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01 July 2011


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Charles I

What are we working with here, the 12 hour, clock, the 24 hour military clock, the Mayan Calendar, recorded history? Perhaps a clock located somewhere in Pakistan? Maybe the clock has run out, maybe we have lots of time, who knows?

Ergo, all we need is yet another clock.

Maybe a hybrid.


Col: Is the blindness willful? If people truly are not all the same, then politically how do these self-same change agents sell future interventions to a war-weary public?

Patrick Lang

People generally are incapable of dealing with the "vision thing." The "people" were equally willing to "buy" this crap until they grew weary. pl

Charles I

As long as Pakistan exists as support and refuge, there is no clock, but Zalmay Khalilzad solves that riddle today in the WAPO.

Carrots and sticks, in case that doesn't work, maintain a big force in Afghanistan to "expand military operations against insurgent and terrorist targets in Pakistan."

Other pearls:

10 years in now, "Should Pakistani intransigence persist, the United States will need a long-term strategy. . . "

and finally the truth comes out:

"There is no guarantee this approach will overcome the ideological and religious allegiances that inspire Pakistani support for the insurgency in Afghanistan. Ultimately, only the Pakistani people and a new generation of civilian leadership can rein in the country’s military leaders."



The problem with academics (used to be one) is that they have mechanisms for building consensus, frameworks for conversing and disagreeing, shared assumptions on which to build all of this--but they live in a world unto themselves. It's all methodology, and the only knowledge that matters is knowledge of the method, independent of the content. Yet much of their time is spent explaining away things that contradict the shared methodology. A brilliant paper is often one that takes a perfectly clear set of facts that plainly refutes the shared wisdom of the group and interprets them in some clever way to support it. In my academic field, this was pretty harmless, because everyone we studied was dead.

Adam L Silverman


The one thing that has consistently struck me is just how much influence, through access, the outside advisors always seem to have with the politicians. And this goes to your subsequent thread as well in regard to who is profiting. Many an individual expert and advisor have become care takers of brands (COIN or CT for example) without ever having any direct experience with either one - though to be fair some do have operational experience. Some become brands unto themselves. And what I think too few realize isn't just that they'll do anything to protect their brands, but that because of where they are located, many have far greate access to the decision makers than those currently trying to conduct the operations we are engaged in. Moreover, because they're outside the tent, when they aren't listened too, or when they're worried that things aren't going well, they very publicly protect themselves. A good advisor stays out of the way of the decision maker and once the decision is made, whether they agree or disagree, they move out smartly. If the disagreement is so large that you can't support it, then that's the time to move on.


Fear not. They will say they have learned from all this. New books and papers will be written. Next time it will be better.



absolutely. Just like Allen Greenspan finally learned that maybe paying off the debt with the budget surplus we had when Clinton left office would have been a good idea. Here's what he said $13 Trillion dollars ago:

"Running surpluses without a debt, Greenspan warned, would result in the

"longer-term fiscal policy issue" of a government paying off its debt, particularly long-term Treasury bonds, before the bonds mature — costing it extra money by buying back those securities from private investors before they mature. Which is very expensive — better to buy back only matured bonds, which won't be possible until at least 2011."

Read more:

How kind of multi-millionaire Mr. Greenspan.

Cold War Zoomie

"The "Rational Actor" model is alive and well among the thirty-five year old Ph.D.s who infest such meetings."

I remember meeting some of these PhDs in some consulting firm when we were looking for a business partner.

Ugh. What a load of crap.

Did Nathan Bedford Forest need to fully understand his "OODA Loop" to be an effective leader?

Think not.

Roy G.

Perhaps i'm overly cynical, but I think these people will say anything to get what they want, and their biggest gift is believing their own crap. Think of the similarities with the runup to the Iraq invasion and GWOT.



Ijust left a comment on the piece started by Gene Robinson which included my curiousity about your starting your list of war mongers haunts with universities. Now having read this piece I see that you take a dim view of academics in general. My experience has it that most academics are progressive/liberal in their political thinking. It seems that your experience has it that they fill the ranks of the war mongers, neocons and such.

Patrick Lang


your liberal friend are not advisers to government. pl

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

It is a whole culture unto itself. I burned out at the end of the last project and retired.

Repetition: we found at the end of our study that the same findings had been reported to the sponsor (in this case, Joint Staff) at least ten time in the last ten years, with no action taken. Change of personnel, loss of continuity, why not order a study? Again.

Tired of the buzzwords: "portfolio" being a prominent one, and abuse of the English tongue. To wit, a briefer from DISA once whined that she "had no gallery from which to observe orchestrated workflows." Clever way of identifying oneself as clueless. But of course, a lot of money would no doubt fix that.

It will be interesting to see how far Panetta in efforts to trim defense spending - on portfolios and galleries.

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