Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mein Fuhrer, Steiner kommt ni..what the FUCK?

“You have to recognize also that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”
GEN Petraeus, in Robert Woodward's "Obama's Wars"

What the...the fu'...WHAT?

THIS is the best the theatre commander can do? This from the Warrior-Sage of Mosul, the savior of the Long War? That's IT? A multigenerational unwinnable clusterfucking landwar in Asia? That's the advice you're giving the Leader?

Christ, I used to get military advice that good from SP4 Denny after a half rack of Natty Lite and a basket of salty chicken wings on any Friday night down at the Yadkin Road Hooters. And it came a lot cheaper, too. And Georgie would even do the "Barbie Girl Dance" after he'd had some Jim Beam.

Geez. Does anybody here know how to play this game?


Plessy Versus Ferguson II

We hold these truths to be self-evident --

that ALL men are created EQUAL

--U.S. Constitution


"Needs of military take precedence over liberal social engineering" was a recent USA Today op-ed by Marine Corps veteran Tony Perkins arguing against the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (DADT).

Every one of Mr. Perkins' assertions was deserving of refutation, and away we go:

[1] First, his thesis is erroneous.

The military has long been a site of social engineering. Testing -- vocational and psychological -- began in WW I; racial integration of non-segregated combat units began post-WW II. The current Volunteer Army (VOLAR) is also a form of social engineering by virtue of creating a separate military caste (versus the previous draft army.)

Military academies and ROTC are also forms of social engineering, as they professionalize the officer class. The integration of minorities and females into the officer corps of the military has also been a social engineering project. Females serving in deployable units is yet another form of social engineering.

"A soldier must represent his or her country and maintain military discipline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is why sexual behaviors such as adultery and sodomy remain crimes under military law."

This is a non-sequitur, and a faulty comparison, to boot. Sexual behavior does not necessarily impact upon one's ability to represent one's nation or to maintain discipline. (Sloppy sexual behavior would be an exception.) Adultery is a crime, or certainly a breech of contract; sodomy is just a variation on a theme, and not one confined to homosexuals.
Why is sodomy a no-no, but fellatio and cunnilingus aren't?

If we are so moral, why are illegitimate offspring of service members now afforded coverage under the Tricare system? Is this sanctioning of fornication any less of an offense to order, discipline and soldierly conduct? To equate adultery to sodomy to unsoldierly conduct is hypocritical.

[3] "To put people with sexual attractions to one another into conditions of forced intimacy — sharing bathrooms, showers and sleeping quarters — runs the risk of increasing sexual tension, harassment and even assault. These are clear threats to good order, morale and unit cohesion."

"people with sexual attractions" are already in proximity -- they are called "men and women". Mr. Perkins is carrying on the libel that homosexuals are predatory and not in control of their libido. His illogic is revealed if one replaces gay male soldiers with female homosexual soldiers, or heterosexuals of either gender.

Is Perkins presuming men are strong enough to be soldiers, but not strong enough to fend off unwanted advances? Or that homosexuals are not regimented enough to curb their libidinous drives? He is condemning them a priori. It is the Mandingo fantasy in its 2010 update.

"There is no constitutional right to serve in the military, and individuals are routinely denied enlistment on the basis of characteristics that would rarely, if ever, be the basis for exclusion from civilian employment. These include height, weight, family responsibilities, or even relatively minor health conditions such as asthma."

Homosexuality is not a pathology. It is a gender orientation which has no bearing on the individual's ability to perform a task. It does not prevent the service member from executing duties faithfully. (As an aside,
the first U.S. military service member wounded in the Iraq Occupation was Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Fidelis Alva, who lost his leg to an IED. Staff Sgt. Alva is homosexual.)

"Polls showing support for homosexuals in the military have been distorted by biased wording."

Opinions are irrespective of the Constitution. We have all become such slaves to the talking heads and the pollsters, but their views or results are irrelevant to the topic. Polls do not trump the Constitution, which guarantees equal protection of all.

[6] "
Only one in eight of the world's countries allow homosexuals in their armed forces. The 10 largest military forces all exclude homosexuals."

Irrelevant. We are our own example, and lead by American exceptionalism. It would be more relevant to look at our NATO allies. Nations like Afghanistan are filled with good family men who keep personal dancing boys for their pleasure. (But they are not gay, you see, because they do not love the boys.)

