Michael McBride

Wars have always had their discernable differences. Some extremely nuanced, some extremely dramatic. Strategists have been able to draw on tactics and strategies from previous wars or engagements and adapt them to modern principles and equipment. Other wars have demanded radically new or deeply evolved strategies and tactics to overcome or leverage operational developments and tactical and strategic shifts.

Had the Allies not perfected the complex, integrated tactics of amphibious warfare, first attempted in the modern age at Gallipoli in World War One, they would have not been successful moving across North Africa, Italy, Europe, and the entirety of Asia in defeating the Axis powers in World War Two.

Carrier warfare was birthed, developed, mastered and integrated into our national strategic plans in less than twenty years. It changed the face of naval warfare forever.

In its simplest form, World War Two was an engagement on two foreign fronts, a modest defense of the homeland, sustaining of supply and logistics lines, and propaganda (support) effort at home. Fought successfully on all five above fronts, the Allies could be expected to defeat the Axis and claim victory.

The Cold War was fought remarkably different. It was fought with weapons development, brinksmanship, and propaganda, occupation of territory, political alignment, time, and economics. In the end, the winning of the Cold War ended up being a strategy of containment, economic depletion over an extended period, and the capability to project a ready and competent response to attack.

It is critical to outline the broad fronts in the Global War on Terrorism in order to lay out a competent, long-term strategy for victory. The fronts that we must engage on, and win on, in order succeed against terror are as follows…


The war in Iraq must be sustained until either Al Qaeda is defeated, they abandon the battlefield in Iraq, or the combination of Iraqi armed forces and Iraqi police forces can provide stability in the country, from both internal and external pressures. Al Qaeda cannot be “given” a victory in this battle. They will not go home if they successfully force our withdrawal and claim victory in Iraq. They will simply test our strength and our will in another spot on the globe, using any uncontrolled areas in Iraq as training grounds.


Michael McBride

Michael E. McBride retired as a Major from the Marine Corps and blogs at http://www.mysandmen.blogspot.com.

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