Conclusions and Implications
It is thus a mistake to see Afghanistan as a radical break with prior military experience. As in any war, it brought continuity as well as change – and the continuity was crucial both for understanding the campaign’s outcome and for projecting its policy implications. This view of Afghanistan as continuity in turn implies a different perspective than either of those now current in the debate on the war.
Perhaps most fundamentally, it suggests that Afghanistan was neither a revolution nor a fluke. The Afghan Model will not always work as it did in Afghanistan, because we will not always enjoy allies who match up so well against their enemies. But where we do, we can reasonably expect the Model to be roughly as lethal as it was last fall and winter. The Model is thus at once oversold by its proponents and undersold by its detractors: it can work under some important preconditions, but those preconditions will not always be present.
This in turn implies some very different directions for U.S. policy than many of those now current in the debate on Afghanistan.
Implications for Force Structure and the Design of the American Military
Many now see the Afghan campaign as evidence that the American military can be redesigned to emphasize long-range precision engagement at the expense of close combat capability. If the Afghan Model can do everywhere what it did in Afghanistan, it would make sense to restructure our forces to reduce dramatically the ground forces that make up such a large fraction of today’s military, and shift toward a much greater reliance on standoff precision engagement forces and the SOF teams needed to direct their fires.
This argument is not completely without merit. In fact, it will be possible – sometimes – to repeat the new Model’s Afghan performance. In Korea, for example, many analysts believe our South Korean allies could provide at least the match for their enemy’s skills that the AMF did for the Taliban, and this suggests that large U.S. ground forces may be less necessary for the defense of the peninsula than often supposed.
It would be dangerous to assume, however, that such allies will always be available. In a world of diverse military organizations, we will sometimes enjoy allies who can match our enemies but sometimes we will not. And where we do not, the Afghan experience offers little reason to expect the new Model to prevail.
This in turn suggests that an unbalanced U.S. military dependent on standoff precision engagement would be a high-risk posture. At times it would succeed; at others it would fail badly. A balanced, all-arms force structure with the ability to integrate precision fires with skilled American ground maneuver thus reduces risk and offers important leverage in a world where we cannot know exactly where or with whom we may be forced to fight.
Of course, to argue that America must retain a balanced force is not to show that any given ground force size or composition is necessary: how much of a shift away from today’s structure can be safely accommodated? No study of Afghanistan per se can answer such a question – it clearly turns on a variety of considerations much larger than the conduct of this specific conflict. But the discussion above does provide a number of important insights that must be reflected in any adequate analysis of American force structure at large.
Most important, this study suggests that standard assessments based largely on mounted or aerial warfare against exposed armored targets are dangerously misleading. Almost all major force structure analyses are now built around the use of formal computer models whose ability to represent dismounted warfare against dispersed, covered, concealed targets in complex terrain is very limited. For over 40 years, the analytical community has focused on an expected conflict between massed armored forces operating mostly in the open. The corpus of models and other tools that emerged from this effort reflect this focus and treat warfare mainly as a problem of interactions among armored vehicles and major weapon systems. The role of dismounted Soldiers has been largely ignored, whether on the attack or the defense, or in simple terrain or complex. Whether this has ever been an adequate treatment of real combat can be debated. But it is clearly at odds with the kind of warfare practiced in Afghanistan last fall and winter. The Taliban briefly presented just the kinds of static, exposed, point targets that current models assume, but quickly discovered that such postures are suicidal in the face of American air power. They then dispersed into covered and concealed positions – both in the defense and the attack – and conducted most of the campaign in a style of fighting very different from that assumed in today’s standard analytical tools. This was not guerilla warfare (at least, not in the major actions through the fall of Kandahar and the end of Operation Anaconda): the Taliban sought to hold ground and deny access to key cities and other strategic objectives. But they did so from fighting positions intended to avoid exposure through cover and concealment, and these positions succeeded in evading discovery or destruction long enough to thwart initial advances by AMF ground forces on numerous occasions. We can expect most future opponents to try to fight much the same way – it is the traditional response of armies to high-firepower opposition. Warfare against dismounted, covered, concealed and dispersed targets will thus be the norm for American arms in the future. To assess military requirements using tools that cannot address such combat is to reach findings that are meaningless at best, and dangerous at worst.
The effects of this error, moreover, are not unbiased: other things being equal, mistaking a war of dismounted cover and concealment for one of exposed armored battles will underestimate the American forces needed. This is because such an error mistakenly assumes the type of warfare we do best. The American military is extremely adept at destroying massed, exposed targets in the open, and this is precisely why the Taliban abandoned such postures: they realized they would fare much better if they avoided exposure. To calculate the force size needed to destroy a given fraction of an enemy’s exposed, massed major weapon systems is thus to underestimate the difficulty of the real military problem to be faced against enemies who avoid such tactics, and hence such a calculation will underestimate the size or strength of the forces needed to solve it. Of course there are many assumptions needed to model any given campaign, and one could easily make many of them in ways that would either over- or under-estimate final force requirements. This in turn means that any given study could exaggerate, as well as underestimate, our needs: the effects of overestimating the enemy’s will to fight or military skills, for example, could more than compensate for errors in projecting their posture. But among the more important inherent, built-in assumptions on which current models are built is the assumption of massed armored warfare – and the analysis of Afghanistan above suggests that this assumption’s marginal effect on the typical model-based study will be to reduce artificially the study’s findings for U.S. force requirements. To reach sound conclusions as to the needed size of the American military one must thus take this problem into account in a systematic way.
Implications for American Foreign Policy and the Conduct of the Ongoing War
Among the most serious potential errors stemming from a misreading of the Afghan campaign would be to underestimate the costs of future American military action. If Afghanistan were evidence of a new American way of war that could defeat enemies quickly and cheaply, with little U.S. casualty exposure and a limited U.S. political footprint, then a neo-imperial foreign policy underwritten by frequent American military intervention would seem attractive to many. Similarly, it would make intervention in any given theater in the ongoing war on terrorism seem more attractive by reducing the expected costs.
Here, too, there will be times when optimistic expectations can be met. Where we enjoy indigenous allies with the necessary skills and commitment, the costs to America of intervention may well be no higher than those of last fall and winter. We cannot, however, assume this for all cases. For a neo-imperialist policy to make sense, one must therefore be willing to pay real costs in at least some important theaters.
