Permissible Arms

Who Dares Wins

Posted in afghanistan, us military by Karaka on 29 November 2009

Hello, o well-missed blogosphere. Between the demands of working my day job and the compulsion of family on the turkey holiday, I’ve been neither here nor there for much longer than I’m truly happy with. Hopefully I’m back, though. Hopefully.

In my “copious spare time,” I’ve been reading To Dare to Conquer by Derek Leebaert, which is a fascinating book on special operations warfare from ancient Western history to modern Western history. I highly recommend it–Leebaert is a very compelling academic writer, and even if the subject didn’t interest me to the nth degree, I would enjoy the book. Also, I find it relevant to current topics, as General McChrystal was commander of JSOC, and it doesn’t take a genius to see how that affects his command.

It’s providing some compelling food for thought. From page 24:

Emphasis on technical ingenuity is one of the several differences between special operations and guerilla warfare…The guerilla just about always expects the enemy to come to him and bitterly defends his own turf, where his greatest advantage is an intimate command of his land and people, often preferring to pounce only after he has been able to muster a numerical advantage. He opportunistically hits the enemy where it is weak–killing couriers, obliterating an unwary patrol, perhaps setting bombs off in the street. He avoids decisive confrontation and works with a different sense of time as he compels the enemy to spindle out its resources and patience.

And that pretty much sums up Southeast Asia. There’s some fascinating dissembling of Special Operations efforts in Afghanistan in here, and for a history nerd like me it’s shading some different light on the classics.

Hey, is it Tuesday yet?


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