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20 June 2010

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Patrick Lang

NR

thanks. You claim to be a civilian? pl

Patrick Lang

J

My candidate would be Stan. Odierno will disappear and Petraeus is too clever. pl

Neil Richardson

"NR

thanks. You claim to be a civilian? pl"

Indeed, Colonel. I've been one for the last 17 years.

Fred

Don't worry, the likes of Joe Leiberman are quite safe. I'm sure the Taliban are quite happy with that fact.

confusedponderer

Oh, there was that joke: I just found a copy of 'Vom Kriege' in a second hand bookshop. In pristine condition. It once belonged to a regimental library.

Patrick Lang

CP

Joke? Clausewitz WAS the god of war, not Napoleon as he claimed. I was a student and dare I say a colleague of the great Israeli-American scholar of Clausewitz, Michael Handel. pl

Patrick Lang

NR

You are nothing like a civilian. pl

Adam L. Silverman

Sir,

When I attended the COIN Leaders' Workshop at the CAC at Ft. Leavenworth in APR 2009 there was a discussion among several officers and civilians in the rows behind where I was sitting about Clausewitz. Someone, one of the civilians I think, wanted to know if someone had a good slide deck on him that made the material approachable. I turned around and offered to copy the one that I used to use when I taught international relations and international security. I explained that it covered the first 100 pages or so, ie the introduction/introductory material - all the conceptual stuff. The impression I got is that its being assigned to people at the various schoolhouses, whether or not they read it is another story. Amusingly enough this led to an interesting discussion between myself and a British major who was sitting next to me about what should be read and what shouldn't, let alone what COIN was and wasn't. Needless to say it was a long and interesting week. And the person looking for the slides never came back and got the copy I burned for him...

FB Ali

J

I would agree with the Colonel: Stan's the likely man. However, it's possible that he may dodge the blame by throwing a fit early next year and quitting. Then someone else will have to (figuratively) take that last helicopter out of Kabul.

Adam L. Silverman

Sir,

A couple of more pieces on neo-Conservatism. The first a news story from Raw Story:
http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0609/tank-neocons-influential-obama-years/

The second a report issued by Brookings about why neo-Conservatism still matters:
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2010/05_neoconservatism_vaisse/05_neoconservatism_vaisse.pdf

J

Who is the 'real President'? Is it Obama or is it OSD Gates?

It appears that OSD Gates 'countermands' the President on 'official policy' at every given opportunity.

So who is the 'real President' and who is the 'real donkey'?

US officials downplay July 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejected suggestions Sunday that US forces will move out of Afghanistan in large numbers in July of next year under a deadline set by President Barack Obama.

Who sets policy, and who follows it? Again, who is the real president and who is the real donkey?

J

Doesn't OSD Gates get it that he really has NO REAL POWER as OSD. The Constitution gives war powers authority to the President - period. There is no war secretary, no office of secretary of defense, it (all of the war power) is reposed with the President -- period. Now what the President proposes to do with that power is a Presidential decision and Presidential prerogative. Thus most Presidents have 'delegated' the menial task to a carved out post most understand as the Secretary of Defense. But that OSD position is still ethereal no matter what the persona who occupies the seat at any given point in time. Gates needs to understand that he is the donkey who is supposed to do Presidential bidding, not the other way around.

confusedponderer

Mr. Lang,
the joke wasn't about Klausewitz or you but about officers not reading 'On War': Book, second hand, from regimental library, pristine condition = unused.

Balint Somkuti

Col. Lang
Not yet Sir. As of today I am only studying it. Being a civilian historian (and a future PhD in military sciences) I consider myself an artist (in your defintion). Question is: will I get a position where I can show my skills? Nepotism is running amok in times of civil morale decline (see late Roman Empire).

Neil Richardson

On a serious note Colonel, Vom Kriege wasn't really that popular back in the 1970s and 80s among junior and field grades. In fact most of the Heer field grades I knew in the late 1980s hadn't "read" it either. Those in cav and armor were mostly concerned with tactical and operational lessons and had read a lot of memoirs of Guderian, Raus, Balck, Mellenthin etc etc in addition to rediscovering the after action reports at the MHI. It was strange in the sense that everything German was in style as ALB matured (Schwerpunkt, Auftragstaktik, Kesselschlacht, Flaechen und Luekentaktik were actuallly thrown around quite a bit in actual discussions during staff rides and terrain walks) while most of us hadn't read Clausewitz (by this I mean active reading). Of course as I recall GEN Shelton had assigned McMaster's _Dereliction of Duty_ to all general officers to read back in the late 1990s. I'm not sure how effective that was in the following years.

Patrick Lang

NR

That sounds like a good reading program. GvonC is damned hard going as you know.

Did I ask if you know Dave Glantz? pl

Neil Richardson

"NR

That sounds like a good reading program. GvonC is damned hard going as you know.

Did I ask if you know Dave Glantz? pl"

Dear Col.Lang,

I'm not sure if he would remember me, but I met him back in 1987 when I was at the NTC. He was the guest lecturer for the indoc program and I thought his discussion on the Soviet forward detachment operations was just superb. I think I might still have those notes somewhere.

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