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23 February 2006

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searp

I read this briefing with interest. It seemed to me that a very unlikely hypothesized future was used to set the table for the ensuing discussion. However, I found the discussion itself to be rather more sensible than the maps showing the Caliphate metastasizing over the globe. Interesting that Iran was just going to fall into line and report to Baghdad -did anyone actually consult some facts before putting that gem on the map?

It was a Pentagon briefing, clearly, since the "means" kind of started and ended with Combatant Commanders, etc. However, the policy - making friends, winning hearts and minds, attacking identified targets, sounded about right to me.

It seems to me that the policy being advocated would be best accomplished using a large dose of soft power - diplomacy, development, etc. They coudn't quite acknowledge this, buy hey, it is a Pentagon briefing, and everyone knows those other agencies are the real enemy.

Michael Singer

Dear Pat,
I am sure Bush is trying very hard to get the Sunnis back to the table for government (sic) bargining. But what if he can't? Does the US have a plan for civil war? Don't tell me...what no plan?
Michael Singer

Eric

Gave me a splitting headache.

I can understand now why people make fun of Power Point presentations, having been subjected to one.

My view is that the analysis and most assumptions therein are utterly fanciful.

And God help us if this is the view of any governmental entity.

Some people ought to get out of the bell jar, take some whiffs of fresh air, breathe deeply, relax, and start thinking strategically.


W. Patrick Lang

Michael,

Yes. No plan. pl

Serving Patriot

My favorite gem is the assumption that says war is alien to the "peaceful nature and desires" of America.

I wish I could return to that level of faux US History - the history that glosses over wars vs native, Mexicans, ourselves, natives (again), Spainards, Cubans, Phillipinos, various central americans, etc etc etc.

I guess the Joint Staff did not get Fukyama's message?

Sigh.

SP

Glen

Pat,

Seems like a rather worst case projection with very little real chance of happening unless we make some bad mistakes.

We need to add in the missing slides that makes this all possible:

Title - Tora Bora - Here's where we could have ended al Qaeda, but some idiot took his eye off the ball.

Title - Here's where we should have a picture of a very dead OBL, but instead we invade Iraq

Title - Here's where we should have been trying to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but we couldn't because we're stuck in Iraq

Title - Here's where we get caught with out pants down and get nuked at a port because we never really did anything about homeland security except give our buddies jobs

Title - Here's where we cannot maintain a viable defense because we gutted our economy with soaring Federal debt, the trade inbalance and a trashed national infrstructure. Thank God all the rich people are rich enough to leave.

OK, maybe I went overboard, but we would have to blow it as a country to enable that jihad to happen.

Do the strategic planners at the Pentagon think our CinC is an idiot?

Glen

Green Zone Cafe

Well, I am really worried about the global empire that's going to be built out of Baghdad, soon after the civil war here is over and they have 12 hours of electricity a day, but he lost me on the part where we have to be "confident that our leaders know what they are doing."

john

The presentation you offered for inspection does provoke wonderment. Aside from the sensationalist warning against failure in Iraq, it looks like a sales pitch. The Pentagon has been thrashing about since the end of the Cold War for an overarching ideological enemy to focus planning and resources against. Rear Admiral Bill Sullivan took this presentation on the road 12 January 2006.

My short version of this presentation is:
“Violent Islamic-Based Extremism” (slide 19) confronts the United States and the world with an ideological foe determined to destroy our way of life. Indeed, they intend to “eliminate Israel and purge Jewish and Christian influence (slide 9). Western Civilization has not faced such an existential threat since the Cold War, and this threat will last for decades and if we do not stop it we face the risk of a domino-effect as moderate Muslim states fall into its clutches (slide 20). A “’Monolithic’ view of Islam under-estimates cultural and religious differences (slide 15), however, “[t]his war goes far beyond the borders of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Greater Middle East” (slide 16).

All one can say is oh my gosh. Admiral Sullivan gratuitously points out that we can’t be defeated militarily, but can turn us into simpering wimps (slide 14). The threat to our way of life is clearly established. We must do something or all is lost. Now comes the pitch:

This is not the first time we have faced such a challenge. We lost 300,000 lives and spent “$3.114 trillion (2005 dollars); 38% of GDP per year” to stop the Nazis and Japanese (slide 8). We even spent “$90 Billion over 4 years (2005 dollars)” for reconstruction (slide 8). Moreover, during the Cold War we had a “sustained American presence, a significant American investment, and [promoted] Democratic societies with free market economies” (slide 22). So, really, the cost now is totally within the historical record and capability of our nation.

