William Lind is predicting that the U.S. will attack Iran sometime before Christmas.  It’s not clear where he is getting his information.  In any event, he is predicting that it will be a disaster for the U.S. because we are/will be encircled, having our supply lines cut by the Iranians, or a mix of Iranian regulars and Iraqi Shia militia.  He explains his reasoning in terms of Boyd’s OODA loop, as well as the Reformers’ traditional rejection of “complex, hi-tech” systems which, in this case, apparently applies to Power Point as well.

The second danger is that regular Iranian Army divisions will roll into Iraq, cut our supply lines and attempt to pocket us in and around Baghdad. Washington relies on American air power to prevent this, but bad weather can shut most of that air power down.

Unfortunately, no one in Washington and few people in the U.S. military will even consider this possibility. Why? Because we have fallen victim to our own propaganda. Over and over the U.S. military tells itself, “We’re the greatest! We’re number one! No one can defeat us. No one can even fight us. We’re the greatest military in all of history!”

It’s bull. The U.S. armed forces are technically well-trained, lavishly resourced Second Generation militaries. They are being fought and defeated by Fourth Generation opponents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They can also be defeated by Third Generation enemies who can observe, orient, decide and act more quickly than can America’s vast, process-ridden, Powerpoint-enslaved military headquarters. They can be defeated by strategy, by stratagem, by surprise and by preemption. Unbeatable militaries are like unsinkable ships. They are unsinkable until someone or something sinks them.  {Lind, “On War #190”, 2006}

All the traditional dualisms which drove the Reformer rhetoric of the late 1970s are still at work here.  Technical training and hi-tech weapons are presented as inherently opposed to/by strategy, the OODA loop, creativity in the form of deception and cunning, etc.

Of course, we also have the “Second Generation” insult.  Second Generation, in Lind’s positivist, Whiggish theory of military historical development, would mean that the U.S. military is pre-WWII, pre-blitzkrieg in its thinking, not even capable of defeating the supposedly smarter, Third Generation WWII-era German army.  Judge for yourself whether that sounds correct, and whether technology is really that irrelevant in combat.

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