Managing War

I am an antiwar person and I have studied conflicts, management and resolution….my hatred for war came from my 2 and half years in Vietnam in the late 60s early 70s…..

I look at the institution of war….and yes it is an institution especially now when we are fighting the same war for 18 years……

War is controlled (managed) by several ways……a quick look at the parts of the management……

Military commanders and their staffs rely on a variety of conceptual models to assist in their planning for and conduct of operations. Civilian defence thinkers and academics also employ the same tools to help illustrate their ideas. Among the those used are the Phases of Operations and the Spectrum of Conflict. While there is no standard design for each, they do have a certain style. In the U.S. system, the phases of battle model generally begins at Phase 0, which represents the period of shaping for the coming campaign, and ends at Phase 5, which covers enabling civil authority. Visual depictions of the Spectrum of Conflict usually place non-warfighting operations on one side and progress through increasing graduations of levels of violence and risk to the other side, culminating with nuclear war. Between these two extremes, war can be divided into a multitude of categories.

 
The problem is that our generals in their education at the War College are taught Clausewitz, the Master of War……this is a Prussian from the 19th century…and war has moved well,beyond the days of cavalry charges and massive troop encounters….
 
A couple of things of Clausewitz……
 
Clausewitz book, On War, is the bible of warfare instruction…..we need to stop teaching his theories and start thinking in 21st century tactics…..
 

I am not insisting that Clausewitz does not provide valuable lessons. But by focusing on Clausewitz we miss important discussion that should be brought to military education. This leads me to the purpose of this article, for which I have two primary goals. First, to point out specific things which Clausewitz got wrong and reasons why we should stop teaching On War. Think of it like moving from a devotional reading of The Bible to a historical critical examination of it. Second, to identify what we should start teaching more of in all military education.

Let’s first look at what Clausewitz got wrong.

https://taskandpurpose.com/just-say-no-to-clausewitz

What got me to thinking about this was so,ething I read in The American Conservative……

The most curious thing about our four defeats in Fourth Generation War—Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan—is the utter silence in the American officer corps. Defeat in Vietnam bred a generation of military reformers, men such as Col. John Boyd USAF, Col. Mike Wyly USMC, and Col. Huba Wass de Czege USA, each of whom led a major effort to reorient his service. Today, the landscape is barren. Not a military voice is heard calling for thoughtful, substantive change. Just more money, please.

Such a moral and intellectual collapse of the officer corps is one of the worst disasters that can afflict a military because it means it cannot adapt to new realities. It is on its way to history’s wastebasket. The situation brings to mind an anecdote an Air Force friend, now a military historian, liked to tell some years ago. Every military, he said, occasionally craps in its own mess kit. The Prussians did it in 1806, after which they designed and put into service a much improved new model messkit, through the Scharnhorst military reforms. The French did it in 1870, after which they took down from the shelf an old-model messkit—the mass, draft army of the First Republic—and put it back in service. The Japanese did it in 1945, after which they threw their mess kit away, swearing they would never eat again. And we did it in Korea, in Vietnam, and now in four new wars. So far, we’ve had the only military that’s just kept on eating.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/an-officer-corps-that-cant-score/

All in all the US is working on outdated instruction….the education of our military people is as bad as the education of our citizens.

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A Soldier Comes Home

Closing Thought–19Mar19

Another Korean War Unknown soldier has been identified…..

The remains of an Ohio soldier killed during the Korean War have been identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement Monday that Army Cpl. Stephen Nemec, of Cleveland, was accounted for on July 13, 2018.

Officials say the 21-year-old soldier was reported killed fighting against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces at Turtle Head’s Bend, near the village of Unsan, North Korea, on Nov. 2, 1950. He was buried at a United Nations cemetery that was soon closed as the situation in North Korea worsened.

Remains received in an exchange with Chinese and North Koreans after the war were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

A renewed effort to identify unknown remains resulted in Nemec’s identification. Burial arrangements haven’t been announced.

May the family of Cpl. Nemec find the closure they have long been denied and may Cpl. Nemec Rest In Peace.

The “Good War”

Closing Thought–18Mar19

Our “greatest generation” was the generation that fought and won the wars of Europe and the Pacific…..the “Good War” (WW2)…..but hiw accurate is the title?

‘‘NO ENGLISH SOLDIER who rode with the tanks into liberated Belgium or saw the German murder camps at Dachau or Buchenwald could doubt that the war had been a noble crusade.’’ Forty years ago the historian A.J.P. Taylor eloquently expressed what has become a universal belief. Other wars are looked back on with horror for their futile slaughter, but the conflict that ended in Europe in May 1945 is today seen as what Studs Terkel called his famous oral history of it: ‘‘The Good War.’’

