After Action Review: Operation UNDERBELLY

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

There are lessons from wars of the past. There are lessons from wars of the present. And there are lessons from wars of the future.

MWI Fellow August Cole proves this third point in his exceptional work of short fiction, “UNDERBELLY,” which “explores what war in Europe against an increasingly aggressive Russia might look like with a dramatically reduced US commitment to NATO.” The tale envisions a new role for the American Sheriff in which it only provides “logistic, intelligence, and technical support” to NATO in a crisis. Operation UNDERBELLY then, is a British-led, multi-national European military effort to drive back the Russians in the Baltics. And strategists, planners, and tacticians can apply today’s tools to learn from this fictitious future-look. Continue reading “After Action Review: Operation UNDERBELLY”

Words for War: Common Mistakes in Writing About Human Conflict

Image courtesy of Vanity Fair; photo illustration by Stephen Doyle. Image courtesy of Vanity Fair; photo illustration by Stephen Doyle.

Words and war are connected deeply and in ways that have shaped human history.  Land armies secured the Rosetta Stone, which enabled linguistic understanding of far off ancient civilizations.  Paper-making technology came to the Middle East and Europe from a Chinese prisoner of war taken at the Battle of Talas in 751A.D. And, as descriptions go, few approach the significance of when Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide in the fall of 1944. As the Wall Street Journal remarks, this word was an “ungainly hybrid, etymologically speaking, combinging Greek “genos” meaning “people” or “nation” with the Latin-derived suffix “-cide” for “killing.”  Lemkin “hit upon the word after rejecting various other possibilities, including established terms like “barbarity” and “vandalism,” as well as a similar coinage, “ethnocide.” So, these two – words and war – are linked in historically important ways. Continue reading “Words for War: Common Mistakes in Writing About Human Conflict”