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1 Romantic Heretic  Sat, Dec 24, 2011 7:04:55am

The reason is very simple. The winners of the last war re-fight the last war. The losers fight the next one.

The best example of that is the Panzers of the Wehrmacht in early WWII. Germany lost WWI. Thanks to people like Heinz Guderian they looked at why and decided how to avoid another such loss.

It worked too. For two years they kicked the living shit out of countries much larger and stronger than Germany. The Allies, in my opinion, never got as good at it as the Wehrmacht did. If Germany hadn’t been saddled with crazy morons for strategic leadership I think the best we could have done was a draw.

However, the States won that war. So they insist on doing what won that war, just bigger and more expensively. And America has never really lost a war since. At least in their minds. So they haven’t received the psychic shock needed to rethink what sort of wars they fight and how to win them with minimum blood and treasure.

Also, it occurs to me that the American idea of economics, what they call capitalism, comes into play. Much of American thinking about warfare is based on economics. Armed forces are as much about feeding the economic machine as about fighting and winning wars. The ‘profitability’ of a weapon or force structure is a major consideration. So the U.S. armed forces go big. Big tanks, big guns, big ships, big planes. There’s money and careers to be made.

So, between lack of imagination and economics, it’s nearly impossible for the U.S. to reconsider what types of wars it will fight and how to win them.

2 Bob Dillon  Sat, Dec 24, 2011 9:06:57am

re: #1 Romantic Heretic

Eisenhower warned us. Politicians have their snouts so deep in the Pentagon spending trough its a wonder they can breathe at the same time. Terms such as “Versailles on the Potomac” (Pentagon) and “Perfumed Princes” (Top Brass) sum it up pretty well dovetailing with your “money and careers”.

The good news is that deep within some U.S. service branches, particularly the Marines, Boydian [Link:…] thinking is integrated to the point it offsets some of the unethical, self-serving, power projection that gets people killed or maimed in conflict unnecessarily.

“Boyd’s “theory of war” is to “get inside” your adversary’s OODA loop: to manipulate what he observes, so that he orients himself to unreal conditions managed by you, makes decisions based on the false premises and acts accordingly, while you maintain control of the real situation thus produced and are able to act in ways which the adversary cannot understand or meaningfully respond to…. Boyd based himself explicitly on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and explained: The ideal military objective is to win your adversaries over to your side. When that cannot be done, the best strategy is to win in war not by beating your enemy in direct combat, but by so managing his perception of his situation that he becomes disoriented and collapses psychologically and ceases to be able to fight. The objective is to drive your enemy to mental breakdown, and then move in and take over without a struggle (Sun Tzu: “The great General wins without fighting.”).”

A recent book looks at alternatives: [Link:…]

The Sovereignty Solution: A Common Sense Approach to Global Security

Publication Date: December 15, 2011
A Naval Postgraduate School professor and her Special Forces coauthors offer a radical yet commonsensical approach to recalibrating global security. Their book discusses what the United States could actually do to restore order to the world without having to engage in either global policing or nation-building. Two tracks to their strategy are presented: strengthening state responsibility abroad and strengthening the social fabric at home. The authors’ goal is to provoke a serious debate that addresses the gaps and disconnects between what the United States says and what it does, how it wants to be perceived, and how it is perceived. Without leaning left or right, they hope to draw many people into the debate and force Washington to rethink what it sends service men and women abroad to do.

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