On War # 260: Ancient History

William S. Lind
May 27, 2008

When the world was young and hope dared live in Washington, a small group of people put together something called the Military Reform Movement. Its purpose was to measure defense policies and programs by the standard of what works in combat rather than who benefits financially. Launched in the 1970s, it peaked in the early 1980s and was gone by 1990. Why did it fail? Because in a contest between ideas and money, the money always wins.

Two authors, Winslow Wheeler and Larry Korb, recently published a history of the Military Reform Movement, Military Reform: A Reference Handbook. Win Wheeler was in the thick of it at the time as a staffer to several members of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus. Larry Korb was at most on the periperheries, one of Washington’s innumerable unemployed jockies looking for a horse to ride.

To make my own position clear, I was a staffer first to the Senator who started the whole thing, Bob Taft, Jr. of Ohio, then to Secretary Gary Hart, who gave the movement its name and founded the Caucus (with Congressman Bill Whitehurst of Virginia). I was also part of the informal “Reform Group,” which included John Boyd, Pierre Sprey, Jeff Record and Norman Polmar, that did the intellectual work for the Caucus.

The book’s stronger chapters are those by Wheeler, who pulls no punches when discussing the ways various members of Congress betrayed the reform cause. The “Washington Game” is to create an image with the public that is a direct opposite to what the Senator or Congressman actually does behind closed doors, and the Caucus saw plenty of that game. Standouts were Senator Bill Cohen of Maine, who attended Caucus meetings while busily working with Senator John Tower to block any reform of the Navy (he went on to be perhaps the most ineffectual Secretary of Defense in the Department’s history); Newt Gingrich, who really “got” reform and played a big role in the early history of the Caucus, then did nothing to advance its ideas once he gained power; and Dick Cheney, who also used reform to generate an image and now, as Vice President, does nothing.

As I said years ago to a Marine friend who was trying to get a job on Capitol Hill, working as Hill staff is the post-doctoral course in spiritual proctology. Wheeler’s chapters dissect many an ass.

He does an equally good job on the press, which did what it always does: build something up (which creates news) and then tear it down again (which creates more news). What drew many members of Congress to the Reform Caucus was the opportunity it offered to get some good ink. When the wind started blowing the other way, those illustrious legislators blew with it. But the corruption of the press itself is a story told less often, and it needs telling. Why do defense companies buy full-page ads in major newspapers? Not because anyone buys a fighter plane based on a newspaper ad, but because the six-figure price for a full page buys the newspaper.

Larry Korb’s most important chapter is on “Defense Transformation,” and he makes something of a hash of it. “Transformation” is the latest buzzword for what started out (in the Soviet military) as the “Revolution in Military Affairs,” the notion that new technology would magically eliminate war’s confusion, uncertainty and friction. Reform always took the opposite view, namely that to be effective in war, technology must be used in ways that conform to war’s nature. Korb fails to see Reform and Transformation as opposites and enemies, although in the end he does lay out how Transformation failed in Iraq.

Wheeler’s last chapter defines reform, with the hopeful purpose of renewing it and making its ideas available to a new President. The fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with Federal spending that is endangering the country’s financial stability, should put military reform back on the political front burner. But that “should” means nothing in Washington, where all that counts is helping the usual interests feed off the nation’s decay. The only Presidential candidate who might pick up the reform agenda is Bob Barr, if he gets the Libertarian nomination.

The book concludes with four important appendices, including a condensed version of the FMFM-1A, Fourth Generation War, and a superb piece by Don Vandergriff on improving military education. The last alone is worth the price of the book.

It may be that the Military Reform Movement remains nothing but a historical footnote, one of many vain attempts to rescue a decaying empire from its appointment with history’s dustbin. But as Win Wheeler makes clear in Military Reform: A Reference Handbook, it was also the source of some important ideas on how to win wars and, for those of us who were involved in it, a hell of a ride.

