Leadership: August 30, 2001


One of the major problems with changing America's military strategy is the large number of special interests and lobbies pulling in different directions. It's a Gordian Knot problem, and there's no Alexander the Great like political or military leader to cut through the tangle of opposing interests. This makes it largely impossible to pursue a unified strategy. There are those pursuing different military strategies because of political belief, but the largest obstacle is Congress as a whole. The defense budget is seen as a prime source of political patronage (or "pork.") Any state or congressional district sees incoming defense spending (for a base or building a major weapons system) as theirs, and any new strategy that threatens that money is the wrong strategy. This sad process has been going on since the end of World War II. The cast of characters changes, but the script remains largely intact. One new 21st century wrinkle is to withdraw from the battlefield and wage a guerilla war (ie, avoid congress and do things in the shadows and via presidential order.) The next war will impose a strategy on the troops, and they will have to use what they have and, as the saying in the military goes, "come as you are."


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