If you prohibit homosexuals from the military, not only do you indulge in affirmative action bias, you do not remove the scourge of rape and sexual abuse which is rampant among hetero service members.

"The needs of the military must come before the demands of radical social activists."

Au contraire. The needs of the nation precede those of the military. We are not a military dictatorship.

One wonders if Mr. Perkins has ever known or had any interaction with a homosexual. Surely he acknowledges that a percentage of our population is homosexual, and phony arguments cannot change that fact or marginalize these people.

His arguments are lacking in Christian compassion and understanding, qualities which should not go missing in a man who is the leader of the
Family Research Council.

[Cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nacht und Nebel

I have up to this point refrained from posting anything much regarding the "secret sacred wars" that the Bush, and now, the Obama Administrations have been conducting as part of their "Global War on Terror".

Partly because I don't really see what more needs to be said; lots of people in the blogosphere as well as conventional media have hammered away on this pernicious combination of secrecy, executive power, and "war" that go a long way to realizing Judge Jeffries' and the Court of Star Chamber ideal of guilt and execution without the bother and tedium of trial.

And partly, frankly, because of the very secrecy of the damn thing. At least with the conventional wars we're fighting in central Asia and elsewhere We the People have some vague notion of the purpose (at least the stated purpose), means, methods, approximate progress, and costs. With this stuff...who the hell knows? Which is obviously the point, since we can't get upset about the foolish waste of time, money, and human lives of some nonsensical secret program if we don't know enough about it to know whether it IS a waste of time, money, and lives.

But the Obama "Justice" Department's latest step is just too ridiculous to pass.
"The Obama administration urged a federal judge early Saturday to dismiss a lawsuit over its targeting of a U.S. citizen for killing overseas, saying that the case would reveal state secrets."
So what the Obama DoJ is saying, in effect, is:

1. We get to decide if you are a "threat" without showing you or anyone else the evidence and your U.S. citizenship is no defense, i.e. you have no due process of law with regard to the charge.
2. We get to decide what to do about that, up to and including assassinating you. Again, we need not show any evidence of why you need to die, so you have no recourse there, either.
3. And if you or your proxies have the temerity to challenge us in court, we will simply refuse to meet you there, citing State Secrets.

Three strikes, you''re out.Or dead, as the case may be.

This is insane.

The Constitution expressly forbids the U.S. government to take life or liberty "without due process of law" and this is supposed to be a government of laws, not of men.

Why, why, WHY are we not rioting in the streets about this?

If this is not tyranny, what is it then?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

"Our national interest is this: We need a beachhead in the Middle East, that is a democratic beachhead, not a party but a form of government. And to me, if we have a democracy in several countries there, it become a beachhead. It also protects us because once that beachhead is established it can move further and further and hopefully free up the people of the middle east. However long we stay is a military decision that should not be shared with the public."

GOP candidate Daniel Webster, September 23, 2010

"Besides, the city was of little or no use towards enabling them to overcome the enemy; and they had lost nothing in losing those who had no longer either money to send them (the soldiers having to find this for themselves), or good counsel, which entitles cities to direct armies."

Thuycidides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 8, circa 420BC

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello from...um...hmm...well, not so sunny California

I've been quiet here for some time because, well, to be honest, absolutely gob-smacked from the audacity and direction of the Right Wing part of our country is taking.

So...as I was peeling my jaw off the floor, and trying to retain some vestige of humanity before I descended in Dante's inferno in what I could only describe as a hellish nightmare, a part of me had a moment of clarity...it was the oddest thing, too, I might add.

That part of me is of course, the philosopher/thinker/artist in me, the part that...even in the wildest maelstrom of chaos, I can see the beauty of the construct...right before it dismantles my being and everything goes black.

I speak of course of the Republican Party.

Yes, I am amazed and in wondrous admiration of them and their ability to master the message of what is right for this country despite all evidence to the contrary...even when they are in the minority they are still on top of the heap.

But what is even more amazing is that they can keep everyone in their party, and associated with their party on message, embracing a false, and completely terrible idea which contravenes everything that is good and noble for the individual and for the nation...and still get that individual to vote against their own best self interest.

