Saturday, October 25, 2008

Military Tactics 101 - Afghanistan

Over the last few years, there has been much debate as to why we didn't invade or concentrate our military efforts in Afghanistan as opposed to the current policy in Iraq. The pro-Afghanistan stance places our forces in a dangerous "snipe-hunt" for Osama Bin-laden and his remaining Taliban. Their strategy intends for the bulk of our military to engage an entrenched enemy in a vast and complexed mountainous region where no large military force has ever truly been successful in conquering (Soviets -1980's). As you may know, not all of our front-line forces are trained for combat in such treacherous terrain. Yes, we have outstanding divisions within our military that have been trained for this manner of fighting (10th Mountain Div.), but is it enough force to root out Bin-laden and the "dug-in" Taliban forces? Theirs is a belief that revolves around the idea by somehow eliminating Bin-laden, the threat of terrorism from around the free world will immediately come to an end. I disagree and here are my reasons why:

1. "We must appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend: march swiftly to places where we are not expected."

2. "If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is to attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve."

3."Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards."

4. "So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike what is weak."

5. "Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed upon him."

By the way, these reasons listed above are not just what I believe, but were written some 2400 years ago by the incisive Chinese military expert, Sun Tzu and his "blueprint for battlefield strategy" The Art of War. His teachings have been essential throughout history for wisdom and lessons learned to great military leaders who have adopted his strategies. More precisely, The Art of War is the basis for the Marine Corps Warfighting Manual as well as numerous other tactics currently applied by our Armed Forces.

It is my belief that military strategy should be left to those who have been trained in such expertise, those steeped in the knowledge and understanding of the fields of battle. Of course, I refer to our amazing Armed Forces and obviously trust all authority to their wisdom and experience.

"How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy's own tactics - that is what the multitude cannot comprehend."
-Sun Tzu


Jeff said...

Afghanistan is the grave of nations. The Macadonians, the British, and the Russians, just to name a few, wasted a lot money and treasure with large armies invading and becoming mired in mission creep. We must be careful we're not digging a grave ourselves.

We need a surge of troops in Iraq, but along with that tactics that ensures we're not chasing shadows. We need to capitalize on our counterinsurgency advances and press the fight with selective strikes and special forces operations. Airstrikes are also very effective. One thing for certain, UBL must be hunted down and killed by American forces.

Of course the question will be just how will President Obama change the strategy?

Bill Wayne said...

I was looking online for some cold steel fgx knives when I stumbled on this post. I just hope that President Obama will not waste money on purchasing weapons of mass destruction, especially now that we are experiencing global economic crisis.

Anonymous said...

@Jeff it's not the president who decides military strategy, but of military usage. President Obama hasn't been trained in the arts of war thus he is not a general in field combat. But he can decide who makes the decisions. That's pretty much his job. Deciding who makes decisions.

So hopefully he chooses the right people for the job.