Jan 28, 2007

"What do you mean, suit? This happens to be a British Army uniform, sir."

From a review of a new book on fourth generation warfare by British Gen. Rupert Smith:

As often as not, failing to grasp the new rules of warfare, political leaders and military planners rely on force in situations when it has no utility, commit troops without defining strategic and political objectives and — operating on the old industrial-war model — plan for the decisive engagement that never comes. In war amongst the people, he writes, "no act of force will ever be decisive: winning the trial of strength will not deliver the will of the people, and at base that is the only true aim of any use of force in our modern conflicts."

In the new paradigm, General Smith argues, war does not lead to victory and peace. Rather, confrontation leads to conflict, which subsides into confrontation. The weapons, instead of cruise missiles, are machetes, AK-47 assault rifles and suicide bombers. Only carefully defined and tightly intertwined political, diplomatic and military missions can hope to be effective, if only temporarily. That's another feature of the new paradigm: No war, but no peace either, only conflict without end.

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