Cultural Revolutions

A False Sense of Security

The Taliban’s defeat may give the American people a false sense of security.  They may convince themselves that we can vanquish those who launch terror attacks on us with the use of our push-button arsenal and massive airpower, precision missiles, and a modest use of ground forces—Special Forces, light infantry, and Marines, or even local militias, such as the Northern Alliance.  That would be the wrong lesson to take from Operation Enduring Freedom.  The Taliban and their erstwhile Al Qaeda allies played to our strengths by creating an armed force that tried to mirror a conventional army.  They utilized bases, barracks, planes, tanks, artillery, motor-vehicle pools, anti-aircraft systems, and fixed command-and-control facilities, and they constructed an elaborate defensive system of trenches to fend off the Northern Alliance.  In short, they provided a vast array of targets for our push-button war machine.

In classic revolutionary-war theory, successful insurgents move through four stages: organization, terror, guerrilla war, and, finally, mobile war.  Each stage builds upon its predecessor; by the time the insurgency reaches the guerrilla-war stage, it is in possession of occupied territory, which enables it to construct bases.  These bases are used to assemble personnel and equipment, organize them into larger units, and train them to conduct the conventional military operations characteristic...

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