On War #243: Operationalizing Tactical Successes in Iraq

By William S. Lind

Fourth Generation Seminar

(Note: This On War column is a product of the Fourth Generation War seminar, whose earlier products include the fourth generation war manual FMFM-1A [237 KB PDF]. The seminar, which I lead, is currently composed of U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army officers, mostly captains. W.S. Lind)

Recent tactical successes in Iraq, especially the reduction in violence in Anbar province and in Baghdad, have led some people to assume that we are now “winning the war.” However, for any tactical successes to add up to a win, they must be operationalized. That is, through operational art, they must be positively related to strategic success. While reducing the level of violence is no doubt necessary for strategic success in Iraq, it does not automatically lead to that goal.

If our enemies in Iraq (and elsewhere) are non-state, Fourth Generation forces, then strategic success is best defined as their opposite, i.e., seeing the re-emergence of a state in Iraq. While Iraq currently has a government, it remains largely stateless. Restoring a real state in Iraq requires not just a government but a government that is generally accepted as legitimate. No government created or installed by a foreign, occupying power is likely to achieve legitimacy.

This poses a serious operational obstacle for U.S. forces in Iraq, one that is common in Fourth Generation conflicts. While we can only win if a real state re-emerges, we cannot create such a state, nor be seen as doing so. When it comes to legitimacy, we have a “reverse Midas touch.” The operational question, therefore, is: how do we indirectly encourage and facilitate the re-emergence of a state in Iraq?

The basic answer, in the view of the seminar, is to facilitate a bottom-up re-creation of an Iraqi state by building connectivity among local areas that have achieved a reasonable level of security. There is no guarantee expanding connectivity will eventually lead to a state, but it seems to offer the best chance of attaining that decisive strategic goal.

The seminar’s specific ideas for developing increasing connectivity include:

  • Recognize that increased economic activity which raises local living standards is likely to be welcomed by the Iraqi people, and that restoring economic connectivity is a promising tool to that end. Until the American invasion and subsequent dissolution of the Iraqi state, Iraq had a national economy. The basis for a national economy therefore still exists in the minds and experiences of Iraqis (which is an advantage over some other stateless areas). Actions by U.S. forces that could encourage the growth of economic connectivity include:
    • Establish safe roads for commerce between Iraqi cities.
    • Provide capital for businesses that function beyond the local level, e.g., regional banks.
    • Provide matching grants to fund local chambers of commerce, and increase the percentage of the match if the local chambers form regional and trans-regional chapters.
    • Restore the railroads and water transport. Railroads in particular further regional and national commerce.
    • Make traditional tourist and resort areas safe, along with routes to those areas from major cities.
  • Beyond furthering regional and national commerce, ideas which could help the growth of connectivity include:
    • Fund the establishment and growth of regional and trans-regional educational institutions and sports leagues.
    • Go beyond traditional “sister cities” arrangements to create “sister state/province” relationships between American states and Iraqi provinces. Such a relationship between, for example, Anbar province and an economically powerful American state such as New York or California could provide multiple inducements to connectivity among local areas in Anbar.
    • Create something similar to the Boy Scouts. A national Iraqi youth organization that brought young Iraqi men from different sects and regions together could help reduce the recruiting base for sectarian and local militias.

These examples merely illustrate our point, the need and potential for using improved security in portions of Iraq to generate connectivity that may, in time and with luck, lead to the bottom-up creation of a genuine, legitimate Iraqi state, one that is accepted by most Iraqis. While working indirectly to generate such connectivity may seem like a strange approach to operational art to some military practitioners, we believe it does constitute a linkage between tactical successes and the strategic goal, which is the essence of the operation level of war. It should not surprise us that, in Fourth Generation war, operational art changes as much as traditional tactics must change if U.S. forces are to achieve what we can honestly call victory.

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22 Responses to “On War #243: Operationalizing Tactical Successes in Iraq”

  1. gracaton 13 Dec 2007 at 6:18 pm 1

    I’m going to stick my uneducated neck out on this one because I have great respect for Mr. Lind and I am an avid reader of his writings.

    I think it is too late for any “American” style “Anytown USA” solutions to Iraq. I don’t think the Chamber of Commerce works that well in this country. The Boy Scouts have been a subject of controversy for years now and tourist resorts are way down the road. I think a rapid phased withdrawal from Iraq and a purely Arab/Persian/Kurd/Turk etc. effort is best for all. Of course there would be western money in the mix there always has been.