One such theater is Iraq, the focus of perhaps the most pressing immediate decision confronting the conduct of the ongoing war. Would our potential allies in Iraq be good enough for the Afghan Model to succeed? The Iraqi military our proxies would face is hardly among the world’s most skilled or resolute. At most, one might consider them semi-skilled and variably motivated. Our potential allies, on the other hand, are demonstrably worse. The Kurds have shown themselves in multiple actions against Saddam’s Republican Guard to be even less adept than the Iraqis. The Iraqi National Congress (INC) has no military yet at all, whether skilled or not. Given the time and the space, American special operations forces could in principle provide the needed skills by training the indigenous forces, but it is far from clear that either the time or the space are available. In Afghanistan, current estimates allow up to five years to raise and train an Afghan national army. If raising and training an INC army would take anywhere near this long, it would pose serious policy problems – not least of which being the time it would give Saddam to further his WMD program. After all, the President now argues for prompt regime change in Iraq on the grounds that to delay would risk allowing Saddam to complete a nuclear weapon. In the meantime, Saddam would have every incentive to attack any sanctuary we might use rather than waiting for us to complete the training; even if he withheld chemical or biological weapons it is not clear that we could defend the sanctuary from a determined conventional attack without a trained ground force in place. A Kurdish army might be quicker to train than an INC force, but reliance on Kurdish allies would pose diplomatic difficulties for U.S.-Turkish relations, and we would still have to defend the training sanctuary against potentially determined attack in the meantime. For the Afghan Model to perform the way it did in Afghanistan requires adequately skilled ground forces; barring substantial retraining of either Kurdish or INC armies, these ground troops would have to be some combination of our own and allies’ such as Britain.
Of course, it is entirely possible that Saddam’s forces might quit without a fight; many did so in 1991, and the Iraqis are weaker now than they were then. But it is worth recalling that not all of Saddam’s legions gave in without fighting in 1991: the Republican Guard, by contrast with Iraq’s regular conscript infantry, fought back when struck by Coalition ground forces.118 They fought poorly, and even in the Guard, combat motivation was hardly fanatical. Yet Saddam’s best troops did not simply quit in 1991. Modern autocrats invest heavily in promoting the loyalty and political reliability of their praetorian guards, and in tying their fate to that of the regime they serve.119 In 1991 this sufficed to keep them in the field, risking their lives for the regime, until the battle was demonstrably lost. In 2002 it is possible that the Guard might choose otherwise – but maybe not. To invade without sufficient ground forces on the assumption that there will be no fighting to be done would thus be a major gamble.
Implications for Army Transformation
The analysis above suggests that Afghanistan does not imply a wholesale restructuring of the American military – but this does not mean everything should stay the same. The Army is transforming, and will continue to do so; as it does, it is important to pay special attention to the kinds of targets encountered in Operation Anaconda, and increasingly from the campaign’s earliest days: dispersed, dismounted, covered, and concealed.
To cope with such targets requires aggressive, realistic training and a combination of arms – including effective, plentiful precision engagement systems. But among the essential requirements for such warfare is an ample supply of highly skilled dismounted infantry. And the relative proportion of this infantry to accompanying mounted elements is likely to have to increase over time. Ever-more-lethal precision engagement technology is driving our opponents increasingly into cover and increasingly into complex terrain – and these are the postures that demand the largest proportion of dismounted strength in the American combined arms mix. Hence the demand for dismounted infantry in Army combat units is likely to rise over time.
By contrast, many visions of the future Army would leave the Service without sufficient dismounted strength for this kind of warfare. Some, for example, now propose designs for ground forces centered on mounted warfare at standoff range, using new information and precision engagement technologies to destroy opponents at a distance without exposing Americans to risky close combat, and thus without the need for large numbers of expensive, labor-intensive dismounts. Beliefs that the American public is too casualty-averse to tolerate battlefield losses drive force planners to de-emphasize the role of vulnerable, thin-skinned, dismounted infantry in favor of higher-technology approaches that substitute capital-intensive remote surveillance and precision firepower for labor-intensive close combat. Interpretations of the Afghan experience that see our success there as the result of precision engagement systems breaking hostile formations at standoff ranges give powerful impetus to such proposals.
These interpretations, however, are fundamentally flawed. The Army’s unique contribution to warfare of the kind seen in Afghanistan is its ability to cope with targets who reduce their exposure to deep attack by dismounting, dispersing, covering, and concealing themselves. And this unique contribution resides in dismount-led combined arms forces for close combat in potentially complex terrain. These may be expensive, they may be labor-intensive, and they may pose casualty risks – but if we care about mission effectiveness against the kinds of targets we encountered in Afghanistan and will likely encounter in the future, then we must accept those costs and design the force to be effective, not just inexpensive, against the kinds of enemies it is increasingly likely to face.
Precision engagement offers tremendous capability – but only if we exploit its effects via tight integration with ground maneuver. And increasingly, if Afghanistan is any guide, the kind of maneuver we will need will include a heavy dose of dismounted, labor-intensive, close quarters fighting.
As a whole, then, we should be wary of claims that Afghanistan represents a revolution in warfare with the potential to motivate major changes in American defense policy and the structure of the American military. Of course, there is much that a study of a single conflict cannot prove about the future; perhaps Afghanistan will be unrepresentative of the emerging challenges the American military will face in years to come. Yet many of the claims for Afghanistan’s uniqueness bear less weight than one might easily have supposed. Even if it cannot provide complete answers, this conflict does offer important lessons about the future. And perhaps the most important of these lessons is that warfare’s future may have more in common with its past than many in the current debate would have us believe.
