16 July 2014

Comments from MG H.R. McMaster

In a long-ish interview with the local newspaper in Columbus GA (home of Ft Benning), MG H.R. McMaster had these rather interesting quotes, among many other bits worth reading.

I think one of the reasons we had this lopsided outcome in the Battle of 73 Easting of Desert Storm had a lot to do with our confidence, but also had a lot to do with the enemy.

There are two ways to fight the U.S. Army -- asymmetrically, which means you try to avoid our strengths, or stupid. And the Iraqis in 1991 chose stupid. They tried to meet us on our own terms so we could bring to bear all of our tremendous advantages. Now, what we have seen in the very difficult fights and long fights in Afghanistan and Iraq is that we are continuously interacting with an adaptive, determined -- and in these cases, a brutal -- enemy that is going to try and do everything they can to evade our strengths and attack what they perceive is our weaknesses.

So, that means we have to adapt faster. We have to innovate faster. We really have to understand these complex situations and understand how we operate to get to that sustainable outcome consistent with our interest and consistent with the risk our soldiers take, and worthy of the sacrifices the soldiers make.

So, in many ways the Gulf War was certainly easy compared with what we have encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan for a number of reasons. First of all, as I mentioned, the enemy met us on our own terms, but also we had a very narrow circumscribed political objective -- give Kuwait back to the Kuwaitis, and then we went into a long-term of detainment of Saddam. Obviously, the demands of the situations in both Iraq and Afghanistan were much different and much more difficult, and we had to face an enemy that had adapted to us over time -- multiple enemies, actually.

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