    Sincerely, Donald

  2. vomacton 13 Dec 2007 at 6:45 pm 2

    “This On War column is a product of the Fourth Generation War seminar…”

    Ah, it was written by a committee. That explains the untrammeled optimism (so uncharacteristic of Mr. Lind), as well as the presence of words like “connectivity” and “operationalized”.

    I agree with the previous commentator…the only “solution” available to us is to exploit the appearance of gains in Iraq with an immediate declaration of victory, and a prompt withdrawal. I would have thought this was Mr. Lind’s position also; perhaps it is–when he is not speaking for a committee?

  3. dckinderon 14 Dec 2007 at 12:23 am 3

    A cynic might be forgiven for suggesting that similar stratagems might help pacify downtown Los Angeles.

  4. maximilliangcon 14 Dec 2007 at 2:58 am 4

    Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen,

    I agree the US should withdraw.
    There have been inumberable opportunities even before now,
    the most senseable idea was not to go in at all.

    Having said that, and I hate to be the one to break this

    On the contrary, Iraq maybe considered almost as what Guam or Okiknawa
    are the the USA, in perpetuity.

    I said in perpetuity.
    That means forever.


  5. batondoron 14 Dec 2007 at 3:31 am 5

    Well, the first three** comments are not very encouraging; then again, neither is the fanciful decentralized (though US-flavored) “project” offered by the seminar (at least in this synopsis)…

    … and that’s said with the greatest respect to its participants who have been dealt the doubly tragic hand of a mission already delegitimized in the public eye whatever its merits or however indispensable it might have been under different circumstances and a toolkit so completely depleted by incompetent planning and wishful thinking that naive creativity seems the only resource in plentiful supply. These young* men and women are searching for a solution because admitting the futility of the task under the strategic terms of engagement at hand is not on the accepted list of outcomes.

    The contrast of this entry with the one that preceded by Douglas Macgregor is particularly sobering, especially if one considers the short term implications of a rhetorically mitigated retreat for the morale of those who have participated – and sacrificed – in the name of the United States of America. I would suggest that “declaring victory” is as shallow as “staying the course”… but that making a firm, fair, and truly bipartisan offer to the Iraqis, the regional actors, and the international community for a fundamental change in the role of the US (with the possibility that they will hold us to it) is the only way that the value of that sacrifice can be recuperated in part…

    … but the current farce in which the Iraqis negotiate for us at the United Nations to retain the formal legitimacy of our involvement while simultaneously extracting a unilateral power to veto that presence at any moment is the exact opposite… and that is in anticipation of a bilateral agreement that will tie our hands all the more tightly. It is almost certainly too late to change the dynamic that will otherwise allow the current political bunch in charge in DC and the Green Zone to play out their hands between now and the end of 2008, but the legacy they will leave behind will be all the more difficult to untangle if nothing changes between now and then (and that assumes no fundamental shift ‘for the worse’ in the next year because I don’t think any reasonable person can as yet envision a definitive ‘change for the better’…).

    I say “No Secret Agreements” (for something negotiated in secret as a fait accompli is only fair to its authors…), but rather a polite but public ultimatum to negotiate a new international mandate immediately in which the role of the United States will be no more than 50% of all foreign involvement in both manpower and capital commitment by the end of 2008 and that the regional actors should supply at least 50% of those remaining resources in the same timeframe… with an underlying goal, of course, of increasing Iraqi control as quickly as possible while not accepting it under any and all conditions…

    A viable arrangement under the terms of the current Iraqi constitution should not be that difficult to put on the table… and if the Iraqis refuse at the national level, then we could still propose to establish relationships with the provincial power centers on similar terms in order to attempt to mitigate the expansion and transformation of the chaos into other obvious forms (between those regions with which we continue to be welcome and those from which we withdraw as well as those neighboring countries that are feeling the pressures along their borders as well as internally from a growing refuge presence).

    And if we are rebuked entirely, then at least our men and women in uniform can leave with the honor and with few lingering obligations…

    Thinking that we can ‘transform’ Iraqi culture from the bottom up with material comforts and civic institutions imported and engineered by our own hand is pleasant on the spirit… but recent experience should dissuade even the most optimistic (or naive) among us. Like Vietnam today, Iraq may one day be reconstituted as a stable and unitary entity that has regained a degree of peace and prosperity…

    … but like Vietnam, Iraq will remain Iraqi (… and I feel obliged to add “whatever that means”).

