Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — When U.S. forces crossed the Kuwaiti border intoin the pre-dawn hours of March 20, 2003 , the military set out to shock and awe the with the swiftest transformation the region had ever seen.
Five years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, it’s thethat’s been transformed. The efficient, tech-savvy Army , built, armed and trained to fight conventional wars against aggressor states, is now making deals with tribal sheiks and building its power on friendly conversations with civilians.
Instead of planning for quick, decisive battles against other nations, as it was five years ago, today’s American military is planning for protracted, nuanced conflicts with terrorist groups, insurgents, guerrillas, militias and other shadowy forces that seldom stand and fight.
The staples of American military doctrine that have developed since the, armor, air power, speed and overwhelming force— are of limited use against enemies who blend into civilian populations.