Clausewitz’s Friction in War and the United States invasion of Iraq


  • Dele Jemirade YORK UNIVERSITY


This article aims to analyze the relevance of Carl von Clausewitz’s theory on Friction in War to the United States invasion of Iraq. It is argued here that the theory of friction of war by Clausewitz is still very relevant in contemporary warfare. Despite that contemporary warfare is characterized by advanced technology, computers, artificial intelligence, and target precision weaponry, there are so many unpredictable things and beyond the control of soldiers on the battlefield, commanding generals, and civilians who are responsible for the planning and its execution. These unpredictable events that can change the outcome of the war are what Clausewitz refers to as the friction in war. In this article, two examples of friction of war are used to analyze the relevance of this theory. These examples are first, the insurgency in Iraq after the removal of President Saddam Hussein, and the declaration of the end of major hostilities by president George W. Bush and secondly, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. These two examples are used because they affected considerably the war plans of the United States in Iraq and therefore suffice as examples of friction of war.

Author Biography


Dr. Dele Jemirade is a consultant and a researcher in Defense and Security, Arms Control, War, Conflict, Violence, Terrorism, Insurgency, Genocide, African History, Development Studies, Religious Studies, International Relations and Diplomacy. After completing his primary and secondary education from Shahuchi Primary School Kano Nigeria and Government Secondary School Gwale Kano Nigeria respectively, Dr. Jemirade obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Ilorin Nigeria, a Master of Arts in History (Strategic Studies) from the University of Lagos Nigeria, a Master of Arts in History (Development) from the University of Guelph Ontario Canada, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in History from York University Toronto Ontario Canada. Dr. Jemirade has published articles in different esteemed peer-reviewed journals. His current research is on “Wars, Conflicts, Violence, and Genocides: The Impact of Illegal Arms Supply on Development in Africa.”