    * Mr. Lind taking the proper role of the elder as moderator… or so it would seem. He has already suggested elsewhere that the reestablishment of The State in Iraq was necessary but that the only plausible form would have a Iraqi Shia core… but I believe that he and others have also raised serious questions about the artificiality of the Iraqi state in the first place!

    ** A fourth comment just added, little response is required except for an invitation to reread James Fallows’ “Fifty First State”… and then remember that we rather attempted something similar in the Philippines a century ago (in other words, “Iraq” and “Guam” are hardly equivalent and the Japanese are not likely to ask us to leave Okinawa very soon with China flexing its muscles…).

  6. batondoron 15 Dec 2007 at 1:11 pm 6

    Followup with qualified apology to Fallows:

    I reread my post and realized that the critique of “Declaring Victory” as a strategy and the juxtaposition of “The Fifty First State” as a prescient exercise was unfair to James Fallows…

    … And then I thought it over and decided that it wasn’t that incoherent after all! I’m not going to presume that you’ll all agree with this logic, but there is a world of difference between wisely “declaring victory” in a war such as GWOT that is simultaneously oxymoronic and stupidly boundless in both space and time by its very definition… and arbitrarily “declaring victory” in an all-too-real conflict such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan where the the battle is joined, the situation is anything but stably resolved, and where our spontaneous and unilateral departure will certainly have as big an impact as our continued dominating presence.

    On the other hand, I don’t want to give the impression that the specific objectives proposed by the seminar participants are anything but laudable and, to a certain degree, are obvious to the point of tautological (the Boy Scouts aside unless other Brotherhoods are included… and let’s not forget the Girls/Sisters in the mix).

    The key point that I wanted to make, however, is that “we” can only participate in this process if the “we” is expanded more formally to dilute the “US” in it (and that goes for the “West” in general even if an expanded role for NATO and/or the UN would be constructive in the interim…). As the foreign role becomes more multifaceted, reserved, and hopefully more culturally consistent with the environment, so will the emergence of an Iraqi leadership and cadre unburdened by the tag of ‘collaborator’ be possible…

    * the coastal bit with Russia notwithstanding

  7. batondoron 15 Dec 2007 at 1:19 pm 7

    * the coastal bit with Russia notwithstanding

    Sorry… this refers to a parallel but different argument that I deleted because it’s ultimately too discouraging…

    … that being that Iraq may, in fact, be more comparable to the split Korean peninsula that we would care to admit precisely because the Koreas are essentially the same cultures – whatever stark differences have been overlaid since the Cold War – and that the relatively simple geopolitical simplicity of Korean existence with it’s unique* [see above] and equally Confucian neighbor to the north makes the unification of the Koreas seem like child’s play compared to a stable and durable political environment that includes all of what is today known as Iraq (and the same, to some degree, could be said of the two Germanies… but that’s another question).

    I cut out the comment but have reconstituted it here as best I can to clarify a dangling qualifier that otherwise has no meaning…

  8. seydlitz89on 16 Dec 2007 at 6:52 pm 8

    I’m trying to maintain something of a not so critical attitude towards 4GW, but Lind keeps saying really strange things. . .

    “However, for any tactical successes to add up to a win, they must be operationalized. That is, through operational art, they must be positively related to strategic success. While reducing the level of violence is no doubt necessary for strategic success in Iraq, it does not automatically lead to that goal.”

    Tactical success leading to strategic success; the proper use of the military means to attain the military aim which supports the further attainment of the political purpose, which is peace. All very clear and all very Clausewitzian. So it seems that Lind has turned into a “temple dog” of the same school of strategic theory he ineffectively, but constantly attempts to trash?

    This particular argument was even clearer in his May 29th 2007 piece (#219) when Lind wrote,

    “Now, it seems, the Bush Administration insists on extending the folly of maximalist objectives from total war into cabinet wars, and moreover into cabinet wars it is losing (or more accurately has lost). In public, it blathers on about democracy for Iraq, a war objective that reaches beyond maximalism into pure fantasy. In private, its real objectives, unchanged since long before the war began, are no less disconnected from reality. It seeks an Iraq that is a willing American satellite, a bottomless source of oil for America’s SUVs, a permanent site for vast U.S. military bases from which Washington can dominate the region, and an ally of Israel. The skies will be darkened by winged swine long before any of these objectives are attained.

    At this point, for those who want to continue the Iraq war, only one objective makes any sense: restoring a state in Iraq before we leave, or more likely as we leave. A state, any kind of state, under any government; to try to specify anything more is, in the face of our military failure, maximalism and unreality.

