Saturday, March 26, 2005
Re(1): 'Its Good to Know Leadership Gets It', Timmer, Sgt Styker (2005/03/23)
Re(2): 'Delete from TbPerps Where ...', Wretchard, Belmont Club (2004/09/09)
A Sgt Stryker blog entry illustrates an intriguing and heartening demonstration of progress near the battlefield front lines of the United States Marine Corps. A Four Star Marine Corps General is using networks, data, communication, and automation to flatten his command structure. This is dangerous in an environment that requires structural command – but it is increasingly important in the net-centric GWOT. You simply can no longer afford the luxury of passing information and ideas through Byzantine command structures via intermediaries unfamiliar with a required expertise. You must be able to ask questions and get correct answers. However, actual leadership on the field of battle cannot be flattened to single points of failure and/or emasculated to the point of internal insurrection.
Back to topic: While it is now getting obvious that battlefield commanders are starting to make use of networks and databases, it should also be noted that the very expertise on which such progress is based is being phased out of the Marine Corps. Training in the data manipulation MOSs (Military Occupation Specialties) ceased at least three years ago. The remaining personnel were instructed to change fields or get out of the Corps. A huge majority of the NCOs and SNCOs retired or ended their active service at the end of contract. There was no place in the Corps for them. Simultaneously, the computer networking and hardware occupations were dramatically reduced in force as a result of implementing the NMCI contract. Currently, there are very few positions stateside in which to place enlisted personnel that permit one to learn and apply high end techniques and technology in a 24/7 environment. Thus, Fleet units will be devoid of technical leadership – and in fields such as this a leader must excel in both Marine leadership and technical skill.
Who cares: General Cartwright will care when his expertise returns home and nothing is sent his way. There is no ‘structure’ in the T/O to replace his personnel.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Regretfully (for those proven wrong) on-line activity is forever. So here is a reasonable chaps wager from June 20, 2004 in this Command Post blog:
Why is US foreign policy disliked by the vast majority of the world's population? The answer to this question will depend on whether you think that the world's population is mistaken, or whether you are prepared to entertain the notion that US foreign policy is in contradiction with the interests of the vast majority of the population of the globe, Americans included. Either way, you have some thinking to do - real thinking, not the embarrassing armchair general proposals for impossible victories found here at the moment. I will revisit this site in three months. In the meantime, I make four predictions:
1. The security situation in Iraq will continue to deteriorate, with more areas including East Baghdad becoming no-go zones for the US.
2. The interim government will fall out with the US and fall apart as it tries to reflect Iraqi public opinion and oppose military operations.
3. The insurgencies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will escalate, and it will be even clearer that rebels are motivated by anti-US feelings, and that Musharaf and the Saud are the last lines of US defense in the countries, not thorns in the US side.
4. The trend against the war in US polls will continue, and a clear majority will consistently oppose the occupation. Kerry will opportunistically respond to this by making some more aggressive anti-occupation statements.
If these predictions are accurate, then you ought to think about the analysis of the situation in Iraq I'm putting forward. Who wants to the last pundit to argue a mistake?
So let’s revisit (I decided to give this chap 9 months):
1. The US can go as it pleases – including Fallujah and the other ‘River Cities’. Reports are that folks of all types are moving about the city. The casualty count for Coalition troops is declining rapidly. The vote took place in the teeth of the maniacs…
2. They didn’t oppose military operations. The Iraqis are actually taking the lead in wiping out the unwanted insurgency.
3. The insurgencies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are being dealt with in ways that are a bit tougher than American sensibilities could handle- ah, multiculturalism…
4. Uuuummmm, the reason I looked for this post is that there were huge protests this weekend. It must be that the right wing media conglomerates are not televising the millions in the streets. Even Europe seems rather subdued…
So, your predictions are 0 for 4 - should I gloat? Your reasoned (and I welcome anyone to check out the blog entry and comments in question – some insightful discussions with sharp people including Julius and Jeffers) argument was well thought out and viable. Therefore, I will not gloat – but I ‘am not the last pundit to argue a mistake’.l... As we all know – ‘For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the…’. I’m absolutely certain my time will come. Google my name in the future and some embarrassments will be found…
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Let’s look at some trend lines:
- The Iraq War will be over
- Afghanistan will not be controlled by drug cartels
- Syria and Iran will, at worst, be neutralized
- Hamas and Hezbollah will be decimated
- We will have military bases centrally located in ‘gap countries’
- Iraq will be aggravating our trade gap (not just Japan and China)
- Iran will have to expend serious resources to avoid economic, diplomatic, and military envelopment
- Iraq will balance the economic ‘power’ of Saudi Arabia and Iran
Again, the dominoes are falling. The most likely way to lose is to quit. I don’t think Bush will fold a winning hand. The Libs had better start preparing a battlefield defined by whatever winning cards they continue to hold. They have to stop betting in inside straights.
re(2): Pro and Contra, Two Different Versions
NeoCons are a subset of conservative thought. They are generally Democrats (or center left) who transitioned to center right after watching the reasonable Democrats get immolated during and after the Vietnam War. You are mixing your conservatives cocktails improperly.
A NeoCon wants the UN and World Bank to be relevant. The UN failed, and constantly fails, in its charter. It was called to the carpet from 9/11 onward and responded merely with courtly intrigue. That stuff bores and infuriates NeoCons. The World Bank finances despotism when it does not properly oversee its contributions and loans. NeoCons are kindof like pragmatic do-gooders. They see a long term benefit to 'closing the gap' between the western core countries and the basket case regions of the world.
Read the material - they write books on this stuff. Look into actual material by PNAC, VDH, Kristol, Thomas Barnet, Kaplan, Boot, etc... It is not hard to find. Here are just some examples off the top of my head
“Project for a New American Century”
“The Pentagon’s New Map”, Thomas Barnett
“The War Over Iraq, Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission”, Kristol, Kaplan
“Carnage and Culture”, Victor Davis Hanson
“The Case for Democracy”, Natan Sharansky
BTW: The above books have all been referenced by ‘W’
Folks, this is not a stumble or a loss for the NeoCon movement. Transitioning NeoCons to the UN and the World Bank and the State Department would be considered the next logical step once hard power was applied. It is time to democratize the world, and close the gap, and connect the unconnected. Failure will look completely different than what we are actually seeing unfold in the Middle East. For example: once a gap nation climbs out and joins the free world we lose control of its direction – and it will be immeasurably more powerful economically, politically, and militarily. Wolfowitz made this point in Prospect Magazine (subscriber, so see: "Pro and Contra, Two Different Versions", Wretchard. 'The Belmont Club').
Enjoy these exciting times…