This is part II of the BG Cash post.
Great Generals and Warrior Leaders
Change the Tide of War and Battle
Paul E. Vallely
Those that have studied military history fully realize that great battlefield leaders have been able to change the “Tide of War” or the ‘Tide of the Battle” to achieve VICTORY. What this means to the layman is that when the battle is going against you, you must change the strategy and tactics of the battle and reverse the tide against the enemy. I have some questions for our civilian and military leadership today regarding a war that is appearing more and more like an empty act that seems to be losing its character and “raison d’etre”. First the pretense that this war must continue under the current strategy and that we are achieving results when the facts appear each day to refute that. We see more casualties each day and the leadership standbys a self-destructive and self-defeating strategy of "counter-insurgency" (COIN) doctrine and nation-building. Please define for me since January 2002 what the victories are for America in Afghanistan? In the Fall of 2001, 100 Special Operations Forces and CIA operative using proxies and a solid and well-executed air support campaign defeated the Taliban and Al Qaeda in thirty-four (34) days. Then our leaders went the conventional war path and then to Counter-insurgency and here we are today some nine years later.
The COIN principle is not based on winning; it is based on political whims and is not a true tenet of warfare. Warfare is, and always should be, about WINNING or do not go to War. Winning this specific war against forces impelled by Islamic ideology, the global caliphate and Sharia calls for unconventional measures and not the conventional actions followed by lengthy occupations such as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such an unconventional war doctrine heavily leverages the core capability to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America". Why do US military/political leaders and strategists still languish in a thought process that thinks you can Nation-Build before you defeat the enemy?
Fact: Jihadists with small arms and IEDS in faraway places cannot harm the United States so there is no reason to order massive armies that require large and extensive bases and massive logistical support to fight them on their home turf. But that is the essence of failed “counterinsurgency” (COIN) strategies that have bewitched US military political leaders. We all want to support our senior military leaders but at some point they have to face the realities of this enemy and protect and secure our American troops. General Petreaus must have the courage and wisdom to change the tide of the war! It is time!
Iran supported jihadis using Iranian improvised explosive devices (IEDS) continue to kill our soldiers, nation-building civilians, CIA operatives and Afghans at unacceptable rates. And we accept this and do nothing about Iran’s involvement .June was the deadliest month for international troops since the war began: 60 Americans were among 102 international troops slain, according to a count of military figures. This month, more than 70 international troops have died. That total includes more than 50 U.S. service members.
Yes, we have made great and innovative technological advances in weapons systems in the air, sea, and ground, in communications, in advanced intelligence systems and command and control systems. Yes, we have operational war planners at all levels of command, senior policy and politicos in the White House and Department of Defense, a National Security Team and a multitude of military commands positioned around the globe to guide and lead us in national security. But where are the common sense and rational senior General and Admiral Strategists that we have trained and schooled to be innovative, aggressive and win our nation’s wars quickly and decisively?
I rarely hear any of them talking about the valued Principles of War that successful combat leaders in the past have used to achieve success and victory. They cannot even talk in terms of victory, winning and bringing the troops home. Unfortunately, American leaders are increasingly trying to transform this force into one optimized for counterinsurgency missions (when, in fact, we are not, in my opinion, fighting insurgencies but rather, Islamic Jihadis and a fomenting global Caliphate) and conventional war followed on by long-term military occupations. Track back if you will to Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq, and Afghanistan.
It is true that not all political goals are achievable through the use of military power. However, “victory” in war appears lost in the world of political correctness and appeasement. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – often seen as proving the necessity for COIN-capable forces as well as a commitment to nation-building -- demonstrate in reality that the vast majority of goals can be accomplished through quick, decisive joint strike military operations from selected “Lily Pad” friendly bases. Not all political goals are achievable this way, but most are, and those that cannot be achieved through conventional operations likely cannot be achieved by the application of even the most sophisticated counterinsurgency doctrine either. And, as well, to realize and understand in a profound way that you cannot Nation Build in an area of conflict until the enemy is defeated.
I am hard pressed to list any diplomatic and military victories for America in Iraq or Afghanistan since the Fall of 2001.. I predict that Iraq will be in worse shape a year from now and that Iran, Syria and the Iraqi Shiites will exert sufficient influence to control the future of Iraq.
Why can we not understand that our military is for national security, defending our country, our southern borders, the domestic jihad before they bring more harm to our citizens? Why can we not understand how important our resources are in terms of our trained Armed Forces and assets of our country and not to drain them across the globe in futile nation building operations but to leverage the military to counter threats to our country? To the General and Admirals, reposition our forces for victory and the pride of America.
A fundamental challenge in devising a strategy for the use of future American military power is that the world has literally never seen anything like our capability. The U.S. today has military capabilities at least equal to the rest of the world combined. There is virtually no spot on the globe that could not be targeted by American forces, and at most a small handful of countries that could thwart a determined U.S. effort
As a consequence, the U.S. must adopt a national military strategy that heavily leverages the core capability to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America. Such a strategy could defeat and disrupt most potential threats the U.S. faces.
While America’s adversaries today may prefer to engage the U.S. using proxies and develop radical Islamist organizations and jihadists, there is no rationale in declaring to the people of the United States that we are in a long war and accept that as a reason to not achieve a quick and decisive victory
Let them wail and whimper as we achieve the success that is necessary; wiping out and neutralizing radical Islamism and nation states that support it. Because our capability is so novel, American strategists lack a clear framework to guide the utilization of this force. They have sought to match capabilities to conceptions of the use of force from a different era, one in which the Cold War made regime change unpalatable due to the risk of escalation and that tended to make localized setbacks appear as loses in a perceived zero-sum competition with the Soviets. Like Reagan, it is time to call their bluff. They know we hold the big cards, so why are we so timid? This only fosters eastern thought that placation is a sign of weakness. A weakness they will turn into an asset and a political card to play to the uneducated masses they control. Based on superb intelligence, we can launch required strike operations from any number of secure global sites and bases. True, these radical Islamic forces pose a major terror threat abroad and at home but we can defeat those efforts as well.
Many describe our efforts as helping to recruit more fighters and more ideologues. This is no way to stop all the threat to our homeland. The only true way to stop the threat is to give them what they respect; pure force of arms and will. Otherwise, they sit in their sanctuaries and count up the moral victories they have achieved, and embolden future efforts. However, significant threats to the U.S., ranging from the military capacity of regional powers to weapons of mass destruction development programs to significant terrorist infrastructures, can be targeted and destroyed by conventional and unconventional military capabilities.
Again, we must stop thinking like westerners, and understand the way our enemy thinks. A lily pad is much more preferable because it gives them no moral high ground to propagandize, but at the same time instills sheer terror in their hearts as they guess at what is coming next. Force of will and resolve is required by our leaders that our enemies indeed respect and understand. Only when we understand that one objective of Global Jihad is imposition – by force or by stealth – of Shari’a (Islamic law) and the other is the re-establishment of the Caliphate/Imamate), can we even begin to formulate the enemy threat doctrine and strategic concept to DEFEAT THE ENEMY and WIN the GWOJ (Global War on Jihad).
Paul E. Vallely US Army (Ret) is the Chairman of Stand Up America and Co-Chairman of Veteran Defenders of America
Chairman – Stand Up America
Fax: 406 837 0996