Best Defense

10 truths from the last decade that you could tattoo on an arm — or maybe a leg

Lt. Col. Don Theime rightly pointed out in the August issue of Marine Corps Gazette that the same old lessons keep on getting repeated in our discussions of the current wars. Here is his summary of the “10 truths” that simply need to be heeded: –Take the high ground at night so you own it ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Lt. Col. Don Theime rightly pointed out in the August issue of Marine Corps Gazette that the same old lessons keep on getting repeated in our discussions of the current wars. Here is his summary of the “10 truths” that simply need to be heeded:

–Take the high ground at night so you own it in the morning.

–It may be counterintuitive, but you are probably safer dismounted than in your vehicles, preferably before contact.

–The bait and ambush is a classic from the ancient Greeks up to today.

–Why do we keep using the column formation in what is clearly an advance to contact, rather than using wedges and echelons?

–Every Marine a rifleman, and every NCO a leader and fire support coordinator.

–These are seasoned fighters with a wealth of experience fighting against Jomini-type tactics and a sense of personal honor and bravery that means they are looking to close and kill, not snipe and run.

–If you are not using Small Wars Journal and Company Command, you should be.

–Afghanistan is a battle for the provision of governance from the ground up, from the outside in, not from the top down, Kabul out.

–The Taliban, while at some level perhaps associated with al Qaeda, is not al Qaeda.

–Is this the right war?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola