Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Community Forums
 General Discussion
 The Principles of War
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  18:11:08  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
I have in front of me an essay contest for scholarship money. I'm interested in hearing other points of view with regards to the subject, so I figured I'd start here.

The subject is: "Leaders at the highest levels now speak of a 'new kind of war.'" They then ask: "Have the principles of war changed? How are they changing? Or do they remain valid?"

Obviously, this is a subject that will spark some debate - I hope. I also hope by participating in the debate to clarify and solidify some of my own positions on the subject. I'm hoping to improve my understanding and knowledge on the subject through this. I'll also seek knowledge through some of other sources. Anyone else who is aware of this scholarship, please feel free to use any information that crops up in here.

While war is a political issue, I'd please like to keep this discussion as apolitical as possible, i.e., let's not turn it into a thread about the US and it's political agenda and war crimes issues. While the Geneva Convention is relevant to conduct in war, I'd prefer to keep the discussion more theoretical(?).

There are some obvious things that have affected the manner in which we conduct wars, media coverage, technology (how has this affected tactical decisions), and social views of the impact of war (as related to media coverage). There were differences in public opinion between Korea and Vietnam, this was affected to some extent by the prevelance of media coverage. But why the difference in opinion between WWII and Korea and Vietnam. What's tactically different between these wars and the current conflicts in SWA? How has technology affected tactics?

I think it's apparent that I'm just getting started with the subject, I've more questions than opinion currently. Any help is certainly appreciated. Any interesting websites relating to the subject are certainly welcome resources.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  18:48:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Trish wrote:
quote:
While war is a political issue, I'd please like to keep this discussion as apolitical as possible, i.e., let's not turn it into a thread about the US and it's political agenda and war crimes issues. While the Geneva Convention is relevant to conduct in war, I'd prefer to keep the discussion more theoretical(?).
While I'm not knowledgable enough about the subject to be much help in terms of ideas, I'll go ahead and do some fairly-strict moderation for you, if you'd like. Just say the word.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  18:56:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
Please, thank you. I know how easy it is for this kind of subject to take off on a political tangent.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  20:31:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Sure thing, Trish. If I miss something, just PM me about it.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  20:46:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
"There were differences in public opinion between Korea and Vietnam, this was affected to some extent by the prevelance of media coverage. But why the difference in opinion between WWII and Korea and Vietnam. What's tactically different between these wars and the current conflicts in SWA? How has technology affected tactics?"

Well, the difference between WWII and Korea from Vietnam (and even the struggle we are in with Iraq now) is that in Vietnam, we were fighting a cornered dog. We had the numbers and the technology that was vastly superior. However, what we didn't focus on was the tatics, how to use these things to our greatest advantage, and also what the enemy would do to take this advantage away. Going into Vietnam, we didn't expect gorrilla warfare, but one much more like Korea and WWII. As stated before, although the numbers and technology were on our side, North Vietnam had great stragies and determination, building tunnels to survive air attacks and hide from ground troops, and when a major bridge was destroyed, the would have it back up and running within (I think) 4 hours. The over reliance on the physical aspects of the war and not the mental is what I think caused a great disadvantage to the U.S. troops.

The difference in public opinion I think was caused actually by WWII and the Korean War. When the U.S. entered WWII, the children of that time would later be the adults of Vietnam. They grew up with war all around them. When the Korean War came, after such a great victory in WWII and the economical success after it, people really didn't mind. However, after the Korean War ended in a draw, they got sick of war, that and not winning. When Vietnam rolled around, they said that enough was enough, they didn't want any more wars and they could only see it leading to another World War, something that I'm sure must have engulfed their childhood.

Anyways, thats just my opinion. If your going to use any of the stuff I said, make sure you fact check it, as there is a very good chance that I may be wrong with some of the stuff said here.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Go to Top of Page

tw101356
Skeptic Friend

USA
333 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  21:34:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send tw101356 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Trish

...

The subject is: "Leaders at the highest levels now speak of a 'new kind of war.'" They then ask: "Have the principles of war changed? How are they changing? Or do they remain valid?"


