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28 January 2016

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Walrus

Government by PowerPoint.

We teach "management" when we should be teaching leadership. What has happened is that we confuse the Two.

ex-PFC Chuck

Regarding the rigor of the social sciences, the "Sokal Affair" of 1996 was quite instructive. From Wikipedia:

"The article, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity", was published in the Social Text spring/summer 1996 "Science Wars" issue. It proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review and it did not submit the article for outside expert review by a physicist.[3][4] On the day of its publication in May 1996, Sokal revealed in Lingua Franca that the article was a hoax, identifying it as "a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense ... structured around the silliest quotations [by postmodernist academics] he could find about mathematics and physics."[2]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

Akira

William Lind's cannon for the officer corps:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-canon-for-the-officer-corps/

Fred

dmr,

Not to worry. After the Merkel's millions are assimilated the Europeans will have a completely different military machine.

Bill Herschel

There is a heroin epidemic sweeping the United States, killing more people than guns and cars. Most of them young.

That heroin comes from Afghan poppies.

I mean what are we talking about here? Colonel Lang is right. But one can and should further and say that if we have the military infrastructure in place (and if our bridges are falling down, our military infrastructure sure isn't), why the hell aren't we bombing poppy fields. We used agent orange in Vietnam to find peasants with small arms. We can't stop heroin at its source.

If there is a ray of hope in all of this, and it takes monumental optimism to believe there is, it is Donald Trump. Trump would bomb the poppy fields, simply because he doesn't give a [ ] what anyone thinks and knows he would save a ton of lives doing it. The rest of them? Puke.

Paul Escobar

Mr. Lang,

Can you recommend any books about the German army (from those era's)? Dense or technical, it does not matter.

Sincerely,
Paul

turcopolier

Bill Herschel

I guess you missed the part about the "peasants'", artillery, heavy mortars, 122 mm. artillery rockets, tanks, flame weapons, etc. Were you there and if so, with whom? pl

turcopolier

Shawn

I would be more impressed with Bill Lind's argument of it were not based on his "generations of war" BS. IMO he invented this idea to make SJ generals feel good about themselves because they knew no history. The things he has described as generational have always existed simultaneously and he must know that. pl

turcopolier

Paul Escobar

"The German General Staff," "The Nemesis of Power," "A Genius for War," "Lost Victories," "The Desert Fox," "Panzer Battles," "The German Army in the West," "The Desert Generals," 'Hitler's Generals." Let me know when you finish those. pl

Tyler

I was just a lowly Specialist and I knew you'd never tame Afghanistan by nation building.

You'd have to go in there and break everyone to the yoke (ala the Draka of SM Stirling's saga of the same name) and then export them as your nation's0.
janissaries.

This hearts and minds crap never worked with people who had an 8th century framework and got a lot of people mauled or killed for no reason other than to burnish some brass' powerpoint.

Paul Escobar

I accept the challenge. :)

Thank you, truly. There is so much out there, I didn't know where to start until now.

kao_hsien_chih

It's the failure of any intellectual enterprise that does not take due diligence to check wrong its theories are. To be fair, postmodern mumbo jumbo is particularly bad at this, but plenty of social sciences, especially in presence of a powerful and influential backers, peddle nonsense and proscribe heresy.

I think every theory, in any field, is, in some sense, wrong at least some of the time (even if it might be right on average.) "Science" is really learning how wrong it is, when, and why. The great thing about the German staff training, as I understand it, was that it was "science" at its best. Everyone, in every field, should emulate the practice. But I don't know if anyone really does these days.

Fred

Bill,


"We can't stop heroin at its source."

We don't need to. Instead of bombing the peasant shoot a couple bank CEOs and other assorted folks at the top laundering the billions and that thing will mostly dry up.

Bill Herschel

I wasn't there. My point is that heroin is killing over 40,000, mostly young people in the United States every year. Poppies are plants. We have the means to destroy them, and destroying them will save lives. Why not?

turcopolier

Bill Herschel

On the poppies I agree. As for VN, soon there will be none left who were there, who will then speak the truth? pl

Bill Herschel

My thinker works intermittently. You have made the point that I was trying to make. In Vietnam the foliage was not the enemy. In Afghanistan the "foliage" is the enemy, and it's easier to kill than an opposing army. I currently live in New Hampshire, and the heroin epidemic is a nightmare. I am sensitized to it for that and other reasons.

