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05 December 2009


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Charles I

Bravo Sidney.

When I see the likes of the following, taken from Say What? on the Doonesbury page at Slate.com, I despair for your nation:

"Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'...."
-- Arlington, TN, Mayor Russell Wiseman, complaining on his Facebook page about Obama's West Point address."


When I read this page, I am heartened, yet frustrated. Its the President who should be saying such things. On Fox



The positions put forth from the Neo-Institutes would be laughable except the politicians and media keep parroting them with no critical criticism. They waddle at the Generals’ flank.

The Colonel’s SOF Light or Gant’s One Tribe at a Time Strategies all have one big failing in the neo-conservatives world view. They depend on Muslims being on America’s side. They cannot conceive Muslims as America’s allies. Therefore, they mix up the Taliban with Al Qaeda. Don’t acknowledge America’s invasion, occupation and war of attrition in two Muslim countries. Or care, if America goes broke and loses a failed war. All that matters is Israel and the Holy War against Islam.


The paper by Major Grant was right on as to a direction to head one that has been done before by SOF. To think it will be supressed is not what will happen as he has inspired a whole cadre of mid-level officers who think. The Cat is out of the Bag. McChrystal cannot allow the dissension to occur if he is suppressed. Most likely he will be allowed to expand on his thoughts and implement them though he will be roundly criticised if they they do not bear fruit quickly.

As to Kagan et al aren't these individuals just a passing fantasy to allow the Generals to get what they want?? Granted the neo-cons will never go away but once their tribal members are labeled they will pass on for new troops. The crassness in the labeling of Kagan does not help the cause but weakens it.

The generals have gotten what they want and now have to produce but I have been thinking we are on a wrong and expensive path that will bear little fruit.

While I was for a limited role of CT with some beefing up of Afghan forces I now think we have made a big mistake. If we pulled out and let Karzai and the Taliban go at it the Taliban who have learned a massive lesson in the past eight years and would be foolish to allow a rebuilding of AQ in Afghanistan. They know this better than we do as they know their future limits in this area. In reality all they wanted was power and they blew their chance.

The Twisted Genius

Mr. Smith,

Thank you for an illuminating, depressing and maddening commentary. I only wish I knew how to throw a wooden shoe into the neocon machine.

The illustrations of Aaron Bank and the 10th Group colors only adds to my depression and anger. He brought the concept of UW into being with the establishment of 10th Group and now Gant's espousal of those UW concepts appears to be but a cry in the wilderness. I can almost see "Bronze Bruce" clenching his outstretched left hand into a fist and slipping his trigger finger onto the trigger of his M-16. It seems we can all use a little liberation from oppression right now.


Mr. Smith,
I know I'm not the first commenter here, but I think you made my head explode. And I think your analysis is probably correct. I really don't want to fight more than a billion, may have my numbers off on this, Muslims on behalf of a little country in the ME.

Let us send Fred and Kimberly to duke it out with them. And maybe Bibi, too.


Have the Kagan's criticized Gant's plan?

I thought the neocons have jumped on the COIN wagon since stabbing their boy Rummy in the back over his shock/awe/small footprint approach (which they thought was swell a few years ago).


And by just looking at the photo, it is obvious we are entering a new act in the great theatre of the absurd played out on the world stage.

What photo? These are old photos.

Patrick Lang


Old photos of Aaron Bank and Arthur Simons. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

Good post.

1. The Neocons are fully entrenched in the US power structure/elite, period. They are useful to those who need a stable of "defense intellectuals" to create and promote an imperial foreign policy. Thus they are protected and empowered.

As is fairly well known by now, the Neocons are inspired in part by the hardline Revisionist Zionist philosopher, Leo Strauss. Arguably, one of Strauss' objectives was to create a method for hardline Revisionist Zionists to penetrate an overtly "gentile" power structure and policymaking process so as to bring it around over time in support of Zionism and Israel. I touch on this in my book "Dark Crusade."

As a reminder about Neocons, here is just one of many old pieces, from May, 2003 and the New York Times which points out General Wesley Clark's report that the Neocons have a number of countries they wish to destabilize:

2. The current British inquiry as to the Iraq War is revealing. At the end of this public inquiry, one would imagine the conclusion that will be drawn is the US "ally" is dysfunctional. Thus, it would be dangerous to British interests to continue to play the poodle role.

"The British chief of the defence staff during the build-up to the Iraq invasion described how US communication lines were so poor that he often had to brief his Pentagon counterpart about his own country’s plans for the conflict.

"Admiral Lord Boyce told the Iraq Inquiry that “dysfunctionalism” existed in Washington between the Pentagon, the US State Department and the White House, which meant that officials hadn’t talked to each other about the situation.

