Grammar Of Warfare

Don't Depend On Bookish Knowledge

04 June 2019

Luis Munar Duran :
It is a paradox of our age that modern technology leaves developed countries vulnerable to vicious groups and gangs armed with AK47s, car bombs, or portable WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). To understand the future of warfare, we need to understand the sides of this paradox: specifically, how information technology has increased westerns conventional military supremacy (in land, sea, air, and space), and how this military edge may be subverted by determined radicals armed with new technologies of death, new tactics and insurgence modern doctrine.
Unfortunately for Western soldiers, the proliferation of small arms puts the most primitive foes on an almost equal footing with the most advanced armies as the last wars have shown: Chechnya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We must to recognise that Russians, Americans, British…and even IDF in Lebanon 2006 have been defeated by insurgent forces.
Two modern authors are strong about it: "There is no appreciable technological advantage for a professional soldier when fighting the close battle against even the poorest, most primitive enemy" (Words of Major General Robert Scales, a former commander of the Army War College and served in Vietnam War) and also the Israeli historian Martin Van Crefeld (is a theoretician) said: " the first and absolutely indispensable thing to do is: throw overboard 99% of the literature of counter-insurgence, counter-guerrilla…". Those sentences are right but however, once again we are witness how western governments disregard it.
Unfortunately if you are not from WestPoint, Sandhurst, Zaragoza, Saint-Cyr, …etc, you are despised. Experience is the key. Good scholarship is very important, but, who are teaching? Distinguished Professors? Maybe, but I am afraid that many of those present have not been to forefront.
Von Clausewitz in his book Vom Kriege (On War) wrote about "friction" and "fog of war" and said in chapter 7 of book one that friction is the force that makes the apparently easy so difficult. And Clausewitz gave the answer or countermeasure to this: "the experience is the only lubricant for the friction". The last events: Chechnya, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria are showing that is essential a real revolution in military affairs. New doctrine, new philosophy, training…a real evolution. In fact also the technology is no longer an advantage
The Western armies paid high prices: Israel in Lebanon 2006 more than 100 casualties; USA near 5.000 in Iraq and 2.500 in Afghanistan; United Kingdom near 500…) and the next future will not better.
Is vital a real revolution of Defense Affairs, a design certainly born from a real experiences from the forefront and should come from outside the military system.

(Luis Munar Duran, former Military Officer of Spanish Air Force, former Intelligence Officer of Spanish intelligence Service, Experience in Warfare in Syria; writes for The Times of Israel)

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