Sunday, February 18, 2007

From a reader... 
Elevated from commenter TransTracker:

I am not surprised at all by Hart's comments. As a prominent member of the "Military Reform Movement" in the 1980s, he opposed the development and deployment of virtually every piece of equipment in our arsenal today. While he and the other reformers (which included then Congressman Richard Cheney, Newt Gingrich, John Boyd of OODA loop fame, and many many more) had some notable successes, such as the adoption of maneuver warfare by the Army in FM100-5 1983, the anti-technology position advocated by hardcore reformers like Hart, his staffer for military affairs William S. Lind, Boyd, Pierre Sprey, Franklin Spinney, etc., was a failure. To this day, none of those guys has been willing to admit that it was possible to adopt maneuver warfare and the OODA loop alongside high-tech weaponry. So ya, "bitter and defeated" is more accurate than you know.

As for these ideas being Hart's ideas....don't count on that. I'm not sure how much contact he and Lind still have, but back in the day it was pretty clear that Lind was doing Hart's military thinking for him.

Lind has been a critic of Bush and the war, arguing not only that it is inevitable that we will lose, but that we deserve to lose. He seems to believe more in an apocalyptic "destroying the world to save it" sort of vision. His ideal vision is one in which "Brave New World" (his name for the U.S.) and the "Fourth Generation" (al-Qa'ida, Hizbullah, whoever) destroy one another. A long quote from Lind,

"Just as Brave New World is correct when it says that the forces of
the Fourth Generation represent a return to the Dark Ages, so the
Fourth Generation is correct when it calls Brave New World Satanic.
Yet as I said at the outset, the collision between these two vast
forces will define the grand strategic context in the 21st Century.

"How should the next conservatism deal with this situation?
"...we must do what seems impossible. We must rally the remnants of
the Christian West to fight the Fourth Generation and Brave New World
simultaneously. The next conservatism must strive to keep the old
faith, the old morals and old ways of living alive as, hopefully,
Brave New World and the Fourth Generation destroy each other. Will
that be possible? With God, all things are possible. But it certainly
is not going to be easy." (http://www.freecongress.org/commentaries/2006/060306.asp)

More of Lind's thinking can be found at "Defense in the National Interest," (http://www.d-n-i.net), as well as at the Center for Cultural Conservatism of the Free Congress Foundation (http://www.freecongress.org).

What's scary is that a guy who has written that he hopes the U.S. and al-Qaeda destroy one another, that defeat is inevitable and deserved, also regularly boasts that he is on a team of folks who are advising the Marine Corps on how to win in Iraq.

We must ask: which side are Hart and Lind supporting?

What's this about "Congressional reformers" making the Army adopt maneuver warfare and rewriting its Field Manuals? That was internal to the Army - William DePuy, Donn Starry, Don Morelli, Huba Wass de Czege, William R. Richardson, Paul F. Gorman, Carl E. Vuono and other officers are the fathers of AirLand battle, not Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich. The Army had already done most of the heavy lifting intellectually on maneuver warfare before Cheney and Gingrich were even elected to Congress.

There is a good critique of "Fourth Generation Warfare" here:

Of course, Congressional reformers did not "force" the Army to rewrite its doctrine. To the degree that prominent members of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus were advocates of the adoption of maneuver warfare, and hence supportive of AirLand Battle, they viewed the 1983 version of FM 100-5 as a victory.

You are correct that changes which would lead to AirLand were already afoot even with DePuy. However, hardcore reformers, including Boyd, Lind, Sprey, Spinney, and many many others (Congressional, military, contractor, think tank, media) were extremely critical of Active Defense. Basically, they had no use for it and thought DePuy one of the worst examples of what they called incompetent, bureaucratic "milicrats". Boyd and his inner circle took a very black and white, all or nothing view of the issue: DePuy/Active Defense = "attrition" = stupid and bad; AirLand/Wass de Czege = "maneuver" = smart and good. In retrospect, Dunnigan and Macedonia's "Getting It Right" probably has a slightly more balanced view, though it may go too far in the direction of giving DePuy too much credit (I think they both had personal ties to DePuy). I think the best interpretation would be that DePuy made a necessary and invaluable contribution, but that it was not sufficient by itself. Kagan's new book, "Finding the Target," which also addresses the reforms of the late 1970s and 1980s indicates as much--i.e. that Starry broke ranks with DePuy to a certain degree after he took over at TRADOC.

However, just as it is incorrect to say that Congressional reformers "forced" doctrinal change, it is equally incorrect to say that doctrinal change was purely "internal to the Army." Again, though external pressure was not sufficient to bring about AirLand, there certainly was significant external pressure and influence. The boundaries between "internal" and "external" are not so stark.

As for Echevarria's critique, I am not as convinced as I would like to be. I have a lot of problems with 4GW theory that I won't go into here, and as such I think there is lots of legitimate ground for critique. Unfortunately, I think that in too many instances in Echevarria's critique he is critiquing a straw-man 4GW. There are too many instances where he misunderstands or misrepresents what the 4GW folks are saying.
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