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Would Sherman Pursue Today’s Jihadists?

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Would Sherman Pursue Today’s Jihadists?

Robert Alan Murphy

1

In December of 1860, William Tecumseh Sherman delivered a speech to Louisianans on the subject of secession and articulated the kind of timeless logic Americans ought to apply before deciding to go to war. You can read his full remarks here. Sherman’s entreaty, excerpted below, expertly distills the pragmatic and philosophical underpinnings of why nations should not go to war.

"The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth--right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with.

In 1977, CIA analyst Ray Cline applied mathematics to Sherman’s intuitive logic and developed an objective equation for measuring national power. It sets a nation’s materiel strength as an equal multiplier to its strategic purpose and will to pursue the strategy, with a nation’s power as the product. Clines and Sherman’s approach to national security offers a useful tool for contemporary Americans policymakers to evaluate the soundness of how America pursues its security interests. Do Americans support the strategic purpose? Do the materiel and moral side of the great power equation make sense? For the South in 1860 and America in 2019, the answer is objectively no.

America’s 2017 national security strategy (NSS) defines America’s vital interests along 3 pillars; protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life; promote American prosperity; and preserve peace through strength. All sound like perfectly logical ends to a strategy, but as with so many things, the devil is in the details, and many of the ways and means articulated in the NSS are specious and actually detract from American security.

A troublesome requirement within the first pillar, Protect the American people, is that America must pursue threats to their source. Specifically, it must pursue Jihadists and transnational criminal organizations. Despite the legitimate doubt created by the casus belli for America’s interventions in Libya in 2014, and Iraq in 2003, we’ll agree. It is also evident that America possesses sufficient resources to win the fight. The questions then remains about whether or not pursuit makes America safer, and more importantly, do Americans have the stomach for the fight? Objective assessment indicates the answer to both questions is no. Despite the visceral satisfaction exacted from killing terrorists, the net outcome to security is not commensurate to the cost. This assessment is true across the board from America’s two decade military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq to its tangential adventures in Yemen, Libya and Syria.   

Sherman described how miserably ill-prepared the south was relative to the north. Southerners had the will, but not the means or a just cause. Conversely, contemporary America has the means and a just cause, but empirically doesn’t have the will to win the fight, as evinced by extraordinary Army recruitment incentives, among other objective measures. As Cline demonstrated during the cold war, a nation’s will is a multiplier of its materiel resources. With NATO, America, Iraq and Afghanistan at close to zero in the will to win category, it simply won’t matter how many JDAMS, Jondis or Kandaks thrown at the Jihadist fight. Contemporary polling further indicates that Joe and Jane Q. Public just want the war on Jihadists all to be over already, and who could blame them?

America’s insatiable appetite for the commodities that transnational criminals deliver suggests much the same regarding the criminal threat. After decades of a war on drugs, Americans overwhelmingly feel that it isn’t winning. Support for legislation that weakens consequences for drug offenders, expands publicly funded rehabilitation programs, and thwarts efforts to secure America’s borders suggest that America has given up on the pursuit and has prioritized domestic solutions to address the threat posed by transnational criminals.

Alternatively, Jihadists and criminals certainly have an abundance of the will to win. Fueled by the zeal of a cosmic sense of righteousness, jihadists have sustained the kinds of casualties and losses in battle that might make Stalin blanch, yet they are as determined to beat America today as they were in 2001. America has decapitated that hydra so many times as to beggar belief, yet each fighting season in Afghanistan legions of fresh recruits show up, determined to join thousands of seasoned veterans in killing the kafir.

In its pursuit of thwarting criminal networks, America has thrown a dizzying array of military and civilian resources at the fountainheads and arteries of criminal trafficking. Plan Columbia has been dusted off, copied and pasted in a number of new places, all of which retain much from the original, including its mixed results. While the public hears of the occasional seizures of a few tons of contraband, the country remains awash with it, and no end appears in sight. America’s hunger for criminal merchandise is only matched by the criminals’ fervor to turn a profit.

America’s approach to the pursuit is just as problematic, and contributes to Americans’ apathy toward it. It has used a sledgehammer to address a virus, and has surrendered its interest in the strategy to whatever commercial media outlets deem as reportable news. It burdens its military and law enforcement bodies with so many political preconditions and objectives that tactical victories cannot be translated into a decisive strategic win. The equivalent to a World War II news reel doesn’t exist, and the US government has no strategy to generate public support.

