Academic journal article Parameters

Beyond Guns and Steel: A War Termination Strategy

Academic journal article Parameters

Beyond Guns and Steel: A War Termination Strategy

Article excerpt

Beyond Guns and Steel: A War Termination Strategy

By Dominic J. Caraccilo

Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011

219 pages


As the United States continues to fight in the Global War on Terror over a decade after its start, Dominic J. Caraccilo's Beyond Guns and Steel: A War Termination Strategy is long overdue and a welcome addition to the literature on war termination and conflict resolution. Much too often in today's ambiguous operational environment America's national command authority lacks concise strategic objectives, which is why the United States unfortunately finds it is merely conducting crisis management, at best resulting in a murky transition from conflict to peace. Colonel Caraccilo ultimately hopes that with his words the "fog of postwar" activities can finally lift.

While Colonel Caraccilo led multiple Army units in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he noticed that a fine line existed between the tasks the military was expected to perform in comparison to those under the purview of civilian agencies and locally elected governance. Needless-to-say, a plan that went beyond simply defeating the enemy was not established prior to the start of the war in Iraq as Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Thomas E. Ricks, Bob Woodward, and many other authors have since revealed in embarrassing and excruciating detail. Therefore, Colonel Caraccilo asserts nations need a grand strategy when it comes to conflict: clear and concise objectives prior to the start of actual conflict should become a required part of the planning process and remain an absolute necessity.

To arrive at how nations can determine these objectives, Colonel Caraccilo first describes why nations choose to conduct war and what events usually occur that ultimately affect how and when nations decide to end conflicts. Specifically, Colonel Caraccilo defines and provides examples of the six general categories that war termination rationale fall under as devised by B. G. Clarke in his rational model for conflict termination. Colonel Caraccilo then maintains that ten additional categories dedicated to conflict resolution, instead of only the six which address war termination, should also be used by nations during initial planning phases to include: nation building, economic development, humanitarian relief, and establishing democratic nations just to name a few. Next, Colonel Caraccilo defines in great detail many of the strategic terms used when discussing war termination, as well as briefly discussing how strategy, grand strategy, policy, and strategic communications relate.

Colonel Caraccilo offers "good" examples of when nations successfully plan war termination, conflict resolution, and definitive exit strategies as a part of their formulation and execution of national policy. Positive case studies analyzed include: the United States' Marshall Hart following WWII; Operations Just Cause and Promote Liberty as a part of American action in Panama; Operation Desert Storm; the Global War on Terror and its use of COIN theorems; Operation Iraqi Freedom; and even a non-US example involving Uruguay and the Tupamaro. Of course, "bad" examples are also needed to help prove why the fusion of war termination and conflict resolution is so vital: the Korean War; the 1956 Suez Crisis; the Global War on Terror and its focus on ideology; US involvement in Vietnam, Somalia, and Bosnia; and America's on-going involvement in Afghanistan. …

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