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

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Filed in Misc. | 30 responses so far

30 Responses to “On War # 260: Ancient History”

  1. Fabius Maximuson 28 May 2008 at 6:50 pm 1

    This is one of Lind’s most important articles, imo. Grand Strategy, militiary strategy, 4GW theory — all these things are interesting. Much work has been done on them. But it remains academic at best, entertainment at worst, unless it influences somebody in the US government. DoS. DoD. The intel community. Or a politico.

    This suggests that we need to better understand 4GW, to wage it (peacefully, legally) against our own institutions. The three most important aspects of 4GW should become application, application, …

    Failing that, websites discussing these things eventually will become like those discussing Jessica Simpson, without the pictures. As in, which is better: 12 GW or 15GW-b?

    We could even add pictures of Jessica Simpson. That might boost my advertising revenue, which has been quite disappointing!

  2. Duncan Kinderon 29 May 2008 at 9:33 am 2

    But it remains academic at best, entertainment at worst, unless it influences somebody in the US government. DoS. DoD. The intel community. Or a politico.

    An alternative approach would be a grass-roots effort to promote 4GW concepts amongst the public at large. To convince them that 4GW ( or 15GW-b, as the case may be ) is better.

    In this context, the idea of “entertainment” is not necessary frivolous or bad. In comparison, Verdi’s operas played no small role in effecting the Italian unification. “Viva VERDI!” (Victor Emanuel Rei d’Italia!) was common graffiti in pre-unification Italy; and when hearing that Austrian troops had crossed the Alps, Cavour – rallying his supporters – broke into an aria from Il trovatore. An aria from :Nabucco remains the de facto Italian anthem to this day.

    Likewise, Napoleon stated that, to understand the French Revolution, one should study The Marriage of Figaro.

    So entertainment matters – and it would not hurt, as an exercise, to see if you could express your concept of 4GW, in its basic essence- as a good song.

  3. rmhitchenson 29 May 2008 at 10:25 am 3

    I think Lind is a bit hard on Lawrence Korb. My reading of him based on his innumberable op-ed pieces over the last couple of decades is that his grasp of military affairs is far above the average. Is “transformation” really the diehard enemy of reform? Forsan, non forsan. I’ll cite Thomas Mahnkhen’s one pithy phrase in an otherwise unmemorable article, “there is no logical reason why emphasis on technology should produce poor strategy.” Do not the generational changes in warfare reflect technological advances as much as anything else, and should the military reform movement not consider how those advances might alter the nature of warfare? The other thing that troubles me about the reform movement is that nearly everyone Lind cites is an “observer” — keen and perceptive, no doubt, but lacking much first-hand exposure to warfare or the US military culture. That said, the literature produced by this movement was of an exceptionally high quality for the most part, and certainly informed my thinking about my own military experience and subsequent service as a reservist, as well as intelligence analysis of military issues that constituted my “day job” for many years.

  4. Jason Lefkowitzon 29 May 2008 at 11:05 am 4

    Putting on my political scientist cap for a moment (after dusting it off, since it’s basically been laying idle since I finished college)…

    The difference between programs that get traction in government and programs that don’t is that the ones that do have a constituency behind them.

    With that in mind, I guess the question is — who is the constituency for military reform?

    There’s lots of constituencies *against* reform. Defense contractors don’t want it because it threatens profits. The brass don’t want it because it threatens career tracks (fewer big ticket weapons systems equals fewer ponies to ride to a General’s stars). Members of Congress don’t want it because it threatens jobs in their district.

    So who *does* want it — or could be *persuaded* to want it? And how can those people be mobilized into a constituency that can effectively stand up to the constituencies that are in opposition?

    Until we can crack that particular nut, reform will always be more show than go, no matter how meritorious a cause it is.

  5. loggie20on 29 May 2008 at 7:37 pm 5

    “should the military reform movement not consider how those advances might alter the nature of warfare?”

    No for a number of reasons:

    Military reform is not the arena of DoD management in either uniform or civilian suits, the incumbents are not reformers, substantive change is utterly alien to DoD and congress’ PACs.

