“To know yourself, to know the enemy and to know the environment you will always be victorious in countless numbers of battles” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
On May 27, 1942 two Czechs working for the British SOE assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the second highest SS officer in the Nazi regime, in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Heydrich was the architect of the “Final Solution” and the leading figure at the Wannsee Conference. Heydrich’s death did not stop the Holocaust or in any way dampen the Nazi’s ability to wage war.
On April 18, 1943 planes of the U.S. Air Force intercepted and shot down the plane carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the leading Imperial Japanese Naval Commander and the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, over Buin in the South Pacific near Rabaul. Yamamoto’s death did not end the war with Japan and in any way dampen Japan’s ability to wage war.
We did not enter World War Two to defeat the Blitzkrieg of the 2nd SS Panzer Division or the defeat the Kamikaze attacks of Japanese. These were tactics used by the enemy as part of an overall strategy just as our strategic bombing of Europe and the battle of Guadalcanal were tactics of an overall strategy to defeat the Nazi war machine and the Empire of Japan.
To say the assassination of Osama bin Laden is a victory in the “War on Terror” is a complete fallacy. Terror is a tactic and bin Laden was one of the experts in this tactic. To say we are engaged in a war on terror is analogous to saying we went to war in 1941 to defeat blitzkrieg or the Japanese navy. In World War Two we had the overall strategy of crushing the Empire of Japan and Nazi Germany. What is our strategy today for protecting the vital interests of the United States? Is it Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya?
Today we say we are at war with the Taliban or al Qaeda. This is tantamount to saying we are at war with the 2nd SS Panzer Division or the Japanese 55th Infantry Regiment. Before the Taliban or al Qaeda the leading exponent of the tactic of Terror was Hezbollah. Today Hezbollah is one of those non-state, non-uniformed entities that are controlling the 21st century battlefield. Hezbollah now has sophisticated missiles that can strike any city in Israel. Yes the use of the missile as a weapon terror is true, but what is our strategic plan to deal with this new form of enemy.
In the 1801 we had a problem with the Barbary Pirates. They were capturing and holding for ransom American vessels and seamen. Jefferson sent in the Navy and the Marines to deal with his enemy to protect the vital interests of the United States. The mission was clear because the strategy was defined — to defeat the pirates and out an end to piracy on the high seas.
Today we are having a problem with the Somalian pirates. They have killed American and other seamen in sight of U.S. warships while they do nothing to stop them. This is another example of not having a clear strategy to protect our vital interests. We are more concerned with our position within the United Nations than the protection of our own citizens or commerce.
What are our strategic objectives when it comes to piracy on the high seas against U.S. ships or seamen? Is it to capture them, read them their Miranda rights and bring them back for trial? What is the role of a commander on the ground (or sea) to do when they are witnessing these acts of piracy or terror?
Right now Yemen is becoming the central headquarters for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).Yemen is a neighbor of Somalia and the Somalian pirates are beginning to work with the AQAP. When you combine AQAP with the Taliban in Pakistan, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim brotherhood you now have an axis of Islamic radicalism.
Like in WWII and the Cold War we must define who the enemy is. In WWII it was the Empire of Japan, Nazi Germany and Italy. In the Cold War it was the Soviet Union and its goal of world domination by the spread on communism. These were defined enemies who we could develop strategic goals for their defeat and he protection of our security and vital interests.
Today we must define the enemy before we can develop a strategy to defeat him As Sun Tzu said: “To know yourself, to know the enemy and to know the environment you will always be victorious in countless numbers of battles”. Today our enemy is Islamic Radicalism — or as some call it Islamic Fascism. We must make this clear to the American people. Just as we made clear who are enemies were WWII and the Cold War. Islamic Radicalism is every bit as dangerous to our national security as the Nazis or communists were.
The first part in the new strategy for the 21st century battlefield is to deny the enemy sanctuary. Our military is the most mobile military in the history of the world. We can move from place to place with great speed and efficiency yet we bog it down in forward operating bases and nation building. They now become targets for an enemy that has the ability to move across borders with ease. As an example in Afghanistan the Taliban fighters strike our forward bases then run over the Pakistan for refuge and to rearm. Our troops are forbidden to seek and destroy them in Pakistan. We have great air support for our troops, yet their targets are selected by lawyers and they cannot strike into Pakistan where the Taliban has sanctuary.
The second step is to define the enemy, or as Sun Tzu says “know the enemy.” As stated above the enemy is Islamic Radicalism. We know who it is but we are reluctant to publically define it. The majority of the American public knows who the enemy is, but our leaders are loath to say the words “Islamic Radicalism.”
Without a clear definition of the enemy our military cannot be given a clear and definable mission. During the WWII the U.S. government made a series of films directed by Frank Capra called “Why We Fight.” This series of seven propaganda films was commissioned by the United States government during World War II to demonstrate to American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war. Where is such propaganda today. Instead we have Hollywood turning out films that are pro Islam and anti-military.
The third step is to cut off the flow of men and materials. This is done through intelligence and interdiction. Our enemy is mobile. He can move from place to place with impunity. Right now there is a flotilla of arms and supplies heading to Israel for Hezbollah. The Israelis will have to interdict this flotilla at a great cost in public relations, but they must do it if they wish to survive. Their enemies know this and are willing to risk mortal confrontation to achieve their public relations goals. This is a part of their strategy and they will use useful idiots as their pawns.
