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Who’d a thunk it?  New hippie-peacenik army manual

February 9, 2008

One of the worst aspects of being a superpower is that it gives us an illusion of influence.  Oh, we can bully other countries around, but if our objective is something more complicated like getting people on our side (and this is a tough concept for some people to grasp) no amount of firepower will buy the desired result. 

It doesn’t matter how advanced our weapons and tactics might be, we still can’t seem to make peace in countries where we’re not wanted.  To say the very least, the supply of terrorists and insurgents is a function not a fixed quantity.  What to do?

The US army has drafted a new manual which for the first time puts an equal emphasis on winning hearts and minds as it does on defeating enemies by force. The manual is expected to be published later this month.

The new guide is seen as a major development that draws on lessons of the wars being fought by US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Initial military successes there have given way to long struggles, with insurgents in both countries.

Winning the peace

The commander of the US Army’s Combined Arms Centre, Gen William Caldwell, told the BBC that the US army had learned from its experiences since 2001 that stabilising countries and winning over locals required more than just military skills. Knowledge of foreign languages and local cultures are also important, he said.

The US army might win every battle it fought, he said, without achieving its real goal – winning the peace.

BBC News, New Approach for US Army Manual (emphasis mine)

The Strategic Air Command motto is; “Peace is our profession” though some have likened it to a balance of terror.  Looks like the Army is going a step further.  It’s difficult, complicated, but it’s a step in the right direction.  Maybe our foreign policy people should read the new manual.

Categories: defense, Politics
  1. February 18, 2008 at 20:29 | #1

    The following comment may be ignored: it is only for testing code wrappers:

    Smilie without wrapper:  :-)
    Smilie with wrapper: :-)
    Smilie with two nbsp’s:   :-)  
    Smilie with underscores _:-)_

    Now we’ll see how they render in Expression Engine

    OK, it looks like code wrappers don’t work, and underscores do but they screw up the appearance of the emoticon.  Putting a no-break-space before and after the emoticon without any spaces seems to liberate the emoticon from the clutches of Expression Engine’s smilie engine.

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