to help. They are humanitarian. It is "Military Humanitarian Aid" - and that has implications by itself!

If it "saves life and relieves suffering" I am all for it. I can little or no reason to build schools. I'd be genuinely interested in hearing the justification for why that is deemed important.

The militaries primary contribution should be the provision of security to the population and Government. The desired end state should be the level of security where non-military humanitarian aid can be provided. If 90% of the effort is not going in that direction, then I think there is a problem.
Spealking from the American perspective, I suggest that the reason the military is doing a lot of this work is because no one other element of our national government is willing or capable of stepping to the plate and taking the mission. We are apparently trying to plus up our capabilities in this area, but not too many folks who are not already wearing uniforms seem willing to place themselves in the harm's way that characterizes the current SWA operating environments in order to do the rest of the nation building work that might help stablize the countries there.

With regard to your last point, I wish it were as easy as, "make secure, then rebuild." I do not have a number/percent but your 90% of the effort in "pure" military work seems high to me. I suspect that part of the feeling of security comes from helping folks to have a better daily life. I'd be less likely to blow things up if I had a predictable supply of water, electricity and sewerage and my kids could get to a school that wasn't in danger of collapse or very far away.
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Old 09-08-2008   #50
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It's also important to remember that, from the American perspective, the Army has historically been involved in humanitarian missions. Going back to the Chicago Fire and earlier, the Army was often involved in a number of areas (to include feeding people). The CCC was built pretty much on the back of the Army during the Depression. It's been debated domestically at times (Sheridan took some heat for getting the Army into Chicago), but it's been a constant (if often ignored) aspect of the Army in the US.
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Old 09-08-2008   #51
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With regard to your last point, I wish it were as easy as, "make secure, then rebuild." I do not have a number/percent but your 90% of the effort in "pure" military work seems high to me. I suspect that part of the feeling of security comes from helping folks to have a better daily life. I'd be less likely to blow things up if I had a predictable supply of water, electricity and sewerage and my kids could get to a school that wasn't in danger of collapse or very far away.
This is the heart of the problem. If a family has food, water and shelter, there is not a lot else. The family either has them, because they are provided or they have them because they can afford them via employment. It is not the militaries task to engage in social agendas. You don't see OXFAM building schools. They save lives. That's it.

I think the reasoning that people join an insurgency because they don't have a school or clean water is spurious and un-proven. Lack of clean water means you die. Lack of school means you are uneducated.

Where does it reason that good infrastructure helps defeat an insurgency? Cyprus, Thailand, and Northern Ireland all had/have excellent infrastructure. They did not help stop an insurgency in any way. The only time when provision of infrastructure the might stop an insurgency is when it's lack is the issue. In Peru, the road building program, actually aided the drugs trade!

I think the military mission should cease at prevent death and stop suffering.
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- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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Old 09-08-2008   #52
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Question Give a man a fish

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This is the heart of the problem. If a family has food, water and shelter, there is not a lot else. The family either has them, because they are provided or they have them because they can afford them via employment. It is not the militaries task to engage in social agendas. You don't see OXFAM building schools. They save lives. That's it.

I think the reasoning that people join an insurgency because they don't have a school or clean water is spurious and un-proven. Lack of clean water means you die. Lack of school means you are uneducated.

Where does it reason that good infrastructure helps defeat an insurgency? Cyprus, Thailand, and Northern Ireland all had/have excellent infrastructure. They did not help stop an insurgency in any way. The only time when provision of infrastructure the might stop an insurgency is when it's lack is the issue. In Peru, the road building program, actually aided the drugs trade!

I think the military mission should cease at prevent death and stop suffering.

he can eat for a day, teach him to fish he and his family can live forever-

The problem with only "saving" them is what your saving them from or for. Doesn't do much good to give them fish it only last for a meal, and it doesn't do any good to teach someone to fish if there is no water nearby, or the water has no fish in it. All the factors must be addressed or it will untimately end up cycling right back to the same problem over and over.
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Old 09-08-2008   #53
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I think the reasoning that people join an insurgency because they don't have a school or clean water is spurious and un-proven. Lack of clean water means you die. Lack of school means you are uneducated.

Where does it reason that good infrastructure helps defeat an insurgency? Cyprus, Thailand, and Northern Ireland all had/have excellent infrastructure. They did not help stop an insurgency in any way. The only time when provision of infrastructure the might stop an insurgency is when it's lack is the issue. In Peru, the road building program, actually aided the drugs trade!

I think the military mission should cease at prevent death and stop suffering.
Defeating an insurgency and eliminating the grounds that motivate an insurrection are very different activities. George III and his ministers had the chance to do the latter with the Atlantic coast colonies in North America before 1775 and were forced to try the former with the military after failing to take that opportunity. The French monarchy had a similar opportunity in the later 1700s and failed so miserably that it lost the ability to take the miltary option, leaving it to the other crowned heads of Europe to restore the status quo, at which they also failed miserably (thus the Revolutions of 1848 and the rise of the Anarchists following Metternich and the 1815 Congress of Vienna).

