chapter  4
Politics with guns: A response to T.X. Hammes’ “War evolves into the fourth generation”
ByJAMES J . WIRTZ
Pages 5

I would like to offer a few thoughts about why US military professionals are so disturbed by the prospect of Fourth and Fifth Generation Warfare and then identify a flaw in the analysis offered by Thomas Hammes in his essay, “War Evolves into the Fourth Generation.” Although I do not disagree with Hammes in fundamental ways, I think he exaggerates both the novelty of Fourth Generation Warfare and its effectiveness against more conventionally organized and equipped militaries. I also think that Hammes is attempting to break down the dichotomy between war and politics that exists in the minds of many US military officers, but his essay actually seems to reinforce that dichotomy. The locus of the problem he identifies is not Fourth Generation Warfare, but an unwillingness on the part of many military officers to confront the fact that war is ultimately a political contest. In any event, Hammes makes several important points in his essay, so the reader might forgive me for placing his argument in a slightly different context. After all, an issue is completely covered only when everyone gets to restate the same idea in his or her own words.