“He is neither a strategist nor is he
schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a
general. Other than that he's a great military man” said US
[Apologies of the formatting on this post appears weird. Blogger seems to have having issues.]
General Norman Schwarzkopf on Saddam Hussein during the 1991 war, but he might haswell have been describing the US military-industrial complex as a man. Brian
Stewart has an opinion piece up on CBC, where he details what the F-35 fiasco means for the US military and overal US global influence.
In a nutshell, Stewart describes a US military industrial complex that has priced itself out the game. The F-35 represents a point just past the limit of design feasibility and cost-effectiveness. Seduced by US and Lockheed-Martin lobbying, many of the Western governments and air forces fell for a design they could not afford then and definitely cannot afford now. Yet, this was probably a forgone conclusion at somepoint if not now with this particular aeroplane. The US beat the Soviets by outspending them, in the meantime, as Steward suggests, stimulated an arms industry produced more and more sophisticated designs at higher and higher costs. It would eventually invent and price itself out of the game and turn itself into a strategic obstacle to US and its allies.
Because with all the technological superiority came hubris and narrow-sightedness. The military and politicians convinced they could solve complex foreign policy problems with laser-guided bombs dropped from large-package coalition air assaults supporting or in lieu of the most heavily armed and armoured ground forces in the history of the world. The tech made them stupid and once, twice, thrice, from Vietnam, to Iraq and Afghanistan they through the most masses of the most sophisticated armed forces in the world at small groups of lightly armed locals in sandals and had their strategic clocks cleaned. The Communists outright won in Vietnam. Iraq eventually through the Americans out and is still in the throes of factional violence. Afghanistan is a decade old now has actual "fighting seasons" as its NATO trained national army slow disintegrates, US allies make for the exits, and the politicians are still killing Taleban and remaining NATO soldiers on the same roads they were killing them half a decade ago.
The Western military-industrial complex and its subservient politicians and generals has produced people who know how to organise militaries and deploy and coordinate advanced weapon systems in deadly fashion. It has produced operational technologists and technicians, but it has not produced strategists and artists who know the limits of their tools and thinking. Great military men indeed, but none simply great.