“In should be the duty of every soldier to reflect on the experiences of the past, in the endeavor to discover improvements, in his particular sphere of action, which are practicable in the immediate future.” B. H. Liddell Hart
Sir Liddell Hart is known for his studies in history that culminated in his magnum opus, “On Strategy.” The key concept in executing a strategy, besides having one to begin with, is the “Indirect Approach.” One does not engage in direct attack except in very limited, tightly constructed engagements in which the outcome is assured. Examples of the Indirect Approach in American military history include our unCivil War and Korea.
In 1860 the Southern Democrats rebelled in order to both preserve their slave-based economic system and expand it and their homeland westward. Our Navy quickly defeated them by seizing the South’s ability to engage in international commerce. A few years later General Sherman conducted his March to the Sea to seize the homes and imaginations of the various rebel armies. General Grant then engaged in limited direct engagements to fix the rebels who were torn between the tigers on their homes and the lions in their faces.
Khrushchev use Korea as an indirect means of fixing the focus of America away from Europe so that the USSR could fully dominate if not absorb all of western Europe. To do so Khrushchev employed the Indirect Approach. In 1945 the USSR and the West split Korea into the two countries. From that moment the USSR used Korea to first support Mao Zedong and the Communists in taking over China, and then used both North Korea and China as economically dependent clients and as proxies. Asia was too poor to fuel the USSR’s economy and satisfy its strategic objective. The crown jewels in terms of economics were western Europe and India (which was transitioning from being the UK’s source of wealth to an independent country).
When the North Koreans invaded, they were faced with Task Force Smith, which was easily defeated, and General Walton Walker’s (VMI ’11, USMA ’12) UN forces. General Walker was the father of the late General Sam Walker (VMI ’45, USMA ’46), VMI’s Superintendent from 1981 to 1988. General Walker Pere beat the Koreans, and kept their attention long enough for General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, late de facto god-emperor of Japan, to land forces at Inchon and effectively separate North Korea from the USSR and its client-agent China.
GoA MacArthur made a number of tactical errors, such as permitting 8th Army to become separated from X Corps; but his greatest failing was to disregard why he was fighting in the first place. The USSR had him pegged as a personality that would always drive to glory. From earning his MOH as commanding general of the 42nd Infantry Division, to his destruction of the Bonus Army in the 20s, and his eventual exile to the Philippines where MacArthur would bask in the glory of his own magnificence, until the Japanese pissed in his tea – MacArthur was a wholly known and carefully studied entity. MacArthur was sent to Korea to seal the deal: restore the border, install better safeguards to prevent future combat, and disrupt the USSR’s designs on Europe and India. Only he lost sight of our national strategy.
President Truman reigned in GoA MacArthur, who promptly began a campaign of whining about the POTUS losing the war for America, and engaged himself with the GOP in a political struggle to expand the war into China. President Truman fired MacArthur. Publicly this act was a reinforcement of our American rule that publicly-elected officials run our military, and it reinforced a growing philosophy among American officers to separate their politics from their conduct of duty.
For decades GoA MacArthur’s insubordination was the only known cause for his firing. Historians and armchair generals have argued over whether expanding the war into China was the right thing to do given our almost-daily conflict with that country. Recently, Smithsonian Magazine highlighted heretofore classified testimony from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Senate Armed Services Committee (the testimony is now declassified, and not gotten from Guccifer 2.0). The statements made by senators, GoA/SecState Marshall, GoA Omar Bradley, and generals Vandenburg (CS, USAF), and Lightning Joe Collins (CSA) were profound in their grasp of America’s strategy and their recognition that the USSR was controlling the communists to keep the war limited to its own strategic objectives.
There are a number of topics and issues that the News Media distracts you with so you won’t consider your freedom of conscience and security in your own liberty. Syria-ISIS isn’t important. Obama paying untraceable cash to Hezbollah to murder Israelis is a distraction. The allegations made by Democrats that the Russians are hacking our elections (and the Dems also determined to subsequently carry out voting with hackable systems) is misdirection. That our USAF can’t even bomb ISIS back to the stone age, and our Navy asks China very politely for permission to travel the Pacific take our eyes off the prize. You will hear about a presidential candidate who didn’t pay taxes that he wasn’t legally obligated to pay, but not in those words. You won’t hear that Putin and China and India want a certain candidate to win in order to stabilize globalized finance and consumer markets, only that Putin, Xi and Mukharjee are puppets of The Cheeto Jesus and the Shrillary Gangsta.
When you look at the news, read the blogs, and talk among friends consider what you’re being told and consider that news and opinions are not simple reports of who did what and when, but serve as an indirect approach to influence you away from attention on a higher goal and objective. What you’re presented with is not the main effort. MacArthur refused to acknowledge that and he nearly gave away Europe and India to the Soviets.