1 See, e.g., Michael Gordon, “’New’ U.S. War: Commandos, Airstrikes and Allies on the Ground,” New York Times, December 29, 2001, p. 1; Paul Watson and Richard Cooper, “Blended Tactics Paved Way for Sudden Collapse,” Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2001; Thom Shanker, “Conduct of War is Redefined by Success of Special Forces,” New York Times, January 21, 2002, p. 1; Vernon Loeb, “An Unlikely Super-Warrior Emerges in Afghan War,” Washington Post, May 19, 2002, p. 16; John Hendren, “Afghanistan Yields Lessons for Pentagon’s Next Targets,” Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2002, p. 1; Rajiv Chandrasekaran and John Pomfret, “Aided by U.S., Pashtun Militias Move Closer to Kandahar,” Washington Post, November 27, 2001, p. 6; Ann Scott Tyson, “U.S. is Prevailing With Its Most Finely Tuned War,” Christian Science Monitor, November 21, 2001, p. 1; Joseph Fitchett, “Swift Success for High-Tech Arms,” International Herald Tribune, December 7, 2001, p. 1; “Afghanistan: First Lessons,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, December 19, 2001.
2 See, e.g., Thomas Ricks, “Military Sees Iraq Invasion Put on Hold,” Washington Post, May 24, 2002, p. 1; Michael Gordon, “Iraqis Seek to Oust Hussein with U.S. Military Training,” New York Times, January 31, 2002, p. A10; Dave Moniz, “Afghanistan’s Lessons Shaping New Military,” USA Today, October 8, 2002, p. 13; Michael Dobbs, “Old Strategy on Iraq Sparks New Debate: Backers Say Plan Proven in Afghanistan,” Washington Post, December 27, 2001, p. A1; Rowan Scarborough, “Pentagon Uses Afghan War as Model for Iraq,” Washington Times, December 4, 2001, p. 1; idem, “White House Will Deal With Iraq,” Washington Times, December 20, 2001; idem, “Size of Force on Ground Key in Plan for Iraq War,” Washington Times, April 26, 2002, p. 1; Seymour Hersh, “The Iraq Hawks: Can Their Plan Work?” The New Yorker, December 24, 2001; “Afghanistan: First Lessons,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, December 19, 2001; Lawrence Kaplan, “Phase Two: Why the Bush Administration Will Go After Iraq,” The New Republic, December 10, 2001.
3 Prominent proponents of such views have included, inter alia, Richard Perle, R. James Woolsey, Stansfield Turner, Michael Vickers, Thomas Donnelly, Daniel Goure, Fareed Zakaria, and James Webb: see, e.g., Ronald Brownstein, “Hawks Urge Bush to Extend Military Campaign to Iraq,” Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2001; Bill Gertz, “Rumsfeld Advisor Says Widen the War to Include Saddam; Favors Airstrikes, Use of Local Forces,” Washington Times, February 28, 2002, p. A12; R. James Woolsey, “Objective: Democracy,” Washington Post, November 27, 2001, p. 13; Brad Knickerbocker, “War May Prod Military Reforms,” Christian Science Monitor, January 3, 2002, p. 1; Tom Bowman, “Studying Lessons of Battle Success,” Baltimore Sun, December 17, 2001; “Location, Location, Location,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, February 27, 2002; Fareed Zakaria, “Face the Facts: Bombing Works,” Newsweek, December 3, 2001; James Webb, “A New Doctrine for New Wars,” Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2001; also Arnaud de Borchgrave, “Uniting Mission and Coalition,” Washington Times, February 22, 2002, who notes the broad support for such views among conservative intellectuals; Ken Adelman, “Taking Exception: Cakewalk in Iraq,” Washington Post, February 13, 2002, p. 27; James Phillips, “Keys to the Endgame in Afghanistan,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1507, December 6, 2001, p. 12; Michael Kelly, “The Air-Power Revolution,” Atlantic Monthly, April 2002, pp. 18ff. Such views are not limited to outside analysts. Robert Andrews, Principal Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict), recently suggested that the combination of special forces and precision munitions in Afghanistan had “changed the face of war.” Linda Kozaryn, “U.S. Special Operations Forces Change ‘Face of War,’” American Forces Press Service, December 14, 2001. Many senior civilian defense officials are reported to believe that the Afghanistan experience validates a prior expectation that warfare has been revolutionized: see, e.g., Rowan Scarborough, “Army Officials Fear More Cuts,” Washington Times, June 4, 2002, p. 6. President Bush himself characterized Afghanistan as “a proving ground …. The conflict in Afghanistan has taught us more about the future of our military than a decade of blue ribbon panels and think-tank symposiums.” White House Press Release, December 11, 2001, “President Speaks on War Effort to Citadel Cadets: Remarks by the President at the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina,” p. 3.
4 On the force structure and policy implications of the “Afghan Model,” see, e.g., Hunter Keeter, “Anti-Terror Campaign Could Speed Military Transformation,” Defense Daily, November 21, 2001, p. 4; Michael Vickers, The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, the FY 2003 Defense Budget Request and the Way Ahead for Transformation: Meeting the "Rumsfeld Test" (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, 19 June 2002); Moniz, “Afghanistan’s Lessons Shaping New Military;” Scarborough, “Army Officials Fear More Cuts;” “Misdirected Defense Dollars,” New York Times, January 16, 2002; Joseph Fitchett, “Campaign Proves the Length of U.S. Military Arm,” International Herald Tribune, November 19, 2001, p. 1.
5 See, e.g., David Wood, “Beneath the Crusader Debate, A War Over How to Fight,” Newhouse.com, May 14, 2002; Michael Wynne, Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L), “Special DoD Briefing on Future Technologies for Indirect Fires,” Department of Defense News Transcript, May 15, 2002; “Misdirected Defense Dollars,” (unsigned editorial) New York Times, January 16, 2002.
6 See references in note 3 above.
7 For the neo-imperialist brief, see, e.g., Max Boot, "The Case for American Empire", Weekly Standard, 15 October 2001, vol 7, no 5; Robert Kagan, "The Benevolent Empire", Foreign Policy, Summer 1998; Sebastian Mallaby, “The Reluctant Imperialist: Terrorism, Failed States, and the Case for American Empire,” Foreign Affairs, March-April 2002; Robert Kagan, "Power and Weakness, Why Europe and the US See the World Differently", Policy Review, June-July 2002, no 113.
8 Prominent proponents of such views have included, inter alia, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Anthony Zinni, Arthur Cebrowski, Wesley Clark, Loren Thompson, and Andrew Krepinevich. See, e.g., Alan Sipress and Peter Slevin, “Powell Wary of Iraq Move,” Washington Post, December 21, 2001, p. 1; Donald Rumsfeld, “Transforming the Military,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 3 (May/June 2002), pp. 20-32 at 22; Tony Capaccio, “Afghan Lessons Don’t Apply to ‘Axis,’ Generals Say,” Bloomberg.com, February 20, 2002; Dobbs, “Old Strategy on Iraq Sparks New Debate;” Kim Burger and Andrew Koch, “Afghanistan: The Key Lessons,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, January 2, 2002; Bowman, “Studying Lessons of Battle Success.”
