Grunts, not technology, win wars: Historian

August 1st, 2010 - 1:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 1 (ANI): The “grunts”- American troops on the ground-have been better than technology in winning wars, says military historian John C. McManus in a new book about America’s ground forces.

The foot soldier has been the most indispensible - and most overlooked - factor in wartime victory, says McManus in his new book, ‘Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq’.

Published by NAL, an imprint of Penguin, the book is scheduled for an Aug. 3 release.

In the book, McManus, an associate professor of U.S. military history at Missouri University of Science and Technology, examines 10 pivotal battles over the past six decades - from the 1944 fight on the island of Guam to today’s counterinsurgency combat in Iraq - and concludes that the skills and courage of American troops were the deciding factor in each.

“The true difference makers in wars will be the soldiers on the ground. Now, they need a lot of support, and the technology makes a difference. But in the end, who tips the balance? The guy on the ground,” said McManus.

McManus has also suggested that U.S. policymakers adjust military policy to strengthen the infantry.

Policymakers “tend to shrink from the realities of war. It’s brutal, it’s vulgar, it’s violent, it’s wasteful, and it tends to be fought on the ground,” said McManus.

Despite the increasing reliance on technology in modern military action - from aerial drones to global positioning systems - ground troops continue to play an important role, said McManus.

“It’s only natural that Americans would look toward our strengths, and technology is a strength. But at exactly the time the ground soldiers were supposed to become obsolete, the exact opposite has happened.

“Based on what’s happened in very recent history, I don’t believe this will change. I believe we need to shape our national policy” to emphasize the importance of infantry,” he added. (ANI)

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