The Buzz

The Shocking Story of How North Korea Beat the U.S. Army

If the only lessons of Task Force Smith was that inexperienced soldiers with poor training and equipment do poorly on the battlefield, or that a nation shouldn’t let its army lapse into decay, these would be mere clichés. The real lesson is what happens when the U.S. military commits to a conflict totally different from what it has prepared for. It is an issue still with us today, as America ponders its strategy in a world where China is powerful, Russia is resurgent, terrorists run amok and nonstate actors like ISIS field armies with advanced weapons. America doesn’t have the resources to be powerful everywhere all the time, which means the Pentagon will have to make assumptions about the nature of war and how best to prepare for it. Will it be high-tech or low-tech? Big war or small war? Conventional warfare or guerrilla campaign? Remember that China and Russia must also make their own assumptions.

It’s a guessing game, but real people will pay the price.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

This appeared last May and is being reposted due to reader interest.