America’s greatest ‘victories’ in the approach it has taken have been in popular acts of vengeance. As glorious as it was to see Bin Laden and Zarqawi killed, it wasn’t long before the hydra regenerated its heads, and their martyrdom added fuel to the cosmic fire for Jihad. The interception of criminal contraband has simply spawned innovative smuggling and increased methods of graft and terrorism to retain market access. America’s military and law enforcement community is embroiled in a surreal form of warfare where success in battle doesn’t lead to victory in war, and where the American public sympathizes with their hardships but has stopped expecting their success.

After decades of fruitless pursuit, it is time for a sober assessment of whether or not America was ready for this fight, and how it might protect the American people going forward. Just as the South would have had to concede that their cause was unjust and their resources insufficient, America has to admit that it doesn’t care enough to pursue jihadists and criminals to their source. It likely must also question whether it has the political courage to make necessary changes to the strategy.  

Sherman would likely say no, and might lecture to America in 2019, like he did the South in 1860, that it has undertaken a desultory and unproductive strategy to secure objectives it’s not quite sure of and unable to deliver. The future looks bleak. While Armed Service posture testimony in 2019 makes no mention of pursuing either jihadists or criminals, it has simply shifted attention to new, equally dubious adversaries that America will not have the will to fight. It doesn’t have to be like this. America has a history of cutting its losses with no discernable negative effect to American security. Somalia in 1993 and Lebanon in 1983 demonstrate that it is possible to extricate itself from continuing to throw good blood and treasure after bad. American strategists must concede that the public appetite for sustained pursuit of its adversaries is a co-equal part of the national security equation, and policymakers must have the courage to challenge the status quo.

Sherman warned the South about the locomotive barreling towards them on the secession track. Cline predicted the implosion of the Soviet Union. Both promulgated a prophetic strategic logic by which America should evaluate itself. The next strategy must account for what the American public will support, and the strategy that will ignite and sustain the fire necessary for decisive victory. Just as the south had an opportunity to avoid disaster in 1860, America’s policymakers have the opportunity to inject objective reasoning into the national dialogue about security.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Army.

About the Author(s)

Robert "Alan" Murphy is a retired US Army Infantry Officer and career strategist. He has led infantry troops in combat and developed strategy at echelons from Army Division to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Comments

Although this thread is beginning to get old, I believe that the following may offer us some important insight, for example,

a.  As to Azor's question, below, of why a much weaker state and/or non-state actor would fight against a much more powerful opponent and

b.  As to Jeff Goodson's "clashes of civilization -- occurring within one country -- brought about by the inertia of history" thesis.

As you read the below quoted item, note that the speaker was:

a.  An American Southerner,

b.  Who had lived through the American Civil War and, thus,

c.  Knew what we was talking about 

BEGIN QUOTE 

Senator Benjamin Tillman, in discussing the Philippine Insurgency, would address the U.S. Senate on February 7, 1899, he would read aloud three stanzas of “The White Man’s Burden” and suggest that U.S should renounce claim of authority over the Philippine Islands. To that effect, Senator Tillman asked:

"... Why are we bent on forcing upon them a civilization not suited to them and which only means in their view degradation and a loss of self-respect, which is worse than the loss of life itself? I am nearly done. Nobody answers and nobody can. The commercial instinct which seeks to furnish a market and places for the growth of commerce or the investment of capital for the money making of the few is pressing this country madly to the final and ultimate annexation of these people regardless of their own wishes. . . .

END QUOTE 

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/gilded/empire/text7/tillman.pdf

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:

As an American Southerner, who had lived through the American Civil War, Senator Tillman, above, had recent and first hand experience with:

a.  Efforts being made by a government (for the sake of "markets?") to force upon populations (either at home or abroad) "a civilization not suited to them." And:

b.  "The degradation and loss of self-respect" -- which for these populations "was worse than the loss of life itself" -- that thereby ensued. 

Given this such information/this such insight into the matters that we have been discussing below, then:

a.  While we might say that this such explanation may, indeed, offer an answer to Azor's "why they fight" question,

b.  It does not seem to support, as well, Jeff Goodson's "clash of civilizations -- within one country -- due to the inertia of history" theory.  This, given that, in the Philippines case noted above:

1.  No "inertia of history" (similar, for example, to the industrial revolution and the globalization revolution that we discuss below) is in play.  (The only possible "inertia of history" moment occurring at this time is U.S. imperialism?)  And:

2.  The "clash of civilizations inside one country" (due to some "inertia of history"); this, also, would not seem to be present in the above Philippines case? 

