The United States military's infatuation with the German military has
led to it seeing war as a creative science, not a man-made disaster,
with rapid, decisive victories such as Desert Storm celebrated as
artful "blitzkrieg". The army may have forgotten that the Third Reich
was defeated not by military elan, cutting-edge weaponry or tactical
finesse, but by the unbreakable spirit of citizen-soldiers. - William
J Astore (Feb 19, '10)
War IS politics.
But more importantly, war is what humans do best unfortunately. So if we
are going to do it, we might as well be the best at it of all the
nations that are around.
It's not pretty nice, or useful of resources. But it HAS to be done.
Because war is human nature. And whether it be business, war or playing
cards, what war really represents is competition. Which is one of the
basis of ALL human instinct traits...
We are a competitive species. To think otherwise is folly.
And the only species we have to compete with is ourselves.
May be more of a cultural artifact than we thought - recent research on the
civilisation in the Indus Valley (3,000 years of relative peace and
prosperity with no trace of Great Leaders and apparently quite a narrow band
between rich and poor, so little envy). It was a climate change that
finished them off, couple of thousand years back now, but they traded with
most of the rest of the world.
No axe to grind, too old to worry much about these things.
...and so are trade and commerce...which are also war...
War is just Darwin - mechanized...
...pretty much my take on the human condition - we occasionally just
plain get out there and kill the crap out of each other...no matter how
"civilized" we think we've become...
...OTOH, there really aren't many technological innovations in modern
warfare which cannot be traced back to the WWII era, IMO. We just do a
lot of the same stuff faster and with greater precision now, probably
because we divvied up all the German scientists after WWII. Except for
networking and body count, it's all status quo.
I can't find anything in the author's article that I agree with. The author
of the article is arguing with success, success in the 1990-91 Gulf War and
success in Iraq 2003-08. That to me ultimately is a fool's errand that pays
off no dividends. He seems to draw the wrong conclusions on just about every
tack he takes in regards to his presumption of an inappropriate influence on
modern US military doctrine by Wehrmacht-philes and students of von
Clausewitz. The Blitzkrieg was a watershed shift in military doctrine -
disregard it at your own peril. The US in WWII thankfully, did not - they
did it one better and incorporated it into a global strategic and
operational doctrine the Germans could never have gotten their minds around,
much more to have employed it effectively.
His overall cheeky point seems to be the Germans lost and a faith in a
professional army via von Clausewitz is misplaced. Well, I'd say to the Lt
Colonel that a military education isn't what it used to be if that's all he
can derive from a study of WWII German operations and all that he
appreciates in a standing professional army. Operation Desert Storm (and its
all important Desert Shield build-up component) can trace a straighter line
to their Operation Overlord lineage (and that signature WWII American
strategic and operational doctrine I mentioned above) than anything the
Germans showed the world in 1940 during Fall Gelb and Fall Rot.
As for von Clausewitz, I suppose the author would argue against Napoleon who
famously said "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" - on
the basis that Napoleon was ultimately defeated or that the French have
never won anything since 1918.
I give the author credit for striking the appropriate patriotic tone in
support of our citizen soldiers, sleepily awakened and aroused to the
fight - but had we begun a serious mobilization in 1938 as opposed to 1940,
we might have enjoyed the benefits of a large standing professional army in
places we needed it most - places like Kasserine and the Huertgen Forest.
US infantry was paper thin in late '44 on into '45 - and we were the ones
that were WINNING!
I will admit I was taken aback the first time I saw the steel helmets and
the ODs supplanted by the new Kevlar helmet and the BDU camo ensemble. They
didn't call it the Fritz helmet for nuthin'. The Teutonic warrior's profile
was unmistakable - but I got over it. If our soldiers feel better and fight
better because they look and function like the guys in the Tamiya
panzergruppe boxart as opposed to the sadsack, snuffy smith appearance of
Willie and Joe and their broken down jeep - so be it.
US military thinkers reasoned in the late 70s that a conscious and visible
break from the appearance of the Vietnam and Post-Vietnam soldier was what
was needed in their formulation of a new professional all volunteer army.
They seem to get their fair share wrong in the military - but that's one
decision they aced. The writer of that article can argue with success all he