I believe that people tend to be motivated to "act out" against the current power hierarchy for a range of reasons that happen to correspond with Maslow's needs hierarchy. If folks are used to certain levels of misery and then are made more miserable, they may well view the return to their former stayte of "objective" misery as sufficient to stop their complaining, at least until they learn how miserable they are compared to others in the world (the so-called "crisis of rising expectations"). An adequate infrastructure lets folks focus on other things that bother them. I suspect that this is the case in all three examples Wilf cited. If one has adequate food and shelter, one is more likely to view the government's apprently different treatment of one's neighbors, who happen to practice a different form of religion, be of a different ethnic background, etc., as a ground for acting out against the perceived inequality.
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Old 09-08-2008   #54
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he can eat for a day, teach him to fish he and his family can live forever-

The problem with only "saving" them is what your saving them from or for. Doesn't do much good to give them fish it only last for a meal, and it doesn't do any good to teach someone to fish if there is no water nearby, or the water has no fish in it. All the factors must be addressed or it will untimately end up cycling right back to the same problem over and over.
I get it. I really do, but it is not part of the military mission to provide fishing instruction. The military mission is to keep said actual or potential fisherman alive, to be able to learn, or benefit from his piscatorial employment or recreation.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 09-08-2008   #55
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I get it. I really do, but it is not part of the military mission to provide fishing instruction. The military mission is to keep said actual or potential fisherman alive, to be able to learn, or benefit from his piscatorial employment or recreation.
The part that really requires the extra steps above and beyond that normal mission is as has been referred to before, The lacking in other parts of the govt constructs to be able to provide the follow-on services. I look at it in sort of a vaccination context. If theres a disease going around and 100's of 1000s are dying from it then Yeah I'll be appreciative of the doctor who comes by with the vaccine and keeps it from killing me. I may however not feel quite so kindly towards the doc when I'm dying from starvation because food wasn't in his job discription.
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Old 09-08-2008   #56
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This is based on very limited real world experience, so take it FWIW -

-There seems to be little debate or disagreement about the need to address death\suffering by any and all means. That may mean very basic stuff, but, particularly in the context of an urban insurgency, may be much more complicated.

-For a while there, while the Army was trying to (re)learn COIN, it seemed like the Army was thinking of "hearts and minds" and "warm and fuzzy" as interchangable concepts. I don't think that's appropriate, and it seems like the Army has, in large part, moved past it.

-At a low level - Being friendly to the locals, respecting customs, etc is appropriate from a standpoint of basic respect, human decency, and promoting interaction. More elaborate stuff should probably be weighed carefully against the benefits. Dropping a couple of million on soccer balls to hand out to the kids (or whatever) should probably be approached carefully. If it facilitates interaction, HUMINT, whatever - go for it. If it's just an effort to look like nice guys and gals, a little skepticism by the commander is in order.

-Massive infrastructure projects are, overall, best handled by non-military agencies. But as wm and others point out, the US's agencies for doing that have eroded. Perhaps not in size, but the type of stuff that USAID could do (directly) in Vietnam appear to be much more limited today. This appears to be turning around, but it is, at best, a work in progress. My understanding is that the UK has some of the same issues. Accordingly, as many have pointed out, the military jumps in. The unity of command provided by that approach is also an issue. Also, while US military units never lost freedom of manuever in Iraq, I think you can make a case that civilian agencies did, making a whole of government approach difficult. Probably not the case today, but impressions may linger. Lastly, the US, in particular, has substantial funds available to military commanders, with (relatively) few bureaucratic strings\nightmares attached. Those funds have, at times, been used for massive projects. That might or might not be wise (see below), but part of giving a commander more resources and lattitude is increased liklihood of mistakes. We have wisely resisted applying a lot (in relative terms) of oversight to CERP.

-Large scale infrastructure projects may be a subtle, low-coercion form of population control. It's sufficiently different from what has traditionally been called "population control" (as Ken and Wilf have pointed out elsewhere) that perhaps that not the best term. But a school that redirects children from Tribe A through a path through a dangerous area occupied by Tribe B (less violence, fewer revenge killings), extends the reach of the local government (gotta pay the teachers, gotta patrol the area), employs a few locals and counteracts an insurgent narrative might be a great idea. Our ability to predict 2nd and 3rd order impacts is limited enough that I'm skeptical of leading with massive projects that aren't handed off to USAID or a similar agency, and "schools" in particular would give me pause - but we shouldn't get wrapped around the axle about this or that TTP. If a whole of government approach isn't working in a given security environment, then the military has to step up until the other agencies get ready. Others have talked about the military's efforts giving license to those agencies to sit on their hands, but that's another discussion.