9 Quoted in Rowan Scarborough, “Air Force Resists More Bombers, Prefers Fighters,” Washington Times, December 26, 2001, p. 1.
10 See, e.g., Michael O’Hanlon, “A Flawed Masterpiece,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 3 (May/June 2002), pp. 47-63; Barton Gellman and Thomas Ricks, “U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight; Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error,” Washington Post, April 17, 2002, p. 1; Susan Glasser, “The Battle of Tora Bora: Secrets, Money, Mistrust,” Washington Post, February 10, 2002, p. 1; William Arkin, “Dropping 15,000 Pounds of Frustration,” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2001.
11 More precisely, the outcome I seek to explain is two-fold: (1) the Taliban’s loss of military control over Afghanistan and their consequent fall from political power; and (2) our ability to bring this about without major U.S. ground forces. Note that I do not necessarily assume that the Taliban or al Qaeda have been defeated in any final way, or that larger U.S. interests have (or have not) been secured. For now, these remain open questions, not empirical facts to be explained. By contrast, the outcomes enumerated above are now observed empirical events susceptible to explanation, and for which particular candidate explanations have become quite influential in the policy debate. My focus below is thus on the relative utility of the two major candidates (one focusing on replicable features of the Afghan Model, the other focusing on idiosyncratic properties of Afghanistan or the Taliban) as explanations of this two-fold outcome.
12 The latter, while not unprecedented (see below), was at least unusual.
13 These interviews are documented in a series of audiotapes deposited in the U.S. Army Military History Institute’s archive at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, together with other primary source documentation obtained for this project. Collectively, they comprise the Operation Enduring Freedom Strategic Studies Institute Research Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute, cited hereafter as MHI. For reasons of security, SOF personnel are identified below by rank and first initial only. Full identification of interviewees is available in the cited archival material at appropriate levels of classification.
14 A third argument, that the Afghan Model is too dependent on politically unreliable proxies, is an important critique of the Afghan Model, but not one for which much new perspective can be provided using the evidence assembled here. I thus focus primarily on the two contrasting schools of Afghan Model proponents, and critics who focus on the role of local idiosyncrasies. None of the conclusions reached below are sensitive to one’s view on the political reliability of proxy forces.
15 Andrew J. Birtle, Afghan War Chronology (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History Information Paper, 22 March 2002), pp. 2-3.
16 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
17 The November 5 offensive has sometimes been referred to as “the battle of Keshendeh-ye Pa’in” (after the largest town in the area), or “the battle of Keshendeh-ya Bala” (a closer, though smaller, town, six kilometers west of the Taliban lines). Below I refer to it by reference to Bai Beche, the smallest but also closest village to the fight and the name typically used by the SOF participants in the MHI documentation to refer to the action. All the names above, however, refer to the same battle. Naming conventions for historical battles are ill-defined; the actual Waterloo battlefield, for example, is closer to the town of Braine-l’Alleud than it is to Waterloo, but Waterloo is easier for English speakers to pronounce.
18 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032802p, CPT D. int. See also Dale Andrade, The Battle for Mazar-e-Sharif, October-November 2001 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History Information Paper, 1 March 2002), pp. 2-3. Meanwhile, roadbound Taliban and al Qaeda reserves moving from the stronghold of Sholgerah were decimated by American air interdiction as they moved initially south to reinforce the defenses of Bai Beche and Ac’capruk, then as they fled north toward Mazar after November 5: MHI: Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., July 2002; Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
19 MHI: Tape 032702a, CPT T. et al. int.; Birtle, Afghan War Chronology, pp. 6, 8; Michael Sherry, The Course of Operation Enduring Freedom in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History Information Paper, 15 March 2002), p. 2; John Carland, The Campaign Against Kandahar (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History Information Paper, 4 March 2002), p. 2.
20 MHI: Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K. int.; Andrade, The Battle for Mazar-e-Sharif, p. 4.
21 MHI: Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.; Tape 032802p, MAJ C. int.; Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.; Carland, The Campaign Against Kandahar, pp. 2-5.
22 Sherry, The Course of Operation Enduring Freedom in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan, p. 3.
23 Sherry, The Course of Operation Enduring Freedom in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan, p. 4.
24 In fact, prior to 9-11, members of the Army’s experimental test pilot community routinely used Afghanistan as an illustrative example of an environment too strange to design aircraft around, as the practical definition of “outlier:” personal communication, COL John R. Martin, U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.
25 See, e.g., John Keegan, “The Changing Face of War,” Wall Street Journal Europe, November 26, 2001; David Perlmutter and Mohammed El-Bendary, “Phase 2: Redefine What it is to ‘Win,’” Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2001; Kevin Whitelaw, “Round One,” U.S. News and World Report, November 26, 2001.
26 Below, “Taliban” refers collectively to all hostile forces in Afghanistan. “Afghan Taliban” refers to the indigenous Afghan component of the Taliban’s military forces. “Foreign Taliban” refers to all non-Afghan components (both al Qaeda and non-al Qaeda). “Al Qaeda” refers exclusively to the forces trained in bin Laden’s camps and associated with his organization.
27 MHI: Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., July 2002; Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
28 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., July 2002; Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.; Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.
29 MHI: Tape 041902p, LTC Briley int.; Tape 042002p, LTC Gray int.; Tape 041802p, LTC Lundy int.; Tape 041802a, COL Smith int.