    The likelihood, unfortunately, is that no one can restore a state in Iraq. If anyone can, it is probably Muqtada al-Sadr. . .”

    He had obviously temporarialy escaped from his 4GW straitjacket when he wrote that. Of course the political purpose of the Bush administration remains the same, to which is added the commitment to “victory” in Lind’s latest piece, and those members of the 4GW seminar do have to come up with some tangible plan to achieve victory in this “4GW conflict” which requires that they swim upstream in the deterministic 4GW view of history which has the state as an institution collapsing. . . What I also find interesting is how quickly he’s jumped on the “we’re winning cuz of the Surge” bandwagon, although many of those same actions connected with “the Surge” were protested by the Iraqi government at the time, thus only showing their weakness and lack of legitimacy (even in the eyes of the US military).

    So, why not question some of the more obvious assumptions behind Lind’s argument?

    For instance Lind sees the collapse of the Iraqi state as actually the goal of the “non-state forces of the Fourth Generation”, yet it could also be seen as the goal of the same forces that in fact destroyed the Iraqi state, that is the Bush Administration, since that would have made the accomplishment of their goals Lind outlines above possible: divide and conquer being a very old method of empires. What of course is missing in both the Neo-con and 4GW anayses is the political identity of the Iraqis which doesn’t include having a weak US client state or “Warlordistan” with Exxon-Mobil pumping the oil and permanent US military bases. On those points the majority of Iraqis seemingly agree. So they will fight on, just as the Spanish did against the French in 1809 . . .

  9. Cheton 16 Dec 2007 at 9:57 pm 9

    My dear seydlitz89,

    Your post is far too long for a comment (646 words by my count).

    You do make a lot of good points. If you’d like to submit these as articles, I’d be happy to consider them (same ground rules except that there is no length restriction). Articles, unlike comments, may also undergo some editing.

  10. seydlitz89on 16 Dec 2007 at 10:26 pm 10

    Dr. Richards-

    Point taken. I would only add that much of the post consisted of quotes from William Lind. I thought it necessary to add this in order to set the context, but got a little carried away with the word count.

    Actually I would be interested in posting articles on your blog, providing of course Clausewitzians are welcome . . .

    kind regards as always,


  11. Cheton 16 Dec 2007 at 11:37 pm 11

    Dear Seydlitz89 —

    Most definitely!

    We don’t, however, have a category called “Clausewitz,” but you are welcome to cite him or anybody else to make your case. Boyd, incidentally, mentioned Clausewitz more than any strategist other than Sun Tzu.

    Best regards,

  12. maximilliangcon 17 Dec 2007 at 12:09 am 12

    For instance Lind sees the collapse of the Iraqi state as actually the goal of the “non-state forces of the Fourth Generation”, yet it could also be seen as the goal of the same forces that in fact destroyed the Iraqi state, that is the Bush Administration,”

    I mentioned similar previously, that the Iraq campaign could be regarded as a phenomenal success from the position of divide and conquer and conquest of empire.

    To play devils advocate to the next level.

    And there lies the great irrony and hypocracy of the US psyche.
    And one that Perhaps even Lind is not above, that is to say, and it boils down to simply this, if the USA does it, then it’s ok, because we’re the Good guys, as portrayed, and taught to us all, by Hollywood, but if anyone else does similar, then it’s pure evil.

    I’m not sure I actually believe that, and I really admire Lind.
    But that’s a logical extrapolation of this exporation.

  13. jaylemeuxon 17 Dec 2007 at 9:06 am 13

    Maybe my memory is lacking, but I cannot think of any article or statement in which Lind has said or implied that we’re winning because of the surge. To the best of my knowledge, he’s acknowledged some tactical success (more because of what AQIZ’s done wrong than what we’ve done right), but argued that that tactical success was irrelevant because it was moving Iraq further from statehood, rather than closer (due to his assertion that the tribal leaders we’ve empowered in concert with the “Awakening” are not loyal to the Iraqi government).

    In his defense, I recently spoke with my old CO after my former unit returned from another tour in Ramadi. I asked him how our forces are ensuring that the Anbar tribes are being tied to the national government and he didn’t have much of an answer.

    I also feel obliged to point out that not all 4GW theorists agree with Lind that 4GW is all about the shift from state to non-state loyalties.

    Why can’t Lind or anyone else agree with some Clausewitzian principles while rejecting others?

  14. seydlitz89on 17 Dec 2007 at 6:11 pm 14


    Agree, I thought you also brought this out very well with your comment on the “Cognetic Age” thread.


