About 15 years ago, I was talking to a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who’d served with the 101st Airborne as a battalion commander in Iraq. He told me his troops were well trained and packed a tremendous punch. An American platoon, given its superiority in firepower, communications, and the artillery and air support it can call on, could take on enemy units three times its size and win (easily). Yet this tremendous advantage in firepower proved politically indecisive in Iraq as well as places like Afghanistan and Vietnam.
The typical U.S. military response is to argue for even more firepower – and to blame the rules of engagement (ROE) for not allowing them to use it indiscriminately.
The U.S. military has optimized and always seeks to optimize its hitting power at the sharp end of war. It takes pride in its “hardness” and its “warriors.”…
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