I'm just...astounded...at this complete mastery of open and unabashed manipulation of the electorate, and the electorates willingness to go along with the Republican message.

Ms. O'Donnell in her petulant "you're not the boss of me" speech pretty much read right from the Republican manual of governance...and here I was thinking, "the Tea-Partiers must be rolling their eyes" and yet, voila, the Tea-Partiers are all lining up right behind her.
It's like, wow, guys, you're just an extension of the Republican Party, nothing new, in fact, dare I say, you're probably about six ticks on the meter further right than the Republican Party.

In all, the Dunning-Kruger effect aside in regards to the Tea-Party candidates, I will have to say is that the Republicans have finally shown that they are truly the masters of political theater, and real politik.

Unfortunately for us and because of this mastery...we're fucked.

We are transforming into a fascist nation, and we're calling it...American Patriotism, and instead of swastika's and brown shirts, with crisp lines of pressed uniforms marching in unison, we have ambling masses of mobs with loud voices yelling their ignorance, wearing red, white, and blue clothing wandering the streets in a discontent they're incapable of articulating.

And the Republicans have looked upon the sea of discontent and have seized the idea that this is where they'll build their future America on...with them solely in power, and the democrats with all other political groups as mere ornaments to their center-piece.

I thus submit to you...the Tea Partiers are the Republican Party's version of the Brown Shirts, and it's only a matter of time before the Republicans will have their own version of the Reichstag Putsch with the Democrats playing the part of the Communist party in Germany.

The wheels are in motion, and the direction we are heading in is set.

The Republic is dead, how sad for us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Panem et Circenses

"In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace. They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war."
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

What does it say for the state of the United States as quondam empire that unlike Smith's 18th Century Britons we refuse even to pay
"...the taxes...on account of the war..."?WASF.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kansas State Fair 2010

12-Pounder Mountain Howitzer

Our State Fair opened Friday the 10th and ends a week from today, on the 19th. Did I get the attention of my military friends with the artillery piece above? There are a couple more pictures of this and more from my day at the fair Saturday. I'll add more at this link during the week.

State Senator Tom Holland and US Senator Sam Brownback are competing to be the next governor of Kansas, and they showed up to debate each other at the fair. The crowd was small, maybe a couple hundred and good-natured for the most part, we Kansans generally being hospitable to each other. Here's our local paper's story with more pictures and comments and the KC Star, with an important interview at the bottom of the column.

Not all my time was political. Farm implements and Green Machines, fair food ( I always head for Connie's Funnel Cakes with Strawberry and Cherry toppings! ), the Midway where I dropped a fin to prove to the passing crowd I can't drop an oddly weighted basketball through the net, and just people walking and talking and having fun for the most part. And the animals! I'll have some pix of those. I've not seen this year's Butter Sculpture yet, but be assurred, I'll post it.

After the debate, I hooked up with my buddies at the Democratic Party booth. Ours looks better than the Republicans', but you'll be able to judge for yourselves in a few days. At least we look better. ;)

Any other State Fair attendees out there?

A Total War Doctrine Masquerading as Strategic Theory?

Strategic theory is undergoing a certain revival at the moment. Given the ambiguous results of George W Bush's (and now Barack Obama's) continuing wars against terror there is seemingly a need to make sense of the current strategic confusion. A good first step in this regard would be to make clear distinctions between strategic theory and doctrine, and between the study of war and the study of warfare. First off, strategic theory is about the use of power in political relationships, which can include the use of the military instrument. If you are dealing with a general theory of war, as in Clausewitz's general theory, you accept that the nature of war - as being a remarkable trinity of irrational passion, chance and its subordination of politics/policy - remains essentially unchanged but highly complex. While the theoretical framework of the general theory is able to contain the tensions of this complex interaction of violent interests, due to this same complexity, strategic theory is of very limited predictive value. The interaction is simply too complex to predict since so much is contingent based on not only material, moral and time factors but also information asymmetries. In fact advances in Clausewitzian strategic theory - be it Clausewitz, or those who have followed his approach - Goltz, Svechin, Mao, Galuga, Schelling, R. Smith - are all retrospective, that is based on military history after the fact with an attempt to offer some understanding of the state of strategy in their own times. This of course assumes that the changing political relationships will usher in changes in the art of war and the theorist in question may be concerning him or herself with past conditions, thus unaware that they are dealing with a new epoch.

