Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: van Creveld on Western armies

  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580

    van Creveld on Western armies

    Source: http://www.martin-van-creveld.com/?p=77

    For several decades now, Western armed forces—which keep preening themselves as the best-trained, best organized, best equipped best led, in history—have been turned into pussycats. Being pussycats, they went from one defeat to the next. True, in 1999 they did succeed in imposing their will on Serbia. But only because the opponent was a small, weak state (at the time, the Serb armed forces, exhausted by a prolonged civil war, were rated 35th in the world); and even then only because that state was practically defenseless in the air. The same applies to Libya in 2011. Over there, indigenous bands on the ground did most of the fighting and took all the casualties. In both cases, when it came to engaging in ground combat, man against man, the West, with the U.S at its head, simply did not have what it takes.

    On other occasions things were worse still. Western armies tried to create order in Somalia and were kicked out by the “Skinnies,” as they called their lean but mean opponents. They tried to beat the Taliban in Afghanistan, and were kicked out. They tried to impose democracy (and get their hands on oil) in Iraq, and ended up leaving with their tails between their legs. The cost of these foolish adventures to the U.S alone is said to have been around 1 trillion—1,000,000,000,000—dollars. With one defeat following another, is it any wonder that, when those forces were called upon to put an end to the civil war in Syria, they and the societies they serve preferred to let the atrocities go on?

    By far the most important single reason behind the repeated failures is the fact that, one and all, these were luxury wars. With nuclear weapons deterring large-scale attack, for seven decades now no Western country has waged anything like a serious, let alone existential, struggle against a more or less equal opponent. As the troops took on opponents much weaker than themselves—often in places they had never heard about, often for reasons nobody but a few politicians understood—they saw no reason why they should get themselves killed. Given the circumstances, indeed, doing so would have been the height of stupidity on their part. Yet from the time the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C were defeated by the outnumbered Greeks right down to the present, troops whose primary concern is not to get themselves killed have never be able to fight, let alone win.

    © Copyright Original Source


    The whole is worth attentive reading.

  2. #2
    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Faith
    Heathen
    Posts
    2,026
    Amen (Given)
    305
    Amen (Received)
    857
    That seems to be a rather skewed view of the facts, to be polite.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every hidden truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    That seems to be a rather skewed view of the facts, to be polite.
    Perhaps. But he is a preeminent contemporary military historian and theorist, so I believe that his unconventional views deserve a hearing, so I have posted it here.

    If you disagree with his views, you are free to explain why.

  4. #4
    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Kazakhstan
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    6,918
    Amen (Given)
    1699
    Amen (Received)
    2604
    Libya - Why is this example even here seeing how there was no ground fighting and the intent of the mission was just to provide support for the rebels?
    Iraq - The US military demolished the Iraqi military in record time.
    Afghanistan - The Taliban controlled nearly the entire country. The US pushed them out of most of it and left because there wasn't much left to do. Complete defeat of the Taliban by Western standards would require genocide, which is an entirely different matter from lacking military competence.

    The author appears to be one of those nutjobs who thinks that you don't "really" win a war unless the other guy formally surrenders and submits or you erase him from the face of the earth (IE: follow western cultural protocols, which a lot of countries, especially in the middle east, obviously don't). I can guarantee that the Taliban or the Baathists don't see themselves as the winners, no matter what propaganda they might spew to tickle the ears of the Van Crevelds of the world.
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post
    Libya - Why is this example even here seeing how there was no ground fighting and the intent of the mission was just to provide support for the rebels?
    To forestall obvious rejoinders?

    Iraq - The US military demolished the Iraqi military in record time.
    Because the war ended right then, as Bush declared.

    Afghanistan - The Taliban controlled nearly the entire country. The US pushed them out of most of it and left because there wasn't much left to do. Complete defeat of the Taliban by Western standards would require genocide, which is an entirely different matter from lacking military competence.
    They lost: they failed to stabilise the government they installed and couldn't or wouldn't do what was necessary to do it. So they retreated.

    The author appears to be one of those nutjobs who thinks that you don't "really" win a war unless the other guy formally surrenders and submits or you erase him from the face of the earth (IE: follow western cultural protocols, which a lot of countries, especially in the middle east, obviously don't).
    The author is one of those people who thinks that war is not won merely by defeating the conventional forces and gaining formal control of the state. Given that strategic objectives included stabilisation of the occupied areas it is very clear that they were not only massively misguided but failed.

    I can guarantee that the Taliban or the Baathists don't see themselves as the winners, no matter what propaganda they might spew to tickle the ears of the Van Crevelds of the world.
    Pray tell.

  6. #6
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Inside the beltway
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    17,713
    Amen (Given)
    5275
    Amen (Received)
    10031
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post
    Afghanistan - The Taliban controlled nearly the entire country. The US pushed them out of most of it and left because the Commander in Chief wanted to get out ASAP, regardless of conditions.
    Fixed that for you.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  7. Amen Bill the Cat amen'd this post.
  8. #7
    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Kazakhstan
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    6,918
    Amen (Given)
    1699
    Amen (Received)
    2604
    Quote Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
    Because the war ended right then, as Bush declared.
    Yeah, it did. Saddam was replaced with a democratic government. That insurgents kept fighting is immaterial. It's no different from Vicky France. Germany beat France even if the French Resistance kept fighting and the existence of the French Resistance does not change that, nor does anybody seriously claim France "won" that fight just because they didn't all give up.

    They lost: they failed to stabilise the government they installed and couldn't or wouldn't do what was necessary to do it. So they retreated.
    What are you talking about? The government of Afghanistan is still the one they installed.

