Odd indeed. One would have to believe that people are just coming up with stuff to make themselves look good, eh? Oh, wait -- this seems to be precisely what Owen believes.
War isn’t just transforming — it’s ushering in a whole new language to describe conflict, and this language is used in a way that pays little attention to logic or military history. Thus the forces we used to call guerrillas are now “hybrid threats.” Insurgencies are now “complex” and require “complex and adaptive” solutions. Jungles and cities are now “complex terrain.” Put simply, the discussion about future conflict is being conducted using buzzwords and bumper stickers.
The evidence that the threats of the 21st century are going to be that much different from the threats of the 20th is lacking. Likewise, there is no evidence that a “new way of war” is evolving or that we somehow had a previously flawed understanding. In fact, the use of the new words strongly indicates that those using them do not wish to be encumbered by a generally useful and coherent set of terms that military history had previously used. As war and warfare are not changing in ways that demand new words, it is odd that people keep inventing them.
The only thing that can obscure that obvious truth [that there is nothing new under the sun, that every lesson that must be learned by man has been learned before by someone who precedes you, and that instead of all this original thinking nonsense we should just take a closer look at history -ed.] is the application of new words and altered meanings to bend the problem to fit the writer’s purpose — or to pretend that military history is less useful than the insights of those incapable of expressing themselves in plain English.While we're on the subject of "plain English," let's talk about the sentence I quoted in the title. It's banal and obvious to say "Antartica is cold," but it's hardly irrelevant to someone writing a book report or going to live there. Irrelevance does not follow from obviousness, dude.
Anyway, the Frank Hoffmans of the world can defend themselves far better than I can, so I won't bother with that here. I just wanted to draw your attention to this piece, if only to underline something that I'm reminded of every time I crack the spine of our military journals: conservatism, in the very most literal sense of the term, hasn't died. Now, as ever, it manifests itself as some old guy saying "these Young Turks with their new ideas haven't actually said anything new at all!"