The Somalian pirates can attack ships and then seek safe harbor in Yemen where they can be resupplied with arms and military equipment. The Taliban is constantly being rearmed in Pakistan with arms coming in from China, Russia and Venezuela. In Iraq the insurgents are still being armed from Iran.
This also includes the security on our southern border. We cannot allow the constant influx of illegal immigrants bringing drugs and draining our economy. These insecure borders offer the terrorist a perfect way of bringing in men and weapons that can be used against us.
The fourth step may be the most critical. We must win the information war. As I mentioned above we made films clearly stating why we fight during WWII. Today we are losing that information war abroad and at home. We are losing the psychological operations (PSYOPS) war. During WWII and the Cold War we had radio stations beaming our messages at the Nazis and Eastern Bloc countries under Soviet domination. We had the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. These radio stations were staffed with commentators who had fled these dominated nations and were native speakers. They were known for bringing the news from the west and attempting to tell the truth.
Today we need radio, TV and the World Wide Web to do this work. We are failing badly at this tactic. On the other hand the enemy’s message gets through to us with impunity. We even have NPR carrying broadcast from Al Jazeera and our own Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, claiming it is better than our own cable news services as there are no commercials. If there are no commercials how is Al Jazeera supported? They are supported by financing from the Gulf States for the purpose of spreading their message to us.
We also have our own media working against our national interests. In many cases they have taken on a political agenda that runs counter our national interests. They readily report bad actions by our military like Abu Ghraib, but ignore the bad acts of the enemy. The Islamic Radicals seem to be winning the PSYOPS war.
The fifth step is to reduce the enemy’s sphere of influence. How could a U.S. Army officer kill 13 and wound 29 at a U.S. Army base in Texas? The Fort Hood shooting should never have happened. The sphere of Islamic Radicalism is advancing through Europe and the United States. We are allowing organizations like CAIR to advance their radical message on our TV news. Mosques are becoming sanctuaries for radical Islamist to indoctrinate the youth and finance terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. Our political correctness is causing us to turn a blind eye towards the growing influence radical Islam.
We must also realize there is an economic element to our 21st century battlefield. The USSR did not collapse because their military was weak; they collapsed because their economy fell apart. This did not go unnoticed by China. Today we have an economic battlefield with China. Due to our trade imbalance and borrowing China holds 29% of our national debt. This is unacceptable if we with this nation to survive.
In 8 to 10 years China will have the largest blue water navy in the world. The earth is covered to the tune of 70% with water so this gives China quite a leg up on us. Remember it was the power of their navy that allowed the Empire of Japan to dominate the Pacific in WWII until our navy was powerful enough to defeat them. Great civilizations like the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Portuguese, Spanish, French and British used their navies to dominate commerce and advance their interests in the world. Soon it will be the Chinese at the helm.
At the end of the Cold War our navy consisted of 546 ships. We now have 284. Yes the ships may be better and more technologically advanced, but so was the German ME 262 jet fighter. The problem was the Germans did not have enough of them to make a difference. We need a strong navy to protect our sea lanes for commerce and counter the threat of the Chinese.
By 2014 the expansion of the Panama Canal will be completed allowing larger ships to pass through. This is a canal built by the United States and now under the operational control of a Chinese contractor.
The final element in our 21st century battlefield is energy. In the late 1970s there was an oil embargo against us by our Middle Eastern oil producing “friends”. This embargo caused massive lines at the gas pumps and frustration among the American people. The U.S. Government created the Department of Energy in 1977 during the Carter administration. The aim of the DOE was to make the United States energy independent.
34 years later with some 109,000 employees (16,000 federal and 93,000 contract) and an annual budget of $24 billion we are just as dependent on foreign sources of energy as we were in 1977.
Today energy is being used as a weapon. Today we import 62% of our oil with 20% coming from Canada, 10% from Mexico and 32% coming from states under the control of Islamic governments or dictators like Cesar Chavez in Venezuela. The situation is much worse for Europe. They are not only dependent on the Islamic countries, but also are under the thumb of Russia for their oil; and natural gas. This is why we at war with Libya. (Click here for an interactive map of the oil producing nations of the world).
If we expect to win on the 21st century battlefield we must develop a strategic vision for the use of all of our energy resources; oil, coal, natural gas, wind and solar and we must do it quickly.
People say it will take 10 to 12 years to develop these energy resources. That’s nonsense. If the DOE and EPA would get out of the way these energy resources would come on line much quicker. American industry can do it if he government gets out of the way.
After the battle of the Coral Sea in WWII the aircraft carrier Yorktown was severely damaged and limped back to Pearl Harbor. The time estimated to complete repairs was 6 to 7 months. This was not good enough for Admiral Nimitz. He needed that carrier. He pushed his men and he contractors and they completed repairs in 3 weeks. As soon as the repairs were completed the Yorktown went to sea and was engaged in the battle of Midway, a battle that turned the tide of the war in the pacific. We need to utilize the full spectrum of or energy resources and we need to do it now.
To fight and win the 21st century battlefield we need a national security roadmap based on the DIME principle — Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic. With the 2012 presidential race heating up we need to listen to the Republican candidates to hear what they have to say about the DIME principle. Not just old worn out platitudes but solid, concrete proposals for how they will insure our national security and protect our vital interests.