I don't think they've changed. Armies still march on their stomaches (supply is important), they just do so faster. "Gettin' thar fustest with the mostest" (Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, I believe) is still the deciding factor in many battles. War is still an extension of politics and diplomacy.

Every war is a new kind of war until it proves to be just like some previous war. You could, for example, say that the war in Afghanistan was a new kind of war, but it was just the overwhelming power of new technology and has close parallels in such wars Cortes conquest of the Aztecs or of Italy's conquest of Ethiopia.

quote:

...

...

There are some obvious things that have affected the manner in which we conduct wars, media coverage, technology (how has this affected tactical decisions), and social views of the impact of war (as related to media coverage). There were differences in public opinion between Korea and Vietnam, this was affected to some extent by the prevelance of media coverage. But why the difference in opinion between WWII and Korea and Vietnam. What's tactically different between these wars and the current conflicts in SWA? How has technology affected tactics?



The blitzkrieg tactics that the Germans developed in WWI (infantry attacks bypass resistance and breakthrough to the rear to create panic) and WWII (same thing with tanks moving faster and causing more panic and disorder) are the mainstay of the US Army. The tanks are bigger and faster and the firepower is immense, but the method is unchanged.

The big advance since WWII/Korea has been in what's called C3 - command, control, and communications. This isn't really tactics, it's management. The leadership role has evolved over the centuries from the heroic style of Alexander or Caesar to the front-line manager style of Wellington and Grant, to the modern method of managing from the rear. The commanding general can now get a live view of the battlefield from drones and video cams, and keep up with the events of the battle as they unfold with his unit in contact. (I recommend John Keegan's books "The Mask of Command" and "The Face of Battle" for how command and warfare have changed).

Tactics haven't changed much at all, but now it's possible to have a pretty good idea of what's really happening at the front and allocate resources accordingly.

The major new tactic is that of denying C3 to the enemy by attacking those components deliberately - targetting command and communications. When they're gone, so is control, and thus the ability to react.

quote:

I think it's apparent that I'm just getting started with the subject, I've more questions than opinion currently. Any help is certainly appreciated. Any interesting websites relating to the subject are certainly welcome resources.



No websites to reference. My military history hobby predates the internet.

TW


- TW
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  22:07:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

"There were differences in public opinion between Korea and Vietnam, this was affected to some extent by the prevelance of media coverage. But why the difference in opinion between WWII and Korea and Vietnam. What's tactically different between these wars and the current conflicts in SWA? How has technology affected tactics?"

Well, the difference between WWII and Korea from Vietnam (and even the struggle we are in with Iraq now) is that in Vietnam, we were fighting a cornered dog. We had the numbers and the technology that was vastly superior. However, what we didn't focus on was the tatics, how to use these things to our greatest advantage, and also what the enemy would do to take this advantage away. Going into Vietnam, we didn't expect gorrilla warfare, but one much more like Korea and WWII. As stated before, although the numbers and technology were on our side, North Vietnam had great stragies and determination, building tunnels to survive air attacks and hide from ground troops, and when a major bridge was destroyed, the would have it back up and running within (I think) 4 hours. The over reliance on the physical aspects of the war and not the mental is what I think caused a great disadvantage to the U.S. troops.

The difference in public opinion I think was caused actually by WWII and the Korean War. When the U.S. entered WWII, the children of that time would later be the adults of Vietnam. They grew up with war all around them. When the Korean War came, after such a great victory in WWII and the economical success after it, people really didn't mind. However, after the Korean War ended in a draw, they got sick of war, that and not winning. When Vietnam rolled around, they said that enough was enough, they didn't want any more wars and they could only see it leading to another World War, something that I'm sure must have engulfed their childhood.

Anyways, thats just my opinion. If your going to use any of the stuff I said, make sure you fact check it, as there is a very good chance that I may be wrong with some of the stuff said here.



