The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century

by Colonel Thomas X. Hammes USMC

Book cover for The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century

4GW (Fourth Generation Warfare) is the only kind of war America has ever lost. And we have done so three times - in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia. This form of warfare has also defeated the French in Vietnam and Algeria, and the USSR in Afghanistan.As the only Goliath left in the world, we should be worried that the world's Davids have found a sling and stone that work." - Chapter 1, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century. The War in Iraq. The War on Terror. These types of "asymmetrical" warfare are the conflicts of the 21st century - and show how difficult it is for the world's remaining superpower to battle insurgents and terrorists who will fight unconventionally in the face of superior military power. This change in military conflict may seem sudden.

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  • On Feb 21 2017 cynic2 read this book
  • On Feb 26 2015 ryancalvert (USMC) read this book
  • On Sep 08 2013 kcholbert (USAF) read this book
  • On Apr 04 2013 colleen (USA) read this book
  • On May 10 2010 Tom Copeland (USCG) read this book and commented:

    Col Hammes does an excellent review of what he calls "fourth generation warfare"; including brief studies of Vietnam, the Russian conflict in Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestine conflicts, and the Sandinistas. He doesn't mention the French-Algerian war, but that certainly has all the earmarks of this type of conflict. One point he made was that even though the Russians adopted a scorched-earth policy and indiscrimate bombings and shellings, that wasn't enough to ensure victory. So savagry doesn't always equal victory. This book is notable in that Col Hammes actually has the boldness to offer some suggestions on how we can better fight these wars. Generally, he wants less focus on high-tech gadgetry and more focus on winning the media ratings war, hearts and minds, and an overhaul of the DOD rating system and bureaucracy. It's worth a read for this aspect alone.