U.S. STRATEGY OR THE LACK THEREOF
By Joe Kress
November 8, 2006
The Vietnam non-war War debacle set the example for our enemies to win their objectives in the marble edifices of Washington D.C. What can’t be won on the battlefield can be won by propaganda. America’s liberal media outlets keep convincing the public that we can’t win in Iraq. When our military was winning every battle during the Vietnam conflict, Walter Cronkite’s CBS nightly featured only the bad, not the successes. It was the successful strategy of Ho Chi Minh that offset the reality of losing the great Tet offensive, a military disaster, a massacre by any measure. It should have resulted in North Vietnam’s defeat.
Sophisticated propaganda reversed and transformed the failed desperate Tet Offensive of 1967 into a great victory for the communists. Ho turned the tables. Knowing the psychological mind-set of a society tired of war, Ho Chi Menh recognized the developing seeds of discontent from the aftermath of WW II, a post Korean impasse and what appeared in 1968 through 1972 as a war that would never end.
He could see a degenerative softness emerging within the general public. It was an easy task for Ho to use his propaganda contacts such as Gus Hall’s Communist outlets, the major media’s leftist leaning commentators and reporters; radical leader John Kerry, whose rant before congressional committees was equal to a battalion of Viet Cong fighters and, of course, we can’t forget Jane Fonda’s propensity to divagate for any leftist cause. Ho successfully undermined American’s national willingness to fight to win and finally, even after his death before the war ended - turned defeat into victory.
Ho Chi Men read and absorbed the strategy and tactics of the best minds in the use of the tools of war.
There are many books written on the subject of strategy and tactics to win wars. Some of the most well known are taught as part of the world’s military command and staff courses and in their war colleges. Works by “Clausewitz on War” states that war is an extension of diplomacy and makes the distinction between judicious and injudicious war and the relationship between war and politics. It means that war can be waged only in certain circumstances.
Jomini’s Art of War was written in 1838. Antoine Henri Jomini consolidated his position as one of the pre-eminent formulators of modern military thought. Along with his contemporary, Clausewitz, Jomini articulated, interpreted and systematized Napol-eon’s method and theory of war. During his lifetime, he produced more than twenty-five volumes of military history and theory. He was considered among one of the great military thinkers of his time.
Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart’s doctrine of the “indirect approach” was first published in 1929 under the Decisive Wars of History. In 1946 he wrote an expanded addition of the work and called it “The Strategy of the Indirect Approach.” He later, amended that addition in 1954, what is now confirmed to be the case, that there will be a widespread development of unconventional, or guerrilla, warfare. In most campaigns, he contends, the dislocation of the enemy’s psychological and physical balance has been the vital prelude to its overthrow. The dislocation is brought about by a strategic indirect approach, intentional and fortuitous. Strategy offers the indirect approach in its much wider application – as a law of life in all spheres, a truth of philosophy.
Sun Tzu’s strategy vs. W’s
The tactics and strategy of Sun Tzu, an extraordinary, brilliant strategist and tactician wrote his notes 2,400 years ago. The Chinese have used his work as a guide throughout the ages, but after the victories of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese communist revolution and winner of the war against Chiang Kai Shek’s Kumintang corrupt regime, Western leaders took note that Mao followed Sun Tzu’s brilliant advice; all the leaders that is except Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Let us not forget those in congress and the international contractors, like Brown and Root Corporation from the Korean and Vietnam period. Now, it’s the massive Halliburton Corporation making huge profits. All the parties itched for a war to secure our oil interests and reap the financial and political rewards of war mainly to serve the interests of central bankers and corporations with their political influence.
Here are the titles of Sun Tzu’s notes:
1. Laying Plans 2. Waging War 3. Attack by Stratagem 4. Tactical Dispositions 5. Energy 6. Weak Points 7. Maneuvering 8. Variation in Tactics 9. The Army on the March 10. Terrain 11. The Nine Situations 12. The Attack by Fire and 13. The Use of Spies.
The opening verse of Sun Tzu’s classic is the basic clue to his philosophy. War is a grave concern of the state; it must be thoroughly studied. Here is recognition that for the first time armed strife is not a transitory aberration but a recurrent, conscious act and therefore susceptible to rational analysis.
Sun Tzu believed that the moral strength and intellectual faculty of man were decisive in war and that if these were properly applied, war could be waged with certain success. Never to be taken thoughtlessly, recklessly, war was to be preceded by measures designed to make it easy to win.
