Don't throw the past away
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again
--Everything Old is New Again,
Ranger submitted an entry to a contest held by the The U.S. Naval Institute's journal Proceedings several years back on the topic of warfare -- "Rethinking the Future Nature of Conflict". Needless to say, his neanderthal, non-4 GW thinking merited not so much as a nod.
But hearing Tyler Boudreau, former-Marine Captain and author of "Packing Inferno," address the topic of mission on National Public Radio this weekend got us thinking once again about mission and so-called New Nature of War. Simply: Everything is exactly the same as it was pre-9-11-01. No change. Nada.
The Constitution and the Rules of War are exactly as relevant and correct as they have always been. Clausewitz is alive and well. Even Sun-Tzu is still kicking! Asymmetrical warfare my ass. That's the way it has always been, just with new toys, now.
The Principles of War, as defined in the Army FM-3 Military Operations, were taught in 3rd-year ROTC class, so basic that all officers should be able to recite them in their sleep. Since our military leaders seem in a deep slumber, this is probably the only time they ponder the verity of these nine guiding principles. (If the reader doubts this, ask any officer to tick these off. Ranger will buy you a beer if you get a complete and correct answer.)
To a military man, these nine are more important than the 10 Commandments. They are:
- Economy of Force
- Unity of Command
The principles apply to classic military operations, of which counterinsurgency is anything but. We try to operate as COIN, yet apply conventional combat power to the situation in a most inappropriate manner. Following classic Clausewitzian philosophy, this will ensure that COIN will fail.
COIN is not warfare, and therein lies the rub. Classic combat operations insure the defeat of COIN theory and practice. Our political and military leaders have futilely been trying to fit COIN into a war formula, and trying to accommodate the war formula to fit COIN. The Principles of War are being ignored in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), though we carry on as though at war.
We have lost our way. The only things being advanced are careers on the backs of the taxpayers and dead and wounded soldiers. All in a war that isn't a war, and a COIN experiment that isn't COIN.
If a Captain of USMC Infantry can see this, then why can't the Chiefs of Staff of the Services?