Three extracts from The Utility of Force....

by Rupert Smith, 2005

First extract:


Introduction: Understanding Force


It may be as well to begin this investigation with a discussion of military force, since it is common to all paradigms for war - and unfortunately is often commonly misunderstood. Force is the basis of any military activity, whether in a theatre of operations or in a skirmish between two soldiers. It is both the physical means of destruction - the bullet, the bayonet - and the body that applies it. It has been so since the beginning of time. Indeed, the essence of force and its military uses are identical now to that described in the Bible, Sun Tzu's Art of War, the Greek and Nordic myths, and just about any historical book on battle and warfare.

Second extract:  
Antithesis: From Guerillas to Anarchists to Mao   Interstate industrial war evolved through a combination of theory - with the enduring influence of Clausewitz - and practice. In contrast, its antithesis evolved far more through ideological commitment of some kind from the participants. However, it was in the interwar period that ideology really came to the fore. In the early 1920s, at about the same time Lawrence was writing his account of the war in Arabia and Palestine, a trend that had existed for some decades became linked with the tactical ideas of guerilla war.
Third extract:  
Trends: Our Modern Operations   The people being attacked in the Second World War were those of the enemy government: they were understood to be the support base of the opposing force. The postwar bombings are different, since the attackers depend on the people to be able to prosecute their attacks, whether they cooperate or not: they are carried out both on and amongst the people. The main and significant similarity between the two forms of attack is the political objective, which both in the war and ever since has been the intentions or will of the people - as already noted above in the first trend [I believe this first trend is the contradictory U.N. mandates and restrictions that are applied to the stationed armed forces - the contradictory mandates of 'peacekeeping' and 'force'].

On this article....


To the best of my memory, Rupert Smith was the Brigadier commanding 4th Armoured Brigade,

Modern warfare (if it can even be still called that) is different, and the 21st Century needs to learn (and General Smith's written work is a start).

I guess he has retired now; and hence this publication,
which is an excellent read.