-Large scale infrastructure projects may also be a form of large scale national level diplomacy. They may also something similar to bribery - nothing wrong with that, but apply carefully and evaluate for sustainability. They may also be a counteraction to an insurgent narrative. Or they may just be a bad idea. In short - I'm skeptical of one size fits all answers.
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Old 09-08-2008   #57
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Where does it reason that good infrastructure helps defeat an insurgency? Cyprus, Thailand, and Northern Ireland all had/have excellent infrastructure. They did not help stop an insurgency in any way. The only time when provision of infrastructure the might stop an insurgency is when it's lack is the issue. In Peru, the road building program, actually aided the drugs trade!

I think the military mission should cease at prevent death and stop suffering.
Sorry Wilf, disagree 100% on this one. unemployment and dissatisfaction strengthens the insurgent leaders ability to recruit. Army units Iraq did a great deal of humanitaruian work early on becouse they were all that was available for it. $87bil for Iraq in '03-04? Never left Kuwait. The building projects you did see came from the CA budget and unit slush funds. If the infastructure had never been there, then your point might have some validity, but in Iraq, it had been there at one point.
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Old 09-08-2008   #58
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unemployment and dissatisfaction strengthens the insurgent leaders ability to recruit. Army units Iraq did a great deal of humanitaruian work early on becouse they were all that was available for it.
Reed, I am not doubting that, and I have no abiding problem with the military providing humanitarian aid, be it the provision of water, food, power, and constructing shelter where needed. It's both ethical and logical, to a population you are protecting.

I have no real issue if the Army provides employment in providing those things. They can even recruit/train Soldiers and Policemen. That is all part of the mission. Repairing or building roads/railways to assist the logistical provision of aid, is also good.

However, I am sceptical when it comes to building schools, and other types of social programmes and civilian infrastructure. This is getting into muddy water. The Army is not there to provide education and employment. If it needs to hire, then great.
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Old 09-08-2008   #59
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If infrastructure and social well-being is decisive in Iraq as a component of the military strategy, I think that's a situation unique to the country (and region) in general and the conflict specifically. Iraq has few sources of natural wealth and resources, except oil, and so the state itself becomes the primary patron of the citizenry. Add into the mix the complexity of religious, ethnic, and tribal relations without any real unifying identity or ideology, and the only effective means of management is state power; whether that's a reliance on violence (i.e. Saddam), institution-building, or some kind of combination of both. But even while the lack of infrastructure or employment may encourage, for example, a professional soldier with no other opportunities to "work" for the insurgency, that does not suggest the same motivation is applicable to other elements of the insurgency, much less to other wars in general.

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The political will to employ and persist with military means is not one that should concern the military. What should concern the military is achieving the outcome the politicians want. (it may include loosing or not winning.) - as soldiers that's none of their business.
I agree for the most part in that military planners should not be concerned with politics at home; but the enemy's politics is fair game. I should have clarified that in my previous statement. Understanding why the enemy fights clarifies how (and to what extent) he fights. So, as for the article, categorizing a war by how it was, or should be, fought is not very useful whatsoever without the "why". Why is the "psycho-cultural war" concept useful if the conditions in which its applicable are not universal?
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Old 09-08-2008   #60
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AmericanPride; I sort of agree with your post at #5 above with one caveat:
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"I think it's dangerous intellectually to talk about the nature of war, or the outcome of any war, without first discussing its relationship to politics."
I think it is dangerous practically to try to over define the nature of war as it's an academic exercise with no practical merit. The causes of war are too diverse and the methods of warfare are even more varied. In the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld, "You go to war with the Army you've got." Just so. I'd add that Army had better be prepared and able to fight that war it got into. It's that simple.

wm's wisdom comes through:
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"Ken, it provides the economy with a lot of jobs for people who work in organizations that garner "lessons observed." Too bad we have yet to figure out a way to convert lessons observed effectivelt and efficiently into lesson learned. (No offense to folks like Tom Odom intended)."
Yep to the first clause and egos are the answer to the second... Sad.

Wilf contributes an absolute gem and one of my pet questions:
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"My guess is that a lot of folks are very reluctant to discuss why an ACR squadron, for example, cannot perform certain missions they are supposed to."
To which I'm sure he'd add that one could change the ACR (my personal favorite) to several other types of units. That is, IMO, considerably more pertinent a question than is what kind of war are we in...

Which gets to AmericanPride, post 19:
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"Understanding why the enemy fights clarifies how (and to what extent) he fights. So, as for the article, categorizing a war by how it was, or should be, fought is not very useful whatsoever without the "why"..."
I think that understanding why he fights may -- just may -- give you a clue to to why he fights (though I'm unsure how important that it is). The key being truly understanding as opposed to just thinking one understands (and I suggest the last seven years are living proof of that... ). I'm quite sure it does not give you a clue to what extent he will fight because you have a say in that which can change his predilection.
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"...Why is the "psycho-cultural war" concept useful if the conditions in which its applicable are not universal?"
It isn't...
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