    From that thought, transformation “technology infusions” are solely to fight inside existing strategy and operations: redo Midway, the WWII air blitzes, and Iwo Jima, only with new, unproven expensive and unsupportable technology/stuff.

    The stuff does need non performing contractors on the battlefield because if the stuff were properly provisioned it would be unaffordable (loggie20 direct observation). See GAO on contractor Performance Based Logistics, so bad they stopped doing audits after 2005.

    Military transformation and technology innovation have nothing to do with any strategy.

    If you have seen the “Op View one” for future combat system it is the reenactment of the Red Army busting into Berlin.

    Only the targets are terrorists not entrenched SS or NVA in Hue.

    Nothing is new but the paint jobs and the record expenditures.

    In 1982 when the press picked up $800 coffe pots for the C-5 thing happened.

    Today, 95 systems have hundreds of billions in overruns and years of delays and no one worries.

    Follow the money!

  6. loggie20on 29 May 2008 at 8:25 pm 6

    “So who *does* want it — or could be *persuaded* to want it? And how can those people be mobilized into a constituency that can effectively stand up to the constituencies that are in opposition?”

    “Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Perhaps, when the Social Security Trust Fund needs to cash in its ‘intragovernmental bonds’ which excessive collection of payroll taxes provided cash to “buy” for the “theft” Ike related a constituency for reasonable warfare will arise.

  7. Fabius Maximuson 29 May 2008 at 8:26 pm 7

    Kinder’s idea is usually useful, to build a grass-roots base for the desired political change. Would this work for grand strategy and military reform? (1) Could American’s get motivated about these issues? (2) Will our the elites of the national security community care about public opinion, short of riots in the streets? Polls have long shown a larger majority against the the Iraq War, but it goes on without an end in sight.
    .
    Lefkowitzon goes the heart of the matter: the constituency supporting the existing system is large and strong — the opposition small and weak. Defining the problem this way makes it seem hopeless — or an excellent opportunity to apply the precepts of 4GW (peacefully, legally).
    .
    This formulation of the problem also brings us to the work of Donald Vandergriff, as does any discussion of military reform.

    (1) Worth considering, as he has said, how the Prussian military undertook its radical reform after the Napoleonic Wars.

    (2) Worth studying one of the few successful reforms in recent history, how he, Douglas Macgregor, and others sold the Army on making some reforms to its personnel and training system.

  8. Duncan Kinderon 30 May 2008 at 9:34 am 8

    To follow through on my prior post, science fiction might be a useful vehicle to convey 4GW warfare ideas.

    Basically have 4GW type Federation heroes zapping evil 3GW Klingons, or something like that.

  9. JBordeauxon 30 May 2008 at 10:23 am 9

    Wouldn’t Grand Strategy belong at the level of national security, rather than military reform? The Project on National Security Reform may be a place to start. (www.pnsr.org)

  10. Dr_Vomacton 30 May 2008 at 1:14 pm 10

    (1) Worth considering, as he has said, how the Prussian military undertook its radical reform after the Napoleonic Wars.

    Defeat can be the best teacher for an apt pupil. There is nothing like total failure to clarify the need for change. This is the greater part of the problem for us: the American public believes that we have the best armed forces in the world, and that we have never been defeated in war. Vietnam is regarded as an aberration—a war we could have won, if only we had “fought to win”. So why reform a military that is already clearly successful?

    Both the U.S. politicians and the military are engaged in a conspiracy to make the tax-payers believe that their military—in its present form—is both needed and gloriously successful. As long as this illusion can be sustained, there is little hope for meaningful reform.

    I can think of only two factors that might destroy the illusion and bring an opportunity for change: either the U.S. economy will weaken to the point where our high rates of military expenditure cannot be sustained, or the military itself suffers a disaster of such magnitude that defeat—and the necessity for reforem—become obvious even to the dullest individuals.

  11. Jason Lefkowitzon 30 May 2008 at 2:01 pm 11

    Excellent analysis Fabius, there’s only one point I would quibble with:

    [T]he constituency supporting the existing system is large and strong — the opposition small and weak.

