Ideas of war, war of ideas. 236 –Robert M. Shelby, 9-15-14. [468 txt wds]

So far, no one gives U.S. strategy against ISIL its proper name: Aerial Guerrilla Warfare.

Between congressional conservatives and President Obama’s team exists a war of ideas about war. The conservative idea, as usual, is rooted in traditional images reaching back through european history and practice to the Classical Era, even as far back as the war between Greece and Troy. In this model, which lasted clear up through our Civil War to the two World Wars, columns of armed men advance as infantry and cavalry with some type of artillery in columns which deploy into a front. The front conducts siege against a city or other fortified position, or it faces an enemy force in similar deployment. The two sides line up and shoot volleys against each other until one side senses greater advantage, or grows impatient, and charges with spears, swords, bayonets or whatever.

This is the ancient notion of “manly war.” Conservatives tend to forget that our country had its first military success using guerrilla tactics against the British column retreating from engagements at Concord and Lexington. To the traditional (conservative) mind, guerrilla warfare is unmanly, feminine, sneaky and unworthy. Yet, it proved almost successful against us in the Philippine struggle for independence after the Spanish-American War. Guerrilla warfare beat us in Viet Nam. Such tactics prove to be a strong strategy when used by the weaker force. The conservative mind sees their use as an admission of weakness or inferiority. But, Conservatives are often weakened by their own machismo and egotistical hubris. This, for instance, led to the destruction of the British “Light Brigade” against the Russian gun positions at Balaclava in the Crimea. It led also to Napoleon’s failure against Wellington at Waterloo. The Emperor’s good sense abandoned him that day in favor of pounding ahead with sheer force. He had not counted on Blücher’s arrival with the Prussian Army before nightfall. Napoleon thought by then he would hold the field and dispose of Blücher next dawn, at leisure.

Our president’s team has, willy-nilly, through force of political circumstance, fallen upon a grand reversal of strategy. Admitting weakness, we leave the ground as much as possible to people who live there and the forces of the so-called Islamic State Caliphate. We go “underground” by taking to the air! With intelligence from satellite surveillance and reports from allies on the ground, plus a few spotters, we inject the needle where it will most harm jihadi concentrations and movements. They will feel the “death by a thousand cuts” while we stay far away from them. While they have enough depth of finance, ordnance and supply to last a long time, the Western powers will gradually encircle them like a boa constrictor and with help from Muslim states, choke them out.

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