Anyone care to discuss Carl von Clausewitz's "fascinating trinity"? It is a doctrine that has not been followed by the U.S. since WWII, basically.

In my own review of our military conflicts since that awful conflagration, the tendency to depart from his theory has been the greatest downfall of our military.

And it's not our military's fault!  One must understand what the trinity is, and how it becomes necessary for the successful prosecution of a campaign.

In classic Clausewitzian theory, there must be a "trinity of wills", so to speak. That being the will of the people, the will of the government, and the will of the military to prosecute a campaign of war against another people.  Without the coalescence and determination of these three entities to fully prosecute the campaign, grim as it may be, the effort is compromised at the very least, and doomed to failure at the worst.

Let us consider four campaigns, since WWII:

Korea: Was the will of the people there?  No, because the people didn't fully understand what the hell we were fighting for over there! The will of the government was there, for a brief while, but then they tied the hands of the military, and settled back into a "limited engagement" campaign.  Without the heat of the American public under their backsides, they tried to re-invent warfare! Result? Stalemate!

Vietnam: Was the will of the American people behind this effort? No, not so much.  The military performed brilliantly, when they were allowed to do so, but again, the Congress and the State Department tried to micro-manage the war, again, engaging in "limited warfare" as though bodies of legislators somehow know more than Generals of the military how to conduct a campaign.  Under increasing pressure from the public, the government began to lose its will to prosecute the campaign further. Result? Pullout!

Grenada: Here is a great example of the government and the military colluding in an operation which was secret and private, and the American people had no idea what was coming down! Should we do this? Perhaps, when necessary, but the people, and the will of the people, were completely left out of the equation! If you follow Clausewitzian theory, is that a good thing? Result? Victory, I guess.  I still have no true idea what that conflict was about! It just happened, OK?  But, the people were left out of the equation, the trinity was broken! Is that sound military doctrine? I don't think so!

Iraq: We knew this was coming, and for the most part, the American people were behind it, I know there are you who disagreed with it from the start, but, let's get back to the trinity. The American people were with it from the beginning, the government was with it from the beginning, and the military is still with this operation.

It was hugely successful at the start, but then, the government, Rumsfeld & Company, began to pull back, again favoring a limited engagement over total victory.  Now, we have our boys over there muddled down, getting their arms and legs blown off with IED's, and we have yet to put an ass-whipping on anybody. Sound military doctrine? I don't think so.

If you are going to go to war, then observe the trinity, Clausewitz's trinity, and go in fighting like you were defending your sister's honor.  Kick Ass!
Mike's Musings...
Clausewitzian Military Theory
Carl von Clausewitz
Carl von Clausewitz
    (1780 - 1831)