And the history lesson continues…..
America is fighting dirty little wars all over the globe…..and it is nothing new!
Our history is choked full of dirty little wars….a long history…..
Americans in combat, from colonial times to the present day, have almost always faced unexpected enemies—foes from different cultures who fought in unfamiliar ways. Those intercultural contests also very often produced asymmetric warfare, simply because the enemy brought to bear different modes of recruitment, equipment, engagement, notions of acceptable conduct, and crucially, different definitions of success or victory.
Such wars and such foes usually contradicted expectations and assumptions about combat, and generated a different medley of experiences, sometimes with traumatizing effects.
Duncan Cameron, a British soldier fighting at Monongahela in 1755, later recalled the extremity of that battle, deeming it “the most shocking I was ever in”— this from a man who had already served in the horrendous battles of Cartagena, Dettingen, Culloden and Fontenoy. Fontenoy, fought between the British and French armies, was one of the bloodiest until World War I. As many as 18,000 men out of 100,000 who fought on both sides were killed or wounded on that single day in 1745. Yet, for Cameron, Monongahela proved worse, not because of the sheer number of men killed or wounded but because of its unsettling nature.
War, Cameron learned, wasn’t just in front of you or waiting for you at the top of a hill marked by an enemy standard. It was everywhere and nowhere. It was the strange primeval forest of the New World, the enemies’ ululating war cries, the flickering of deadly shadows moving and firing among the trees, combined with the agonized pleas of the wounded and dying men, some scalped, whom the living abandoned on the battlefield or along the retreat route. A terrifying four-hour battle against invisible irregulars had rendered two-thirds of the British force casualties and mortally wounded its commander, Major General Edward Braddock.
And yet with all that history of asymmetrical warfare….the US seems to always be caught off guard and the handling of these foes seems to be a lesson we have to re-learn with every conflict.
“When will we ever learn?”
Turn The Page!
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”