Regarding civil wars, as Jeff Goodson, in his comment below seems to tell us (if I have read him right):

a.  It is "inertia of history" moments that:

b.  Make "clashes of civilizations" (within one's own country) civil wars unavoidable.  

In this regard, let us look to exactly what "inertia of history" moments we might be talking about here; first, the one that occurs before our American Civil War and, next, the one that occurs around the end of our Old Cold War:

The first "inertia of history" moment we will be discussing here, in this case ultimately leading up to America's Civil War, this seems to be what Robert Gilpin, in his "The Challenge of Global Capitalism," calls "The First Great Age of Capitalism;" herein, referring to "the emergence of the international economy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."  Let us view this such first "inertia of history" moment, in this case, through the popular -- but now in hindsight clearly irresponsible -- "no-change" strategy of then (cir. 1829) presidential candidate Andrew Jackson: 

"Jacksonians drew support from Northern Laborers and yeoman farmers in the South and West.  These groups, which Jackson dubbed the 'bone and sinew' of America, worried that the market economy would force them into the dependent class.  The Jacksonians told farmers and laborers that they would do everything in their power to prevent this from taking place.  In essence, the men and their rank and file voting allies, along with Jackson, fought a rear-guard action against encroaching industrialization and market economy. Although they won the pivotal battles, they lost the war, because their notion of a pre-capitalist agrarian society succumbed to the industrial economy after the Civil War."

https://books.google.com/books?id=8H-iCQAAQBAJ&pg=RA1-PA194&lpg=RA1-PA19...  )  

The next "inertia of history" moment we will view, in this case, leading ultimately to election of President Donald Trump; this such "inertia of history" moment is associated with what Gilpin dubbed "The Second Great Age of Capitalism;" herein, referring to what, near the end of the Old Cold War, came to be known to as the new age of "globalization"  Let us view this such second "inertia of history" moment through the "pro-change" (and thus more responsible?) "transform, modernize and remain competitive" strategy of the U.S. Supreme Court and others:

"In taking this course, the (U.S. Supreme) Court has increasingly aligned itself with the prescriptive views of American business and political elites, for whom globalization is understood 'not merely [as] a diagnostic tool but also [as] an action program.'  From this perspective, globalization 'represents a great virtue: the transcendence of the traditional restrictions on worldwide economic activity.., inherent' in the era of Nation States. Proponents of this vision of a globalized economy characterize the United States as 'a giant corporation locked in a fierce competitive struggle with other nations for economic survival,' so that 'the central task of the federal government' is 'to increase the international competitiveness of the American economy."  (See Page 643) ...

"Major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed though exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints. What is more, high-ranking retired officers and civilian leaders of the United States military assert that, '[based on [their] decades of experience,' a 'highly qualified, racially diverse officer corps ... is essential to the military's ability to fulfill its principle mission to provide national security.' The primary sources for the Nation's officer corps are the service academies and the Reserve Officers Training Corps, the latter comprising students already admitted to participating colleges and universities. At present, 'the military cannot achieve an officer corps that is both highly qualified and racially diverse unless the service academies and the ROTC used limited race-conscious recruiting and admissions policies.' "  (See Page 698)

https://scholarship.law.edu/scholar/48/  (See Page 643.)

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above: 

In the face of the "change" requirements of the first "inertia of history" moment, identified above, to wit: the one associated with, in this case, the First Age of Global Capitalism, President Andrew Jackson appears to have:

a.  Shirked his "pro-change" national security duties and responsibilities; this, so as to

b.  Be elected. 

This such "shirking," might we say, led directly to (a) President Abraham Lincoln, soon thereafter, having to take more drastic action and (b) our related "clash of civilizations" (within our own country) civil war. 

In the face of the "change" demands of the second "inertia of history" moment, identified above, the one associated with, in this case, the Second Age of Global Capitalism, the U.S. Supreme Court -- and likewise the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats it would seem --

a.  Bit the bullet and attempted to address their "pro-change" national security duties and responsibilities and, ultimately, 

b.  Bit the dust for their such honorable and responsible efforts and actions..  

