Lind on generations in warfare.
Second Generation warfare is relevant to us today because the
United States Army and Marine Corps learned Second Generation warfare
from the French during and after World War I. It remains the American
war of war, as we are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq: to Americans, war
means “putting steel on target.” Aviation has replaced artillery as the
source of most firepower, but otherwise, (and despite the Marine's
formal doctrine, which is Third Generation maneuver warfare) the
American military today is as French as white wine and brie. At the
Marine Corps' desert warfare training center at 29 Palms, California,
the only thing missing is the tricolor and a picture of General Gamelin
in the headquarters.
I suggest that the war we have seen thus far (in Iraq) is merely
a powder train leading to the magazine. The magazine is Fourth
Generation war by a wide variety of Islamic non-state actors, directed
at America and Americans (and local governments friendly to America)
everywhere. The longer America occupies Iraq, the greater the chance
that the magazine will explode. If it does, God help us all.