Volney Warner thinks big. A retired Army four-star general who helped craft counterinsurgency doctrine during the Vietnam War, he's made a career out of thinking about how U.S. military strategy should advance America's global interests.
How does domestic politics shape military tactics? How and why did U.S. civilian and military leaders fail in Vietnam and Iraq ? What has Iraq taught the U.S. military about unconventional war?
A highly regarded expert on counterinsurgency who enjoys a reputation among his peers as a sharp thinker who pulls no punches, Warner asks why the U.S. military— with all its tradition, training, equipment and support— has failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam and apply them to Iraq . He gave his answers in a series of interviews with a McClatchy Newspapers reporter.
"If the strategy is wrong and the policy is wrong, you can't blame the people implementing it. They are trying to implement a political strategy that won't work. It's very difficult to turn the train around," said Warner, who at 81 heads a defense consulting firm in McLean, VA. . "I have to believe that military leaders in positions of trust and confidence may have made stupid decisions (in the course of fighting an insurgency), but never with malice aforethought towards the country that spawned them and certainly not with intent to destroy the lives of those soldiers who believed in them, trusted their decisions and carried out their orders to their deaths." Read more...