Robert Kaplan explains the importance of small tactical units in warfare now and in the future. This is fighting in Indian Country: "you want to whack bad guys quietly and cover your tracks with humanitarian-aid projects." Worth reading the whole op-ed. A piece of it:
"In Indian Country, it is not only the outbreak of a full-scale insurgency that must be avoided, but the arrival in significant numbers of the global media. It would be difficult to fight more cleanly than the Marines did in Fallujah. Yet that still wasnt a high enough standard for independent foreign television voices such as al-Jazeera, whose very existence owes itself to the creeping liberalization in the Arab world for which the U.S. is largely responsible. For the more we succeed in democratizing the world, not only the more security vacuums that will be created, but the more constrained by newly independent local medias our military will be in responding to those vacuums. From a field officers point of view, an age of democracy means an age of restrictive rules of engagement.
The American military now has the most thankless task of any military in the history of warfare: to provide the security armature for an emerging global civilization that, the more it matures--with its own mass media and governing structures--the less credit and sympathy it will grant to the very troops who have risked and, indeed, given their lives for it. And as the thunderous roar of a global cosmopolitan press corps gets louder--demanding the application of abstract principles of universal justice that, sadly, are often neither practical nor necessarily synonymous with American national interest--the smaller and more low-key our deployments will become. In the future, military glory will come down to shadowy, page-three skirmishes around the globe, which the armed services will quietly celebrate among their own subculture."