Against Attrition Warfare

August 27th, 2014
in Op Ed, syndication

Written by

With ISIS gaining more momentum, the U.S. is beating the drum for more military inventions in the Middle East, without thinking it through, again! Three recent news stories:

  1. Obama angrily reacts to James Foley murder: ISIS' ideology is "bankrupt".

  2. Former top general calls on Obama to wipe out ISIS in wake of Foley killing.

  3. Hagel: ISIS Is More Dangerous Than al Qaeda.

Follow up:

Heed my warning: we will again lose, regardless of the short-term outcome of a new war over there! Why? Because we will lose by attrition, just like in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq (again)!

1. Introduction

War is hugely expensive, both in lives and treasure. Nobody launches a war to lose! The one who starts a war almost always wins initially, but eventually loses by attrition in most cases. It's called attrition warfare. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and materiel. The war will usually be won by the side with greater such resources.[1] The word attrition comes from the Latin root atterere to rub against, similar to the "grinding down" of the opponent's forces in attrition warfare.[2]

2. Attrition warfare: four examples

Here are four examples:

  1. American Revolutionary War.

  2. American Civil War.

  3. WWII - Germany.

  4. WWII - Japan.

Let me elaborate on each.

2.1 American Revolutionary War

The British might have been able to successfully fight the war for two to three years. But after it stretched into eight years, the British basically gave up, with logistics being one of the biggest problems.

2.2 American Civil War

Many Americans, especially the Southerners, still reminisce about this war. For example, some still repeat that "Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were great generals" and "the South could have won if this or that were not true."

The simple truth is that the South never really had a chance! The North would have won by attrition, if by nothing else. For more, read: U.S. History: Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South. Here is an excerpt:

In 1860, the North manufactured 97 percent of the country's firearms, 96 percent of its railroad locomotives, 94 percent of its cloth, 93 percent of its pig iron, and over 90 percent of its boots and shoes. The North had twice the density of railroads per square mile. There was not even one rifleworks in the entire South.

2.3 WWII - Germany

With a false sense of invincibility, Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. A huge mistake - He was doomed after that! Here is Joseph Stalin's simple, but well-known, strategy for every major battle, including the fall of Berlin: outnumbering the German soldiers by 1000%! This was on top of the fact that the Soviets not only had better tanks, but also were capable of producing many times more in quantity than the Germans!

Bottom line: Nazi Germany would, most likely, have lost to the Soviets alone, just like Napoleon did early in the 19th century! After all, the Soviets took on some 200 German divisions, while the West (e.g. the U.K. and the U.S.) took on only about 20. Of course, the help from the West had undoubtedly expedited the demise of the Third Reich. But it was the Soviets that decidedly defeated Nazi Germany in Europe, by attrition, with huge military casualties (World War II casualties) and an unmatched amount of natural resources!

2.4 WWII - Japan

Like Hitler, Japan also had a false sense of invincibility: it attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, dragging America into WWII. A huge mistake - Japan was doomed after that! Despite the fact that America's Army was even smaller than Poland's at the time, America was infinitely much more resourceful than Japan!

After the entire country was mobilized, America produced more war ships, more planes, and more of everything, until Japan was completely defeated in less than four short years!

3. Post-WWII

After WWII, the U.S. got into several "bad" wars. Three examples:

  1. The Vietnam War: The U.S. lost, after more than a decade of war!

  2. The Iraq War: The U.S lost. For more, read: Saddam Hussein vs. Emperor Hirohito.

  3. War in Afghanistan: It is still on-going, but the U.S. will lose over there, just like the British did in the mid-1800s and the Soviets did in the mid-1980s!

The U.S. lost (or will lose) all these three wars by attrition! In other words, the locals just kept (or keep) fighting, until the U.S. became (or becomes) too worn out to stay!

Now, how about the world without American meddling? It will be just fine! Any doubt? Just look at Vietnam today - No Americans, no problems! Like the Chinese, the Vietnamese figured out their own way of success, despite decades of communism.

The same will apply to Iraq and Afghanistan! It just will take a long time!

4. The Middle East

The Middle East is a big mess, to which our brainless foreign policy has undoubtedly contributed. Three informative readings:

  1. What's The Real Cost of The Iraq War?

  2. U.S. Middle East Policy: What's Wrong?

  3. Democratic Imperialism.

The Middle East belongs to the people of the Middle East. Only the local people can possibly sort out the big mess, over time. While the U.S. still has responsibility for Iraq (i.e. we broke the jar, without replacing it), we must not be involved anywhere else! Most importantly, we must have no further military intervention in the Middle East!

Basic reasoning: We can't even defeat al Qaeda, how can we possibly think of defeating ISIS, who is much bigger and stronger than al Qaeda? For more, read: 500 of the 2,000 estimated foreign ISIS fighters are believed to be British.

Worse yet, the war with the West is now widely projected and accepted over there as a religious war. How much uglier and more dangerous can it get? Does the U.S. really want to be perceived as a Christian country with a holy war against Islam?

For a comprehensive review of the Iraq War and the situation in Iraq today, here is a must-watch video: Losing Iraq.

5. Discussion

For those Americans who use 9/11 as the excuse for the war on terror, read: Ron Paul on 9/11: Ask the right questions and face the truth. In short, it was our bad foreign policy that caused 9/11, not the other way around!

9/11 did not destroy America. But the ensuing U.S. policy has been doing just that (Global war on terror is officially permanent)! Who would be the most delighted to see this outcome? Osama bin Laden! Who are to blame for this huge mess in America? President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama!

Americans must understand these three basic points:

  1. War is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. What is the end of most of our recent wars? Spreading democracy?  Then we have failed.

  2. Democracy has not even truly worked at home! How could we possibly be so stupid and arrogant as to export it by force?

  3. Our political leaders do not know what they are doing, especially with regard to ISIS, as shown by the image below!

Very importantly, "War is too important to be left to the generals", per Georges Clemenceau! So forget about the generals - Just hold our President(s) accountable!

A country's strength lies in its economy. I believe America's love for war has been destroying America not only economically, but also morally!

Always remember: our biggest economic competitor, not enemy, is China. Militarily, we are doing everything for nothing, while China is doing nothing for everything. For example, we did not even get much oil from Iraq - the Chinese did, instead! For more, read: China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom. How could this have happened? Most Iraqis like the Chinese, but hate Americans!

America, think (The America That Can No Longer Think, Politically)!

6. Closing

Do not bomb Syria (U.S. weighs Military Action against ISIS in Syria)! No more military inventions in the Middle East!

Attrition warfare is a widely known and proven winning strategy throughout human history. Why has the U.S. been going against it, repeatedly, after WWII? Simply dumb!

Why so dumb? It's The Political System, Stupid!

It's time to reform our political system! For more, read my book: "The GOP Bible for 2016"!

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