'Did NO ONE in the Pentagon watch Lawrence of Arabia?':
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill reports in:
"Just finished 'Generation Kill'
by Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright. Hands down, best nonfiction book on Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I also read cover to cover Rick Atkinson's 'In The Company of Soldiers,'
culled from his embed with the 101st during the war's western spearhead up Highway 9 to Baghdad. Wright followed the Marines' 1st Recon Battalion, which acted as a flanker to the Marines' eastern spearhead (up Highway 7). So the two books are the 'book-ends' of the actual conflict.
"Here's the Reader's Digest version: While meant to be a test-bed of small-unit 'maneuver warfare' (aka - Boyd's warfare model
), the truth is the Marines failed to really put it into practice. Of course, more accurately one should say the Pentagon, which took the least-important detail (smaller forces) and married it to the most important (speed + chaos = success) and what resulted is a two-part conflict: winning the initial war; failure to wipe out its aftermath - the continuing insurgent/guerilla warfare. Middle Eastern countries are nation-states in names only after all - cut the cord to the ruling regime, and they'll all devolve into warring clans/ethnicities/religious sects (did NO ONE in the Pentagon watch Lawrence of Arabia?). You can't help but think of Boyd's admonition to the Marines: Fight the enemy; not the beach.
"Boyd's almost Zen-like approach to warfare managed to get watered down to a zeitgeist -- but not a practice of the Marines. We see this in the fact that the Marines 1st Recon Battalion was trained to be the kind of wild, glass-eating, behind-the-lines elite chaos unit envisioned by champions of maneuver warfare...but ended up being used as juicy, extra-easy-to-kill decoy bait (fighting not just in Humvees -- but in Humvees stripped of ANY protection, and told to attack head-on in linear fashion known kill zones). Wright reports the war from his rear seat position in one of these Humvees. In addition to reportage of the tragic and horrible, it's also unintentionally mind-bendingly funny. Imagine being stuck in the back seat of your family's worst road trip. Mom and Dad fight the whole trip, your brothers won't stop harassing you, there's never a good place to go to the bathroom -- and everyone in every town you drive through is shooting at you with AKs and RPGs."