Arto's Notes re: William S. Lind


Who am I? In 1976 I began the debate over maneuver warfare that became a central part of the military reform movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The U.S. Marine Corps finally adopted maneuver warfare as doctrine in the late 1980s and I wrote most of their new tactics manual. In 1989, I defined 4GW, 4th Generation warfare--war waged by non-state entities--which is what paid us a visit on September 11, 2001. The article I co-authored for the Marine Corps Gazette was cited in 2002 by al-Qaeda, who declared, "This is our doctrine." My Maneuver Warfare Handbook, published in 1985, is now used by military academies all over the world, and I lecture internationally on military strategy, doctrine and tactics.


Insurgents know that history is made not by majorities who vote but by minorities who fight.

War is the province of chance. You cannot predict the outcome of a war just by counting up the stuff on either side and seeing who has more. Such "metrics" leave out strategy and stratagem, pre-emption and trickery, generalship and luck. They leave out John Boyd's all-important mental and moral levels.

On Modernity

Old Werther gets at the central fact when he writes that "the modern age that dawned in the Renaissance is no longer alive--World War II was the last gasp of modernity, industrialism and linearity." The death of the Modern Age actually comes with World War I; in 1914, the West, which created modernity, put a gun to its head and blew its brains out. The ninety years since have merely been the thrashing of a corpse. The rise of Fourth Generation war, and its triumph over state armed forces in Iraq and elsewhere, mark the real beginning of the new century, a century that will be defined and dominated not by the West's ghost, nor by the Brave New World that is that ghost's final, Hellish spawn, but by people who believe.

To an historian, a crisis over the Senkakus would fit in a larger and not comforting pattern: the world before 1914. Then, an unstable European order blundered from crisis to crisis, just avoiding a general war in each, until some shots fired in Sarajevo brought down the whole house of cards and with it Western civilization.

On the 21st Century

Japan's low-profile, defensive strategy has served her well for more than half a century. It is exactly the right strategy for a 4th Generation 21st century, where survival will depend heavily on staying off other people's hit lists.