Ok, but how did our technology affect our tatics in these conflicts. Obviously, we faced either more years of war or ending the war decisively with the dropping of atomic weapons in WWII. Now we have weapons that are capable of GPS targeting. Can we conduct a war remotely? There are currently unmanned reconnaisance fliers being developed for use by troops in urban conflict areas though they are useful as well in open territory. These things are similar to radio controlled airplanes. They're even attempting to recruit based on playing video games. The idea being the increased eye hand coordination required for effectively playing video games is a useful skill for controlling unmanned remote control aircraft.

From a NOVA program:

"WILLIAM D. CATTO: He can take that UAV, fly it along his route that he wants to walk, and it will tell him what's on that route. Is there any kind of threats, vehicles, hazards? Anything he needs to be aware of?

Then when he gets to the town, he can set that UAV up in an overhead orbit so he'll have real-time surveillance on what's happening in that town so that he can act on it.

NARRATOR: Without Dragon Eye, the Marines would have had to send an advance team to scout the road to town, and the nooks and crannies between the buildings. This is the most dangerous assignment any soldier can face, particularly in an urban setting.

Dragon Eye is easy to launch with a store-bought bungee cord. But one of its biggest problems right now is training non-pilots to fly it, a task much harder than it looks. This is why the little airplane is built tough.

WILLIAM D. CATTO: The vehicle is designed for landings where it can crash. If it comes apart, you can put it back together, reassemble it and fly it again." (Obviously a design feature desparately needed by Marines.)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3001_spiesfly.html

Can we reduce the numbers of casualties in war with technology? This is one of the biggest selling points for spending money on technology. Is a $40 million price tag worth the saving of one military members life? At the time I was in the military, the cost of my total training was approximately $680,000. Monetarily, the cost of these UAVs is more than the replacement cost of a squad. Is it justifiable to spend the money in this manner, from a dollar standpoint. (I know, it's slightly strange to have a price tag attached to an individual - but in the military you are government property - at least you can be charged with damaging military property for something as silly as hickies or injuring yourself while skiing or engaging in non-military activities. Admitedly, I don't recall anyone being charged with any of this - but it is possible.)

Terrorism is a form of combat used against a larger more heavily armed opponent. Is vigilence (a term used by our current leaders) an effective deterence to terrorism. Intelligence information is our best defence against terrorist activities, provided it's possible to inflitrate the terrorist organizations. We've been singularly unsucessful in that vein, particularly with regards to Islamic terrorist organizations.

Is terrorism the 'new face of war?' Is this what we can expect for future combat? Will the majority of our future combat experience be precision strikes with remote control ordinance followed by combat in a primarily urban setting? This is one of the problems the Army ran into in Somalia. There were areas where their vehicles wouldn't fit, their vehicles were blocked by citizens, fighting involved trying to minimize civilian casualties while combatants used civilians as cover. Surveillance during the conflict was conducted by Black Hawk helicopters, big, noisy, easy targets. Targets that we thought the opposition lacked the ability to bring down.

Here's another point. Has our technology limited our ability to properly judge the capabilities of potential opponents? Are we so wrapped up in a technological superiority complex that we fail to recognize that guerrila tactics are as effective today as we made them 230 years ago when we were fighting the British?

How does this type of combat affect the tactics with which we were familiar, where moving large numbers of troops for greatest affect were the primary concern. In WWII we used blanket bombing against German targets. We no longer flatten an area before entering, the majority of the buildings considered as non-tactical are left standing. This becomes problematic for our troops once they need to enter an area. This results in new tactics needed for urban conflict. If this is the manner in which we are going to conduct war, then urban areas are going to be more dangerous than ever before. Locals are less likely to flee the area as long as their homes are still intact. Locals are also more likely to sympathize with those who are in their community rather than the usurping force entering the area.

