Sunday, July 26, 2015

Role and Place of Ideological Struggle in Modern Warfare

1)     The stability of troop morale depends on the conviction of the rank-and-file masses as to the just nature of the war in which they sacrifice their lives.  If they recognize the cause for which they struggle to be just, they fight with enthusiasm.  (The Philosophical Heritage of V. I. Lenin and Problems of Contemporary War’ (Moscow, 1972), p. 207; translated under the auspices of the US Air Force).  Lenin:  “[C]onviction as to the justness of war and recognitions of the need to sacrifice one’s life for the good of one’s brothers elevates the spirit of soldiers and forces them to endure unheard of burdens.” (Phil. Her., p. 207). 

In contrast.  The bourgeoisie attempts to pass off its own mercenary interests as the interest of all the people.  The problem is to reveal to the soldiers and the entire populace of a given country the criminal goals of the bourgeois government and incite the masses to refuse to be accomplices of the crime.  (Phil. Her., p. 207). 
[COMMENT] In the fight against ISIS and derivatives thereof, US armed forces probably suffer from a lack of ideological conviction as to the justness or importance of the fight.  ISIS on the other hand is a poster child for the above statement.  Politically, it recruits from disaffected Muslims and foreign fighters who do not share the West’s value systems or its aspirations.
2)     Lenin—Revolutionary deeds are performed by millions of individuals at a moment of special upsurge and exertion of all human capabilities, when all their consciousness, will, enthusiasm and fantasy are mobilized… their extensive _____ possesses proletarian instinct, proletarian comprehension and awareness of duty.” (Phil. Her., p. 188). [COMMENT:  ISIS – religion]  “The spiritual capability of revolutionary masses to stand and win in a savage clash with the class enemy is based on the profoundly just character of the struggle being wages by the proletariat and its army.  We can wage war because the masses know what they are fighting for …”  Imperialist armies lack this source.  (Phil. Her., p. 188).   
[COMMENT]  The above observation is the bottom line of why ISIS / derivatives are winning —they are in their  own neighborhoods and the US armed forces are far from home and without real focus, e.g., ‘Why we fight’ series in Word War Two.  Slogans like ‘fighting for democracy’ are just as bland and useless as were Soviet calls for proletarian sentiment.  But the theory and observations stated above correctly assess the issue.  In 2015, ISIS bases its appeal on religion and Muslim victimization. 
3)     It’s not so much that ISIS achieves military objectives – it achieves political objectives. Under a chapter titled ‘Tactical Victory, Strategic Defeat’ Col. Harry Summers recalls a conversation in Hanoi 1975, ““You know you never defeated us on the battlefield” said the American Colonel.  The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark for a moment. “That may be so,” he replied, “but it is also irrelevant.”  (On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War (Presidio Press, 1982), p. 1.). US does not have a resonant message to which local population can relate or rally to.  Add to this the view of US as supporter and patron of Israel – anything or anyone we support is suspect.

4)     Even a strong will which is not enlightened by elevated communist ideals [or religious, ideological fervor, etc.] may become a counterfeit jewel, for will without principles or ideals is blind.  (Phil. Her., p. 189).  [US armed forces in 2015 with respect to fight against ISIS, Al-Qaeda, etc.?]
Why is the United States involved in conflicts in which it does not understand and / or fully appreciate the internal dynamics and motivators of the different players?  The fact is that not everyone in the world thinks like Americans, nor share the same views as to what is in their best interests nor share the same aspirations in a specific sense.  Even if they do to an extent, the means to achieve these objectives may be completely at odds with the American views. 
            Moral forces in war provide legitimacy to the struggle.