Today's U.S. armed forces are at a crossroad, a break between the way urban operations have been conducted in the past and the manner in which they will be carried out in the future. The past has demonstrated that combat in built-up areas is costly in terms of friendly force lives and more expensive yet for noncombatants. The route ahead is virgin terrain; the American public's seeming intolerance of military and civilian casualties rules out attacking cities with massive firepower as U.S. forces did 50 years ago.
Originally published in: Armed Forces Journal International, May 1999, pp. 46-49.
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