    I agreed with your view of Lind’s take on the surge till this piece. Here he’s talking about “opertionalizing tactical success” which is quite a ways from what he was saying in for instance #219. What he is saying here is also a good bit away from what Douglaus Macgregor was saying in his latest piece (“Will Iraq’s Great Awakening Lead to a Nightmare?”)

    Is it because he’s speaking on behalf of the entire seminar, or has he in fact changed his views? Ambiguous.

    For conversation’s sake I take the extreme view that he has in fact jumped on the surge as victory bandwagon, at least in this piece.

    As to Clausewitz, everyone’s free to say whatever they wish, no matter how dubious, just as with 4GW. But from a theorist of Lind’s ability, I would expect consistency, not trashing the “temple” – that is the general theory – in one piece, and in the very next one reintroducing it minus C.

  15. maximilliangcon 17 Dec 2007 at 8:57 pm 15

    Speaking of progress.
    A question.

    See the link to the news item below.


    Now, why is that every review, and official message coming from Iraq,
    by the US military ever has to do with the warnings that favour
    the continuance and perpetuation of the current occupation.

    It strikes me a more than a little fishy, that those in charge,
    seem to only ever advocate the continuance of current scenario,
    and maintenance of the the current effort.

    To use a crude analogy, why do you suppose the dental profession
    would be reticent towards any positive therapy with a proven ability
    to prevent tooth decay. Such a treatment has been announced.
    Obviously, that profession has a highly vested interest in the present
    status quo. From a critical perspective one could make a compelling argument
    it would not be in their longer term interests. Look no further.

    As does similarly the US military, and military congressional industrial
    complex. The conclusion of the cold war, and the relative stability
    and prosperity that followed, was not in their interests.
    Neither is a conclusion to the bogus Iraq occupation part of the
    similarly concocted GWOT.


  16. seydlitz89on 17 Dec 2007 at 11:14 pm 16


    Could you please restate your question?

  17. jaylemeuxon 18 Dec 2007 at 7:51 am 17

    seydlitz- from the short amount of time i’ve spent interacting with William Lind, I seriously doubt he’s very much changed his views. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that his peers will agree.

    I think the article makes it quite clear that Lind is reporting the results of the seminar, not his personal views; e.g., “The seminar’s specific ideas for developing increasing connectivity include…”

    i’d also say that Lind has never really meant to “trash” Clausewitz, but has stated that CERTAIN PARTS of his theory have become irrelevant (the trinity of warfare, for example).

    it seems like “Tactical success leading to strategic success; the proper use of the military means to attain the military aim which supports the further attainment of the political purpose, which is peace” is, at this point, a pretty well accepted standard whether one is referencing Clausewitz or not.

  18. seydlitz89on 18 Dec 2007 at 6:14 pm 18


    Lind is the leader of the 4GW seminar, he’s also something like a mentor to many of those Army and Marine Corps officers there, so it’s difficult to separate his views from those of the seminar. Before he was very negative towards the surge and now as leader of the seminar he’s talking about “operationalizing tactical success” and then provides a laundry list of ways to do that. Compared to what Macgregor is saying and what Lind said in 219, it’s quite a change. Is it just to offer constructive advice? We’ll see with what he writes in the next pieces.

    As to Lind’s trashing just read his article before this one.

    As to the “irrelevant certain parts” what exactly might those be? And if “certain parts” of the general theory are in fact valid, as the theory is as a whole, then, why not refer to the general theory as the general theory?

    To Clausewitzians there are two “interacting” trinities of warfare introduced in Book 1, Chapter 1. The initial is the “instrumental trinity” of means, military aim, and political purpose which is later contrasted with the “remarkable trinity” of passion, chance, and subordination to policy/politics. There is an implied “physical trinity” of people, military and government, but this can be rephrased as tribe, warriors, and chief without affecting the overall concept. What makes the difference in political communities is the Clausewitzian concept of cohesion, which can be seen as a sliding scale.

    Your “certain part”, the actual strawman of “trinitarian warfare”, is at the most only indirectly Clausewitz, and much more that of Harry Summers, since for C the three moral tendencies (not physical ones) are “variable in their relationship to one another”, unlike the hierachy that Summers postulates.

    As to the “pretty well accepted standard”, well yes the general theory is, and we hope to keep it that way.

