Publication Date: September 12, 2004 | ISBN: 0760320594 | Edition: First
Col. Hammes discusses how the ongoing events in Iraq show how difficult it is for the world's only remaining superpower to impose its will upon other peoples, and cites other recent incidents of powerful military forces being tied up by seemingly weaker opponents.
Hammes is a career Marine Corps officer, and with this selection, he argues that the U.S. has adapted poorly in response to the new generation of guerrilla warfare. Fourth-generation warfare, as Hammes calls it, is what American forces encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israelis find in Palestine, and it is the way of the future: guerrilla warfare characterized by political acumen and patience, using communications networks and strategic strikes to demoralize and exhaust conventionally superior militaries. For many military strategists, including those presently running the Defense Department, this new world order amounts to a call to newfangled technological arms, but for Hammes, smart bombs and spy drones are not the answer. The solution is to study our enemies as they have studied us and build a networked, flexible, and, here's the kicker, less hierarchical military structure that employs humans to fight the humans fighting us. As few as five years ago, such analysis would have had limited appeal, but in today's political climate, this concise, surprisingly readable book will attract a broad readership.