30 Strength estimates for Afghan armies are necessarily inexact. Most accounts, however, credited the Taliban overall with some 40,000-50,000 troops in fall 2001, of whom 8,000-12,000 were foreign. The foreign combatants – and especially the Arabs – had served as the Taliban’s shock troops during the civil war, and were widely reported to be better trained, better disciplined, better motivated and better equipped than the Afghan Taliban. On Taliban strength, composition, and motivation, see Anthony Davis, “Foreign Fighters Step Up Activity in Afghan Civil War,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 13, No. 8 (August 1, 2001); Ali Jalali, “Afghanistan: The Anatomy of an Ongoing Conflict,” Parameters, Spring 2001, pp. 85-98; Senior Defense Officials, “Background Briefing on Afghanistan,” Defense Department News Transcript, October 12, 2001, 1:10 pm, pp. 7-9. Al Qaeda’s combat motivation was further demonstrated by their fighters’ heavy resistance against American attack under extremely harsh winter conditions at Operation Anaconda in March 2002: see, e.g., Bradley Graham, “Bravery and Breakdowns in a Ridgetop Battle,” Washington Post, May 24, 2002, pp. 1ff; idem, “A Wintry Ordeal at 10,000 Feet,” Washington Post, May 24, 2002, pp. 1ff.
31 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032802p, MAJ C. int.; Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.
32 See, e.g., Jalali, “Afghanistan: The Anatomy of an Ongoing Conflict;” Senior Defense Officials, “Background Briefing on Afghanistan,” p. 8. On the Taliban incompetence thesis more broadly, see, e.g., Jeffrey Record, “Collapsed Countries, Casualty Dread, and the New American Way of War,” Parameters, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer 2002), pp. 4-23.
33 Quoted in Michael R. Gordon, “‘New’ U.S. War: Commandos, Airstrikes and Allies on the Ground,” The New York Times, 29 December 2001.
34 Though bin Laden’s camps trained both conventional soldiers and terrorists (the latter for undercover work abroad), the former made up the great majority of the camps’ population and output: C.J. Chivers and David Rohde, “The Jihad Files: Training the Troops,” New York Times, March 18, 2002, pp. 1ff.
35 For a discussion of one particularly germane example, see the treatment of Iraqi Republican Guard skills in Stephen Biddle, “Victory Misunderstood: What the Gulf War Tells Us About the Future of Conflict,” International Security, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Fall 1996), pp. 139-179 at 158-61. On shortcomings in al Qaeda troops’ mastery of their Western training syllabi, see MHI Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.; Tape 041902a, CPT Lecklenburg int.; Tape 041902a, CPT Murphy int.; Tape 041902a, MAJ Busko int.
36 See, e.g., Record, “Collapsed Countries, Casualty Dread, and the New American Way of War,” pp. 4-23.
37 There is some empirical support for the notion that democracies’ greater popular support conveys important military advantages over non-democratic opponents: see, e.g., David Lake, “Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 86, No. 1 (March 1992), pp. 24-37; Dan Reiter and Allan Stam, “Democracy, War Initiation and Victory,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 92, No. 2 (June 1998), pp. 377-89; idem, “Democracy and Battlefield Military Effectiveness,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 42, No. 3 (June 1998), pp. 259-77; D. Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, “The Declining Advantages of Democracy,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 42, No. 3 (June 1998), pp. 344-66. It is far from clear, however, whether democracies’ superior performance is attributable to popular support or to other cultural, educational, or civil-military traits that correlate with regime type: see Stephen Biddle and Stephen Long, “Democratic Effectiveness?” paper presented to the American Political Science Association 2002 Annual Meeting, Boston MA, September 1, 2002.
38 See, e.g., Jane Perlez with Michael Gordon, “Savoring Strength in the North, U.S. Worries About Weakness in the South,” New York Times, November 12, 2001, p. B4; Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “Support Deepens for the Taliban, Refugees Report,” Washington Post, November 8, 2001, pp. A1ff; “Opposition Troops Advance Toward Kandahar,” CNN.com, available at: http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapc...fghan.kandahar.
39 See, e.g., Sharon LaFraniere, “Defectors Flee as Negotiations Resume,” Washington Post, November 20, 2001, p. 8; David Lamb, “Missteps Toppled Taliban, Analysts Say,” Los Angeles Times, December 27, 2001. For counterarguments holding that Afghanistan’s ease of defection is actually fairly widespread among tribal or clan cultures, see MHI: Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., 2 July 2002.
40 Some 3,000 surrendered in and around Mazar, with up to another 5,000 at Konduz; many others switched sides in the fighting at Tiengi Pass just south of Mazar: MHI: Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., 2 July 2002; Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Andrade, The Battle for Mazar-e-Sharif, p. 4; Sherry, The Course of Enduring Freedom in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan, p. 2; Birtle, Afghan War Chronology, pp. 6, 8.
41 As quoted in Andrade, The Battle for Mazar-e-Sharif, p. 3. See also MHI: Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K.; Tape 032602p, CPT M.
42 Note, however, that much hard fighting remained in the south, where predominantly foreign troops sought to defend Kandahar and its approaches: see, e.g., Carland, The Campaign Against Kandahar.
43 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032802p, CPT D. int.
44 Dostum, for example, is reported to have been uninterested in soliciting defections from foreigners, preferring to kill these rather than trusting them to serve with him. MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K.
45 For nearly a decade, the U.S. Army has been emphasizing the integration of SOF and regular forces in its exercises at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft. Polk, Louisiana; moreover, SOF worked extensively with indigenous allies (including the direction of air strikes on their behalf) in the Vietnam War. For more on historical precedent, see the discussion below. These efforts, however, have not had such a high profile that one could expect potential opponents to have focused on them heretofore.
46 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int. This became widespread throughout the theater: see, e.g., Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.; Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.; Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K.
47 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int. On al Qaeda’s use of cover and concealment in southern Afghanistan, see Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.; Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.
48 MHI: Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.; Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.
49 See, e.g., MHI: AFZS-LF-B, Memo, FOB 3/3 SSE Support Intelligence Summary, 25-29 March 2002; Tape 041902p, LTC Briley int.; Tape 041902p, COL Clarke int.; Tape 041802a, COL Smith int.; Tape 100702p, LTC Townsend int.