    I would argue that the constituency supporting the status quo is indeed strong, but large it is not. Compared to the overall population of the U.S. it is quite small. Its strength is not in numbers but in a combination of resources (they have a disproportionate amount of money and access for their numbers) and inertia (when in doubt, it is always easiest to do nothing, and doing nothing is their objective).

    The 4GW-ish way to approach this would be to find ways to turn these strengths into weaknesses. They are powerful, but their power isolates them from the mainstream of American life and thought. They are well-funded, but their money is tainted with the blood of soldiers killed in the field for want of effective body armor.

    A mass movement for reform may seem fantastic, but it’s not out of the question. The issue just needs to be framed in such a way as to be amenable to spurring such a movement — and there needs to be infrastructure (a think tank, say) dedicated to spreading the message.

  12. Fabius Maximuson 31 May 2008 at 12:55 am 12

    Dr_Vomact’s two points seem unpleasant but reasonable: the near-impossibilty of reform under current circumstances, and defeat as the most likely driver.

    Lefkowitz: I agree. Large was the wrong word. The political coalition supporting our current national security apparatus is broad, including the mainstream elements of both parties.

    There are various ngo’s working to promote reform of DoD and, more broadly, our national security estabishment. The are at present just flies on the camel’s back. An irritant, no more.

  13. Maxon 31 May 2008 at 3:29 am 13

    “a conspiracy to make the tax-payers believe that their military—in its present form—is both needed and gloriously successful. ”

    Fine analysis as usual DV.

    If there’s one thing the US Military-Congressional-Industrial-ThinkTank-Services Sector knows how to do competently, about the only thing, it’s market and promote itself, to the hapless US public.

    What a monster that has been created.

    The littany of failures, stalemates, and mediocracy, is staggering to those who think outside the box, and no commercial enterprise without the extent of subsidy we’re talking about could possibly have stayed viable, let alone expanded.

    The extent and degree of which is truely astonishing, and unique in human experience.

    In the end, I agree that economics might bring about the realisation,
    but in order to do so, unfortunately we maybe looking at an overall collaphs along the lines of what brought down the Soviets.

    This will not be pretty.

    The other suggestion, is basically WW-3, which is unthinkable, despite vested interests best efforts to promote, foster, and encourage through our continued inane belligerence.

    Apart from all that though, and the price of petrol, things are
    really looking up.

    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=186487

    The track record speaks for itself, and in making your point, and quite well, you barely scratched the surface.

    Max.

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0803c.asp

  14. Maxon 31 May 2008 at 3:35 am 14

    rmhitchenson 29 May 2008 at 10:25 am 3

    “I think Lind is a bit hard on Lawrence Korb. My reading of him based on his innumberable op-ed pieces over the last couple of decades is that his grasp of military affairs is far above the average.”

    Agreed, I own the book in question, and use it for reference purposes.
    It’s all good, IMO, very good.

    MaX

  15. Maxon 31 May 2008 at 3:47 am 15

    No comment.

    Rolls eyes.

    M

    http://tinyurl.com/5cllx9

  16. Skion 31 May 2008 at 4:27 am 16

    I think reform is coming to the military whether they want it or not. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the HOA have shown that the high tech attempt to eradicate the friction associated with military operations is myopic, unaffordable and rather pointless in the end.

    The officers and NCO’s who make it through the mire of these wars – including myself – are already starting to look through different lenses on how to conduct war. While the Army and Marine leadership continue to slowly evolve (the development of formalizing new doctrine is painful to see within the US Army, and even more painful when one is a closet Boydian and realizes that doctrine shouldn’t be formalized in any manner), it is still well behind what is occurring within the theaters of operations. The frustration levels at the Captain and Major ranks are very high within the Army and Marines to say the least.

    The biggest reason why reform is inevitable, and I think this is why Gates has been launching broadsides at all the services about their procurement “strategies”, is that the money will soon be gone. Even if Congress continues to pour newly printed borrowed Chinese cash into the services, the dollar continues to weaken. If the economy takes another serious blow a la the mortgage debacle, and energy prices continue to soar, I think Congress is going to start funneling money into other programs deemed important to them and their constituents.