In one way it will always remain so. A revisionist case, that defeating Hitler was a mistake, would be not only perverse and offensive, but simply absurd. And yet we have all been sustained since V-E Day, 60 years ago today, by what Giovanni Giolitti, the Italian prime minister of a century ago, once called ‘‘beautiful national legends.’’ By ‘‘we’’ I mean the countries that ended the war on the winning side (the Germans and Japanese have some national legends of their own).

Some of these legends are more obvious than others. The French suffered a catastrophic defeat in 1940, and the compromises many Frenchmen made with their conquerors thereafter ranged from the pitiful to the wicked. More Frenchmen collaborated than resisted, and during the course of the war more Frenchmen bore arms on the Axis than on the Allied side. Against those grim truths, Charles de Gaulle consciously and brilliantly constructed a nourishing myth of Free France and Resistance that helped heal wounds and rebuild the country.

http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2005/05/08/how_good_was_the_good_war

The Marshall Plan at the end of WW2 will be covered at a later date….a separate post is needed.

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

War Dogs

Most of my readers know that I am a dog person…..I have two canine companions……but I would like to talk about the history behind the US Army’s K-9 Corps…..

Dogs have been associated with the United States Army since its inception, but their role has been primarily that of a mascot or in some other unofficial capacity. Not until World War II did the Army make the connection official. In January 1942, members of the American Kennel Club and other dog lovers formed a civilian organization called Dogs for Defense. They intended to train dogs to perform sentry duty for the army along the coast of the United States. Aware of this effort, Lieutenant Colonel Clifford C. Smith, chief of the Plant Protection Branch, Inspection Division, Quartermaster Corps, met with his commander, Major General Edmund B. Gregory, and suggested that the Army use the sentry dogs at supply depots. Gregory gave his approval to an experimental program, and on March 13, 1942, Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson approved Gregory’s application and created the K-9 Corps.

Beginning in August 1942, the Quartermaster Corps established dog training centers at Front Royal, VA; Fort Robinson, NE; Cat Island (Gulfport), MS; Camp Rimini (Helena), MT; and San Carlos CA. The K-9 Corps initially accepted for training thirty-two breeds of dogs. By 1944, however, that list had been reduced to seven: German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Siberian huskies, farm collies, Eskimo dogs, and Malamutes. Approximately 18,000 dogs reached training centers after examinations by Dogs for Defense. Almost 8,000 of those animals failed exams given at the centers. Reasons for dismissal included excitability when exposed to noise or gunfire, disease, poor sense of smell, and unsuitable temperament.

The Quartermaster Corps trained dog handlers as well as the dogs themselves. Technical Manual 10-396 (1 July 1943) outlined the doctrine to be followed in the training. Normal training time for a dog was eight to twelve weeks. First the animals went through what might be called “basic training” to become accustomed to life in the military. Then the dogs received assignment to a specialized training program–sentry dogs, scout or patrol dogs, messenger dogs, or mine dogs. The Quartermaster Corps established war dog platoons in March 1944 to assist American military forces conducting offensive operations in Europe and the Pacific. Of the fifteen such platoons organized, seven served in Europe and eight in the Pacific. It has been said that, in the latter theater, the Japanese never ambushed or made a surprise attack on a patrol led by one of the war dogs. The Quartermaster Corps also experimented with training dogs to locate casualties on the battlefield. Dogs were first tested for this at Carlisle Barracks on May 4, 1944. Ultimately, the Army abandoned this program because the dogs did not or could not make a distinction between men not wounded, men who had received wounds, or men who had died.

After World War II, the Military Police Corps took over responsibility for training military dogs. They have continued to serve with distinction in other conflicts. It is estimated that the Army employed 1,500 dogs during the Korean War and 4,000 in the Vietnam War. Currently, the Army has 578 dog teams which have seen service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The courage and loyalty of these dogs have continued to save lives and prevent injuries since creation of the K-9 Corps.

WE had scout dogs in Vietnam…they were very helpful in tracking “bad guys” in the bush……

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Hampton Roads

This sounds a bit like some tourist trap in the making, right?  Or maybe one of those romantic dramas on the Hallmark Channel, right?

As a history buff I am always trying to learn more about American history….the stuff that was seldom taught in schools for various reasons…..

We all learn in school about the surrender of the Confederate forces at Appomattox in 1865…..but how many know of the peace conference before that?

Civil War historians have dismissed the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of February 3, 1865, in which President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with Southern representatives or “commissioners,” as a fruitless and relatively unimportant episode occurring two months prior to the surrender of the Confederate armies. [1] One prominent scholar in his history of the Lincoln presidency has completely ignored the meeting. [2] Other historians cite the results of the conference as additional proof of Lincoln’s “strategy of unconditional surrender” in the war. [3] David Donald in his magisterial biography of Lincoln asserts that the president did not expect to achieve any real results at Hampton Roads. According to Donald, Lincoln’s purpose in meeting with the rebel commissioners was not peacemaking; it was “to undermine the Jefferson Davis administration” by appealing to the discontented Southern masses’ longing for peace. “He wanted to raise their hopes, if necessary through a campaign of misinformation,” including the prospect “that at least the remnants of their ‘peculiar institution’ could still be saved.” [4]