50 See, e.g., Shelford Bidwell and Dominick Graham, Firepower: British Army Weapons and Theories of War, 1904-1945 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1985); Paddy Griffith, Battle Tactics of the Western Front (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1994); G.C. Wynne, If Germany Attacks: The Battle in Depth in the West (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1940); Timothy Lupfer, The Dynamics of Doctrine: Changes in German Tactical Doctrine During the First World War (Ft. Leavenworth KS: U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, 1981), Leavenworth Paper No.4; Carlo D’Este, Decision in Normandy (New York: HarperCollins, 1983), pp. 105-334; National Archives (hereafter NARA) RG 338 FMS MS P-162, Walter Harzer, Oberst a.D., Der Einsatz der 9.SS-Pz.Div. “Hohenstaufen” im Westen vom 20. Juni 1944 bis 31. Oktober 1944, p. 23; NARA RG 338, FMS MS B-470, Generalmajor Sylvester Stadler, 9.SS.Pz.Div (20.6.44-24.7.44), p. 16; NARA RG 242 T-354-623, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, Kriegstagebuch Nr. 157/44, 15.7.1944 02.00 Uhr, paragraph 6; Andrew Krepinevich, The Army and Vietnam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1986).
51 Maj. John Schmitt, “A Critique of the HUNTER WARRIOR Concept,” Marine Corps Gazette, Vol. 82, No. 6 (June 1998), pp. 13-19; Capt. Michael Lindemann, “An Opposing Force Perspective of Advanced Warfighting Experiment HUNTER WARRIOR,” Marine Corps Gazette, Vol. 82, No. 6 (June 1998), pp. 20-26.
52 Douglas Frantz, “Supplying the Taliban: Pakistan Ended Aid to Taliban Only Hesitantly,” New York Times, December 8, 2001, pp. 1ff.
53 MHI: AFZS-LF-B, Memo, Operation Polar Harpoon Intelligence Summary, 23 March 2002; AFZS-LF-B, Memo, FOB 3/3 SSE Support Intelligence Summary, 25-29 March 2002; Tape 041902p, LTC Briley int.; Tape 100702p, LTC Townsend int.
54 MHI: Tape 041802p, LTC Lundy int.; Tape 041802a, COL Smith int.; also Ilene Prusher, “Al Qaeda Plotted New US Attacks,” Christian Science Monitor, March 18, 2002, p. 1.
55 See the preceding discussion of Taliban tactical adaptation and associated references.
56 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, 2001-2002 (London: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 160.
57 MHI: Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K.; Tape 032602p, CPT M.; Tape 032802p, CPT D. int.
58 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int. Atta’s forces received a misdirected lethal aid drop originally intended for Dostum (who was to distribute the materiel equally among the several warlords in the region) the night of October 31-November 1, but this aid was used only by Atta’s troops: ibid.
59 That is, by reducing the unit of analysis from the theater campaign to the tactical engagement it becomes possible to increase the number of cases for analysis and create important variance in independent and dependent variable values. This in turn permits much more discriminating causal analysis than would otherwise be possible in a single-case research design. On this technique of subunit analysis and the associated methodological considerations, see, esp. Gary King, Robert Keohane and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), pp. 217-23.
60 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
61 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
62 Kirk Spitzer, “Green Berets Outfought, Outthought the Taliban,” USA Today, January 7, 2002, pp. 1ff.
63 MHI: Tape 032802p, CPT D. int.
64 MHI: Tape 032702a, CPT T. et al. int. Some targets in this region were visible at ranges of up to 10 kilometers: ibid.
65 MHI: Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.; Tape 041902p, COL Clarke int.; see also Karl Vick, “In a Desert Outpost, Afghan War Was Won,” Washington Post, December 31, 2001, pp. 1ff.; Peter Finn, “Wounded Army Captain Details Teamwork Against Taliban,” Washington Post, December 11, 2001, pp. 1ff; Jonathan Weisman, “A Soldier’s Story: U.S. Backbone Wins Battle,” USA Today, December 26, 2001, p. 5. Note that the Taliban military’s compartmentation and poor communications meant that learning often proceeded at different rates in different parts of the front. In the north, for example, Taliban defenders who had seen the effects of Allied bombing at Bishqab, Cobaki, and Oimetan had already begun to adopt careful camouflage and overhead cover by November 5 at Bai Beche, whereas Taliban defenders around Ac’capruk, which had not been extensively bombed before November 4, did not (MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032802p, CPT D. int.). Similarly, the Taliban experience in the north filtered down to units in the south more slowly than it did among units within the northern fighting – hence the early southern counterattack at Tarin Kowt was massed and exposed in the open, rather than covered and concealed as were their later efforts at Sayed Slim Kalay or along Highway 4. In each case, however, the affected units learned quickly from their own experience, and adaptation followed rapidly after the initial air strikes.
66 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int. Similarly, a system of bunkers dug into a hillside southeast of Sholgerah at Tash Kanda could not be located despite repeated attempts by a variety of American reconnaissance systems to pinpoint it for precision engagement. Although intelligence reports indicated its presence in the area, the actual positions could not be located until American SOF drove past it on the ground during the post-Bai Beche pursuit up the Dar-ye Suf River valley: ibid.
67 MHI: Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.
68 MHI: Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.
69 MHI: Tape 041902p, LTC Briley int.; Tape 042002p, LTC Gray int.; Tape 041802p, LTC Lundy int.; Tape 041802p, LTC Preysler int.; Tape 041902a, MAJ Busko int.; Tape 041902a, CPT Murphy int.; Tape 041902a, CPT Lecklenburg int.
70 Photo taken from MHI: AFZS-LF-B, Memo, FOB 3/3 SSE Support Intelligence Summary, 25-29 March 2002.
71 The author observed many such individuals and small parties among the high ridge lines and mountain valleys of Paktia Province during helicopter travel between Bagram AFB and the Shah-i-kot valley in April 2002.
72 Photographs taken by the author, April 20, 2002.
73 See, e.g., Alan Vick, et al., Enhancing Air Power’s Contribution Against Light Infantry Targets (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1996), pp. 13-30; Peter Brooks and Edward Smith, “Evaluation of Airborne Surveillance Systems,” IDA Research Summaries, Vol. 3, No. 1, (Winter/Spring 1996), pp. 4-5; Dominick Giglio, “Overview of Foliage/Ground Penetration and Interferometric SAR Experiments,” SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 2230, 1994, pp. 209-17; Tony Capaccio, “An Army Bosnia Review Rates JSTARS a ‘White Elephant,’” Defense Week, November 25, 1996, pp.1ff; idem, “NATO Strikes Must Pierce the Fog of War,” Defense Week, Vol. 15, No. 7 (Feb. 14, 1994), pp.1ff; Captain Kristin M. Baker, untitled, Military Intelligence, October-December 1996, pp. 27-29; Lt. Col. Collin A. Agee, untitled, Military Intelligence, October-December 1996, pp. 6-12. For a more detailed discussion, see Stephen Biddle, “The Past as Prologue: Assessing Theories of Future Warfare,” Security Studies Vol. 8, No. 1 (Autumn 1998), pp. 1-74 at 24-6.