    I think real reform has a very good chance to occur within the next decade, at least within the Army and Marines. The Air Force and Navy are almost lost causes at this point, as they have justified their own existence around mega-dollar procurement boondoggles that are designed to fight the Nazi’s of 1945 or the Soviets of 1984. Neither of those enemies are coming back any time soon.

  17. Maxon 31 May 2008 at 11:03 am 17

    “The officers and NCO’s who make it through the mire of these wars – including myself – are already starting to look through different lenses on how to conduct war.”

    I’m glad to hear there are a few of you out there, such as yourself
    who have made the decision and the choice to do something,
    and try to change things, instead of turning a blind eye to every mistake in the book, while comfortably playing the game and getting promoted.

    “So uhm, why we fight, I think we fight because too many pepole
    are not standing up and saying, I’m not doing this anymore.”*

    * Karen Kwiatkowski USAF Lt. Col. Ret.
    “Why We Fight” Sony Pictures

    http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/
    http://tinyurl.com/4zyqmt

  18. Maxon 31 May 2008 at 8:37 pm 18

    “Dick Cheney, who also used reform to generate an image and now, as Vice President, does nothing.”

    Ahh, scuze me,,,scuze me !

    Does nothing ?
    Does NOTHING !

    I like Mr. Lind a lot, but once in a while he’s comes up
    with a statement like that one, that’s way out to lunch.

    MaX

  19. themurron 01 Jun 2008 at 12:57 am 19

    The problem with changing the military from within is a hard one to approach though. I think there are plenty of young officers that see how wrong things are with the military (the Air Force included, I know, I am them and have met them). But how do you do it, where do you start, how do you approach it as a young lieutenant or captain? What is the proper way to go about trying to fix issues as a young officer that the powers that be support? In a lot of ways it seems an insurmountable barrier with no proper approach. Playing the game until you’re a colonel or general is not the answer, because at that point you’re so far in that you’re one of them. But fighting the good fight ends up with you looking from the outside in, so it makes me wonder how to go about fighting Goliath. I guess the question is, since the public at large is unlikely to press this issue soon enough, how to emulate Boyd? I know there is a way, I’m just not sure what it is.

  20. loggie20on 01 Jun 2008 at 6:06 am 20

    MaX,

    Mr. Cheney concurred on terminating the A-12 1990 or 1991. This was “reformist”, not “transformational”.

    The A-12 was prototypical of the B-2, F-22, EFV (AAAAV) and all the systems GAO reports on overrunning and costing more each year.

    The A-12 situation was also common for its times.

    McD Doug expected the Navy to bail out their ineptitude and keep the overruns running when some whistleblower showed they were pencil whipping C square reports.

    Despite predictions the Navy would lose the next war A-12 was terminated.

    Only problem was it was terminated wrongly and is still in litigation.

    Cheney in Bush I was on the reform team.

    However, getting tough on the military industrial congress complex may have helped usher Bush I out the door.

  21. Maxon 01 Jun 2008 at 7:55 am 21

    themurron 01 Jun 2008 at 12:57 am 19

    “The problem with changing the military from within is a hard one to approach though.”

    Nobody said it would be easy,,, ;0)
    If it was EASY, any idiot could do it. ;0)

    This is why some of believe the US may likely suffer a really serious and major catastrophie, economic and/or military, or BOTH, maybe not anytime soon, but eventually, and perhaps not even recovering intact, or at least as we know it, before things change significantly.

    Meanwhile;

    The Monster Grows, And Grows, And Grows !
    Message List
    #4580 of 4580
    The US Military-Congressional-Industrial-Services & ThinkTank Complex.

    It’s not rocket surgury, the more, and more, and still more being spent on the MILITARY means less, and less money for civilian & scocieties dwindling interests, including roads, infrastructure, Schools, Hospitals, research & development, enviroment, scocial security, etc, etc.
    M
    ________
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/31/AR2008053101699.html?hpid=topnews

    Pentagon Overseer Calls for Larger Staff
    Inspector General Says That Shortages Leave Spending Largely Unchecked

    By Walter Pincus
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, June 1, 2008; Page A11

    The Defense Department’s inspector general says he needs more staff and money to monitor sharply rising spending by the Pentagon on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader fight against terrorism.