Here we see the distinction between the study of "war" and the study of "warfare". War remains the same and a general theory may apply, whereas warfare is specific to the time and interaction in question. Each of the theorists I mention above - -including Clausewitz - dealt with both in their analyses, many times quoting Clausewitz or assuming a general theory foundation and then developing their own specific "art of warfare" based on military history/personal experience for their own epochs. It is this art of warfare for the particular epoch which in turn supplies the basis for military doctrine. My copy of JCS Pub 1 defines doctrine as "Fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements thereof guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative but requires judgment in application."

So to recap my distinctions in terms of strategic theory, we have the general theory which applies to all wars and we have the "art of warfare" of a particular epoch, both of which are retrospective in nature and of only limited predictive value. On the other hand we have Doctrine - the actual operational military guidelines - may be based on an art of warfare, or not, but the general theory of war would only exist in terms of "basic principles" (or essentially truisms) due to their highly abstract and general nature. The real distinction however is that doctrine provides a guide for present and future action, whereas strategic theory (both the "war" and "warfare" variants) does not.

The importance of these distinctions is obvious, I would hope. The idea for this post came to me slowly as a result of a series of posts made concerning first US politics and later the Afghan War. Recently a blog-friend of mine, Lexington Green, created a stir with a post he made over at Chicagoboyz:
The Glenn Beck rally is confusing people. Why? He is aiming far beyond what most people consider to be the goalposts. Using Boyd’s continuum for war: Material, Intellectual, Moral. Analogously for political change: Elections, Institutions, Culture.

Beck sees correctly that the Conservative movement had only limited success because it was good at level 1, for a while, weak on level 2, and barely touched level 3. Talk Radio and the Tea Party are level 3 phenomena, popular outbreaks, which are blowing back into politics.

Someone who asks what the rally has to do with the 2010 election is missing the point. Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking . . . Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that. Defeat the enemy on that plane, and any merely tactical defeat will always be reversible.

Please read the whole post to get an idea of the tone. Green repeatedly uses the language of warfare to describe the essence of what Beck is supposedly attempting to do.

In a follow-on post Green describes the two sides in question:
Today’s tools favor our side in this struggle, which I am calling the Insurgency.

The Insurgency is based on individual freedom, autonomous decision-making, spontaneous order, voluntary association, open-mindedness, adaptiveness, transparency, networks rather than hierarchies. It is at bottom a fun loving and joyful and open spirit. In many cases this is based on religious faith. (I raise my hand.) In others it is based on love of human potential and creativeness, or other positive factors. This model works. And it works better and better with the tools of today and tomorrow.

The Opposition is based on the outdated legacy systems of the Industrial Era. It is based on assembly lines, bureaucracies, railway timetables, rationing, coercive and rule-bound action, mandatory schedules, forcing people into niches and categories, stripping them of autonomy, and turning people into petty little beasts subject to political control. That is the vision of the Opposition: People standing in line, people asking permission, people filling out forms, people without cars, without money in their pockets, who need a political favor to get anything done. It is based on nostalgia for the old-time “Big Unit” America that worked tolerably well in its day, the period roughly 1900-1950. (Michael Barone wrote about this recently.) But a system of centralized control that barely worked in its heyday is utterly unsuited to the world of today. It is increasingly falling on its face. Our institutions no longer work, because they are ill-suited to who we are, what we need, and where we want to go.

Notice that the two sides are very human in the initial post, "us and them", whereas in the second the "opposition" is re-introduced as an out-dated attitude lurching towards the dustbin of history. The fact that our "military heritage", the military industrial complex behind it, and in fact the whole national security state are part of opposing "Big Unit" America is masked by the moral certitude that Green displays.

This certitude comes out even clearer in his concluding post on the Afghan War roundtable discussion that I participated in at Chicago Boyz:
I. Moral Clarity

I am posting this on September 11, 2010. We attacked the Taliban regime because they supported and granted havens to America’s enemies. That initial invasion was just.