We now have the ideological underpinnings and budgetary justification for perpetual war against either a religion or a tactic, or both--bravo.

W. Patrick Lang

John

And it was out-sourced. pat

Babak Makkinejad

I think the presentation, as is, is a flight of fancy. I also think that it might be good idea to turn it into a commercial computer game like the Age of Empires game; it is liable to make a lot of money. Furthermore, such a game can be used to teach strategy to staff.

Greco

If the use of this presentation is an ad hoc explanation of why american troops have to stay in Iraq, I can understand it.

But does Rear Admiral Bill Sullivan really believe in his onw presentation? Does he really believe that his presentation accurateley depicts reality? Is this the official position of the American military and government?

RJJ

That was IMPRESSIVE!

Tom Hanrahan

Ah yes! By spending gazillions (2006 dollars) on the military during the cold war we defeated communism. We must do it again. While the Russian Empire collapsed, China reformed. Where now are those fervent Red Guards (12 million, perhaps)? They're selling toasters and TVs to us.
I hope that these overwrought notions of threat are not widley shared in the DoD.

W. Patrick Lang

RJJ

Yes. I am impressed with all this powerpointed BS. pl

RJJ

It can't be authentic. If it is disinformation, it is too crude to be credible.

ckrantz

Interesting but I hope you are aware that the metadata it still in the document. I dont know if it is important but an author is identified.

jonst

This is so frighteningly simplistic it takes one's breath away. If I had not actually witnessed the last three years I would not believe this PPT.

They are delusional. Its something the Linclon Group, or what have you, would dream up. At some astronomical fee no doubt.

W. Patrick Lang

jonst

The first slide bears the name of the institution that wrote this tripe. pl

John Howley

Conciseness is its own reward. Ambrose Bierce (author of The Devil’s Dictionary) was a master of it. Once he reviewed a book with a single sentence: “The covers of this book are too far apart.”
While plotting a longer response I found the following. Professor Juan Cole concluded a recent interview with a Detroit paper thusly: “I think Washington misses the Cold War, and the great tragedy is that the Muslims are just not going to be providing the analogy. We can talk as though they do, but they don't, and eventually this whole smoke-and-mirrors thing is going to collapse.” http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=8917

jonst

PL,

Yeah I know it does. And I know what the metadata says about the 'author'. I assume you are correct. But to me it still Linclon Group written all over.

W. Patrick Lang

jonst

Nah. A retired ambassador friend of mine says that he has heard Sullivan give this brief a number of times to various groups of civilians. You are kidding yourself. This is the real deal. pl

Charlie Green

While I found this fancifully written and worthy of Marvel Comics, it contradicts itself in that it claims the militants are bent on "World Domination". Then proceeds to delinate the "world" involved. Which looks suspiciously to me like the Caliphate (aka Ottoman Empire) plans with an Indonesian tail.

I suspect someone wanted something written to satisfy the need for what others have pointed out: we need a long-term enemy. Preferably someone more dignified and formidable than ragtag terriers who don't fight fair.

And fits in with the next step of the empire builders: neutralizing the oil fields of Iran in the name of removing "nucular" reactors.

Welcome to Dr. Strangelove: The Reality Show.

But I could be wrong. I hope. It's nice to have Col. Lang's optimism rather than my cynicism.

jonst

PL,

Sarcasm, often, does not work well in email/commments. Ruefully shaking my head...I know, and knew, you were correct about who is the author/s of this. What I was ineloquently trying to get at was the sensation that the Linclon Group mentality, which, I am sure , predated the actual Linclon Group itself, has spread like a virus to the DOD. It looks like it may have, in fact, been the other way, from DOD out. I look with awed unease (on da knees)at the sad, and dangerous state our leadership has fallen to.

Eric

Pat,

I went thru the Power Point again, and have a question.

Are you hearing much about "the new Great Game", pipelines, gas and oil,need for a presence in the 'stans, etc?

This might be some of
what is behind this curious document.

rdpat

Pat,

The tremendous misdirection of resouces and attention such a strategy suggests is a danger to America's security. There are real problems and threats which the DoD needs to properly address. Distraction by grandiose hot air is a recipe for more disasters.

It's a small point, but this faux historical analysis suffers from short term amnesia: there is no mention of how Iraq was destabilized.

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