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J. Andrés Gannon
Why didn’t they send in ground troops? This airstrike is illustrative of an apparent bias toward high technology in US warfighting. Such high-tech approaches are sometimes operationally inappropriate, failing to achieve or even retrogressing political objectives. We have repeatedly seen this play out in unconventional conflicts, where having troops on the ground to live with the population, provide security, and share risks is vital for winning hearts and minds in contests of political will. Yet high-tech approaches to war can also backfire in the complex operating environment of large-scale conflicts, when human perception, emotion, and motive may be more effective than sensors in distinguishing adversary from civilian (or even friendly operator).