WASHINGTON - Even with drones, smart bombs and precision weapons, war remains a clash of human wills that ultimately requires boots on the ground, and the notion that land forces are obsolete is naive and dangerous, the top US Army general said on Wednesday.
"Technology will not solve the problems alone," General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told a panel discussion at the annual conference of the Association of the US Army, a military support group.
"(There's a) thought process that if we stand off and if we throw precision missiles, rockets, that will cause the enemy to capitulate. ... In my opinion, that's a false assumption," Odierno said.
That is why leaders of the main US land forces are working to distill and teach the lessons of the past dozen years of war, when American troops invaded Iraq but failed to translate it into a strategic success.
"We executed a brilliant campaign. ... We achieved all of the objectives except for one, and that was the capitulation of the enemy," said General Robert Cone, the head of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command.