The Taliban are one of the most vicious and evil enemies America’s soldiers have ever faced. Killing them is just. Our soldiers are on the correct side of the moral equation in this struggle. The Taliban murdered hundreds of thousands of people in the decade they controlled Afghanistan. Destroying their rule was a just cause. Destroying them forever may be beyond our power. But it would be worth doing if it could be done at tolerable cost.

No one else mentioned this moral dimension except me, in the post that began the Roundtable. And I only did so in an update, after an email exchange with our friend Nate, who is actually serving over there.

Whatever the wisdom of our strategy, whatever the outcome of our effort, whatever the ultimate fate of Afghanistan, the enemy was mightily worth killing. Our warriors can have pride in their effort and their cause.

If anyone digs back in 40 years and considers the moral issue, that will still be the correct conclusion.

So, once again, this moral dimension, this moral element "of Boyd's continuum of war", described here as "clarity" and obviously an objective fact since for our side it is morally right to kill (even all) the enemy, who are evil. Just as in US politics the insurgency - under the supposed leadership of Glenn Beck - operates with the same moral advantage against the Big-Unit "enemy". Where exactly does this concept originate? Is it the thought of John Boyd or something closer to a religious belief?

Since Frans Osinga's Science, Strategy and War, The Strategic Theory of John Boyd is considered by the Boydians as the best author on explaining Boyd, I refer to him:

Boyd also adopted [JFC] Fuller's concept of the three spheres of war - the physical, the mental and the moral dimension, using this idea to structure his argument and develop three modes of conflict. Respectively, these spheres dealt with destruction of the enemy's physical strength (fighting power), disorganization of his mental processes (thinking power), and disintegration of his moral will to resist (staying power). . . Central to his argument is the notion that paralysis should be the aim in war and that the mental and moral dimensions should be the prime target of a military operation. page 32.

Three kinds of conflict. Based on the 'panorama' of military history, Boyd argues that one can imagine three kinds of human conflict:
Attrition warfare
Maneuver warfare
Moral warfare.
In Moral warfare the aim is to [quoting Boyd], "destroy the moral bonds that permit an organic whole to exist". pp 166 & 171

To start this is only the first critique of Osinga/Boyd (assuming his interpretation of Boyd is valid), nothing near a last word on my part. In fact I think a full Clausewitzian review of Osinga's book would be quite intensive and critical.

Here I am only interested in bringing up this concept of Fuller's moral sphere, which Boyd expands into a strategic element (pp 209-17). It is interesting to note that in the Fuller book that Osinga quotes there is no mention of this moral sphere. To find that, one has to go back to Fuller's Foundations of the Science of War of 1926. In chapter VII of that book, "the Moral Sphere of War", Fuller starts off by praising Clausewitz and quoting from Book 3, Chapter 3, of On War. It is also clear that for Fuller, following Clausewitz, these spheres concern the tactical and operational levels, that is the Fighting Forces, not the strategic level at all. They are tied very closely with military leadership, but are not to be confused with political leadership where quite different circumstances apply. Thus Fuller's concept of the moral existing as a link between will and action (which Osinga repeats) concerns soldiers operating under orders in war, not to entire populations during wartime or political crisis. In fact, Osinga compounds the confusion by having Fuller maintain, "The physical epoch had come to an end; the moral epoch was dawning. There was no longer a need to literally destroy the enemy's armies in the field. . . Paralysis and collapse were central themes." (page 32).

I have not been able to find Fuller maintaining this "dawning epoch of the moral" and suspect that Fuller is referring to the mental element or "mind warfare". Also when Fuller does speak of a possible moral sphere at the strategic level he refers naturally enough to WWI propaganda:
The strangle-hold of the blockade created a fertile soil sowing the seeds of propaganda, and not - not excepting the American Civil War - in no previous war was it so virulent and vile . . . The reason was that, in times past war was waged to change the enemy's policy, and not to change his government - the policy maker. Its aim was to change the government's mind, and should the government be overthrown, there would be no stable authority to negotiate a peace with. the world was then still sane, and the idea of creating a social anarchy in an enemy's country would have been considered contrary to common sense. The Conduct of War, p 179

So following Fuller, a "dawning epoch of the moral" would mean far bloodier and extensive wars, not ones less destructive. In fact as he warns in Chapter XII of the same book, the distinction between war and peace would be lost.