Then add into this mix that it's now necessary for our troops to be able to understand using computers, increased need for mathematics usage, and the ability to fix these new toys they are being given, the necessity for a more educated base in our military ground units, traditionally peopled with less educated individuals seeking a way out of an economically depressed area or a factory town. This leaves us needing a higher education for ground combat units, this doesn't mean that the 'traditional' gr

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  22:17:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by tw101356
I don't think they've changed. Armies still march on their stomaches (supply is important), they just do so faster. "Gettin' thar fustest with the mostest" (Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, I believe) is still the deciding factor in many battles. War is still an extension of politics and diplomacy.

Every war is a new kind of war until it proves to be just like some previous war. You could, for example, say that the war in Afghanistan was a new kind of war, but it was just the overwhelming power of new technology and has close parallels in such wars Cortes conquest of the Aztecs or of Italy's conquest of Ethiopia.


Obviously supply is a big issue in any military endeavor. That's basic to the logistics of any military unit, whether in combat or at home. It's one of the issues that been brought up with regard to deploying reserve units. Since reserve units weren't expected to deploy but rather man the bases here at home, they aren't properly outfitted for entering combat.

quote:
The blitzkrieg tactics that the Germans developed in WWI (infantry attacks bypass resistance and breakthrough to the rear to create panic) and WWII (same thing with tanks moving faster and causing more panic and disorder) are the mainstay of the US Army. The tanks are bigger and faster and the firepower is immense, but the method is unchanged.

The big advance since WWII/Korea has been in what's called C3 - command, control, and communications. This isn't really tactics, it's management. The leadership role has evolved over the centuries from the heroic style of Alexander or Caesar to the front-line manager style of Wellington and Grant, to the modern method of managing from the rear. The commanding general can now get a live view of the battlefield from drones and video cams, and keep up with the events of the battle as they unfold with his unit in contact. (I recommend John Keegan's books "The Mask of Command" and "The Face of Battle" for how command and warfare have changed).


Thanks for the book references. Fortunately, I've time to read them between now and the close date.

quote:
Tactics haven't changed much at all, but now it's possible to have a pretty good idea of what's really happening at the front and allocate resources accordingly.

The major new tactic is that of denying C3 to the enemy by attacking those components deliberately - targetting command and communications. When they're gone, so is control, and thus the ability to react.


Are you sure that hasn't affected tactics. By targeting a specific building/set of buildings, we've created a more urban setting for combat. Doesn't this necessarily alter our tactics in sending in troops?

quote:
No websites to reference. My military history hobby predates the internet.

TW


Oh well. I'd certainly like to hear more from you though. Thanks again for the book references. I'll have to see if the library has copies of the books available.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Paladin
Skeptic Friend

USA
100 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2004 :  23:38:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Paladin a Private Message
Trish, if I understand you correctly, what you wish to focus on is not so much strategy and tactics but more the more fundamental aspects of war. Thus, I'm assuming your thesis will concentrate on the broader issues of morality, culture, diplomacy and politics.

I'm also a bit of a military history buff, but I can't say I've ever looked extensively at warfare in such a broad context. (It's times like this I wish I'd bothered to read Clausewitz). Still, I'll offer a bit of brainstorming to help you along:

First, I'd say it's critical to clarify what is meant by the phrase, "...new kind of war." Is it referring to the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war? Or perhaps it's referring to the war on terror. Or maybe it's a reference to a shift from Cold War strategy to something new for the 21st century. Before you can offer an answer, you need to know the question.

Given that the introduction to the thesis assignment states that "leaders... now speak of a 'new kind of war..." I'd wager the project's focus is to be directed toward some relatively new phenomenon. So, perhaps, even an examination of the Vietnam war is going back too far.

I also believe it's important to know how broadly the question is to be applied, geopolitically speaking. Is it a question of "leaders at the highest level" only within the United States, or does it apply to leaders and nations the world over? If it's the latter, your thesis is obviously going to be much more varied and complex.

As for the heart of the thesis itself, I've a few general ideas, but I'm already far past my bed time. So I'll see if you can provide a bit more clarification and, hopefully, I can offer more assistance.

In any case, good luck!

