Change Is Found and the Second Is Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

change is found and the second is to analyze where it is located in Parker's Western Way of War. These changes can be classified in any one of the three ways namely that of "fits and starts, punctuated equilibrium, and continuity."

Geoffrey Parker was the man who came up with the initial proposal for the Western means of War in his book. He put forward this concept to be studied further and in greater detail than before. This man had much to say about that concept. For instance, in his view throughout the history of western warfare there have existed a common set of practices which appear again and again -- generation after generation. Parker believes this is why the history of the west is a history of victory. In his opinion this also explains why the west has nothing to fear from any army save for themselves (Parker, 2000).

'Continuity' is commonly seen as the characterization of the elements of the common core of the Western Way of War. The Western Way of War in turn has been believed to be at high point for over millennia. 'Punctuated Equilibrium' - is a somewhat debated theory in evolutionary biology (Eldredge and Gould, 1972). It proposes that there are short spans of rapid evolutionary change in species, this is called "punctuated." This is followed by more lengthy periods of almost no change. This part is called equilibrium. Supposedly earthquakes and their aftershocks are an analogy to punctuated and equilibrium.


Parker's 'Western Way of War'

The best and most remarkable description of the rules and guidelines in The Western Way of War are in Parker's book. These rules are eight in number; they are Greek in nature and are found commonly in Western culture. The first is the use of advanced technology -- excellent use of both armor and weapons. The second is their incredible discipline which is the result of extreme training and the ability of soldiers to readily accept commands. Third is the ability to respond intelligently -- they believed in always advancing militarily -- without being laden down by the restrictions of either government or religion. Fourth is involving the greater part of the population in military observance -- encouraging citizen militias and involving the whole community in the decision making process. Fifth is the preference for head-on engagement methods -- choosing to meet the challenge at its head and end the conflict quickly with minimal losses. Sixth is the large numbers of infantry -- the belief that it is the footmen and not the cavalry which ultimately wins war. Seventh is that perhaps the best is the structured use of capital. To impose taxes collect them and then use them to support military campaigns for extended periods of time. Eighth is the opposition to militarism on the basis of morals. There exists among the Greeks the idea of dissent - the belief that the war is not the chosen way of doing things. On the contrary it is the sad truth of human existence (Hanson and Heath, 2001, pp. 61-62).

Identifying Evolutionary Patterns

The western way of war is pretty specific in nature. Some of the patterns of evolution such as "scoring" of continuity and punctuated equilibrium simply do not fit. At various times in history, specific connotations have had very unique and different meanings. Concepts such as civic freedom had an entirely different connotation in times past. The whole matter is quite subjective.

Assessment and Influence

In mostly everything that follows and is being done in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. troops we observe the Western Way of War through two separate lenses. The first lens we use is that of assessment. To this we try and solve two questions: first whether or not an evolutionary pattern is even relevant to us or not; second how does it manifest itself (if indeed it does)? The second lens gives to us paradigms of examples and thoughts which might lengthen or simplify the assessment of U.S. action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following are supporting facts for this:

Advanced technology

Advanced technology is used continually without breaks in between applications or operations. This is usually done through punctuated equilibrium. This shows evolutionary pattern. For instance, in World War 1 the machine gun had been introduced by the Germans. This caught the British and French completely unawares. It caused them great loss and considerable damage.

Gradually and almost without realizing it armies had begun to demand on weaponry by the 1900's. Artillery, machine guns and rifles were talking the place of foot soldiers. This was all too painfully apparent in the first few months of war. Soldiers desperately dug holes in the ground to try and escape the firepower that had been unleashed upon them. They had never faced this type of warfare before. Yet generals never found the root of the problem. Time and time again they gave away their soldiers at the enemy hoping that this time something would be different (Ellis, 1975, p. 179). Maybe this time, in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. strategy may believe that numbers would prevail or maybe the courage of this batch of troops would gain them victory. They never realized that they had entered a different period of time in modern warfare. Never did they realize that it wasn't the enemy they were fighting it was that enemy's global image they were up against. Men counted for absolutely nothing in this new type of modern warfare. It was the time of the global image.

The role of technology is discussed in great detail in Anna Simon's -- War: Back to the future. In it she discusses the role of and not the rule of technology. She also suggests that there are times when the link between two kinds of natures break down and cycles of war reach new heights. The progress of new weapons along with new weapons systems is undoubtedly the catalyst that brings about this change. This has worked in rather an interesting way. Because there were needed new methods to coax people out of fortifications during siege, hence new developments were made in this regard. Because there were needed new defensive systems to keep those fortifications intact, developments were made in this area as well. This was the forerunner of the arms race. From this was born the now Satellites and space powered weapons, used currently in Afghanistan and Iraq. An interesting and somewhat philosophical thought emerges from this. If the means of destruction beats the means of production then no doubt controlling the means of production gives one an almost unbeatable advantage. This goes to show that some weapons maintain a punctuated equilibrium affect from Parker's philosophy in the modern warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq (Simons, 1999, pp. 79-80).

Superior discipline

Once again in evolutionary pattern continuity is striven for and comes to be expected. And if it isn't to be then it is undoubtedly because of a lapse in command. If we now turn to remarks and examples of the U.S. army and their recent ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq we find that not much is different from the past. Examining the doctrine for leadership and discipline in 1941 we find that national respect, discipline, training, and command are as before extremely important.

It is without doubt a generally established fact that a poorly trained unity will fail in times of unexpected adversity especially if the particular adversity in question is novel in nature. This holds particularly well for the first few engagements of a troop. Training and discipline are imperative. It is essential for every leader to take exemplary action against panic, pillage, indiscipline, and other disruptive influences. Discipline is basically the glue which holds together the different members of a unit.

Hence, in the modern war -- a good commander ensures that his men are compatible and that the different members of his group are kept together and that their composition is changed as little as possible. This commander will further ensure that he chooses a leader for each group in which the group members have confidence. He will make sure that each group has the same amount of work and the same amount of leisure. He will make sure that demonstrated responsibility is recognized and thus awarded immediately. The troops will be expected to live up to a high military standard and application of justice will be uniform (FM100-5, 1941, p. 19).

Ingenuity in response

Speaking once again of the evolutionary pattern highlighted by Parker, we will see that on the whole continuity is constant but it may be obstructed at times by an "autocratic' government. If we turn to remarks and examples we will observe that "ingenuity" in response is present at every level of the U.S. government's organization of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is depicted particularly well in the article written by Williamson Murray and McGregor Knox titled Thinking about Revolutions in Warfare. This is…

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