Planning Military Strategy Around Politics
This account of military actions and strategy in Afghanistan makes for interesting reading. Here, writer Bing West notes an adjustment of strategy intended to prevent deleterious interference by America’s political class:
Marja’s objective area comprised about twelve by twelve miles of canals, irrigation ditches, and flat fields, with several thousand farm compounds. The assault began on February 13 with a night landing by helicopters of three Marine companies, with Afghan soldiers attached to every squad. They attacked from the center out, aiming to link up with two battalions moving in from the northwest and the east. Thus, once the attack had begun, no politician could stop it. This was a lesson from Fallujah, where in 2004 politicians called off the attack in mid-battle.
Pulling back in Fallujah was the single biggest mistake of the Iraq War, and it’s encouraging to learn that military leaders are taking domestic weak knees into account while planning. Of course, it’s easy to imagine that making troops’ job more dangerous.
I’d stress, though, that I’m not arguing for military independence from political control. Politics, though, should be big picture, with strategy and the picking of battles left to the military.