Is a strategy of wearing the enemy out by attrition the only possibility for limited war ideology? What else is possible?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A strategy of attrition is one strategy that can be used in a limited war.  However, it is by no means the only one.  In fact, it may not even be the best one. 

One of the major goals of a limited war is to get the people of the area to get on your side.  This is the strategy of “winning the hearts and minds” of the people that was part of the American strategy in Vietnam.  In modern times, this idea is known as “clear, hold, and build.”

The strategy here begins with “clearing” an area of the enemy.  This is a military strategy in which the enemy is attacked and destroyed or driven out of the area.  Next, the military is to “hold” the area.  This involves ensuring that the enemy cannot return to the area.  Then, the military needs to “build” the area.  This is very important.  The military needs to show the people of the area that they will get benefits from the presence of the military.  By carrying out these three steps, the military gets the people on their side without primarily using a strategy of attrition. 

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