Everything they told you about war is wrong

Do you dig asymmetrical warfare?

Gary Brecher, the War Nerd (whose take on Kargil was debugged on this blog) busts a few myths about the contemporary warfare.

I’ll give you the bad news first: no 21st century war is “purely military.” The days when countries duked it out on the battlefield are over for the foreseeable future. What we have now is something very strange. It goes by a lot of names, from “terrorism” to “asymmetrical warfare” to “fourth-generation warfare,” depending on whether you’re for it, against it, or just trying to sound cool. But whatever you call it, the key factor is that it never involves WW-II style conventional war between nation-states.

1. Most wars are asymmetrical / irregular.

2. In these wars, the guerrillas / irregulars / insurgents do NOT aim for military victory.

3. You can NOT defeat these groups by killing lots of their members.
In fact, they want you to do that.

4. Hi-tech weaponry is mostly useless in these wars.

5. “Hearts and Minds,” meaning propaganda and morale, are more important than military superiority.

6. Most people are not rational, they are TRIBAL: “my gang yay, your gang boo!” It really is that simple. The rest is cosmetics. [eXile]

For a book length treatment of the subject, you’ll have to wait for John ‘Global Guerilla’ Robb’s upcoming book.

One thought on “Everything they told you about war is wrong”

  1. It’s not really as new age as this guy claims (any war with US by pretty much any country would be asymmetrical, won’t it be?). Asymmetric wars were always more common than traditional battles on the fields. Historically they weren’t much successful because the powerful army could slash and burn people and villages (like the Europeans and Islamic armies did during their imperial rein). Now the little guys have human rights/media on their side – the rebels can terrorize people but the big army cannot any more (without losing the war itself) – and it’s become more difficult to defeat guerilla wars.

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