"He said US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was so obsessed with carrying out the invasion with as few troops as possible that it did not have enough “boots on the ground” and that his officials did not realise they would not necessarily be greeted as liberators by Iraqis from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

"Lord Boyce, who has since retired, said: “I often found myself briefing my American counterpart on what was going on in State rather than him actually finding out directly.

“I could not get across to them the fact that the coalition would not be seen as a liberation force.

“This was absolutely not accepted."

3. Juan Cole's take on Obama Afghan policy:


I thought SOS-3's photo allusion was to the hyperesteemic strolling Kagans.



Thanks so much for the comment (and the COL for highlighting it). The Neo-Cons are indeed back in force, this time using their supposedly (D) versions to advance their views (its all about Israel). Really, is this a surprise from a group who venerate "Scoop" Jackson (D-Washington, or was it Boeing?).

In any case, Gant's words are slowly creeping out there. To wit, the only editorial I could stomach in today's WaPo: How to win in Afghanistan, one village at a time by Doug Stanton. Given the Neo-cons approach, it is puzzling why Fred Hiatt let one of their biggest mouthpieces publish Stanton's views? Perhaps Bobo is right... but I prefer to believe this op-ed is a prelude to published & public attack against Gant's (and your's) premises.

Perhaps if we were serious about paying for our so-called troop surge, we could ask Israel to give back some of the nearly $10,000,000,000 in subsidies we give them EACH YEAR? Heck, that would pay for one third of this year's additional "surge" costs!



Whoa, too much inside baseball here even for a fairly regular reader of this blog.

I understand the blown gaskets re "Ms. Kim Kagan heads something called the Institute for the Study of War. You cannot make this stuff up." I looked up her Wiki bio earlier, piqued by Col. Lang's earlier post with her picture.

But "Gant"? Who is he? A link or too would have helped frame this rant, though I more than got the gist.

BillWade, NH

"And it goes on and on. Just watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ous2dxJa30&feature=channel

Then tell yourself: this is all going to end well.

Posted by: Meyerman"

We have Major Gant's way and we have the way portrayed in the youtube video.

In the video a British soldier says of the ANA, "they are childlike, their attention span is equal to a hild's" "They won"t wear their helmets and dress like Rambo", "They get on their CB radios, they know where the Taliban are and the Taliban know where we are",
"They shoot their weapons with abandon and run us out of ammo", "They smoke weed or opium during breaks and laugh a lot and do stupid things like exposing our positions".

I can just hear the local Taliban honcho telling the ANA: don't wear the helmets but do where some bright clothing so we know who not to kill - we'll keep you safe, try to use up as much ammo as possible but shoot away from us, keep us posted of your whereabouts, and, above all, have some fun and laugh at the occupiers".

I received a call Friday from the DNC asking for a donation. I told the women that I wasn't too pleased with the way things were going since Obama was elected, she exuberantly told me, "didn't you hear the speech, Obama is going to have us out of Afghanistan in 18 months!!". I told her, "good - call me then"

Last year I campaigned for Congressman Ron Paul and donated to that endeavor. My girlfriend did the same for Barack Obama. My son deploys in Feb to Khost. We'll see him for a few days at Christmas. Now my girlfriend wants to tell him to refuse to go, she won't do that though as I've explained to her why that's not a good idea.

We won't think about a Dem to challenge Obama in '12. We'll either support Ron Paul as a Republican or a 3rd party.

Thanks again to the Col for this great education. I think Mr Smith has nailed it.


The Institute for the Study of War? From the look of their website the only wars in the history of mankind are the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Does anyone think these folks could actually figure out how to win a war?

Sidney O. Smith III

Many thanks for the comments, and I greatly appreciate Col. Lang’s decision to headline it as a thread. I am honored and humbled.

As everyone can tell, the comment was originally submitted under the Kagan thread accompanied with the photo of Kim and Fred walking as if they were headed to their sailboat at Marina Del Rey, imo.

Just contrast the Kim and Fred photo to those in Gant’s work and the veil is removed, imo. A new reality appears. (Redhand, check the paper to which Col. Lang refers at the following: http://tinyurl.com/ydfe9yd)

As a result, I am working under a new set of assumptions, one of which is the following: tragically, Kim and Fred represent the Pentagon mindset, and such a mindset must repress or eliminate Gant’s uniquely American approach.

Moreover, the Pentagon endorsement of the Kim and Fred approach appears to track the same thinking that led to the Cheney-Wurmser option of 2007. In late 2007 VP Cheney wanted to see a limited strike against Iran for the sole purpose of an Iranian retaliation against US soldiers -- one that in turn would lead to a massive US response.

Under that scenario, the USG would fulfill the goal of the neoconservatives at the expense of US soldiers.

