Saturday, January 06, 2007

The CENTCOM Shake Up

Since the capture of Fallujah by the US Marines a year or two ago, this could be the most significant military event to have happened in the Iraq occupation. Much of this can be summed up in Ralph Peter's New York Post article here (hat tip: RCP).
Peter's article pretty much summed up and agrees with everything I have been reading militarily so far. 1) The Big Army is currently still stuck in Cold War thinking 2) The Big Army is still too bureaucratic 3) Bush's problems in Iraq are not due to his policies, its the execution 4) Bush has been too reluctant to change Generals 5) It's time to actually start dealing with the fuel behind the fire (IRAN).
The one key exception to all of this is Peter's belief that the Navy's mid ranking officers are the best strategic thinkers. I would argue that the best strategic thinkers are ALL the services mid ranking officers and NCO's (non-commissioned officers; ie- sergeant). These men see the action on the ground first hand and report to the upper echelon of the military who then determine action/roe (rules of engagement)/policy. Too many of these generals are still stuck in Cold War thinking and mass conventional warfare. While this may be true when facing an enemy such as China/Russia, there is no other enemy military that could provide a significant threat to us conventionally. Peter's most important point in the article goes relatively unnoticed which is that Marines tend to act better locally and think better globally. This is because the Marines rely on their Small Wars Manual. The Marines also have a history of fighting insurrections, peace keeping, and guerrilla style wars in the Pacific Ocean and throughout the world. I believe we are coming to the much needed realization (in the transitionary time period of warfare that we are in) that adaptation is required. It is unfortunate that growing pains/casualties/dissapointments are required but C'est la vie. We are on the right track and we are fighting the "Long War" (I see this term gaining traction in the blogosphere). I believe that Iran is the head of it all through their stated goals of the eradication of Israel, their pursuance of the return of the 12th imam through a global apocalypse, and the desire to establish Islam as mandatory world-wide. The 90's were a break from world history and I think the point can be made that WWI and WWII were the exceptions of war-fare than the standards. If you like reading, check out Robert Kaplan's book Imperial Grunts, while I don't agree with all of his points, it is none the less a fascinating read.

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