[LINK] {OT} Walk against War - sunday in sydney

James Morris jmorris@intercode.com.au
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 11:12:32 +1100 (EST)

On Sun, 16 Feb 2003, Grant Bayley wrote:

> all.  I have my reasons for supporting action against countries such as
> Iraq and North Korea, not the least of which is a good knowledge of the
> history of the 20th century [...]

Perhaps then you have read Colin Powell's 1995 autobiography, 'A Soldier's 
Way', also published as 'My Amercian Journey'.

In this he makes the point emphatically and repeatedly that the people
must support any war that the government embarks upon.  He seems to have
arrived at this as one of his primary guiding principles while studying
Clausewitz at the National War College in Washington DC (which he
describes as the 'Harvard of military education').

Here's one quote:

 That wise Prussian Karl von Clausewitz was an awakening for me. His 'On
 War', written 106 years before I was born, was like a beam of light from
 the past, still illuminating present-day military quandaries. "No one
 starts a war, or rather no one in his senses should do so," Clausewitz
 wrote, "without first being clear in his mind what he intends to
 achieve by that war and how he intends to achieve it." Mistake number
 one in Vietnam. Which lead to Clausewitz's rule number two. Political
 leaders must set a war's objectives, while armies achieve them. In
 Vietnam, one seemed to be looking to the other for the answers that
 never came. Finally, the people must support a war. Since they supply
 the treasure and the sons, and today the daughters too, they must be
 convinced that the sacrifice is justified. That essential pillar had
 crumbled as the Vietnam War ground on. Clausewitz's greatest lesson for
 my profession was that the soldier, for all his patriotism, valor, and
 skill, forms just one leg in a triad. Without all three legs engaged, the
 military, the government, and the people, the enterprise cannot stand.

Throughout the book it becomes clear that these principles form the
backbone of his miltary thinking all the way through to the end of his
military career as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Now, as US Secretary of State, Powell is seeking to prosecute a war which 
clearly does not have public support without UN backing in the US, UK and 
Australia -- all members of the Coalition of the Willing.

Has the requirement for public support, an "essential pillar", somehow
been rendered false since 1995, or has Powell now abandoned a core
component of his and (by extension) US military doctrine?

- James
James Morris