Darth Creveld explains the strategic dark side to SWJ
Michael Few pinged me regarding an interview Martin van Creveld gave to SWJ with the always interesting interlocuter, Octavian Manea:
Q: It is stated that Operations Rolling Thunder in Vietnam was the wrong way of using airpower in order to break the will of an opponent. Why? And which is the right way?
MvC: As Jesus once said, by their fruit will thou know them. Given the vast cost of Rolling Thunder, and the meager results it yielded, there can be no question that it was a foolish waste of resources. It was only made possible by the fact that it was carried out by the richest nation in history at the very peak of its economic power and psychological hubris.
The real question is, had the “gradual approach” been replaced by a short, sharp, all-out attack, would it have worked any better? To my mind the answer is almost certainly negative. Look at “Shock and Awe” as carried out both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Both of these offensives employed weapons infinitely more sophisticated, and in many ways much more powerful, than the ones the Americans used in Vietnam almost forty years earlier (though some aircraft, notably the venerable B-52s, may well have taken part in both campaigns). Both depended their success, if indeed one can talk of success, on the presence of troops of the ground. Vietnam, though, was primarily a guerrilla war. Expanding ground operations into North Vietnam, as some in Washington DC demanded, would merely have made things even more difficult for the Americans.
Adam has his take on the Infinity article.