74 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, 2001, available at www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
75 Institut Geographique National Carte Serie M761, Feuilles XVI-12 (Caen) and XVI-13 (Mezidon).
77 Modern fire-and-movement, combined arms tactics turn on exploitation of natural cover: Stephen Biddle, Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming); also Shelford Bidwell and Dominick Graham, Firepower: British Army Weapons and Theories of War, 1904-1945 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1985); Jonathan House, Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001); John English, On Infantry (New York: Praeger, 1984); Stephen Biddle, “Land Warfare: Theory and Practice,” in John Baylis, James Wirtz, Eliot Cohen and Colin Gray, eds., Strategy in the Contemporary World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 91-112.
78 Carland, The Campaign Against Kandahar, p. 3; Vick, “In a Desert Outpost, Afghan War Was Won;” Finn, “Wounded Army Captain Details Teamwork Against Taliban;” Weisman, “A Soldier’s Story.”
79 MHI: Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., 2 July 2002; Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
80 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032802p, CPT D. int.; Tape 032702a, CPT T. et al. int.; Dana Priest, “‘Team 555’ Shaped a New Way of War,” Washington Post, April 3, 2002, pp. 1ff.
81 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032702a, CPT T. et al. int.
82 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.; Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K. int.
83 MHI: Tape 032602p, MAJ M., MAJ K.
84 MHI: Tape 041802p, LTC Lundy int.; Tape 042002p, LTC Gray int.; Tape 100702p, LTC Townsend int.; Birtle, Afghan War Chronology, pp. 14-16.
85 C.R.M.F. Cruttwell, A History of the Great War, 1914-1918 (Chicago: Academy, 1991 ed. of 1934 orig.), p. 245; weight of explosive per shell inferred from John Keegan, The Face of Battle (New York: Random House, 1977), p. 235. For W48 yield, see Thomas Cochran et al., Nuclear Weapons Databook Vol. I: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1984), p. 54.
86 On the eve of the battle, British General Hubert Plumer is said to have observed to his staff: “Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography.” Ian Hogg, The Guns, 1914-1918 (New York: Ballantine, 1971), p. 131. On the artillery program at Messines, see John Terraine, "Indirect Fire as a Battle Winner/Loser," in Corelli Barnett, et al. Old Battles and New Defenses: Can We Learn from Military History? (London: Brassey's, 1986), pp. 7-32 at p. 11; weight of explosive per shell is computed from Keegan, The Face of Battle, p. 235, and Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, Command on the Western Front (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), p. 363.
87 Martin Blumenson, Salerno to Cassino (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1969), pp. 433-48.
88 Department of the Scientific Advisor to the Army Council, Military Operational Research Unit Report No. 23: Battle Study, Operation “Goodwood,” October 1946, declassified 16 January 1984, pp. 13-20; L.F. Ellis, Victory in the West, Vol. I: The Battle of Normandy (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1962), pp. 337-40.
89 Martin Blumenson, Breakout and Pursuit (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1961), p. 193; Carlo D’Este, Decision in Normandy (New York: HarperCollins, 1983), pp. 385-6.
90 Note that almost 1,000 tons of bombs, plus another 2,500-4,000 tons of artillery shells were directed at the German positions – of this total, 300 tons of bombs and an unknown volume of artillery fire fell within the limits of the village itself: Blumenson, Salerno to Cassino, pp. 433-48; map 9 (p. 323). Though less than half the total firepower thus fell within the objective area, this was still a crushing tonnage in absolute terms.
91 MHI: Tape 032702a, CPT T. et al. int.
92 MHI: Tape 032602p, CPT M. int.
93 MHI: Tape 032802a, MAJ D. int.; Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.
94 MHI: Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., 2 July 2002.
95 MHI: Tape 042002p, LTC Gray int.; Memorandum for the Record, COL J. int., 2 July 2002.
96 See, e.g., Barton Gellman and Thomas Ricks, “U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight; Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error,” Washington Post, April 17, 2002, p. 1; William Arkin, “Dropping 15,000 Pounds of Frustration,” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2001.
97 MHI: Tape 032602a, CPT H. et al. int.; Memorandum for the Record, CPT H. int., 2 July 2002.
98 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, 2001-2002 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 160, and references in note 25 above. By comparison, Serbian forces in Kosovo numbered about 40,000 on the eve of the 1999 NATO air campaign: William Arkin, “Operation Allied Force: ‘The Most Precise Application of Air Power in History,” in Andrew Bacevich and Eliot Cohen, eds., War Over Kosovo (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), pp. 1-37 at 14.
99 In fact, press commentaries in October were describing Taliban positions south of Mazar-e-Sharif as resembling a First World War trench system: Peter Baker, “Taliban Fortifies Capital for War,” Washington Post, 4 October 2001, p. A1.
100 “Operation Anaconda,” briefing slides, CJTF MTN G3; MHI: Tape 041902p, LTC Briley int.
101 For more detailed treatments, see Biddle, “Land Warfare: Theory and Practice;” House, Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century.
102 Timothy T. Lupfer, The Dynamics of Doctrine: The Changes in German Tactical Doctrine During the First World War (Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1981), Leavenworth Paper No. 4, pp. 37-44; Bruce Gudmundsson, Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918 (New York: Praeger, 1989); John English, On Infantry (New York: Praeger, 1984), pp.18-22; Rod Paschall, The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918 (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 1989), pp. 130-8.
103 Shelford Bidwell and Dominick Graham, Firepower: British Army Weapons and Theories of War, 1904-1945 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1985), pp. 61-148; Paddy Griffith, Battle Tactics of the Western Front (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 84-191; Paul Kennedy, “Britain in the First World War,” in Allan R. Millett and Williamson Murray, eds., Military Effectiveness, Vol. I (Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1988), pp. 31-79 at pp. 51, 69-70; Ian M. Brown, “Not Glamorous, But Effective: The Canadian Corps and the Set-piece Attack, 1917-1918,” Journal of Military History 58 (July 1994), pp. 421-44.
