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Docs en anglais
publié le 18/06/2007
Document de 11 pages au format WORDTweeter
War theories and strategies have always evolved, together with technological improvements and geopolitical transformations. Along with shifts from javelins to ballistic missiles, commanders have moved their tactics from mass regiments to dissuasive nuclear weapons. They have also built concepts, which allow them to better understand the nature and causes of conflicts. One of the most renowned war theorists is a Prussian General of the XIXth century, Karl Von Clausewitz. His book On War is regarded as a classic of strategic studies. He particularly emphasizes the impact of friction, genius and centre of gravity in the outcome of war.
We are now going to focus on the concept of centre of gravity (CoG), which is one of the most useful theories in bringing terror down. Clausewitz first considers armies as the CoG, but the most helpful account is given in Book VIII: 'In small countries that rely on large ones, it is usually the army of the protector. Among alliances, it lies in the community of interest, and in popular uprisings it is the personality of the leaders and public opinion.' The CoG is thus the point where the strength of the enemy is concentrated. It is the point around which the outcome is decided. According to Clausewitz, destroying the enemy's CoG, would lead to complete victory. This concept is particularly interesting in the case of the War on Terror, since the identification and annihilation of terrorists or rogue states' CoG would wipe them out. We are now going to analyse different types of centre of gravity, and see if they match our concept of terrorism.
Let us first consider - as Clausewitz suggests - military power. It is clear that it is a CoG for the USA and its allies. Their firepower and their technological superiority remain unchallenged. 'After 25 days of the invasion, US/British military casualties were about 150 [...]. Iraqi casualties were in the 5,000-10,000 range'. Moreover, we have emphasized the asymmetrical aspect of the War on Terror, which means that terrorism cannot rely on military power. They - on the contrary - count on stealth and minimal equipment.
However, 'terrorists require finance and training'. Al-Qaeda means 'the base', and not surprisingly this organisation is dependent on its networks and training camps. Before they were destroyed, they 'could support the training of up to 700 fighters at any time'. We should thus aim at destroying these camps, and cut their finances; that requires going to war against states supporting terrorist organisations. This is precisely what Clausewitz means by protector's support. (...)
Docs en anglais publié le 18/06/2007
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