Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Dissertation: Dhofar Rebellion Part 4

I was tempted to use this particular dissertation update to post all of the quotes I've found so far for my quote bank. However, there are pages upon pages of them because, let's face it, I'm awesome at this (oh, yeah, and it's gonna be a super long paper anyway). So, I'll drop a section of them into each installment in the next few posts about my dissertation.

Following up on that last post, I went through the second chapter of Arabian Sands and got some quotes from Wilfred Thesiger about Dhofar in the 1940's. I need to go through one more chapter - one of the ones I read about a week and a half ago - and pull a few more quotes about the political situation in Oman prior to 1970, and then I'll be able to shelf Arabian Sands again. (In fact, let's just assume that I've finished that by the time this gets posted.

I also utilized Excel - as I've done in several of my writing projects this year - to sort some of my sources into various categories. At the moment, my sources number over two hundred, and the master list is divided up by type, not by subject. So, I went through my master list and moved the individual citations into individual columns to divide them up by topic. I'm not done yet - that particular effort was begun before I wasted more than two hours of my life seeing Man of Steel. Eventually, I'll have a master list divided up by type (book, article, treaty, and such), and then alphabetical by author within the individual sections; and a secondary list by topic. I may even figure out a way to do it so that I can plug it into Excel, move a column or two around, hit sort, and have them line up automatically by category. I'm sure that there's a way to do it, so I'll work on it. So, here's an example of one of those citation sub-sections, this one being on American and Afghan small arms in my section on logistics.
Small Arms:
[] Bowden, Mark; Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War; Atlantic Monthly Press; Berkeley, California; March 1999; pp. 208

[] Chivers, C.J.; Afghan Marksmen - Forget the Fables; New York Times At War Blog; N/A; 26 March 2010

[] Chivers, C.J.; The Weakness of Taliban Marksmanship; New York Times At War Blog; N/A; 02 April 2010

[] Christian (pseudonym); The Myth of Afghan Marksmanship; Kit Up! Blog; N/A; 12 April 2010

[] Cox, Matthew; Newer carbines outperform M4 in dust test; Army Times; N/A; 17 December 2007

[] Cox, Matthew; M4 may get tougher barrel, better mags; Army Times; N/A; 17 December 2007

[] Emanuel, Jeff; The Longest Morning; The American Spectator; Samarra, Iraq; 01 November 2007

[] Hambling, David; Taliban Seek Rifles with More 'Punch'?; Danger Room Blog; N/A; 02 September 2009

[] Lowe, Christian; M4 Carbine Fares Poorly in Dust Test;; N/A; 18 December 2007

[] N/A; 7.62 mm Versus 5.56 mm - Does NATO Really Need Two Standard Rifle Calibers?; Global Security/CSC 1986; N/A; 1986

[] N/A; Environmental Exposure Report: Depleted Uranium in the Gulf (II), Tab H: Friendly-fire Incidents; Office of the Secretary of Defense; Washington, D.C.; 13 December 2000

[] Phillips, Michael M.; Sniper in Afghan Town Puts Marines on Edge; Wall Street Journal; Sangin, Afghanistan; 19 August 2010

[] Yon, Michael; Precision Voting; Michael Yon Online Magazine; Helmand Province, Afghanistan; 31 August 2009

[] Ward, Carroll; Could This Be Your Next Carbine?; Defense Tech; N/A; 27 December 2007

