Sunday, November 14, 2010

Will Breaking?

The question at the core of the use of force, be it economic, political, kinetic or social is why such force induce others to accept the will of the guy at other end of the force. The beatings will continue until morale improves. "Bomber" Harris calculated that a few bombing raids of Germany would force Hitler to the bargaining table.

High Altitude Strategic Bombing was gospel in the US Army Air Force during WW 2. The theory, in addition to the "break their will" approach was to destroy key industrial complexes and communications centers with bombs dropped from 30,000 feet into specified "pickle barrels". The Strategic Bombing report done by the US Government after the war stated that barely five percent of the strategic bombs dropped by the USAAF on German or Japanese actually landed anywhere near their target. German production levels continued to rise throughout the war.

All the Anglo-American strategic bombing did of value was to divert Axis fighter aircraft from the front lines, which absence facilitated the forward advance of ground forces in no small war. The bitter aftertaste of the wreckage of German and Japanese homes is fundamental in understanding the popular resistance today in those countries for any further military adventures. In that regard, the bombing helped secure the peace.

The Japanese high command figured that the destruction of the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the invasions of the Philippines, Dutch East India, and the British would bring the Allies to the bargaining table. Their estimate was correct, of course, but the bargaining table was on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

This all goes to the heart of the question of what one is trying to do with using force against any political aggregate to get them to bend to our will. Military Theoreticians most revered today include Alfred Thayer Mahan, and Karl von Clausewitz. First for his work on Sea Power, the other on Ground Warfare. Both stress the concept of a massive engagement at a strategic time and place to win wars.

That's what the Japanese tried at Midway. Japanese submarines were not used as commerce raiders like ours and the Germans, and despite having some of finest subs and certainly the best torpedo, their submarine force did little significantly. The love affair with Clausewitz in the US Army has focused US military design, doctrine, and operations seeking to smash the "center of gravity" of the opposition.

The Concept of a Center of Gravity is holy writ in the US Army, mainly because Clausewitz didn't edit his book as it is a compilation of his writings gathered by his wife after he died. The book is long, and most I know don't read the book all the way through which shows there are several "centers of gravity" but leaves the instructions on how to find them in the wind. Centers of gravity are best thought of as a cross between the Emperor's New Clothes, and a snipe hunt.

WW2 shows some very critical differences on how wars are ended. Hitler retained effective control over his military which had tried 42 times to kill him until the Red Army posted it's Red Flag on the Brandenburg Gate.

Hirohito, on the other hand, pulled off a palace coup and took advantage of his status as a god, to end the fighting despite a last ditch attempt by members of his guard to stop him. Hirohito's mind and that of many other senior Japanese political and military leaders knew the jig was up as Soviet forces blitzed Manchuria and landed on Japan's Northern Territories.

Our operations in the Middle East have been driven by Clausewitzean logic, when the successes and failures of Hitler, Stalin, Lincoln, George Washington, Queen Victoria, and the Roman Empire provide a better selection of variables to study. In an effort to reduce the process to it's simplest form so that Sergeants and teach Generals and politicians where the cookies crumble. And it all has to start with how culture affects the structure, dynamics and cohesion and disintegration of groups be they simple aggregates or membership groups.

All too often the inner circle of the leadership core is solely concerned with it's own survival and aggrandizement. The security mechanisms to protect the leader are the link pins of the nation. Baghdad was virtually free of Saddam's Army as he feared the Army and Republican Guard would steal the nation if they could get Baghdad.

The Republican Guard was a counter weight to the Iraqi Army. The SS was the counterweight to the German Army, as was the KGB a counter to the Red Army. Our Constitution splits the military power of the nation between state and federal, and between Congress and the President.

The concepts of F4F and the Drama Triangle as applied to societies, organization and groups is the first place one looks for strengths and weaknesses and their susceptibility to pressure.