  19. maximilliangcon 19 Dec 2007 at 12:51 am 19

    “Could you please restate your question?”
    Comment by seydlitz89

    That was a retorical question I posted, noting that the top brass
    in Iraq only ever seems to report that “we need more time” and “more time,”
    “the next interval being crucual,” “critical,” “pivotal,” and when the
    period expires, again, the situation is “not yet stable,” “we need more time,”
    and “the next 6 months will again be,,,,,,.”

    How many times have we heard this ?

    Come March 08, the US will have been involved in Iraq, this time
    out longer than WW-2.

    Let me give you another analogy,
    It’s surprisingly simple, if you think outside the box that is.
    This is a critical skill in the study and mastery of this study.

    So, here we go, Follow the logic, think about this in terms of a
    sustainable bussiness model.

    It is NOT in the interests of the big multy-national Phamacutical
    companies to ever CURE ANY human ailements.

    It IS in the interests of the same big multy-national Phamacutical
    companies to TREAT human ailements, with their drugs, in perpetuity.

    And thus diabeties, and astmah sufferers, amoung myriad others,
    become valued “customers for life.”

    Similarly, with the US Congressional Military Industrial Complex,
    and the top military brass, it is NOT in thier interests to WIN.

    It IS in their interests to stalemate, perpetuate, prolong,
    protract, and promote conflict.

    Once again, for clarification, the US has reduced war to a
    burgeoning sustainable bussines export, using a classic commercial stratigy, straight out of a “success in business” Harvard text book.

    And there you have it.


  20. jaylemeuxon 19 Dec 2007 at 12:56 pm 20

    seydlitz- I guess you’re taking a more optimistic interpretation of this article than I am. Without any inside information, I am imagining that what happened is that the officers, being emotionally invested in success in Iraq (perhaps having lost some of their men there) were looking for ways to salvage some kind of victory and Lind didn’t stop them from doing so. Maybe he didn’t want to break their spirits-who knows. I do know that if I lead a group of people in coming up with an idea, I won’t later represent my own idea as the groups’ if the two aren’t one and the same.

    When it comes to Clausewitzian theory, I won’t pretend that I’m anywhere near as well versed as you. A few points, though:

    “There is an implied “physical trinity” of people, military and government, but this can be rephrased as tribe, warriors, and chief without affecting the overall concept…”

    Maybe, but I’d like to hear what anthropologists think of the idea that tribe, warriors and chief actually fall into trinitarian categories like that. I wouldn’t want to impose a culture-bound theory on the global phenomenon of warfare. As Col. Boyd pointed out, you cannot determine the consistency of a system from within itself…

    As for the certain parts that Lind thinks are irrelevant he’s said in the past that, in 4GW, politics is an extension of war rather than the other way around (he says elsewhere that the rules are different for state and non-state forces-i’d say that applies to their view of war also). Other than that, he doesn’t need me to defend him.

    I disagree that one needs to accept a particular theory upon acknowledging the validity of certain parts of that theory. I can see how tactics being dictated by strategy and not using the military for idiotic wars that actually hurt your country make sense, but do you really expect me to become a slave to Clausewitz for that?

  21. seydlitz89on 19 Dec 2007 at 6:02 pm 21


    Have you read Alain Joxe by any chance?


    “Politics as an extension of war”, or is it war as an extension of culture?. In either case it seems to be saying tbat the non-state actors have no political purposes, rather are simply “irrational” from a political perspective. How easy then it is to avoid asking what the state’s political purposes in fact are . . . I have read that this is where the anthropology comes in, in better understanding the target community and thus more easily imposing one’s will over them. I know an antropologist btw who is very angry about this particular abuse. Hardly new, I think Ludendorff was saying much the same in the 1930s.

    I would add that for Clausewitz war is the continuation of politics/policy by other means, which makes the organized violence of war a political instrument but separate from politics which has as much to do with compromise and consensus building as it does with exercising the monopoly of violence within a certain territory (the basic definition of the state).

    Btw, Dr Richards has said that John Boyd never questioned Clausewitz’s description of war as the continuation of politics, so if Lind does, then this is a break with Boyd.

    I’m not saying one must accept a particular theory, but if one uses it, simply say so. It’s simple honesty. One can’t honestly talk about the evils of fast food for instance and then in the next breath talk about the superb nutritional value of a Big Mac with fries. One would come across as either a fool, or dishonest. See my point?

  22. maximilliangcon 19 Dec 2007 at 11:01 pm 22


    Have you read Alain Joxe by any chance?


    No. can’t say that I have.
    I will however look out for a synposis.
    On your suggestion.