The Past Stimulating the Change? The British and American armies in Iraq and Afghanistan
Title: The Past Stimulating the Change? The British and American armies in Iraq and Afghanistan
Author: SANGAR, Eric
Citation: Bernhard CHIARI (ed.), Auftrag Auslandseinsatz: Neueste Militärgeschichte an der Schnittstelle von Geschichtswissenschaft, Politik, Öffentlichkeit und Streitkräften, Freiburg i.Br./Berlin/Wien, Rombach, 2012, Neueste Militärgeschichte, 1, 355-365
Scholars of military strategy draw heavily on the experience of past wars to explain why certain armies have developed different strategic traditions than others. Armies with a continuous experience of expeditionary operations, such as the British Army, are thus perceived to be better able to adapt to different strategic requirements and operational contexts. This paper will explore some of the ways in which the British and American armed forces actually use historical experience to shape and adapt their strategies for contemporary operations. In doing so, this paper does not aim at providing an answer to the recurrent debate over whether history can repeat itself and if valid lessons can be derived from the past for the future. Rather, this analysis tries to show that even if historical experience may not provide the universal key to success in today’s intervention operations, neglecting the intellectual study of that experience may in turn put limits on a military organization’s ability to adapt for contemporary operations.
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