As Gilpin notes (again in his "The Challenge of Global Capitalism") "inertia of history" moments, such as those we have identified above, these have certain exceptionally well-known, exceptionally well-understood and indeed highly predictable positive and negative consequences:  

"Capitalism is the most successful wealth-creating economic system that the world has ever known; no other system, as the distinguished economist Joseph Schumpeter pointed out, has benefited “the common people” as much. Capitalism, he observed, creates wealth through advancing continuously to ever higher levels of productivity and technological sophistication; this process requires that the 'old' be destroyed before the 'new' can take over. Technological progress, the ultimate driving force of capitalism, requires the continuous discarding of obsolete factories, economic sectors, and even human skills. The system rewards the adaptable and the efficient; it punishes the redundant and the less productive...."

This being the case, then can we say that:

a.  HOW LEADERSHIP DEALS WITH the -- clearly mandatory -- "pro-change" national security requirements -- associated with these such "inertia of history" moments --

b.  THIS determines how the (inevitable/unavoidable -- as Jeff Goodson tells us) "clash of civilizations" (within one's own country) civil conflicts will play out?

To Bill C. RE: Sherman & Jihadists,

 

 

I would revise and expand on Thucydides’ list:

 

 

  • Political identity or imagined community
  • Interest
  • Fear
  • Linking back and looking forward

 

 

You will find that every extremist movement is both reactionary and revolutionary. 

 

With respect to your Afghan reference: during their brief and incomplete rule over Afghanistan, the Taliban imposed a new form of state and society, even as they claimed legitimacy derived from the 8th Century. 

 

Azor:

As to your "the real question is: why do some states and non-state actors attack more powerful ones?"

I believe you will find your answer here:

"The overt attack on Afghan social values was presented, by the resistance forces, as an attack on Islamic values. This was also seen as an attack on the honor of women. The initiatives introduced by PDPA (the Afghan communist party) -- to impose literacy on women and girls -- inevitably raised questions as to the potential role of women outside the the home. This provoked defensive actions from men, concerned with protecting the honor of women with their families, and to also ensure that traditional roles of women within the domestic sphere continued to be performed. It also generated fears that the important roles of women, as the primary vehicles for passing traditional and Islamic values from one generation to another, would be undermined if they were exposed to external and, particularly, non-Islamic values. This enabled the exiled radical Islamic parties to claim leadership of the resistance and to also declare a jihad."

(Item in parenthesis above in mine.)

https://books.google.com/books?id=YeYBAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=The+

"A member of a Jewish sect noted for its uncompromising opposition to pagan Rome and the polytheism it professed. The Zealots were an aggressive political party whose concern for the national and religious life of the Jewish people led them to despise even Jews who sought peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities. A census of Galilee ordered by Rome in AD 6 spurred the Zealots to rally the populace to noncompliance on the grounds that agreement was an implicit acknowledgment by Jews of the right of pagans to rule their nation.  Extremists among the Zealots turned to terrorism and assassination and became known as Sicarii (Greek sikarioi, 'dagger men'). They frequented public places with hidden daggers to strike down persons friendly to Rome. In the first revolt against Rome (ad 66–70) the Zealots played a leading role, and at Masada in 73 they committed suicide rather than surrender the fortress, but they were still a force to be reckoned with in the first part of the following century. A few scholars see a possible relationship between the Zealots and the Jewish religious community mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Zealot

"Why do some subordinates seem to always resist significant change? Thucydides’ list – 'honor, interest, and fear' – answers this question. One driver of resistance lies in deep-rooted organizational culture or 'identity': 'Insurgents' may see themselves as protecting from assault a vital element of the organization’s identity. Another driver may be the perceived impact that proposed change will have on existing power structures and pay. A third may be subordinates’ fears that change will lead to their being demoted, moved, or losing their job. As in an armed insurgency, resistance typically coalesces around some combination of all three drivers."

https://mwi.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Pryer_Final_LB_9_26.pdf (See Page 5.) 

Sherman was absolutely right about the disadvantages of the South on the eve of the Civil War, but that did not stop the South from trying.  The resulting gamble was the costliest war in American history. 

 

What is the point of having such advantages if they have to be proven in such a manner?  

 

Sherman did not that: "Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war".  This seems to be the crux of the matter.  

 

The real question is: why do some states and non-state actors attack more powerful ones?  

We ahve fought every war since 1941 as if it was WW2 - big battalions and that is the problem. Even the victory of the South was not a "victory". It took another 2 hundred years and the CRM to defeat the entrenched Separatist politics - both in the State House, local governments and the countryside to break the ideology  of the Southern segregationist ideology. We have outlasted the Russians in Afghanistan, spread greater violence in Iraq (no, the war is not over yet despite W's little theatrics...) and then there is Syria..we fight on but to real solution in big battalions.... 