[] Wilson, Royce; SMLE: The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III; Australian Shooter Magazine; Unley, South Australia; September 2007; N/A
So, the work continues. Once I have those at least mostly sorted, I can move them section by section into the tentative outline I got sorted out last week. I'll also move those quotes into individual sections as well. As for quotes, let's start the quote series out with a long quote from Colin S. Gray's Modern Strategy, which will inevitably be cut down and sectioned off within the actual paper:
The domain of strategic effect, purposeful or otherwise, is not confined to 'civilized', as contrasted with 'savage', warfare. There are two principal errors to avoid. The first is to regard the realm of real war and 'real soldiering' as coterminous with symmetrical conflict, at least as roughly identical to the experience of regular forces fighting regular forces. This error can promote the idea that 'small wars', in Callwell's meaning, are irrelevant, perhaps dangerously irrelevant, diversions from the mainstream requirement to prepare for real war (i.e. grande guerre). Armed forces that decline to take small wars seriously as a military art form with their own tactical, operational, and political - though not strategic - rules invite defeat. The second error is to regard small wars and other forms of savage violence as the wars of the future that will largely supplant the allegedly old-fashioned state-centric 'regular' wars of a Westphalian world. There are some grounds for identifying a contemporary 'transformation of war' that favours irregular forces and violence, just as there are some grounds for claiming that the state, at least in the forms promoted by Westphalia, is in sharp decline, even if it is not quite ready to fall.

The errors cited immediately above are errors only of emphasis. Small wars can detract from the readiness of regular forces to take the field against other regular forces. Good tactical habits for frontier warfare in Waziristan can be lethal if carried over to the killing-fields of Flanders. Furthermore, the would-be practitioner of a small war, on either side of the combat, would do well to study the closest approximation to the (fairly) modern bible on the subject, Mao Tes-tung's (and collaborators) corpus classicus on guerrilla warfare and related topics. Mao is crystal-clear on the complementarity of irregular and regular forces and irregular and regular warfare. Indeed, he reminds any candidate romantics about guerrilla warfare, those who are seduced into the folly of what can be called 'guerrilla-ism' where guerrilla warfare is praciced and valued almost as an end in itself, that such a character of struggle is only instrumental. Writing in 1934 about the anti-Japanese struggle, though with the Nationalist foe in mind, the Maoist school observed that 'if we view war as a whole, there can be no doubt that our regular forces are of primary importance, because it is they who are alone capable of producing the decision'. Moreover, some elements among regular forces can operate as guerrillas, though not if they function in regular ways - irregular war is a state of mind, an approach, as well as a set of tactical skills - and they can operate in an anti-guerrilla mode. Regular armed forces today are not being atavistic when they resist political pressure literally to 'lighten up' for duty focused on the lower end of the scale of violence. There is much that regular forces trained and equipped for 'heavy' regular warfare can do to adapt to the demands of small wars. By way of contrast, regular armed forces scaled back in equipment and mass to cope with operations other than war (including peacekeeping duties) and small wars proper, would be all but useless if confronted suddenly with a requirement from policy to wage major regional combat. Given the lead time for procurement of ships and aircraft, that argument applies even more strongly to navies and air forces than it does to armies.

The second error, the heralding of a transformation in war with most belligerents comprising sub- or trans-state groups, is an error only if one exaggerates the evident contemporary trend away from state-to-state conflicts. The 'trend' is real, but it may prove short-lived. Small wars of various kinds are preoccupying many military professionals today because these conflicts are extant and appear most probably for the next few years. There was a notable 'trend' towards peace, even political peace, in the 1920s. Contemporary trends in favour of sundry forms of violence between 'civilizations', and - to take a further example - in favour of a nuclear taboo that delegitimizes nuclear coercion, are both possibly the products of passing contexts only. Although small wars and other variants of savage violence are widespread today and seem likely to enjoy a healthy future, they are only one strand in future strategic history.

Small wars, terrorism, and other low-level nastiness demonstrate the interplay between theory and practice. They are a set of options (sometimes available) within the growing complexity of modern war. They illustrate just how difficult it is to register superior strategic performance. They share hallmarks throughout strategic history, even as the technology of war has changed. These savage 'peacetime' wars can present political demands for guardianship of a peace with security scarcely less challenging than is the menace of more regular, militarily symmetrical aggression.
- Colin S. Gray, Modern Strategy, pp. 279-281
Notably, that book was published in 1999, before 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq... And, of course, Gray is entirely correct.

Alright, folks, stay tuned.

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