During my first year in the Army, I learned infantry tactics and saw the military world from a top-down perspective, as in brigade-battalion-company-platoon-squad. However, on the very first day of Special Forces training, I was taught to take a bottom-up perspective and that the atomic bomb was NOT the ultimate weapon. The ultimate weapon is the guerilla — a few well-trained, highly-motivated and resourceful men, who move quickly and silently to maximize damage and confusion. They defeat the enemy with a thousand cuts, not with a mushroom cloud. They are patient and take the long view.
Since that distinction was made, discussion has evolved into “asymmetrical warfare,” where the two sides have significantly different levels of strength, as in the difference between the military might of the U.S. and that of Iran. The Iranians are not stupid and will not go toe-to-toe with America. They must defeat us with a thousand cuts. Terrorism will increase, but how will we minimize the blood loss with each cut?
Americans in general and Millennials in particular overreacted initially to the threat of a traditional war, with the Selective Service website crashing, as Millennials fretted about the “Draft” being reinstated. That worry will increase again until Iran makes their response, but it will be a weaker response. They will not assassinate a senior American official, and that will give us the opportunity to make an even weaker response. De-escalation is in everybody’s best interest.
I thought it was unfortunate when the U.S. abrogated the treaty with Iran, but I thought the President’s policy of economic suffocation was working. If we can continue that, plus use social media to foment discontent inside Iran, like Russia did to us, we can empower the Iranian people.