    The author is one of those people who thinks that war is not won merely by defeating the conventional forces and gaining formal control of the state. Given that strategic objectives included stabilisation of the occupied areas it is very clear that they were not only massively misguided but failed.
    You don't need to meet every strategic objective to win a war. The primary objective was to replace Saddam with a democratic government which they succeeded.

    Pray tell.
    What is there to tell? They had empires and ruled over other peoples. After the US was done with them they barely control their homelands. The author has to twist himself into a pretzel to pretend they "won". Imagine if Canada invaded the US and conquered everything except DC. Would anyone in the right mind think the US government "won"?
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

  9. Amen Boxing Pythagoras, Cerealman amen'd this post.
  10. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post
    Yeah, it did. Saddam was replaced with a democratic government. That insurgents kept fighting is immaterial. It's no different from Vicky France. Germany beat France even if the French Resistance kept fighting and the existence of the French Resistance does not change that, nor does anybody seriously claim France "won" that fight just because they didn't all give up.
    Right, they won many battles but not the war. Did Germany win WWII?

    What are you talking about? The government of Afghanistan is still the one they installed.
    For now. It's only been what - 4 months?

    You don't need to meet every strategic objective to win a war. The primary objective was to replace Saddam with a democratic government which they succeeded.
    A government that would rule the land stably, which it hasn't managed to. I'm really noticing a pattern of short-term evaluation here.

    What is there to tell? They had empires and ruled over other peoples. After the US was done with them they barely control their homelands. The author has to twist himself into a pretzel to pretend they "won". Imagine if Canada invaded the US and conquered everything except DC. Would anyone in the right mind think the US government "won"?
    If there was sufficient attrition of Canadian forces so that the Canadians gave up trying to occupy the land, it's not a loss for the US at the very least. Suppose the Canadians had installed a puppet government in the meantime, and therefore it takes time to retake the land lost. Would it be too early to conclude that the US haven't won? Yes.

    And given that the puppet Afghan government is very unlikely to survive on its own (cf. Iraq's) it may be a little early to declare a victory from the Taliban merely on the basis of the retreat of US and NATO after attrition but I don't see how they'll lose. They've won because as they've managed to get the occupiers to leave, achieving their own strategic objectives, leaving the rest of the land ripe for recapture, which would completely prevent the ex-occupiers of achieving their objective of a stable puppet government..

  11. #9
    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Kazakhstan
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    6,918
    Amen (Given)
    1699
    Amen (Received)
    2604
    Quote Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
    Right, they won many battles but not the war. Did Germany win WWII?
    No but they beat France, which is the analogy being made. The rest of the war is irrelevant for the purpose of the analogy.

    For now. It's only been what - 4 months?
    And? If they lose it the loss won't belong to the US, who won't even be involved, it would be the loss of the Afghani government. The US won the war.

    A government that would rule the land stably, which it hasn't managed to. I'm really noticing a pattern of short-term evaluation here.
    You don't need eternal dominion to win a war.

    If there was sufficient attrition of Canadian forces so that the Canadians gave up trying to occupy the land, it's not a loss for the US at the very least. Suppose the Canadians had installed a puppet government in the meantime, and therefore it takes time to retake the land lost. Would it be too early to conclude that the US haven't won? Yes.
    If the Canadians achieved their objectives and left then no, it wouldn't be too early to conclude that the US haven't won. Claiming "victory" after your enemy beats you into a bloody pulp and then leaves is not victory.

    And given that the puppet Afghan government is very unlikely to survive on its own (cf. Iraq's) it may be a little early to declare a victory from the Taliban merely on the basis of the retreat of US and NATO after attrition but I don't see how they'll lose. They've won because as they've managed to get the occupiers to leave, achieving their own strategic objectives, leaving the rest of the land ripe for recapture, which would completely prevent the ex-occupiers of achieving their objective of a stable puppet government..
    The endless assertions that the US wants "puppet governments" in either Afghanistan or Iraq are usually the product of conspiracy theorists who view the US as some sort of omnipotent all-present evil. There is zero evidence the US wants anything more than a government that doesn't give them trouble and it's unlikely the Taliban will be stupid enough to cause them trouble again anytime soon considering the mass military sodomy they've been subjected to over the past decade even in the unlikely case that they re-take Afghanistan. They never conquered it on their own in the first place anyway, they had Pakistani backing. The Taliban just doesn't have the military forces to re-take Afghanistan anymore.
    Last edited by Darth Executor; 04-01-2015 at 09:18 PM.
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

  12. #10
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Xtian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,165
    Amen (Given)
    114
    Amen (Received)
    580
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post
    No but they beat France, which is the analogy being made. The rest of the war is irrelevant for the purpose of the analogy.
    The point of the analogy is that the long-term evaluation matters especially regarding opposing long-term strategic goals.

    And? If they lose it the loss won't belong to the US, who won't even be involved, it would be the loss of the Afghani government. The US won the war.
    Given that one major US strategic goal was to establish a stable alternative government to the Taliban, if it falls it would be a failure of the long-term military strategic objective.

    You don't need eternal dominion to win a war.
    You need long-term dominion to win a war when the major strategic objectives after the first ousting of power are respectively the stabilisation of the land under a new government and the thwarting of such efforts.

    If the Canadians achieved their objectives and left then no, it wouldn't be too early to conclude that the US haven't won. Claiming "victory" after your enemy beats you into a bloody pulp and then leaves is not victory.
    That (and the above) assumes a very narrow perspective on victory where 'victory' is merely defined as being 'beaten up' worse compared to the achievement of the strategic goals.

    There is zero evidence the US wants anything more than a government that doesn't give them trouble and it's unlikely the Taliban will be stupid enough to cause them trouble again anytime soon
    So, leaving aside all the logistical issues, the US should be willing to reinstate the Taliban because they're unlikely to give trouble?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •