July 20, 2006


The Tribal Way of War Forget Clausewitz: Nations now fight clans driven by pride, vengeance and martial religiosity.(Robert D. Kaplan, 19 July 2006, Wall Street Journal)

While the U.S. spends billions of dollars on sophisticated defense systems, the dime-a-dozen kidnapper and suicide bomber have emerged as the most strategic weapons of war. While we tie ourselves in legal knots over war's acceptable parameters, international law has increasingly less bearing on those whom we fight. And while our commanders declare "force protection" as their highest priority, enemy commanders declare the need for more martyrs. It seems that the more advanced we become, the more at a disadvantage we are in the 21st-century battlefield...
There is no better example of how traditional warrior cultures hold fast in the face of globalization than Chechnya, where cowardice is among the worst of transgressions and a dagger the most prized material item. There is in Chechnya, too, as the authors note, the Sufi proclivity for asceticism and mysticism: the former providing the mental discipline for overcoming physical hardships and the latter for sustaining morale. Furthermore, the Chechens' decentralized, clan-based structure--and their tradition of raiding--help to determine their guerrilla style, which has resulted in lethal hit-and-run tactics by small units on large, conventional Russian forces in the "urban canyons" of Grozny...

That's my dream. That's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor, and surviving.

Posted by Pepys at July 20, 2006 3:25 PM

Fine. Let us begin with Turney-High. We need not take primitives seriously for they have not achieved the military threshhold. The things which the faint-hearted see as strengths of the primitives are all weaknesses.

Disorganization is not a strength. Indiscipline is not a strength. Lack of technology, communications, weapons is not a strength. Such weaknesses look like strengths only to those for whom war is too hard.

Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a primitive warrior: at Omdurman the Maxims mowed him down like grass.

The military distance between the World Government and the rest is greater than the distance between Kirchner's army ands the Sudanese. The threshhold described by Turney-High is the degree of cultural development required for attainment of military competence.
The current day Fuzzy-Wuzzies were closer to the British that the rest of the world is to holder of world power.

By all means, read Turney-High. There are valuable lessons to be gleaned from his descriptions of the primitive cultures of the world which have all been blown away like chaff.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 20, 2006 6:43 PM

But the civilized west does have one big weakness, and that is that we keep providing the 'fuzzy-wuzzies' with sewage and clean drinking water facilities. If we just let them live as they want in their own filth, then most of their children would never live past childhood.

Posted by: lebeaux at July 20, 2006 10:57 PM

Mr. Gots;

I would think that of all people, you would realize that will is far more important than technology. No gun, no matter how powerful or accurate, is better than a club if you are not willing to pull the trigger. Do you not think that should Omdurman be repeated, the commanders would be arrested and turned out for war crimes?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 21, 2006 10:34 AM

A.O.G.: If that were true, it is over and we have lost, it being time to send off to Berlitz for the Arabic tapes. Remember, Omdurman was not Dresden or Tokyo, Omdurman was the Mahdi army drawn up to offer battle to a force on the other side of a military threshhold.

Israel will get us out of this. Israel is getting us out of this. Behold how the MSM and the political opposition (redundancy alert) have put on the kid gloves concerning Lebanon. Domestic politics are going to keep of on the right side of the GWOT which would not otherwise be possible.

Pray tell who will come to arrest our Kirtchner? The United Nation? Europe?

What is happening in Lebanon as we write is most illustrative. Proportionality and military necessity are determined by the military situation. Consider the hypothetical bombardment of American cities by terrorists shooting rockets from Canada. We already all agree that Canada's failure to put a stop to such attacks would allow us to act in self-defense, as in Pershing's Mexican incursion.

Were we to flatten Canadian cities, World War II-style, that would be disproportionate and unnecessary. If however, we did our best to minimize collateral damage, as Israel now does, by using PGM's, we would be withinn our rights. The legal and moral responsibility would fall on the terrorists for siting their weapons among civilians and on Canada for allowing them to do so.

Israel remains the key. It is with full malicious premeditation that our enemies foreign and domestic have been doing their worst to manipulate the LoW considerations to empower the terrorists and to restrain us. Because of Israel this isn't going to fly.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 21, 2006 12:13 PM

I remember the outrage over the "road of death" during the Gulf War. I note how Old Media very frequently treats terrorists killed during terror attacks as if they were civilian casualties. I remember a few other incicidents from the invasion of Iraq where soldiers were subject to public scorn for stating that they enjoyed killing the enemy on the battlefield.

We shall see if these forces prevent Israel from accomplishing its legitimate military goals.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 21, 2006 3:51 PM
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