I am proud to say that Bill Lind is a close friend of mine. This is one of his best columns, because it provides a great example of how one side in war gains a moral victory. John Boyd stated that the moral side of war is the strongest. In the following passage, Bill points out that the Colombian Army achieved a big moral victory over the FARC. This is the “how to,” which so many of us are looking for. Everyone spouts theory, the what or the why, but few provide actual examples of the how to. I am always looking for good (or bad) examples of how to apply adaptability and that of being a learning example to current conflicts as well as the business world. Here, Bill provides an answer.The other insight here is the importance of playing the role of the “behind the scenes strength” or the man behind the shadows. As Bill states, he is sure the U.S. had a hand in it, but downplayed its role. It is so important when trying to strengthen an alliance, be it in war or in business, that it appears that the home team won it on its own. That is tough in this day and age, when in our resume filled me first society, it is all about the individual’s advancement for the short-term, vice the advancement of the larger body over the long term.
By William S. Lind
July 14, 2008
The war between the Colombian state and the Marxist FARC is not a Fourth Generation conflict, because it is fought within the framework of the state. The Colombian government seeks to maintain control of the state, while the FARC want to replace it. It’s all about who runs the state, not offering alternatives to the state.
Nonetheless, some lessons for Fourth Generation wars may be drawn, because the way in which the war is fought — a guerilla-style insurgency — similar to many (not all) Fourth Generation conflicts. The recent successful rescue of hostages long held by the FARC is a case in point. It was a brilliant victory for the Colombian government and armed forces, on all levels, including the moral level. What might the U.S. Armed Forces learn from it that they could apply in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (we fear) elsewhere?