Historians are probably correct in concluding that an end of the conflict based on Abraham Lincoln’s terms—the restoration of the Union and the destruction of slavery—was not possible until the surrender of Confederate armies in April. At Hampton Roads, Southern representatives, on instructions from Jefferson Davis, rejected out of hand any peace that failed to recognize Confederate independence or provide for a cease-fire. Though the Hampton Roads Conference did not produce peace, it was more important than historians have judged, particularly in regard to Lincoln’s purposes and concerns during the last few months of the war and the Northern reaction to his peace effort. Furthermore, a history of the conference can provide insights into Lincoln’s late-war leadership, his emancipation and reconstruction policies, and his standing among contemporaries before his apotheosis as an American icon.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0021.104/–hampton-roads-peace-conference-a-final-test-of-lincolns?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Granted the conference was unsuccessful but that should not preclude the teaching of the attempt to reach a peace before the actual signing of the surrender.

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

The Worst In History

Closing Thought–14Mar19

Every president is ranked by a group over 200 presidential historians…..and the newest survey is out…..

The result were posted by Sharedblue Media……..

Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes. But on Presidents Day, he finally won something fair and square: the title of worst president ever.

According to the “Presidential Greatness Survey” published Monday by the American Political Science Association, Trump is ranked 44th out of 44 presidents. The survey counts President Grover Cleveland’s non-consecutive administrations as a single presidency, thus sparing Trump from being ranked one spot lower.

The survey also ranked President Obama 8th overall, making him the the greatest living president, one spot ahead of Ronald Reagan.

But even among Republican respondents to the survey, Trump could only manage a ranking of 40th out of 44, edging out James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison — who died in office just one month into his first term — and Andrew Johnson.

By contrast, President Obama’s first appearance in this survey in 2014 placed him at 18th, and a group of 238 presidential historians ranked Obama 15th after his first year in office.

Trump’s first year in office has been marked by historically low approval numbers, an embarrassing trend that was continued by a five-point drop in his weekly approval rating from Gallup.

If there is any consolation for Trump, it’s that he can’t possibly drop any lower in this ranking during whatever time he has left in office.

I am sure that somewhere on the “web” there are people that will disagree and the excuse will be “fake news” or a conspiracy by those “liberal” academics….or some other equally ridiculous belief……so I say to them…”Sorry your bromance sucks as a president”……..

Turn The Page!

Summits: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Our Beloved Supreme Leader just had a horrible and unproductive meeting (some call it a “summit”) with North Korea’s Kim…..but to listen to his rhetoric it was a success with the Dems trying to hang some criminality around his neck……but what of the so-called “summits”…….

Let’s step back to the beginning……

As far as is known, the first professional diplomatic corps appeared in the Byzantine Empire following the collapse of Rome in 476 AD. Byzantium established the world’s first department of foreign affairs, developed strict and complex diplomatic protocols, and actively sought intelligence about friend and enemy alike. Surrounded by enemies, Byzantium needed all the skill in diplomacy it could muster.

The art of diplomacy was carried to the next higher (some might say lower) plane in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Italian city-states of the era engaged in constant intrigues against each other. During this era, diplomacy became identified with behind-the-scenes scheming, duplicity, and double-dealing. Niccolo Machiavelli of Florence, whom many consider the father of “realist” views of the international system, stressed in his book The Prince (1532) that rulers should use whatever means they had at their disposal to stay in power.

https://www.diplomaticourier.com/from-ancient-greek-diplomacy-to-modern-summitry/

Summits and summitry have their uses in a modern foreign policy…a constructive foreign policy (there’s the rub….we, the US, no longer has a constructive foreign policy)…….

It should not be regarded as an instant elixir for the assuagement of crises to dissimulate relief from the realities of inter-governmental ailment (1979, p. 186).

To begin with, this essay will discuss both on some of the possible strengths and flaws of the different types summits. It also argues on how summitry can be infused as a tool of a constructive means of diplomacy and it will also unearth some factors that could help determine the success of summits. The first part of this essay discusses on how summitry could be a tool in the engagement of public diplomacy and followed by with an insight on how timing is crucial in initiating a summit. Meanwhile, the second part of this essay details on how summitry could provide an opportunity for state leaders to administrate and show their capabilities in winning a summit.

https://www.ukessays.com/essays/politics/summitry-analysis-diplomacy-7750.ph

This is where the Trump summits go off the rail…..a summit should NOT be an elixir for a solution to whatever problem it tries to address.

And yet Trump himself billed his “summits” as a solution to North Korea’s rush to nuke weapons…..

So far nothing but a few exchanged “love” between the two leaders and the search for nukes continued…

Summits are a diplomatic tool not necessarily the end of the search of solutions to problems….something someone needs to teach to our president….maybe then he would stop embarrassing the country on the world stage.