How Does The “Western Way Of War” Influence Current Us Actions In Iraq And Afghanistan?

988 words - 4 pages

Over time, cultures develop war fighting characteristics that are unique to that culture. Western nations have developed and practiced a method of warfare that has allowed them to dominate conflicts in which they have engaged. Military historian Geoffrey Parker has theorized that reliance on superior technology, disciplined forces, and aggressive military tradition; coupled with constant innovation and a system to finance campaigns are hallmarks of this “Western way of war”. The use of superior technology, highly disciplined forces, and constant innovation by the United States demonstrates the continuing influence the “Western way of war” has on recent operations in both Iraq and ...view middle of the document...

and its allies provided a distinct advantage over the older but more numerous Iraqi weapons systems.
Another fundamental of Parker’s theory is the western emphasis on discipline rather than patriotism, kinship, or religion to turn bands of individuals into cohesive combat units and that this emphasis has manifested itself in the forms of drill and long term service (4). Again, historical examples of this fundamental tenant can be found. Maurice of Nassau, appointed the commander of the united Dutch forces in 1588, was the first to successfully integrate these philosophies in a cohesive fashion. He believed that training and discipline were foundations of sound tactics (5) and sought to develop his army into a professional force through constant drill, officer education, and regular pay. The development of highly trained armies by Maurice of Nassau and further refinement by Gustavus Adolphus led to their victories over larger or more experienced armies at the battles of Nieuwpoort in 1600 and Breitenfeld in 1631. These successes cemented the principles that have carried up to the present day. Current United States operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are built around professional forces that are disciplined, highly trained, and well educated.
Superior technology, discipline, and aggressive military tradition alone are not what set western militaries apart from others. Innovation and the ability to rapidly respond to it have also become established features of western warfare (6). History again provides examples that support his theory. The advancement of gunpowder artillery in the 1400’s led to innovations in the art of siege warfare that were followed rapidly by innovations in the art of fortifications (7). The reforms of Maurice of Nassau can be attributed with the development of smaller, linear formations that allowed for the most effective employment of all types of weapons (8). This innovation, coupled with training and discipline, led to a much more mobile and agile force. Gustavus Adolphus furthered these innovations by refining the tactics for the offense by stressing combined arms formations and developing volley fire techniques to maximize...

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