So one of the ancillary goals of the neoconservatives is to ensure that as many US soldiers as possibly are deployed in Muslim lands before such an attack takes place.

Moreover, neoconservatives desire that Muslims view US soldiers as occupiers, as contrasted to the Gant approach. I write as a (contented) civilian but imo, Gant’s approach represents a distinctly American tradition -- one at complete odds with that of the Likud led IDF.

If anyone can point me to a GOI document that is consistent with Gant’s tradition (e.g. showing an IDF soldier holding a Palestinian child, plus the idea of winning over one tribe at a time), then maybe such assumptions should be reconsidered. Gant’s tradition reflects the idea of E Pluribus Unum.

And the IDF? Just look at what happened during Operation Cast Lead. And Likud Zionists only have themselves to blame. If Likud Zionists and the IDF military tradition had followed Gant’s tradition from at least 67, then we would not have witnessed the rise of a virulent militant ethnic nationalism, now promoted by the Pentagon via Fred and Kim.

Also, with that in mind and for what it is worth, I have concluded that many at the Pentagon are disconnected from the “word on the street”. After an attack on Iran -- odds increase significantly that the fabric of our society, already frayed, will become further unwoven.

Again many thanks for the comments,


robt willmann

I apologize, but I either have missed a cite or cannot find Gant's essay referenced in the posting. If there is a citation to it, I would like to read it.


I'm in furious agreement with Mr. Smith. The only question for me is exactly how long can the Israeli lobbys in Western nations continue to convince those nations to do stuff in support of Israeli Likudniks that is demonstrably not in their own best interests?

My guess is perhaps not as long as the Israelis desire. Yesterday there was a violent demonstration here against the attendance of an Israeli Government Vice Prime Minister at a business forum. This is unheard of.


To put it another way, Holocaust guilt will only take Israel so far, and I don't think my children's generation are going to accept the offered mantle like we did.

As for Major Gant, when Col. Lang posted that magnificent essay I attempted to draw him into commenting on Gant's future career prospects without success.

My own prediction is that Maj. Gant has committed the ultimate organisational sin of being right. My expectation would therefore be that he will receive suitable punishment; perhaps even promotion, and a posting to somewhere like Alaska, but under no circumstances will he ever again be put in a position where he might implement his ideas.

Col. Lang might like to comment on the ability of the U.S. Army command structure to accommodate the devolution of the necessary powers and authorities to junior leaders that are implicit in Maj. Gant's ideas. Would the Generals let go of the reins a little? I don't know enough about the American Army to comment. I'm not even sure the Australian Army would do so these days.

Charles I

Sidney, its you who honour us.


I am confused, would it be anti-semetic to call Neo-Conservatism, Judeo Nazism?
The more I look at this, the more it looks like that.

It's basically a bunch of J----'s demonizing Muslims in the most virulent way, advocating for endless war, and this demonic joy at the suffering of others. Creepy man!

William R. Cumming

Is that Nixon pinning the medal on "Bull" Simon?

Patrick Lang


I don't know the answer to your question. In olden times, an SF team commander on deployment was tied to his higher headquarters by the telecom in the local US embassy if there was such or by manual morse.

There wasn't an effort to lead anyone by "apron strings." It was thought that these men were best left to get the job done themselves. Often teams were hundreds or even thousands of miles from home plate. pl

Patrick Lang


Yes. That is the DSC that he received for Son Tay. pl

John Hammer

That eagle still has his head turned to the olive branch because he is the emblem of real warriors. The institute for the study of war needs to study our fine feathered friend.


Thanks for posting the Gant paper. It makes so much sense that I'm not surprised it's being ignored by the higher-ups. There's no way a junior field grade officer's spot-on observations are going to get in the way of the generals' preconceived notions, especially when they have the imprimatur of politically-connected civilian dilettantes.

The Twisted Genius


Improvements in military radio communications technology over the last few decades have certainly not helped "the devolution of necessary powers and authorities to junior leaders." The situation have been moving in the opposite direction. Even in 1983, MTTs from 10th Group working in Lebanon were subject to an "inverted pyramid" kind of command structure. We had to not only keep Group HQ and the embassy informed, but also had to respond to HQs in Germany, Fort Bragg and the Pentagon. It is not always this way, but the trend is definitely not promising. My team sargeant had an excellent solution to this dilemma, "We need to put a round through that godammed radio as soon as we get off the DZ."

It's also not in the nature of generals to "let go of the reins." DOD leadership/management wants immediate, fine grained operational and intelligence updates in order to manage the battle from their high tech command centers. I've personally seen this trend only get worse over the last thirty five years.

There are many men like Major Gant in Special Forces who can operate independently and effectively for extended periods. There are probably far fewer generals and colonels with the maturity and judgement to let men like Gant do so.

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