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January 12, 2006

Re: The Brit General and those racist Americans.

Just an observation - Colonel Kevin Benson is on the faculty of the Command and General Staff College, here at beautiful uptown Fort Leavenworth. And perhaps one reason he got so torqued is that he is in the middle of the Army's work to address the issues that Brigadier Aylwin-Foster is so upset about.

Stripping out the Brit General's rhetoric, I find a good chunk of the substance of his comments consonant with my own experience, and his caveats are important -though the caveats will be lost.

But in order to get anyone to listen to him, he pretty much *had* to use that language.

The fact that Military Review published his remarks actually *is* important, if you understand how things like that work.

What will be unfortunate is that persons with differing agendas will misuse the Brigadier's words and twist them into other meanings, for other purposes.

And who will report on the fact that the Army (and Marines) recognize the cultural insensitivity issues and are in fact at this moment revamping the enlisted and officer education systems to try to addres the issue - and that a whole lot of warfighting training is beind displaced to add it into the curricula. But one thing he does limn for us.

While US officers in Iraq criticised their allies for being too reluctant to use force, their strategy was "to kill or capture all terrorists and insurgents: they saw military destruction of the enemy as a strategic goal in its own right". In short, the brigadier says, "the US army has developed over time a singular focus on conventional warfare, of a particularly swift and violent kind".

That's why four divisions took down a medium sized country on a shoestring. Okay, we've got to get better at the other stuff - and we will. We're working on it. But nothing like that happens overnight. But who else in the world is even trying?