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Thread: Prophets or Praetorians? The Uptonian Paradox and the Powell Corollary

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    Defense Professional Shek's Avatar
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    23 Feb 05

    Prophets or Praetorians? The Uptonian Paradox and the Powell Corollary

    An interesting read about the confused application of Clausewitz in the American way of war (the Germans themselves have a similar misinterpretation of St. Carl in their history):
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    12 Aug 08
    It would be interesting to try to formulate a case for conflict strategy contra- Clausewitz. What roles would the Services and Government take? Would there be any advantages?

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    22 Oct 06
    I have a couple of issues so far.

    1- The article claims the Indian wars did not shape the army. I don't know if I can aceed to this. Americas wars with the excpetion of the end of the Civil war and WW1 tend to be wars of movement. This has tradtionally meant the cavalry was the premier arm even if one of the smallest. Those same traditions returned after WW1 where the cavalry officers were able to get laws passed banning tanks for instance. If the guiding concept coming out of the Civil War and WW1 had been massed firepower hen we should have seen the infantry and or artillery dominate during the intrawar years.

    2- If army thought was based on cultured uniformity we should have seen seen less of officers like McNair who advocated leaving decisions to the situation and in the hands of the officers on the ground. Or Patton and Mitchell who embraced new technologies and the method of thier use. While there was resistnace to thse ideas. Only Mitchell was forced out and that was more for personality than ideas given the use of the B-17 ealry in WW2 in a naval bombardment role.

    3- I think the army has a duty to try and shape poltical thinking to the capabilities at hand. An Army who does not inform some times strenoudly the civil leader of what it can and cannot do is asking to be committed to impossible missions by men who do not udner stand war or its consequences.
    "We Don't Do Vietnams' could well serve as a road map tha tif you are goign to use force, you do not penny packet and hog tie it.

    4- COIN is well named, since COIN requires a lot of coin. An army focised on the small fights is making a poor investment of its resources. For example the SBCT, an ideal COIN force and rapid reaction force, but no wher enear an ideal heavy war force. lets compare that to a traditional heavy infantry formation. It is much better suited to a heavy war, but is quite capable of using its dismounts in a COIN role if the proper doctrine and training is provided going in theater. The more important contras thowever is that in Iraq a few more of those heavy brigades along with some civilian leadership who listened to the commanders would ahve seen the need for an extensive COIN war evaporate.

    While war is ultimately an extnesion of politics, one major differance exists. In politics you compromise, in war compromise is a recipe for extending the war, increaisng its cost and adding to the number of widows and oprhans.

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