Posted 151 days ago
This is a very interesting look at the rise of Special Ops in a short and concise article. Bowden takes the ideological stance that warfare is a natural tendency of human nature and that the evolution of Special Ops "happened out of necessity" in a world of "competition short of conflict." With that frame of reference, he embarks on its gradual rise through the US military complex. He quotes Stanley McChrystal, one of early commanders of JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), which would eventually evolve into the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) of today:
Special Ops forces are popular for two reasons, McChrystal explained: “One, because they’re sexy, and two, because they are viewed as a way to do things on the cheap, meaning you could send 10 brave people in to do a job instead of 100,000 soldiers, which has political costs and casualties.” The reality, he went on, is that the nonsexy parts of Special Ops are the ones that may have more lasting impact. Killing or capturing a murderous foe appeals to a sense of justice and provides momentary satisfaction, but eliminating a terrorist leader is not victory. It is, in Obama’s words, just mowing the grass.
That is both a very good summary of the American view of Special Ops, and a frightenting summary of our view at the same time. But no matter your views on the military and warfare, this is a good piece of reporting that tries to be unbiased (barring the set ideological framing in the beginning) to explain how these operations have evolved over the years.