Contributed by: filbert Wednesday, January 02 2008 @ 05:01 PM CST
We’ve spent a lot of time with John Boyd, because I and others believe his theories not only won the war, but if properly applied they might do the nearly impossible and win the peace as well.
If I understand this enigmatic and complex man correctly, he came to the conclusion that there was something beyond the Perfect Sword; something beyond even the Perfect Swordsman. Because as Sun Tzu pointed out, there is a level of warrior satori beyond even that. Beyond them both lay Swordlessness.
Swordlessness is not peace and it is certainly not surrender. Swordlessness uses nothing but the enemy’s sword against him. Perfect Swordlessness is a sublime victory so complete that there is no fight at all. It is over before it begins.
General Petraeus – just perhaps – is in the process of winning such a victory in Iraq. By brilliant diplomacy, deep understanding of the culture and the judicious use of gunpowder and money, it appears he has severed most of the Sunni tribes from al Qaeda and used them as “Awakening” peacekeeping militias against their former allies. General Petraeus is not fighting the last war; he is fighting the next one. He did not arrive there and just hope for the best. He observed. He oriented. He decided. And he acted. And then he observed again to see what effect he had. And again. And again.
This is not firepower. This is not attrition. This is, rather, an intelligent, delicate, sophisticated, maneuver-based strategy. A light, but sometimes deadly touch. Fingertip control. Water flowing downhill, into the cracks which our enemy cannot fill.
And while you can criticize the President for not taking a relatively unknown, low-ranking general and giving him the whole ball of wax sooner, you might also note that Gen. Creighton Abrams’ radical change of strategy in Vietnam was implemented only after it was well and truly too late.
If this continues, Gen. Petraeus will have walked into the camp of the enemy and used his own sword against him. That is a profound species of victory.
God willing, the REAL “first draft of history.”