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U.S. STRATEGY OR THE LACK THEREOF

 

 

By Joe Kress

November 8, 2006

NewsWithViews.com

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:

(a.) in the shortest possible time;
(b.) at the least possible cost in lives and effort;
(c.) with infliction on the enemy of the fewest possible casualties

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:

  • He telegraphed the enemy several months in advance that he wants to remove its leader from power, then changed the objective to just disarm him. Based only on his flawed intelligence sources and his own estimate that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction - Bush decided to push on. [Actually Saddam with this kind of advance notice probably moved his WMD out of the country with plenty of time to spare before the invasion.] Saddam, acted on flawed reasoning with the intent to establish the illusion that his non-existent WMD would deter the gutless United Nations from agreeing to Bush’s demands to participate in the invasion and therefore the U.S. would not go it alone.

  • Even at that stage of the deliberations for war or no war, the North Korean government was threatening to invade South Korea and broadcasted that it may go it alone to develop a nuclear “peaceful capability” using enriched uranium, known to be of weapon grade quality. Its government demonstrated that it had been successful in limited delivery capability tests. Rear Admiral Moore warned the Western nations that an attack on South Korea was to attack at the same time as the U.S. attacked Iraq.

  • It was the intention of the Bush Administration to use shock and awe bombing of the civilian infrastructure before the actual invasion would affect the civilian population and the military to a point where they would overthrow Saddam’s regime. Night after night saturation attacks on rail, water and sewer plants, municipal buildings, power plants resulted in killing thousands of civilians and in the process, for those that were not killed, destroyed their jobs and the metro-politan infrastructure support of their bombed out cities, mostly in large areas of Baghdad.

  • At the time, our military was unaware of the possibility that there could be a simultaneous joining of Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian terrorists groups. Our on-the -ground intelligence capabilities were not only lacking, but none existent.

  • The illusionary expectations after the massive shock and awe bombing attacks, as a softening tact and the subsequent Blitz Krieg invasion that our military planners anticipated, Bush convinced himself that our military would be perceived as saviors and that the Sunni population, especially the Baath Party, would believe our military was not a permanent occupying force and its worst nightmare.

  • Even though 9-11 was labeled as a terrorist attack and for some unfathomable reason, it was assumed that terrorism on the ground would not be used by the insurgents or by the Sunni minority or by the Shiite majority in retaliation for past cruelties. The murders by the controlling Sunni Baath Party which was dedicated to defending Saddam and its own self-serving interests provided ample proof that Bush Inc. was dealing with Iraqis prone to murder and commit terror. Even their religion condones it.

  • It was assumed that Saddam’s military forces were totally loyal to Saddam and couldn’t be trusted. This assumption was in its face irresponsible. It was our military’s experience that as Saddam’s army retreated during the first Iraqi non-war War, thousands of the enemy military willingly surrendered to our advancing troops with arms raised and smiles on their faces… showing their willingness to be prisoners instead of defenders of the Saddam regime. Yet, Bush and his advisors decided to disband the entire Army, eliminate their pensions and consider them potential enemies, thus impeding any chance to reconstruct a militia to replace our forces and allow Iraq’s future government to maintain peace among its inflammatory factions.

  • The U.S. had only satellite intelligence capability and none on the ground. The one or two Arabic speaking CIA agents were located in Virginia, not in Baghdad. Besides, our intelligence agents were mostly light skinned Caucasians, not of the Moslem faith and had no knowledge of the Koran. They simply couldn’t pass as Iraqis. Recruiting trustworthy Iraqis to pass the CIA’s security, loyalty and knowledge tests was among the lowest priorities prior to the invasion.

  • The Kurds, for the most part are Sunni Muslims and prior to WW I were nomads who could travel throughout large swaths of Turkey, Iran and Iraq until the time the Ottoman Empire was dissolved after WW I. The Turkish government denied all Kurds living on Turkey permission to speak their native language maintain their own unique identity and forbade the wearing of their unique clothing. The Turkish government prompted a rebellion in Northern Turkey by what they labeled the Mountain Kurds and have been fighting them ever since. Kurds want their own country and the Turkish government doesn’t want them to be located adjacent to its borders. At the time, prior to the U.S. planned attacks on Iraq, Kurds were also having problems with Saddam because of their desire for independence from Iraq. The problem with that endeavor is a large portion of Iraqi oil happens to be located in the area where the Kurds intend to settle. The Kurds simply will never be satisfied and will always be a thorn in any newly formed Iraqi government.

  • China and Russia would not be complacent, with U.S. troops occupying the oil fields of Iraq. They would never buy into that idea, but rather they would interfere openly or surreptitiously to sell weapons to the enemy. While the U.S. military, tied up in protecting South Korea, fighting in Afghanistan, fighting in Iraq and spread out in Europe, Japan, Indonesia, the Marine embassy guards in seventy other countries would be the perfect time to regain their lost territories such as China’s Taiwan. Russia would like nothing better than to regain those eastern European countries that were part of the USSR and became independent from under the Russian umbrella to join NATO.

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.

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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.

Footnotes:

1. Sun Tzu on War (translated and with introduction by Samuel Griffith, Oxford Press 1963)
2. Some information in this paragraph was extracted from an article by Ira Chremus, titled Shock and Awe: Is Baghdad the Next Hiroshima? Published on Monday, January 27, 2003 by CommonDreams.org and again republished Sunday, October 22, 2006.

© 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.

Since leaving the military, he was involved in political campaigns, writing articles for the local papers, and as a realtor.

E-mail: kressretired2000@yahoo.com

 


 

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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.