Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Counter-Force or Counter-Value?

(fm the BC thread "The devil you know")

para 2. we went for Counter Value – we would Launch Under Attack
          (the McNamara Doctrine.
para 3. Bush Doctrine essentially avowed a Launch On Warning
          Pre-Emptive Strike Counter-Force strategy

para 4. a successful or failed application of the Bush Doctrine
          that a Counter Value strategy will be used

Not quite following you here. After a successful Counter-Force First Strike you intend to follow up with Counter-Value? A little unclear how that works. If we intercept a jihadi plot would you then destroy the Aswan High Dam and kill several million Copts? Personally I am surprised the bad guys haven't done that themselves.

Part of the problem is in defining what the Force in their structure is for us to target. Is it only the personnel who swore a personal blood oath the Osama bin Laden? That would fir with a narrow legalist view of the struggle. Is it the membership of the network of affiliates like the Taliban, the TeL, the MILF? That appears to be current DoD doctrine. Does it include the personnel and weapons labs of regimes, such as Iran, Sudan and Syria, that construct a plausible deniability screen and act through proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah to attack US interests? That I think approximates the Bush Doctrine. Should we push it out another ring to include Russia and China or the Special Rapporteurs of the EU and the UN? Are the Saudi and Gulf bankers and arms merchants and their funded Mullahs who promote violence and teach hate not as much part of the Force, the actual weapons systems to be targeted as the guy digging a hole for a 155 shell by the side of a road? Is not the entire belief system that endures through a faith in the inviolability of the Kabaa and the invincibility of the Ummah part of the Force arrayed against us that must be broken or at least demonstrated to be inferior?

My point is that these distinctions are useful but they are constructs. If we hunt down every tool in the enemies arsenal there will be precious little Value for us to hit with a followup Counter-Value strike. If we reach the existential point of having to kick over the board, or call Four No Trump to end the game then we can all have a chuckle after at the concerns of the AGW crowd. Hopefully we can strip away the Forces at the enemies disposal on a steady basis. Kinetic encounters should deal with some threats and social and economic tools may over time attenuate others. All of our tools depend on the health and strength of our Forces and the Value base behind them.

Unfortunately any response strategy Counter-Force or Counter-Value depends on us have the tools to do the job. Obama is systematically stripping away our ability to respond effectively under any strategic doctrine. His diplomatic, economic and social policies are so crippling America that we will be unable to attract loyalty as a superior alternative through social and economic power. Oddly enough the advocates of "Soft Power" have made it less likely that such tools can be effective. His military initiatives, in particular his plan to radically reduce the size, robustness and flexibility of the United States strategic deterrent means that that the possibility of an overwhelming Counter-Value follow on to an enemy Counter-Force attack, the US Second Strike will be lost. This makes it more likely that we will face both increased terrorism at the low end and nuclear blackmail.

For those unclear what calling Four No Trump means.

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