Sun Tzu wrote: The master conqueror frustrated his enemy’s plans and broke up his alliances. He created cleavages between sovereign and minister, superiors and inferiors, commanders and subordinates. His spies and agents were active everywhere, gathering information, sowing dissension, and nurturing subversion. The enemy was isolated and demoralized; his will to resist broken. Thus without battle his army was conquered, his cities taken and his state overthrown. Only when the enemy could not be overcome by these means was there recourse to armed force, which was applied so that victory could be gained:
National unity was deemed by Sun Tzu to be an essential requirement of victorious war. this could be obtained only under a government which was devoted to the people’s welfare and did not oppose them. Sin Hsing-yen was justified in observing that Sun Tzu’s theories were based on ‘benevolence and righteousness.’
By relating war to the immediate political relations to alliances or the lack of them, and to unity and stability on the home front and high morale in the army as contrasted to disunity in the enemy country and how low is the morale in his army, Sun Tzu attempted to establish a realistic basis for rational appraisal of relative power. His perception that mental, moral, physical and circumstantial factors operate in war demonstrates a remarkable acuity.
Few military writers, including those most esteemed in the West (Clausewitz, Jomini, Hart), have stated this proposition as clearly as Sun Tzu - twenty-four hundred years ago.
Here Sun Tzu names five ‘matters’ to be deliberated in the temple councils. These are human (morale and generalship), physical (terrain and weather), and doctrinal. Only if superiority in these is clearly indicated did the council proceed to its calculations relative to numerical strengths (which Sun Tzu did not deem decisive); quality of troops, discipline; equity in the administration of rewards and punishments; and training. Finally this ancient writer did not conceive the object of the military action to be annihilation of the enemy’s army, the destruction of his cities, and the wastage of his countryside. ‘Weapons are ominous tools to be used only when there is no alternative.’ Although, not a Christian, he demonstrated the philosophy of devout Christians, not those in name only.
The question then is what were the considerations at the time the U.S. government initiated the “Shock and Aaw bombing tactic” to soften up Hussein’s defenses? Were George W. Bush and his handlers purposely reversing the advice of Sun Tzu as evidenced in what happened? It remains conclusive that the strategy Bush used could not possibly attain the end he expected to achieve as his goals.
Here are the reasons:
The conclusion is that the Bush Administration was totally inadequately prepared to cope with what was involved. His boneheadidness created what can only be termed an unholy mess which in all probability will require withdrawing from the region despite the unimaginable consequences of Iraq being dissolved and becoming a part of Iran. That was Saddam Hussein’s greatest fear. He lost a million men in the Iraq-Iran War and the reason for the war was his preemptive attack to prevent the Iranians from attacking first. The other alternative is for the U.S. to use WMD which may result in nuclear wars throughout the planet.
Harlan Ulman was the head of the Navy’s extended planning office. He taught at the National War College which in all probability used most of his advice in preparing for what he envisioned as a high-tech war. He called it “rapid dominance, “or shock and awe.” He would use every kind of weapon to create shock and awe. He once said it might be a good idea to use electromagnetic waves that attack people’s neurological systems to affect behavior. He stated that the U.S. would smash Baghdad with up to 800 cruise missiles in the first two days of the war and those ideas were the bases of the Pentagon’s plan. Added to the plan was the use of the B-61 800 pound “bunker-busters” and depleted uranium tipped ammunition and missiles that would contaminate the area for a thousand years.
On October 13, 2006, the publication in the medical journal, The Lancet, reported on a year-long study conducted by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Al Mustansiriya University of Iraq, in the excess mortality in Iraq as a result of the U.S. invasion in March 2003. The study in Iraq concluded that a reliable estimate of the increased deaths is 650,000. If added to this number, the conservative estimate of 1,000,000 Iraqis died due to the severe sanctions imposed on the country at the behest of the U.S. in the years prior to the invasion (UNICEF estimated that 500,000 were children). The conclusion is that the total deaths amounted to 1,650,000 Iraqis killed due to deliberate and calculated U.S. policy.
Sun Tzu on War (translated and with introduction by Samuel Griffith, Oxford
© 2006 Joe Kress - All Rights Reserved
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The "Curmudgeon", Joseph H. Kress, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret) obtain a B.S. in Business Administration, with a major in economics and minor in accounting.
He served in England and Viet Nam where he received the Bronze Star during the TET Offensive, then he was appointed Chief of Supply for two state-side assignments; the DOD's Defense Disposal Agency where he was chief of disposal operations for all of Southeast Asia, based at CINCPAC Headquarters in Hawaii. He retired from Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio as chief of supply with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the age of 52, and now he and his wife reside in Summerville, S.C.
leaving the military, he was involved in political campaigns, writing
articles for the local papers, and as a realtor.
The conclusion is that the Bush Administration was totally inadequately prepared to cope with what was involved. His boneheadidness created what can only be termed an unholy mess which in all probability will require withdrawing from the region despite the unimaginable consequences of Iraq being dissolved and becoming a part of Iran.