Fourth generation warfare

William S. Lind interjects the idea of fourth-generation warfare, arguing that Iraq War and the fight against al-Qaeda are radically different from most of America's conflicts.

"Fourth Generation war is the greatest change since the Peace of Westphalia, because it marks the end of the state’s monopoly on war. Once again, as before 1648, many different entities, not states, are fighting war. They use many different means, including "terrorism" and immigration, not just formal armies. Differences between cultures, not just states, become paramount, and other cultures will not fight the way we fight. All over the world, state militaries are fighting non-state opponents, and almost always, the state is losing. State militaries were designed to fight other state militaries like themselves, and against non-state enemies most of their equipment, tactics and training are useless or counterproductive.[133]"

Thus Lind claims that the U.S. is bogged down fighting al-Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents because it planned these fights using an outdated worldview. Washington military planners did not fully understand that these new enemies fight without clear ties to existing nation-states.[191][192] A big part of this problem is because American military and industrial still operate as if they are preparing to fight conflicts like the two World Wars.[134] Lind warns that this century may see weak forces defeat the strong.[135]
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