Now, consider Boyd's three kinds of war. Only the first, attrition war, covers limited wars or wars of limited objectives. The aim is the enemy's will to resist and thus compel him to negotiate, while he remains more or less intact. That is the kind most disparaged by Boyd's followers - attrition war - is also the most common in history and also characterizes the less bloody wars. For Boyd the aim of both maneuver and moral war is the enemy's collapse, that is total victory. Which would leave the victor attempting to pick up the pieces of the enemy state, which is hardly going to be a bloodless outcome, as witnessed by recent US military experience.

Finally, at the strategic level - Osinga puts this under "A Moral Design for Grand Strategy":
If the previous argument is accepted [Boyd's concept of moral isolation], it follows that for designing grand strategy the name of the game is to 'use moral leverage to amplify our spirit and strength as well as expose the flaws of competing or adversary systems, all the while influencing the uncommitted, potential adversaries and current adversaries so that they are drawn toward our success' Put another way, 'one should preserve or build-up moral authority while compromising that of our adversaries in order to pump-up our resolve, drain away adversaries' resolve, and attract them as well as others to our cause and way of life . . . p 215-16

For Boyd, this moral authority has an objective quality. Played the right way it is possible to convince any enemy population in wartime that it is not their own side, but the enemy who has their best interests at heart leading of course to political collapse. I suppose in Boyd's "strategic" universe, influenced as it is by Heisenberg and Gödel, such could be possible, but in strategic theory? Are there any such incidents in military history?

Another result of this approach is that this quest/drive for moral authority permeates all levels of strategy, the professed political purpose and achieving moral dominance requires continuous action at the operational and tactical levels.

In addition, information itself - how else is a nation at war to convince the enemy of their superior cause? - becomes a weapon of war. I would wonder if not the rise of influence of Boyd's ideas have not gone hand in hand with recent attempts at domestic information operations by the Pentagon. In other words, under a Clausewitzian system, propaganda would be the responsibility of the state alone, that is of the political authorities, whereas with Boyd's new moral epoch it is the responsibility of the military as well?

My conclusion in regards to Lexington Green's posts? I think he is following closely a Boydian perspective in all three posts that I quoted. The assumption of a objective or clarified moral element - assumed moral authority - is in line with Boyd as I understand Osinga to present him. The problem is much deeper in that Boyd's approach is not what Clausewitzians understand as strategic theory, which is actually the same definition that Osinga uses (pp 13-14). Boyd's moral assumptions belong to the realm of faith, not strategic theory. My intention here is simply to point that out.

Finally, strategic theory, especially of the Boydian type, is not very applicable to current domestic political analysis for several reasons. First, strategic theory concerns the use of power with the possible use of violence/coercion. The Western idea of representative government deals, not with potential violence, but with workable political solutions, that is compromise and consensus. Even if you don't mean "enemy" when you say "enemy" it still comes out the same way. Second, the assumption of moral authority is dubious especially in terms of politics. One side is painted black while the other paints itself white, whereas the reality is all gray. Of course this level of hostility on both sides could reflect the actual situation within the political community - in which we are dealing with more the nature of a war than of a political disagreement. In that case we perhaps need a clear strategic view now more than ever . . .

Postscript 1: As to Fuller's "new epoch" . . .

Armies are conservative organizations ; they adapt themselves slowly to new environments, and especially to new mental surroundings. To-day a new epoch of war is dawning, and we are surrounded by a veritable fog of new ideas. We must neither accept them as they stand nor pass them by, but we must examine them and test out their values.What are they, and what changes do they foretell? If armies are to be endowed with anew means of movement, then most of the existing offensive and protective means of waging war will be changed. As the three physical elements of war change their present values, so must our present conception of war-the expression and value of the mental elements - change with them and not only with them, but we must foresee these changes. If mentally we cannot keep pace with the changes in the physical elements of war-the changes in weapons, movement, and protection-then our strategy and tactics will remain obsolete ; that is to say, they will not enable us to express the principles of war when once again we are called upon to apply them. We shall go to war as we did in 1914 - under a misconception. If fortune favours us on the battlefields, we shall learn from the changed nature of these elements most costly lessons.If our luck be out, or if our adversary be mentally superior to ourselves, we shall be annihilated, because whilst in 1914 we misjudged weapons-weapons which could be countered by the use of trenches-in the next war we shall have misjudged movement, which has rightly been called " the soul of war." Fuller, 1926

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Acta est fabula?

