Saturday, November 15, 2008

“The Evolution of War – Do We Make It Up As We Go Along?”

“The Evolution of War – Do We Make It Up As We Go Along?”
by Natasha Call

Modern war encompasses numerous enemies in various locations. President George W. Bush said, “The best way to keep peace is to redefine war on our terms.” Traditional “Just War” criteria are (1) Just Cause, (2) Competent Authority, (3) Comparative Justice, (4) Right Intention, (5) Last Resort, (6) Probability of Success, and (7) Proportionality. Our current war on terror must entail a newly evolved series of criteria. Do “our terms” have current definitions, or do we make them up as we go along?

Defining the war, Donald Rumsfeld said, “… we’re looking at a sustained engagement that carries no deadlines. We have no fixed rules about how to deploy our troops” He also stated, “The uniforms of this conflict will be bankers’ pinstripes and programmers’ grunge just as assuredly as desert camouflage.” An unnamed Pentagon official stated that this is a “come as you are war” and that “We’re making it up as we go along.”

The “Weapons of Mass Destruction” program was the key reason for the U.S. to invade Iraq. When the WMD intelligence information was found false, the United States experienced pungent realization that accurate intelligence is an unquestionable asset in successful war strategy. Sun Tzu said, “Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men…Hence it is only the enlightened and wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army...Spies are the most important asset.”

U.S. national security institutions are still constructed to win the Cold War. The 9/11 Commission reveals, “Counterintelligence concerns are still real, even if the Soviet enemy has been replaced by other spies.” Therefore, the U.S. intelligence community must put greater emphasis on utilizing current resources and improving methods. “Americans should not settle for incremental ad hoc adjustments to a system designed generations ago for a world that no longer exists.”

Abraham Lincoln described the year of Gettysburg: “Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Deception breeds and thrives. Confidence dies, and universal suspicion reigns. Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be first killed by him… Murders…proceed under any cloak that will best cover for the occasion.” A respected United States needs to confidently explore an evolutionary path that does not direct them to mirror their enemy. “…a conquering nation is responsible for the chaos it has introduced into a conquered nation, and cannot leave when it suits the conqueror’s convenience.” cautions Gary Wills.

How do we measure success? Sun Tzu eloquently asserts, “Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.” The rules of war need to be defined and changed to meet the needs of our modern global position, providing a proper legacy for future global generations.

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