Training for the "Political" War
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
During a coffee break discussion that one esteemed colleague refers to as the kaffe klatsch, we addressed a scenario depicted in a recent work on our efforts in Iraq. The scene is familiar. An officer arrives in theater to discover the unpredictable environment surrounding him. In this case, he comments that he has found himself in a political war and not a military war. In listening to our discussion, the pure civilian in our group asked, Dont you guys read Clausewitz from the time you are lieutenants To which we all replied, Yes. The real response, however, is much more a result of age, experience, and culture. The easy explanation is age. We in the military devour Clausewitz in our military school system. At the junior level though, this is merely a memorization of principles. Fog of war, friction, and war is an extension of policy by other means1 are terms with which we are all familiar. These are taught, but rarely understood completely, at the lieutenant or captain level. Experience kicks in at the field grade level, and the deeper understanding with the transition from training to education begins. Or one would think. This is where our media culture violently nudges us back to our earlier comfort levels.
- Government and Political Science