Paladin
Go to Top of Page

tw101356
Skeptic Friend

USA
333 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2004 :  09:24:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send tw101356 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Trish

Obviously supply is a big issue in any military endeavor. That's basic to the logistics of any military unit, whether in combat or at home. It's one of the issues that been brought up with regard to deploying reserve units. Since reserve units weren't expected to deploy but rather man the bases here at home, they aren't properly outfitted for entering combat.


Actually reserves are expected to deploy overseas, but the planning was for a conventional war where there would be a clearly defined rear area. Combat training was not a part of this because they would not even be equipped to fight a mechanized battle. Combat units would do the fighting, as was done in previous wars, and rear echelon units would move out of the way of an enemy attack.

The current war in Iraq started out like the WWII North Africa campaign with rapid armored advances, but has ended up like Vietnam, with American forces immersed in anti-guerrilla warfare.

quote:
Trish
...

quote:
TW

Tactics haven't changed much at all, but now it's possible to have a pretty good idea of what's really happening at the front and allocate resources accordingly.

The major new tactic is that of denying C3 to the enemy by attacking those components deliberately - targetting command and communications. When they're gone, so is control, and thus the ability to react.


Are you sure that hasn't affected tactics. By targeting a specific building/set of buildings, we've created a more urban setting for combat. Doesn't this necessarily alter our tactics in sending in troops?



The anti-communications attacks take place well before the troops are sent in. The goal is really to reduce urban combat. Cities have always been the absolute best defensive positions and some of the bloodiest battles (WWII Stalingrad, Vietnam Hue) take place in them. The preferred outcome is to isolate a defended city from supplies and communications and demoralize the defenders until they retreat or surrender. This worked perfectly in Kuwait in 1991. The Iraqis retreated without a fight. It worked in Bagdhad in the sense that we took the city without much house-to-house fighting, but the Iraqis dispersed to their homes/tribes/whatever rather than retreating out of the city or surrendering. They kept their arms and their capacity for uprising.

Personally, I had misjudged the Iraqis before the war and was expecting a nasty, bloody, fight for Bagdhad.


Gulf War I proved the value of the US tactics. It was the first war we've ever fought where casualties from accidents exceeded those from combat! GW II started the same way, but the nature of the war changed from one of rapid mechanized operations to garrison duty in a semi-hostile environment. Suddenly the sophisticated mechanized tactics became useless, and had to be immediately replaced with light infantry and urban warfare tactics. They've had to retrain artillery units to function as infantry or MPs. The British did a much better job of coping with this in Basra because they had plenty of experience at urban occupation in Northern Ireland.

I wouldn't say that the nature of war has changed in general, but that the nature of the current war changed at the point where we thought we'd won.

(Arggh. Can't get the fonts right in and out of quotes, but hopefully the lines make it clear who wrote what.)

- TW


- TW
Go to Top of Page

Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2004 :  08:28:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Trish
Ok, but how did our technology affect our tatics in these conflicts. Obviously, we faced either more years of war or ending the war decisively with the dropping of atomic weapons in WWII. Now we have weapons that are capable of GPS targeting. Can we conduct a war remotely? There are currently unmanned reconnaisance fliers being developed for use by troops in urban conflict areas though they are useful as well in open territory. These things are similar to radio controlled airplanes. They're even attempting to recruit based on playing video games. The idea being the increased eye hand coordination required for effectively playing video games is a useful skill for controlling unmanned remote control aircraft.


Our technology got better and better, but we didn't pay enough attention to the tatics, especially the tatics of our enemies. We didn't expect North Vietnam to use such a clever style of fighting, hiding out in tunnels, digging behind our lines, pretending to be people from South Vietnam, etc. We went into the war unprepared, and we did not change our strategy after we saw this new style of fighting, and thats what costed us so much.

