Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

US Special Forces warfare Geneva Conventions and UN Charter be damned

[Until recently, the approaches to warfare could be summed up as] the Powell Doctrine, the Rumsfeld Doctrine, and the Petraeus Doctrine.

The Powell Doctrine is essentially conventional warfare a-la-World War II: massive firepower, lots of soldiers, clear goals. This was the formula for the first Gulf War, which, after a month of bombing, lasted only four days. But it is a very expensive way to wage war.

The Rumsfeld Doctrine merged high tech firepower and Special Forces with a minimal use of Army and Marine units. It also relies on private contractors to do much of what was formerly done by the military. … Once the shock and awe wears off, however, the Doctrine’s weaknesses became obvious. It simply didn’t have the manpower to hold the ground against a guerilla insurgency.

The Petraeus Doctrine is boots on the ground to win hearts and minds. It draws heavily on intelligence—what Gen. David Petraeus calls “bandwidth”—to isolate and eliminate any insurgents—and attempts to establish trust with the locals. It is cheaper than the Powell and Rumsfeld doctrines, but it also almost never works. Eventually the locals get tired of being occupied, and then counterinsurgency turns nasty.

[More recently] the U.S. clandestinely sent Special Forces into [countries including] Syria and Pakistan in a sort of shadow war against “insurgents.” The Obama administration openly admits to sending a Special Forces Seal team into Pakistan to assassinate bin Laden, and it was prepared to fight Pakistan’s armed forces if they tried to intervene. And when Pakistan asked the U.S. to curb its use of armed drones in Pakistani airspace, the Central Intelligence Agency said it would do nothing of the kind.

Recent moves by the White House suggest the administration is putting this new strategy in place. Petraeus’s appointment to head the CIA is an important indication that the U.S. wants to fuse intelligence and military operations.The principle behind counter-terrorism is eliminating people you don’t like. There is no patina of “hearts and minds,” and the new strategy makes no effort to practice the subterfuge of “plausible deniability” that has deflected the ire of target countries in the past. ,,, And expenses are generally hidden away in a labyrinth of bureaucracy.

The statement: We can get you anywhere you are, and impediments like international law, the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter be damned.

[Excerpt of an article by Conn M. Hallinan, former college provost at UCSC]

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