Bill C.

Sat, 08/31/2019 - 10:53am

From our article above:

"After decades of fruitless pursuit, it is time for a sober assessment of whether or not America was ready for this fight, and how it might protect the American people going forward. Just as the South would have had to concede that their cause was unjust and their resources insufficient, America has to admit that it doesn’t care enough to pursue jihadists and criminals to their source."

Note that, from the information I have provided in my initial comment below, if America today (or the American North at the time of our civil war?) were to "pursue the enemy to its source," then America today (and the American North at the time of our civil war?) would need only to:

a.  Look in the mirror and

b.  Take corrective action as per its own "transformative" foreign policies (the "source" of our terrorists problems) and its own "transformative" domestic policies (the "source" of our problems here at home today and during the American Civil War also).

In this regard consider -- and re: the U.S./the West's recent FOREIGN POLICY efforts to transform Rest of the World more along modern western political, economic, social and value lines in this case -- (a) the apparent "mirror looking" and (b) the apparent "about-face" corrective actions, that (c) Great Britain and the U.S. have undertaken recently:

Then-British Prime Minister Theresa May:

“It is in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe,” she said.

"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/theresa-may-donald-trump-us-uk-no-longer-foreign-intervention-iraq-afghanistan-a7548551.html

Present U.S. President Donald Trump:

"We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”

“Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.”

https://qz.com/1081499/unga-2017-trump-mentioned-sovereignty-21-times-in-a-speech-heralding-a-new-american-view-of-the-world/

And, with regard to our DOMESTIC POLICY -- to transform even our own states and societies so as to better provide for and better benefit from such things as globalization -- note that an exceptionally similar "we are the source of our own problems" "mirror-looking" -- and "about-face" corrective action phenomenon -- has taken place here at home; in this case, as evidenced by the Brexit and the election of President Trump.

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:

Thus, in "pursuing the enemy to its source," the U.S./the West, of late, has decided that this such "source:"

a.  Lies within our very own countries and

b.  Relates, most specifically, to the "transformative"/the "modernizing" nature both our foreign and domestic policies. 

(And if Sherman, likewise, had wanted to "pursue the enemy to its source" back at the time of the American Civil War, then he would, obviously, only have needed to look toward the American North's "transformative"/its "modernizing" agenda, and related domestic policies, back then.)

Sherman was a Proponent of "hard war."   I would think that If he was running running the military action with the backing of a "hard war" president like Lincoln, then we would see unrestrained war the likes of which have not been seen since the German Soviet war of the '40s.  In his campaign through Georgia and S. Carolina he allowed his Army to ravage its way through these areas, burning cities, towns, individual homes, destroying food supplies, and worse.

Whether this would beat an insurgency I am not sure, but it would probably deter others.   I am in no way endorsing this type of warfare.   I believe it was immoral in the 1860's and is still so today. But Sherman's ROE were extremely lax by the standards of that time and by the standards of today.   Not only did he carried out these policies against the Confederacy but if anything "Perfected" them against the Native Americans.     If Sherman was in charge today, the Islamist had better be prepared for "war is hell."

 

Jeff:  

In consideration of your comment below -- and re: my discussion, below, of how the threat of "transformation"/the threat of "further modernization" is now occurring -- not only in the countries of the the Global South (includes the Greater Middle East?) but now, obviously, also in the countries of the Global North,  

In this regard, would you say that the "inertia of history makes a clash of civilizations unavoidable" phenomenon -- that you address in your comment below-- that this applies, today, more to (a) two or more "civilizations" (b) WITHIN ONE'S OWN COUNTRY; wherein, for example: 

a.  One "civilization" -- within said country -- (Kilcullen's "insurgents;" the one's doing "revolutionary warfare") works to achieve "further transformation/"further modernization; this, for example, so as to better provide for and better benefit from such things as globalism, globalization and the global economy (your "inertia of history?").  This while, simultaneously,

b.  Another "civilization" -- within this exact same country -- (Kilcullens "counterinsurgents") works to prevent these such unwanted political, economic, social and value changes/these such "further transformations"/"further modernizations" from taking place.  (And/or, if too much unwanted such change, transformation and/or modernization is thought to have already taken place, then to return to a/the status quo ante.)