Other than the usual fulminations of the tinfoil-hat Right, I note that this year's annual beatification of the Dead of 9/11 seems to have been relatively low-key.

Have we finally begun to see beyond the events of 2001? Does this mean that we can finally put it in the Forgotten Days file along with Pearl Harbor Day, VJ-Day and Arbor Day?Or is this just an off-year for Islamic Terra drumbeating?

Or could it be because I was on the woods west of Chehalis - Twin Peaks country, folks - and was off the net and missed the parading of the bloody shirt?


Monday, September 6, 2010

Speaking of "Sunday Mornings"

Just read this in the Army Times. Seems some commanders just can't help but impose their "Sunday Morning" religious fervor on their troops. If what Pvt Hall relates is true, this is, IMHO, absolutely intolerable.

First, the company commander who had his troops marched to the religious concert site in a unit formation before allowing them to choose to attend or not, then marched those who declined back to a barracks lockdown needs to be sent packing. Let him open a church in some small town. Second, the First Sergeant who obeyed such an order needs to be disposed of as well.

But, most outrageous of all is the commanding general who titled these concerts the "Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert Series". Chambers, a professed "born again christian" and his successor have no business sponsoring "spiritual fitness" of any sort. That is a soldier's private business. Making spiritual resources and chaplain services available for voluntary use by the troops is one thing, but "endorsing", or actually claiming "ownership" of a $125,000 concert series of clearly evangelical christian flavor is another.

I have intentionally not capitalized MG Chamber's professed denomination. I find nothing Christian in him or his fellow travelers. My Army is being hijacked by these religious zealots, even though there are Constitutional, legal and regulatory prohibitions against it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thought for a Sunday Morning

We've had a lovely Labor Day weekend. Yesterday's morning cleanup yielded a deucluttered house, the trip to Oaks Park was fun, and the planked salmon made a delicious dinner.

This morning we had an "Avatar" sort of morning, enjoyed good coffee and bacon, looked at wedding pictures (again) to sate Little Miss' desire to see Mommy in her pretty dress. And we're getting ready for the Nickel Arcade.

So I had just a moment to stop and read the news. Which is, as always, filled with the most ridiculous crap - it is an ever-verdant source of wonder to me how much bandwidth the three (what, five?) conglomerates that own the news media can cram with worthless celebrity gossip and badly-informed "reportage".

So I pretty much skimmed over most of the "news". But this BBC article caught my eye. It's not really "news" to anyone who a) has been paying attention and b) isn't viewing the world through their "war on terror" goggles. This phrase caught my attention;
"Yet many Iraqis fear that with the Americans no longer here in force, and the Iraqi army and police still lacking sufficient training, the violent extremists on both the Sunni and the Shia sides could start fighting again."
And I paused, for a languid Sunday morning moment and wondered just exactly how many times we will have to hear that phrase again.

The U.S. Army and the various mercenary organizations associated with our mess-o-potamia have been "training" the IA and IP since, when, about 2004? At least since 2007 or 2008. So the senior IA units have at least 2-3 years and possibly as many as 6 years of guerrilla combat time?

And this isn't exactly crossing the Rhine or meeting the GSFG in the Fulda Gap, here. It's your basic light-infantry fight; IMTs, squad-to-company tactics...shoot, move, communicate. Basic trainees get it in 13 weeks. I went from civilian to combat unit in less than a year, expected to perform under fire. Entire armies like the Kitchener battalions of WW1 learn to do it in months, certainly in under a year.

How t'fuck much "training" do these mooks need..?

Just a idle thought for a holiday Sunday morning.

(Crossposted from GFT)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Jukebox: Juche Edition

Say what you want to about North Korea; yes, it's a vicious, paranoid dictatorship, bristling with weaponry, brutal and callous to the point of internal genocide.But...damn those rascals can get down!

No wonder that call it the Communist PARTY!

(Have a happy Labor Day, and a big h/t to Armchair Generalist)