Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raiders Of The Lost Art?

Way back in the last millennium, in the midst of a most unCivil War, Great Satan's Total War master pioneer initiated an audacious plot in the midst of licking Georgia's peach plumb clean.

Ordering General Stoneman's Yankee Cav to raid Macon as a feint of sorts to cover the March to the Sea, they were also given carte blanche to hit the infamous Andersonville Prison 

"If you can bring back to the army any or all of these POW's, it will be an achievement that will entitle you, and your command, to the love and admiration of the whole country"


From ancient times to Ploesti to Abottabad (Abottagood - nicht wahr?) raidin' has been a feature of organized and unorganized violence.

As 35 once psychically predicted

"This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin -- war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him.

Rethinking Security's fully crunk Adam (it's also whispered he's a wonderful dancer) Elkus shares in Atlantic about the sexyful collaborative panty raid concept

"...The ObL raid has been hailed as the centerpiece of a new style of "collaborative" warfare that leverages intelligence fusion and networked interagency teams to focus precision force on America's enemies. Collaborative warfare, while impressive, is only the latest and greatest in a genre of military operation that dates back thousands of years: the punitive raid. From the days of the Roman Empire through Sunday's raid in Abottabad, Pakistan, governments have relied on punitive raids and manhunts to eliminate challengers to state power without resorting to costly, large-scale occupations.

"...But a look at the history and evolution of punitive raiding reveals that it is not a substitute for sound strategy -- and can be far more costly than policymakers might suspect and may have political costs that outweigh the strategic benefits. Punitive raids -- whether they consist of a large column of raiders advancing by horseback or an airmobile squad of commandos about to drop into an enemy cross-border haven -- have always been deceptively appealing as low-cost alternatives.

"...The operation to kill bin Laden is a shining example of just how far American raiding capabilities have advanced since the Iranian hostage crisis. The U.S. is, for better or worse, increasingly reliant on drones and special operations forces to eliminate terrorist operatives. Some defense intellectuals, frustrated with counterinsurgency, see punitive raiding as an alternative to prolonged occupation. If we are, in fact, in an era in which terrorists and other non-state actors pose far more of a threat than do traditional state actors, American strategy will shift to focus more on punitive raiding directed against individuals. Much of this will be achieved through standoff weaponry, but there are places where drones and planes cannot go -- such as states with drone-unfriendly air defense networks.

"...Collaborative warfare, however, is still ultimately a tactical and operational approach -- it is not a strategy, nor is it a substitute for sound policy. It faces the same difficulties as the "old" model of raiding and of some new ones. If national interests are defined too loosely, discrete military force is unlikely to have anything more than a momentary impact. Many non-governmental organizations and policy elites warn against campaigns of targeted killing. Whether they are right or wrong, this debate in domestic U.S. politics may further constrain the attritive power of raiding warfare.

"...Special operations forces are only as good as the policies and plans that guide them. Collaborative warfare is indeed a milestone in the long history of raiding warfare and deserves to be further institutionalized within the American arsenal. But it is ultimately only a tool. And a poor swordsmith can dull any blade, no matter how sharp. 

Pic - "Daring actions by small units have always excited the imagination, not least because they affirm that individual initiative and courage count for something in the impersonal forces of war.


Jonny said...

This post inspired me to raid my roommate's snacks.

This is an important read. I wonder, given the budget debates & knee-jerk politics, how injurious this OBL hit is to the larger COIN strategy? Hard work, patience, dollas - no easy/free lunches.

Now to raid my DVDs from my ex-girlfriend...