Know your enemy

Barack Obama's National Security Advisor Richard Danzig recently made a fool of himself by claiming that Winnie the Pooh is a "fundamental text on national security." His flippancy only emphasizes the fact that doctrinal writings influence the conduct of war. To anticipate the enemy's thinking, you have to know the foundational texts in which his mind has been marinated.Although military studies have traditionally valued and absorbed the texts of classical war doctrine -- Clausewitz's On War, Sun Tsu's The Art of War, even the exploits of Alexander the Great as recorded in Arrian and Plutarch -- Islamic war doctrine is totally ignored, despite as much or more textual gounding. At the recent inaugural conference for the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), presenter LTC Joseph Myers made precisely this point.As recently as 2006, former top Pentagon official William Gawthrop lamented that "the senior Service colleges of...(Read Full Article)

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