Back In the USSR


Admittedly, evidence has been thin in recent years that the Russians secretly won the Cold War—limited mainly to the Pope's failure to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima and the large number of American ignoramuses who think vodka is the coolest booze you can possibly drink.

But here's a surprise: evidence that old-fashioned Soviet-style "wave" tactical doctrine—complete with heavy equipment, ground-hungry exploitation, slow-but-total advance, and political cooperation from locals—is coming back into fashion. From a Wall Street Journal article by Greg Jaffe:

Now, the escalating insurgency in Iraq is showing that lightning assaults can quickly topple a regime—but also unleash problems for which small, fast, high-tech U.S. forces are ill-equipped.

"We're realizing strategic victory is about a lot more than annihilating the enemy," says one senior defense official in Mr. Rumsfeld's office. Victory also requires winning the support of locals and tracking down insurgents, who can easily elude advanced surveillance technology and precision strikes. In some cases, a slower, more methodical attack, one that allows U.S. troops to stabilize one area and hold it up as an example of what is possible for the rest of the country, could produce better results, according to emerging Army thinking.

Whole article, which will be posted for a few more days at Formerly Deja News, here. Don't be put off by my own strained Soviet analogy; though this whole article may just be some sort of proxy assault by opponents of Secretary Rumsfeld's lean and mean doctrine, it's got some pretty interesting details. I wonder how universally applicable the Iraq experience really is: Lean and mean seemed to work pretty well in Afghanistan (and heavy and slow, as the Russkies learned, didn't).