I pray for the souls of those who died in Vietnam and I am certainly incapable of speaking the truth about Vietnam. But I believe that the greatest monument we can build to the young people who died in Vietnam is to protect and nurture the young people of today. That is all I can do.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Genghis Khan was a pretty mean guy to get in front of. He wasn't after just one ethnic group. He killed everybody.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression has been that historically the US Army had a tendency to be run by *in peacetime* people whose main qualifications had been being high quality engineering students at West Point who occasionally got involved in episodes of killing aboriginals (internal colonization). When the nation at large got involved in a serious war, the placeholders would either prove themselves or get shifted to some post in Montana somewhere (to kill more aboriginals) and quality officers would be duly rewarded. If something like this is even remotely the case, then maybe what's at work is the result of turning the US Army into something that supposed to function like the Roman Army. Which its traditions and history don't suit it to. Which then warps the society that staffs the armed forces and you get a situation where mediocrities who are more interested in their ability to get jobs at armaments firms rise to the top and the foreign policy establishment is run by adventurers like Nuland et al. Just asking.

Jack

Bill

Economics 101 would tell you that when there is demand, there will be supply. If you remove supply from A it will show up in B.

So, instead of bombing over there why not do something here to eradicate the demand.

I'm not sure if you recall but we did spend billions bombing over there in Latin America but the demand for cocaine here grew and grew. Remember the "war on drugs". When the narcotics trade is in the tens of billions you can kill Pablo Escobar but an El Chapo shows up. That's exactly what he told Sean Penn. He could be killed but someone else will supply that demand. The solution lies right here at home. We are the consumers!

Jack

Sir

I'm hopeful that the American people are tiring of our overseas military commitments. When I compare how Ron Paul was ridiculed during the 2008 campaign when he argued that we should pursue a non-interventionist policy, compared to today when the candidates who argue our interventions were a mistake doing better, it seems that the tide is changing.

Maybe a decade from now we'll really get out of places we have no reason to be in.

Ulenspiegel

"It then taught these officers the Army's doctrine for combat. Following that, the same Army taught them to ignore that doctrine when that was necessary and to think for themselves."

The issue in my amateurish opinion is that doctrine (Latin: doctrina, German: Lehrmeinung) is in German to much associated with textbook solution (Lehrbuchlösung) and was, therefore, avoided in officer training.

The officers for higher positions where selected by a process that includes written exams. All the exam texts plus possible solutions of the previous years were available in libraries. However, these provided solutions were explicitly labled as "no textbook solution".

Could it be that the German army of 1900-32 simply did not have something what is called doctrine today?

Ulenspiegel

If you have a thick skin and are willing to read publications in academic journals, the Schlieffen plan discussion which was kicked off by Terence Zuber around 1998 in "War in History" is really good, it shed - IMHO in a fair way - light on the strengths and weaknesses of German operational planning.

A complete list of the relevant papers is found on T. Zubers home page.

For the first year of WWII Frieser's "Blitzkrieg Legend" is very good and gives a nice contrast to older publications like v. Manstein's "Verlorene Siege/Lost Victories" which sometimes suffer from the fact that they are autobiographies, i.e.interesting aspects are suprressed or "modified".

cynic

There have been stories that American and British troops in Afghanistan were forbidden to interfere with the poppy crop, partly because as the most profitable crop available it would have provoked more trouble by trying to prevent the farmers from growing it, but more because the Afghan rulers they were supporting made so much money out of it.

There were earlier stories about how, when a previous President was Governor of Arkansas, he covered up for planeloads of drugs being flown into the area and distributed throughout the country. What will his wife do if she reaches the White House? Maybe she'll address the problem by 'cropping' some of those operating on the demand rather than the supply side? Maybe not. It's always interesting to see how much money retired politicians can make from giving trite and boring speeches.

bth

Agree with you fully. Destroy the poppies. Heroin originating in Afghanistan is flooding the east coast and taking far more lives than the war which has allowed this.

bth

Col.,given you knowledge of the present situation in Afghanistan what is the best US policy now? In the real world?

(a)Is it to pack up and leave in full? (b)Is it to fund a police and military and also leave? (c) Is it to attempt to partition and let the Pashtuns and Pakis link up but protect the old northern alliance areas? (4) Is it to spool back up and expand our presence for another conveniently timed US presidential term?

We need an unvarnished objective which is achievable politically and militarily in say the window of the Obama administration plus 6 months. One needs to realize that this open discussion by the military brass timed now is a bureaucracies attempt to set the stage for the 'blame the politicians who didn't let the generals win the war' type dialogue that protects retiring officers and demagogic politicians when the place come crashing down.

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