Anthony Beevor has some interesting observations but no discernable point. He notes that many view the US as a decadent culture, claims that many in the US military share that view of US civilian society, and that the US military isn’t comfortable with peacekeeping. All of these points have merit. But his conclusion is rather odd:

It is hard for the US Armed Forces to accept that their crushing defeat of Saddam Hussein may prove a dangerous victory. For the Arab world, the only possible challenge to the total supremacy of the United States can come in the form of terrorist acts, what the Pentagon now defines as “asymmetrical warfareâ€. Islamic fundamentalists will not compromise in the struggle against “the Great Satanâ€. They reject official diplomacy just as they reject the idea of secular government. And any Arab leaders prepared to negotiate with the Americans or Israelis are liable to be assassinated. I fear that the asymmetrical power of the United States, however benignly intended, cannot avoid asymmetrical war.

If true, so what? What is it that we should do differently? Use lousy weapons and outdated tactics so that the Arabs won’t feel inferior? Make our soldiers less disciplined so they won’t have a dim view of their civilian counterparts? What?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rob says:

    Of course we shold reinvent the wheel, maybe go back to using horses and mass formations.

    June 14th, the 228th birthday of the US Army! Hoo-ah!