From the Somme to the Persian Gulf, Lessons on Shows of Force

An interesting article from STRATFOR. WWI has lessons for today if we remember history.

The historian Christopher Clark depicted the statesmen who led Europe into the Great War as men walking blind in their sleep through an open window. In his magnificent book, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, Clark wrote, "The conflict that began that summer mobilized 65 million troops, claimed three empires, 20 million military and civilian deaths, and 21 million wounded." That had not been the intention, any more than the treaty ending the war was supposed to produce another cataclysm 20 years later that would claim a further 60 million lives.

Trudging along mud pathways near the River Somme recently, I passed remnants of shell holes and trenches barely camouflaged by fresh spring grass. Thousands of youngsters lie buried where they fell in a landscape resplendent in monuments and cemeteries. A plaque in one graveyard reminds visitors, "The Devonshires held this trench, the Devonshires hold it still." The lads of the Devonshire Regiment, like their comrades from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Canada and the rest of England, left behind young widows, children and inconsolable parents. Was it worth it?
Shows of Force, Preludes to War
Read the rest of the article at the link.