Bottom Line Question -- Based on the Above:

Thus, today, and much as in the case of the American Civil War, is the "clash of civilizations" to which you are referring, is this (a) a "clash" of two or more civilizations, (b) WITHIN the exact same country, for example:

a.  As INSIDE the countries the Global South and the Global North today?  And:

b.  As I suggest in my pro-modernizer "civilization" -- versus anti-modernizer "civilization" -- suggestion above? 

Jeff Goodson

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:14am

The Civil War was inevitable, sooner or later.  Sherman wasn't wrong.  But sometimes--and the Civil War was one of those times--the inertia of history makes a clash of civilizations unavoidable.  

ramthink

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 12:54am

The bottom line is that American political will is as essential to victory in war as the size and capacity of its military. The South had an excess of will in 1860 but not the military or industrial capacity. Conversely, America today is a military juggernaut but lacks the will to win a war against jihadists, who themselves have an abundance of will and a relative dearth of military capability. See to the war on transnational criminal organizations. Hell, America doesn't even appear to have the will to extricate itself from the wars it is losing.

 

From our article above:

"The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth--right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with."

In this regard, let us understand that today is not like yesterday, this given that:

a.  Today, with routine consistency, countries with the modern-day advantage/equivalent of "steam-engines, locomotives or railway cars," etc.

b.  These such much more powerful entities -- ROUTINELY and CONSISTENTLY -- lose wars against their much weaker opponents.  (Too many to list here, but some that we will be familiar with are the West's losses to much weaker opponents in Algeria, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.?) 

This would seem to be due to, significantly, two specific facts:

1.  The much weaker opponent -- in the face of great power aggression -- fighting an existential war; that is, a war to retain their time-honored and preferred way of life, their time-honored and preferred way of governance, their time-honored and preferred values, etc. This, while the much stronger power is fighting only a war to achieve greater power, influence and control over (and thus to be able to better exploit) this much weaker opponent (whose traditional way of life, way of governance, values, etc., stands directly in the great power's way.)  And:

2.  The advent of Mao's guerrilla warfare; which would seem to have been designed to specifically exploit the "asymmetrical" nature (much weaker opponent fighting an existential fight; much strong aggressor fighting only an exploitive fight) of these such conflicts. 

(Andrew Mack, in his "Why Big Countries Lose Small Wars," introduces and discusses these matters in great detail.)

Thus, the following question: 

If, back in the time of the American Civil War, and due to the similar(?) asymmetric nature of fight back then (South: existential fight; North: exploitive desire),

a.  Had the American South had had access to -- and significantly utilized -- Mao's guerrilla warfare

b.  Might the American Civil War have ended much differently; this,

c.  Much as these such "asymmetrical fights" have ended since about 1949?

Note:  The Global South today -- versus the Global North today -- this would seem to be this exact same asymmetric fight; wherein:

a.  The much more powerful Global North, acting more or less in this case as exploitative imperial power, seeks to "transform"/to "modernize" the outlying states and societies of the world; this, so that the Global North might better exploit and utilize same. 

(In this regard, and as in earlier times, it is the "cultural backwardness" of these "outlying"/Global South states and societies, THIS is that gets in the Global North's way.)  This while:

b.  For the Global South, this, obviously, is an existential fight, to wit: a fight to retain (or to regain if too much unwanted change has already taken place) the way of life, the way of governance, the values, etc., that has (a) provided for these peoples for centuries (much as "slavery" did for the U.S. before the American Civil War?) and which (b) these folks wish to retain or regain.  (And, thus, will fight and die for today.)

Additional Problem: 

Given the "transformative" demands being made on even on  the Global North today; this, by such things as (a) globalism, globalization and the global economy and (b) the global elite that profit most from same,

Given these such "transformative" demands, should we not note that the "cultural warriors" -- of even the Global North now -- have joined in this asymmetric fight; which, in this case,

1.  Is to defend the traditional way of life, the traditional way of governance, the traditional values, of the Global North.  Or, if too much unwanted change is thought to have already taken place,

2.  To restore the status quo ante.  (In this regard, consider the similar promise, and the similar popularity, of such things as the "Caliphate" and the "Make America Great Again" movements?)

Bottom Line Question and Answer -- Based on the Above:

Q:  Would Sherman pursue today's Jihadists?

A:  This must be decided, it would seem, with adequate regard to/in consideration of the matters that I have presented above.