Why is the US pursuing a policy of limited war and covert operations around the world in Libya, Syria, Chad, Mali, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Sudan, Philippines and so on?
THIS IS A LOSING STRATEGY.
Ye gods we know that from Viet Nam.
We know that from the USSR in Afghanistan.
We know that from Central America.
And you can read it in the chapter that was added to Capt B H Liddell Hart’s classic book, Strategy: The Indirect Approach for the second edition which came out in, I think, 1947. Wars under in the nuclear age will be fought by proxy, with deniable guerilla groups acting semi-autonomously, but puppeted by the great powers through covert action. This is to avoid massive retaliation. Liddell Hart clearly points out that these guerilla movements will have a huge advantage in both efficiency and freedom of use compared to conventional forces.
But the United States, with its massive fleet, its 10 aircraft carriers, its air superiority doctrine, its armored divisions, is prepared to refight World War II. The lack of sufficient good old fashioned light infantry like the 10th Infantry leads to the overuse of special forces for tasks which should belong to the regular army. At the same time, the regular forces, except air power to a limited degree, are pretty useless against guerilla groups or hybrid guerilla groups like IS. So the special forces get to fight them too, undercover, without normal rules of engagement and fire support. This has led to a huge expansion of the very expensive and specialized special forces.
The US spends more on its military than the next ten military powers combined and yet IS, with maybe the equivalent of three divisions of light infantry, mostly low paid conscript ‘volunteers,’ can flummox the US in the Middle East, destabilize Europe, and fuel Brexit and Trumpism. That’s partly because it is always hard to fight religiously-fueled warriors with a martyrdom cult.
But the US knows how to fight a guerilla war. 50 US advisers trained Ho Chi Minh’s forces in guerilla warfare during WWII, for crying out loud.
This idiotic strategy is being driven by the politics of deniable operations that don’t have political consequences unless they have a Eugene Hasenfus-type incident, and that eternal war is hugely profitable.
Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy