The Need to Know an Opponents Culture According to Montgomery McFate the

The need to know an opponents culture according to

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The Need to Know an Opponent’s Culture According to Montgomery McFate, the knowledge of an enemy’s culture and warfare are inextricably bound together. Montgomery argues in his article that knowing the adversary’s culture improves military prowess, and history has demonstrated that indeed past wars have been won as a result of that understanding (McFate, 2005). For instance, Herodotus studied his enemy’s conduct during the Persian Wars (490-479 B.C). During the Ottoman Empire, many scholars like Lawrence of Arabia, studied the local culture of his adversaries (Wunderle, 1962). It suffices to note when one knows their enemy, especially their culture, they can get deeper and live among them without getting recognized, but understand how they operate. Knowing the enemy reduces fear. However, the concept of “know your enemy” as a first principle of war has never be embraced by the American military in their operations, and when making national security decisions in government. As a result, American military operations have failed to achieve the expected results in all their missions, right from the Vietnamese war, to the wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan. Many military commanders have expressed their frustrations in these
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AN OPPONENTS’ CULTURE 4 operations because of the lack of cultural knowledge. These decorated military officers point out to lack of this vital knowledge to the massive failures in Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan (Lucian, 2016). Today, after America has withdrawn its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. These countries are still fighting insurgencies, and before leaving these regions, our soldiers fall victim to the insurgencies. Imperatively, it is the lack of cultural knowledge of the enemy that led to the killing of many American soldiers and their inability to finish these wars in a dignified manner. Accordingly, to defeat adversaries and understand new operational environments, the military intelligence needs a more in-depth focus on cultural knowledge of the enemy. The understanding of the culture of the adversary will allow the U.S. military and intelligence community to make the much required positive difference in its strategy, operations, and tactics (González, 2017). The federal military training and system must conceptualize and incorporate cultural and social understanding of the enemies into its education, training, planning, operations, and intelligence. National security system should incorporate anthropology as a discipline that can support its warfare in some of these tribal areas around the world, particularly in the Middle East and the Gulf region.
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  • Fall '19
  • Armed forces, Military of the United States

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