104 J.P. Harris, “The Myth of Blitzkrieg,” War in History, Vol. 2, No. 3 (November, 1995), pp. 335-352; James S. Corum, The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1992); Manfred Messerschmidt, “German Military Effectiveness Between 1919 and 1939,” in Allan R. Millett and Williamson Murray, eds., Military Effectiveness, Vol. II, The Interwar Period (Winchester, MA: Allen and Unwin, 1988), pp. 218-55; Matthew Cooper, The German Army 1933-39: Its Political and Military Failure (London: Macdonald and Jane’s, 1978), pp. 113-21.
105 Bidwell and Graham, Firepower: British Army Weapons and Theories of War, 1904-1945, pp. 205-81; Peter Mansoor, The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941-1945 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999; Michael Doubler, Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994); David Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed (Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1995).
106 Jonathan M. House, Toward Combined Arms Warfare: A Survey of Twentieth Century Tactics, Doctrine, and Organization (Ft. Leavenworth KS: U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, 1984), pp. 172-80; Anthony H. Cordesman and Abraham R. Wagner, The Lessons of Modern War, Vol. I (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1990), pp. 14-116; Chaim Herzog, The War of Atonement, October 1973 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1975); George W. Gawrych, “The Egyptian High Command in the 1973 War,” Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Summer 1987).
107 Robert Doughty, The Evolution of U.S. Army Tactical Doctrine, 1946-76 (Ft. Leavenworth KS: U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, 1979), Leavenworth Paper No. 1, pp. 40-46; John L. Romjue, From Active Defense to AirLand Battle: The Development of Army Doctrine, 1973-1982 (Ft. Monroe, VA: Historical Office, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1984); Paul Herbert, Deciding What Has to be Done: General William E. DePuy and the 1976 Edition of FM 100-5, Operations (Ft. Leavenworth KS: U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, 1988), Leavenworth Paper No. 16.
108 On tactical skill in the ARVN and PAVN (People’s Army of Vietnam – the North Vietnamese army), see, e.g., George C. Herring, America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (New York: McGraw Hill, 1996 ed.), pp. 233-4, 265-6.
109 See, e.g., Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), pp. 196-201; G.H. Turley, The Easter Offensive: Vietnam, 1972 (Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1985); Robert Pape, Bombing to Win (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), pp. 194-205. Note that in Lam Son 719, as in many other 20th century battlefields, even heavy firepower was not sufficient to annihilate properly prepared defensive positions. One American helicopter pilot in the battle, for example, reports that he flew through the dust cloud of a B-52 strike against North Vietnamese defenses, yet took small arms fire from surviving defenders in the bombed area: personal communication, COL Douglas Lovelace, USA (ret’d.), Carlisle PA, October 7, 2002.
110 Dave Palmer, Summons of the Trumpet (San Rafael, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1978), pp. 238-43; Stanley Karnow, Vietnam, A History (New York: Viking, 1983), pp. 628-31; House, Toward Combined Arms Warfare, pp. 164-68. The comparison, of course, is imperfect: success in 1972 could also be attributed to air power’s greater efficacy against tactical attackers, and the mixed results of 1971 could be attributed to air power’s lesser efficacy against dug-in defenders, rather than the variance in relative tactical skills I note above. To distinguish these competing effects would require additional cases, which are unavailable. My purpose here, however, is not to explain the relative importance of mission and skill in Vietnam, but merely to demonstrate that a pattern of American air support succeeding when the supported proxy is a match for its enemy’s skills but not otherwise is not wholly unprecedented.
111 For more detailed discussions of the effects of technological change on the relative capability of skilled and unskilled ground forces, see Biddle, Military Power; idem, “The Past as Prologue.”
112 See references in note 4.
113 Note, however, that this does not necessarily imply a U.S. ground force withdrawal from South Korea as the appropriate policy. Whatever their military necessity, American ground forces serve a variety of political and diplomatic purposes, and a withdrawal from South Korea would send international political signals that the United States might not wish to send. Moreover, the proximity of key objectives like Seoul to the border may require larger forces for their defense than would be needed in theaters without such outlying resources. Either way, though, the ROK army demonstrates that indigenous allies do sometimes exist with the skills for the Afghan Model to perform as it did in Afghanistan. On the South Korean army, see, e.g., Michael O’Hanlon, “Stopping a North Korean Invasion: Why Defending South Korea is Easier than the Pentagon Thinks,” International Security, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Spring 1998), pp. 135-70.
114 For an extended critique, see Biddle, Military Power.
115 See, e.g., Biddle, “Victory Misunderstood,” pp. 139-179 at 158-61; James Pardew, "The Iraqi Army's Defeat in Kuwait," Parameters, Winter 1991-92, pp. 17-23; Murray Hammick, "Iraqi Obstacles and Defensive Positions," International Defense Review, September 1991, pp. 989-991.
116 See, e.g., International Institute for Strategic Studies, Strategic Survey 1991-1992 (London: Brassey’s, 1992), pp. 94-98; idem, Strategic Survey 1996/97 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 154-7.
117 John F. Burns, “Gratitude and Doubt in New Life of Afghans,” New York Times, September 11, 2002.
118 Biddle, “Victory Misunderstood” at pp. 149-52.
119 See, e.g., Steven David, Third World Coups D'Etat and International Security (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Amos Perlmutter and Valerie Plave Bennett, eds., The Political Influence of the Military (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), pp. 205-208; Eliot Cohen, "Distant Battles: Modern War in the Third World," International Security, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Spring 1986), pp. 143-171.
120 For other arguments that Army dismounted strength may have to increase in the future, see, e.g., Robert B. Killebrew, “Reinventing the Army for the 21st Century,” Army, Vol. 50, No. 6 (June 2000), pp. 12-18; idem, “Toward an Adaptive Army,” Army, Vol. 52, No. 1 (January 2002), pp. 21-26; idem, “Deterrence with a Vengeance,” Armed Forces Journal International, Vol. 136, No. 3 (October 1998), pp. 76-81; Frederick J. Kroesen, “The Future of Land Warfare: An Opinion,” Army, Vol. 52, No. 6 (June 2002), pp. 10-13