Future of War - suicide bombers changing rules of conflict

March 31 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Security   Year: General   Rating: 10

By Dick Pelletier

In The American Way of War, historian Russell Weigley describes a grinding strategy of destruction employed by the US military over the last 150 years. To end the Civil War, Grant felt he had to completely destroy Lee soldiers. In World War I, Pershing relentlessly bombarded and wore down Germany’s proud fighting machine. And the Army Air Corps pulverized major German and Japanese cities to win World War II.

These wars were not won by tactical or strategic brilliance but by the sheer weight of numbers – the awesome destructive power that only a fully mobilized and highly industrialized democracy can bring to bear. In these conflicts, US armies suffered and inflicted massive casualties. Our ability to both inflict and endure such casualties more effectively than could our adversaries ultimately resulted in victory.

However, this strategy is no longer effective. Inspired by latest information technologies, the US military has adopted new warfare tactics that eliminate the bloody matches of old. The new style seeks quick victory with minimal casualties on both sides and utilizes speed, flexibility, and surprise. It relies on precision firepower and integrates naval, air, and land forces into a seamless whole. This technique was clearly demonstrated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

But experts predict that even this latest approach must change. Today, we experience conflict that includes warfare in which dominant military powers are confronted by a wide range of adversaries – from non-state radical ideologies (al Qaeda), to transnational criminal elements (Russian Mafia), to rogue states (N. Korea, Iran) – all employing unconventional tactics.


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