As for conducting the war remotely, I feel we will never be able to do so until the delevopement of true A.I. (as opposed to the A.I. of say, a chess game), a machine that could literally think like we do.

quote:
Originally posted by Trish

Can we reduce the numbers of casualties in war with technology? This is one of the biggest selling points for spending money on technology. Is a $40 million price tag worth the saving of one military members life? At the time I was in the military, the cost of my total training was approximately $680,000. Monetarily, the cost of these UAVs is more than the replacement cost of a squad. Is it justifiable to spend the money in this manner, from a dollar standpoint. (I know, it's slightly strange to have a price tag attached to an individual - but in the military you are government property - at least you can be charged with damaging military property for something as silly as hickies or injuring yourself while skiing or engaging in non-military activities. Admitedly, I don't recall anyone being charged with any of this - but it is possible.)



Yes, technology can save many lives, especially in combat, and it is definitely worth it. However, the seach for technology can be misused, for example sending billions of dollars on a anti missle system that doesn't even come close to working.

quote:
Originally posted by Trish

Terrorism is a form of combat used against a larger more heavily armed opponent. Is vigilence (a term used by our current leaders) an effective deterence to terrorism. Intelligence information is our best defence against terrorist activities, provided it's possible to inflitrate the terrorist organizations. We've been singularly unsucessful in that vein, particularly with regards to Islamic terrorist organizations.


We have still been unable to come up with a respectable fighting style that works well against terrorism, its extremely hard to fight, although I think we've been getting better at it.

I'll try to respond to the rest later, out of time right now.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2004 :  10:44:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Paladin

Trish, if I understand you correctly, what you wish to focus on is not so much strategy and tactics but more the more fundamental aspects of war. Thus, I'm assuming your thesis will concentrate on the broader issues of morality, culture, diplomacy and politics.

I'm also a bit of a military history buff, but I can't say I've ever looked extensively at warfare in such a broad context. (It's times like this I wish I'd bothered to read Clausewitz). Still, I'll offer a bit of brainstorming to help you along:

First, I'd say it's critical to clarify what is meant by the phrase, "...new kind of war." Is it referring to the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war? Or perhaps it's referring to the war on terror. Or maybe it's a reference to a shift from Cold War strategy to something new for the 21st century. Before you can offer an answer, you need to know the question.

Given that the introduction to the thesis assignment states that "leaders... now speak of a 'new kind of war..." I'd wager the project's focus is to be directed toward some relatively new phenomenon. So, perhaps, even an examination of the Vietnam war is going back too far.

I also believe it's important to know how broadly the question is to be applied, geopolitically speaking. Is it a question of "leaders at the highest level" only within the United States, or does it apply to leaders and nations the world over? If it's the latter, your thesis is obviously going to be much more varied and complex.

As for the heart of the thesis itself, I've a few general ideas, but I'm already far past my bed time. So I'll see if you can provide a bit more clarification and, hopefully, I can offer more assistance.

In any case, good luck!




Thanks Paladin, I've actually been asking myself many of the same questions. The essay is from the US Naval Institute. So, I'm assuming they are referring to the current administration/leardership stating a 'new kind of war' in their speaches, etc.

Hence, many of the questions I've been asking. Is the 'new kind of war' terrorism/guerrilla/urban conflict? Is it based in an attempt to show that technology reduces the number of KIAs? Again, what is meant by 'The Priniciples of War'? Is it the reasons we go to war, how we conduct war, etc.? Fortunately, I still have until February to figure it out, I'd like to write the essay before then and have several people go over it before I send it off.

I know that 'we' (being us in the military) did talk a lot about new technologies and how it affected personnel decisions. Just before or just after my EAS, the Marines had changed to require a HS Diploma even for grunts. Technology had affected us on that level of operations. It's viewed as necessary for the effective operations of the US Marines as a military unit. I don't know if this is what was meant by a 'new kind of war' or if they mean something else. I'm operating on what information I have from my background - an increase in technology leads to increased requirements for educational background leads to different requirements for personnel leads to....etc.

Now, I've got a kid bugging me to hook up a VCR so she can watch a movie and I've got to get around to hanging some wallpaper on a ceiling.

Again, thanks Paladin, for bringing up some of the first questions that I'd asked myself when I first read the essay requirements.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2004 :  06:33:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
OK, Trish. I'll admit that I'm no expert on the subject, but here's my two cents worth.

