|1||Four Generations of Warfare||1|
|2||The First Two Generations of Modern War||16|
|3||Transition to Third-Generation Warfare||23|
|4||Changes in Society||32|
|5||Mao and the Birth of Fourth-Generation War||44|
|6||The Vietnamese Modification||56|
|7||The Sandinista Refinement||76|
|8||The Intifada: Civilians versus an Army||89|
|9||The al-Aqsa Intifada||111|
|10||Al-Qaeda: A Transnational Enemy||130|
|11||Afghanistan: A Tribal Network||153|
|12||Iraq: High-Tech versus Fourth-Generation||172|
|13||Technology: Not a Panacea||190|
|14||Characteristics of Fourth-Generation War||207|
|15||Where to from Here?||224|
|16||Evaluating the Threat||246|
|17||The Future Is Flexibility||273|
The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Centuryby Thomas X. Hammes, USMC
Pub. Date: 02/28/2006
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group USA, Inc.
4GW (Fourth Generation Warfare) is the only kind of war America has ever lost. And we have done so three times - in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia. This form of warfare has also defeated the French in Vietnam and Algeria, and the USSR in Afghanistan.As the only Goliath left in the world, we should be worried that the world's Davids have found a sling and stone that
4GW (Fourth Generation Warfare) is the only kind of war America has ever lost. And we have done so three times - in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia. This form of warfare has also defeated the French in Vietnam and Algeria, and the USSR in Afghanistan.As the only Goliath left in the world, we should be worried that the world's Davids have found a sling and stone that work." - Chapter 1, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century. The War in Iraq. The War on Terror. These types of "asymmetrical" warfare are the conflicts of the 21st century - and show how difficult it is for the world's remaining superpower to battle insurgents and terrorists who will fight unconventionally in the face of superior military power. This change in military conflict may seem sudden.
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Col. Hammes makes a strong case for being prepared and aware of what your enemy can do and not on what he can't. In this age of internet and global communications,what happens is istantly reported as fact. Your most effective weapon is the media and means of comminication with the polpulace. Col. Hammes has the experience of years of advance training in the Marine Corps adn his deployment to Iraq in the invasion he draws upon years of experience to formulate his therories. As someone who was involvoed in CounterInsurgecy (I served as an Advisor to the Iraqi Army 2005-06) and taught it to deploying troops (2007-2008), the book is straight forward and easy to read. For anyone in the military regardless of rank and getting ready to deploy this is a must read and a good starter for a counterinsurgecy library.
The 'Generation 4' warfare is not that new of an idea.Van Creveld alludes to it in at least two of his books as do some others. However this book is a very good read.On the other hand for someone totally uninitiated in military history and theories of warfare this book could be difficult.But my advice is stay with it the book is very worth while reading. I liked the description of the Intifada as a perfect example of Generation 4 warfare especially the disarming of the teenagers by letting them use stones only (not Molotov cocktails) thus leading to the Oslo negotiations and concessions by Israel. I also liked the example of Arafat on how not to do generation 4 warfare and screwing up much of the gains from Oslo. The tracing of the evolution to generation 4 warfare from Mao and Ho Chi Minh through all its variations is interesting as is the critique of the Pentagon hierarchical vertical command setup leading to the cumbersome non responsive defense against G4 warfare.The description of the horizontal simple networking command and control structure of G4 warfare system was very revealing.Those were the good parts of the book. However the lengthy soujourn through the G1 through G3 warfare those of us familiar with military history could have done without.Napoleonic war and the mighty attrition battles of Verdun and Stalingrad are gone and will probably never be repeated. However conventional war on the Guderian and Patton maneuver model will probably crop up again.G4 war is very dependent on terrain and cultural factors and probably will not be adopted in its pure form everywhere.The author alludes to that,but does not seem to recognize that technology does have its place in war still because G4 warfare can be effective but it does not win wars. Even Mao in 1949 and Ho in 1975 had to apply heavy doses of G3 war to secure their gains and consolidate them.Hence I did not give this book 5 stars.Technology while it has to adapt to G3 AND G4 war will not be eliminated.A very extreme (however not very likely) application would be nuclear bombing and levelling of Veziristan thus destroying al Quada virtually totally.Ah yes technology!