By Other Means 2
Planners in World War 2 solved the problem of accelerating enemy collapse by destroying the societies on which their war-making potential rested, as an alternative to a protracted battle of attrition. They were totally ruthless in selecting their ends; the problem consisted only of finding the means. In the European Theater of Operations, deep strike strategic bombing was largely ineffective until German cities and petroleum refining capacity was destroyed on a large scale. In the Pacific Theater, the US maritime campaign only began to bite when its submarines began annihilating Japanese merchant shipping, after a futile period of attempting to hunt down the Imperial Combined Fleet. For nearly a year, General Haywood Hansell attempted to reduce Japan by conventional high altitude precision bombing. He was replaced by Curtis Lemay after it became clear that his methods were not yielding results. Lemay embarked on a campaign of attacks on Japanese cities unparalleled in history, killing more people one night in Tokyo than in either of the atomic bombings and repeating the performance night after night.
The chosen method of American deep strike against the 21st century terrorist enemy has been to foster democracy in their home countries. 'Democratization' is fundamentally an attempt to destroy the fabric on which the terrorist war-making potential rests. It is the American weapon of choice in lieu of the Atomic Bomb. But the constant rate of casualties in Iraq is an objective reminder that however successful US attempts have been within the theater, the enemy strategic rear -- especially in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia -- has been merely damaged -- not destroyed. The question that must be facing American planners is whether we are at a Haywood Hansell-Curtis Lemay moment: whether some qualitatively new approach must be taken to accelerate the process of democratization in the enemy's strategic rear. Michael Ledeen, writing in the National Review, said:
more time has passed since 9/11 than transpired between Pearl Harbor and the surrender of the Japanese empire, and our most lethal enemies are still in power and still killing our people and our friends. It is good that the desire for freedom is now manifest among the oppressed peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia, and it is very good that dramatic strides toward self-government have been taken by the Georgians, Kyrgistanis, Ukrainians, Iraqis, and Lebanese. But it is not good enough. Indeed, it is shameful that we have yet to seriously challenge the legitimacy of the terror masters in Tehran and Damascus, who represent the keystone of the terrorist edifice.
Our enemies know this, because, to their delight and perhaps their surprise as well, they are still in power throughout the Middle East. Until and unless they are removed, the terror war will continue, our friends in the region will be killed, tortured, and incarcerated, and the president’s vision of regional democratic revolution will go down the memory hole.
Ledeen's boilerplate closing 'Faster. Please.' is less a demand for reckless adventure than a warning against stasis. One of the reasons the Cold War lasted so long was that the United States could muster neither the will nor the method to undermine Communism's strategic rear in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union. It was content, for the most part, to embark on a strategy of containment by challenging its foe on circumscribed battlefields lest things 'escalate', where it typically won, at least in the military sense. The historical Communist response was counterattack on the domestic American political front, a strategy which, until Ronald Reagan, proved largely successful. The deep seated Leftist belief that 'Time is not on America's side" arises from the conviction that that no series of foreign military victories can offset a determined depiction of defeat at home. For it is not only America, but terrorism and before it Communism, which wields the weapon of the 'deep strike'. Its goal is identically to destroy the fabric on which America's war-making potential rests and it succeeded once in Vietnam. The challenge then, is for America to find ways to dramatically speed up the collapse of the despotic systems from which the enemy draws his strength. This is far from impossible. Only a small fraction of America's strength consists of direct military power and only a small fraction of that military power has been employed against the enemy. By any accounting, the US is still only fighting the War on Terror with its little finger. But it will require creative strategic thinking to mobilize and employ the untapped wellsprings of the nation's strength. US troops in Iraq are doing well. But the nation owes them better than use them to attrit the enemy. Faster. Please.