The pompously so called «fourth generation wars» are the counterinsurgency wars or guerrilla warfares or irregular wars or armed civil revolts or wars of liberation or organized banditry, which have always existed, coexisting with the conventional variants of warfare.
They are those that the USA has lost or not winned lately: Vietnam, The Lebanon (Marines pacifying disembarkation, then demolished in their barrack by Hezbollah members) and Somalia (the uncontrollable and unforseeable wasp’s nest of «all against all» of the war lords and the Islamic fundamental militias). They are unequal wars (they call them now «asymmetrical warfare») against an enemy of lower technological military level relative to the regular enemy forces, taken root always in the civil own or occupied population, slightly intense militarily and extensive in the space and the time.
With embarrassing frequency, when the North American human or technological «sensors» detect some probable Iraqi rebel activity or from the foreign muhaydines, first they devastate with ordnance the building, the block, the zone. Then they go to wipe out and to do the body count , because they are very scrupulous with their statistics. Sometimes among the rubbles they can find the corpses of an Arabic innocent and numerous family. There is an excessive use of the attrition, which is indiscriminate and perverse when the enemy fuses with the civil ones. There is a disregard of the active, unexpected patrolling, which needs proportionally less material and human means, but more trade knowledge, moral courage, performance freedom and creativity in the low and intermediate cadres and command and in the men.