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My cousin, a Marine Corps officer in Iraq doing whatever it is Marines do in Iraq these days (milking cows? wishing they were in Helmand?), writes in:
I'm sitting here on watch, sending some emails, and watching Return of the Jedi on my laptop. It got me thinking.
Why didn't the Rebel Alliance pursue a strategy of insurgency in their rebellion against the Galactic Empire? I would argue that they pursued a strategy of conventional war against the Empire and forwent every aspect of insurgent strategy and tactics. They finally came around a bit in the end by co-opting the Ewoks onto their side. Why hadn't they pursued that strategy on a larger scale?
Instead, they simply staged two conventional assualts on the Empire's center of gravity: the Death Star. Although both attempts were successful, I think they got lucky. I think they would have been better served had read their Mao and followed his maxims.
Why didn't the Empire follow counterinsurgency doctrine? Destroying Alderan was probably the dumbest move ever, one that the Alliance could have exploited to their advantage with the proper IO campaign. What do you think the similarities are between destroying Alderan and 4ID tactics circa 2004-5 or liberal ordnance drop policies in Afghanistan?
And neither side seemed to subordinate their tactics and strategy to political goals? Clausewitz would have been appalled. Jomini and Summers, on the other hand, would have been most proud.
My thoughts on the subject are a little incomplete, but I think a good case study awaits a more dedicated set of eyes and a higher powered brain.
In any event, I bet the next time you watch the Trilogy, this is all you'll be able to think about.
Indeed, you can imagine what family dinners are like.