Culture catcher: 2

Justin Kelly, “How to Win in Afghanistan” in Quadrant, April 2009:

“The twin proposition that ‘there is no military solution’ to insurgencies and that ‘hearts and minds’ approaches are the only way forward are based mostly on wishful thinking. Fighting is unattractive to liberal democracies, while good deeds puts a song in our hearts.”

“A hearts-and-minds approach represents a strategy of exhaustion and typically engages one of the insurgent’s principal strengths – time.”

Alan Stephens, School of Humanities and Social Science, Australian Defence Force Academy, letter to the editor, Quadrant, May 2009:

“Clausewitz regarded the defeat of the enemy army as the key to (ultimate) political victory … Clearly this is no longer the case.”

“The era has gone in which predominantly white, predominantly European, predominantly Christian armies could stampede around the world invading countries their governments either don’t like or wanted to control.”

“There is no question that our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan are dangerous and need to be contained. However, if any success is to be achieved, it will come from the application of twenty-first-century concepts, such as liaison with credible local alternative sources of power, with all that implies. It will not come from nineteenth-century military strategies.”

Major General Jim Molan, Running the War in Iraq, HarperCollins, 2008:

“ In my view, the ADF’s senior professional military education system still does not emphasise ‘operational art’. Even if, through some miracle, the changes I recommended in 2003 suddenly came into being, it would be years before they affect Australian generalship, and we have already lost too many years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I did not, in the end, feel that my performance in Iraq owed a lot to the Australian professional military education system.”

“In the case of the jihadist war, where we are fighting proponents of a distorted view of the Islamic religion, we occupy the moral high ground and we must be confident of that position. If we are uncertain about what we stand for and about the righteousness of any cause on which we embark, then we will not know what we are fighting for and we will lose.”

Note: Michael O’Connor reviewed Running the War in Iraq by Major General Jim Molan in Quadrant, January-February 2009

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