Once only part of Special Operations doctrine, the concepts of Counter-Insurgent Warfare (aka Forth-generation Warfare, 4GW
) are finally (after five years) beginning to find their way into standard Army training and doctrine.
This New York Times article entitled "Military Hones a New Strategy on Insurgency"
discusses these late-coming "revalations" and the coming evolution of the big-battle-trained solider.
I have to feel a little vindication from this official recognition. Throughout countless, heated discussion with fellow soldiers and during "Cultural Awareness" briefings I have maintained an argument of what I call the "Tactical Advantage of Being Nice"
- my way of explaining why it not only is a proper way to conduct one's self as a representative of the United States, but that in doing so it provides certain advantages. Make the local population choose between the "lesser of two assholes" and they'll choose the one's they identify with the most: The insurgency.
The old-guard notion that "looking hard" all the time makes the bad guy think twice about taking you on is finally being reconsidered. Its clear that no matter how we act, the enemy has proven it is perfectly willing to take us on in one way or another. It's our conduct in interactions with the other 98% of the population that have a dramatic effect on how many enemies are created from them and how much cooperation can be expected in defeating existing ones. Noone "has your back" like the local population. With the majority of our KIA and WIA being the result of IED and in-direct fire, our reliance on popular cooperation is imperative to prevent loss of life.
Additionally, this change of doctrine forces a serious re-consideration of soldier-to-population ratios with regards to post-conflict security. It is an encouraging (if not woefully belated) sign. Experts tend to agree we had an initial "window" to win the confidence of neutral locals and squandered it due to the SECDEF's insistence on minimal troop deployment. This was a result of the perceived political need to prosecute the war "on the cheap" and the consequent denial that led to the lack of planning for any but the best-case scenarios. I've come to several inter-dependent conclusions regarding this:
1) The lack of contingency planning was caused by the political reality of prosecuting a war that lacked overwhelming
public support resulting in...
2) An increased reluctance and decreased ability to engage in future interventions (preemptive or otherwise) leading to...
3) A socio-political landscape that essentially requires that we sustain an initial (and potentially devastating) attack prior to any large-scale military deployment.
4) The lack of public support for an economically and socially disruptive full-mobilization and draft has caused our political "leadership" to make strategic decisions regarding troop utilization that has overextened our offensive military capabilities and has resulted in opportunistic negative developments with Iran and North Korea.
Its great to know the Army is adapting its doctrine, however I suspect that we may not have the collective will for another intervention for decades to come. We have plenty "anti-War" types who are willing to demonstrate once war becomes a fait accompli
, but we don't have near enough "pro-Peace" types willing to work for a more just and equitable world and actually prevent
the conditions of war before they begin. As long as the average American's preoccupations are the price of gas; as long as we remain willfully ignorant of the world around us; as long as we're content to be the "Shining Gated Community
on the Hill", it would seem to me that our fate will be to settle for the ensuing partisan blame game for the last crisis while waiting for the next Pearl Harbor or 9/11 in order to get people to pay attention to the miserable conditions of their fellow man and stop tolerating the existence of those regimes that benefit from their misery and ignorance.
As it stands, the score is still 0-0, the newspapers have already printed the headlines declaring our humiliating loss, our broadcasters are sending the opposing side our playbook, sixty percent of our spectators
(most were "fans" only before
kickoff) have headed for the parking lot, our coaches are down to fielding only seven players and we're still in the first minute of the game.