War has evolved over time to take advantage of new technology and new tactics.

The introduction and improvement of the gun changed the nature of war from the European standard of lining up your troops and marching them into hand-to-hand combat.

Even the bayonette has finally become obsolete. (The last bayonette charge by US troops coming in the Vietnam conflict.) The nature of wars by industrialized nations is becoming more and more killing by remote control. GPS guided bombs, UAV's, cruise missiles, and the idea of saturation bombing of troop emplacements.

The aircraft has gone from an observation craft during WWI into a bomber and fighter varieties later in that same war and improved upon ever since.

Tactics, however, have some reoccuring from the past. The idea of giving up land only with the death of the soldier was part of the Bushido code of the Japanese during WWII. Guerilla warfare whereby one harries an enemy until they find the conflict too expensive to continue was done in the Revolutionary war and later turned against the US in Vietnam. To find the tactics used by todays terrorist organizations, one can go back to the Zealots of the first century CE.

The Vietnam war was where the realities of war were beamed into the living rooms of the population. This was a reality that professional soldiers knew quite well as evidenced by General Robt E Lee when he said, "It is a good thing that war is so terrible, lest we become too fond of it."

The Geneva convention was set up to limit the horrors of war and the punish the times where units, individuals, or a country as a whole overstepped principals of ethical combat. However, there is no war in any memory or history where war crimes have not been committed by both sides of a conflict.

WWII was the ending of expanding empires and response to being attacked. Korea was a war about conflicting ideologies fought in a back water country where the result was a draw. Vietnam was a war about conflicting ideologies where the North Vietnamese didn't bother holding the country.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2004 :  09:05:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
I have to think that there are now Media considerations that didn't apply before, that effect tactics.
With satellite feeds and up to the minute reporting and with unprecedented access by reporters to the war itself, there is pressure on the military to, in affect, conduct the war with an eye on not just winning but how we are winning. Bringing "collateral damage" down to a minimum is now is of great concern. Public Relations must now be in the backs of the minds of planners when deciding on what tactics to use. The daily, and often bogus casualty reports that we were fed during the Viet Nam era will not fly anymore, because we can all see, at least to some degree, what is really going on...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2004 :  09:59:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
I think the "new kind of war" that they are talking about is a distinction between fighting another nation and fighting the ephemeral concept called terrorism.

The tactics and technology are all very important, but that's just a description of the tools.

How would congress issue a formal decleration of war against "terror"? There is a distinct difference between fighting another nation and trying to fight an idea.

You could, literally, sustain a war against an idea indefinitely.... all you have to do is alter your definition slightly from time to time. A war against a nation ends when they surrender, not so a war against a concept.

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Go to Top of Page

Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2004 :  10:37:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude

I think the "new kind of war" that they are talking about is a distinction between fighting another nation and fighting the ephemeral concept called terrorism.

The tactics and technology are all very important, but that's just a description of the tools.

How would congress issue a formal decleration of war against "terror"? There is a distinct difference between fighting another nation and trying to fight an idea.

You could, literally, sustain a war against an idea indefinitely.... all you have to do is alter your definition slightly from time to time. A war against a nation ends when they surrender, not so a war against a concept.



I'd have to ask about how the war on poverty and war on drugs is going. Those are pretty esoteric concepts. Only the latter has any troops assigned to it.

Terrorism isn't so much a concept as a military tactic. But indeed, war against an opponent which does not hold places, is much different than an opponent that does. A hybrid of this would be Vietnam where a government held the northern part and insurgents (terrorists, guerillas, etc) infiltrated the rear and caused havok.

When a nation stoops to fight an idea with bullets, it creates martyrs. One must defeat an idea with dissent, reasonable discource, and education. The idea here is a form of radical fundamentalist religion. The tactic the religious group uses is terrorism.

I agree that using the military to fight a criminal organization is different than fighting a nation. Fighting a criminal organization takes much longer to ferret out and dispatch.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 1.61 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000