    While that spending increased by more than 50 percent between fiscal 2001 and fiscal 2007, Inspector General Claude M. Kicklighter’s staff has remained relatively constant, according to a report his office sent to Congress on March 31 that was made public last week.

  22. Newjarheaddeanon 01 Jun 2008 at 2:40 pm 22

    AHOY
    Out of respect for my 85 year old friend who is a life long Democrat, I for the first time ever am paying attention to politics. It could be his last campaign. As I was running the names in this article by him for reference, I found Gary Hart’s demise interesting in hinge sight.
    Also loved the news paper add commit.
    Have read if current trends continue entire budget well go to one weapon system. Currently the F-35 JSF program is expected to cost 300 billion. That is equal to the 1980s era budgets.
    Who won’t reforms and how can we motivate them? IMO right now no one, take away their Air conditioning and MTV now we’re talking riots in the street. However IMO the days of grass root revolutions are long gone. It would have to be a hierarchy corporate civil war. I for one do not have enough info to drawl the lines there.
    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.

  23. Maxon 02 Jun 2008 at 10:00 am 23

    “take away their Air conditioning and MTV now we’re talking riots in the street.”

    Well that’s a very good point, and unless the average American
    sees significant tax increases, (it’s starting) and a significant
    drop in their standard of living (that’s starting, look at the dollar,
    and inflation now taking off).

    You’ve got to give credit to the Neo-Conservative zelots for getting
    this far and managing to insulate the US public by in large from the
    costs of thier agenda.

    We’ve borrowed an awfull lot of money in doing so.

    MaX

  24. Maxon 02 Jun 2008 at 10:05 am 24

    “The A-12 situation was also common for its times.”

    Thanks I’ve read James Stevenson, he’s even on my private email
    list.

    His background as starting as a Mil. Aviation “enthusiast”
    is not unlike my own. He’s a brilliant writer, commentator,
    and a huge contributor in this concern of ours.

    As far as our esteemed VP is concerned, I would say that
    the fictional character “Darth Vader” best characterises
    the man, in his journey.

    MaX

  25. loggie20on 02 Jun 2008 at 4:32 pm 25

    MaX,

    If you have not read the contemporay articvle in “Proceeding”, Naval Institute Press by Fenster a lawyer for McDD, google it.

    His point was “how could the Navy not pay a few more times over for a fixed price development gone awry?”

    Everyone else at the time was so secured.

    The termination was for convenience rather than default. And still “needing” new carrier air gives the lawyer fodder to get the case going.

    I would have put a big keel on the F-16………………..

    Yes, Darth Vader ala Moranis.

  26. Maxon 03 Jun 2008 at 2:03 pm 26

    “Yes, Darth Vader ala Moranis.”

    http://tinyurl.com/3vuhmt

    “So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family, and we don’t even live in West Virginia,” the vice president quipped.

    While that drew laughs from the crowd, it didn’t sit well with West Virginia leaders, who demanded, and got, an apology, The Charleston Gazette reported.

    “I truly cannot believe that any vice president of the United States, regardless of their political affiliation, would make such a derogatory statement about my state or any state, for that matter,” Gov. Joe Manchin said.

  27. Newjarheaddeanon 04 Jun 2008 at 11:20 am 27

    AHOY

    Max, Absolutely!

    I have to admit my only education on finances is this video titled Money as debt. If true, it really is amazing how many ways they shuffle the sands. Insulate as you said.
    It seems possible that 9-11 brought up the question to those in charge, we either all go down or all stay afloat. Remember Reagon’s airliner strike speech, that if they went on strike they would crash the economy, thats long been said about the auto industry too.
    Of course they decided to stay afloat, thus threw the old rule book out. Now white color no longer has the moral high ground over the mob.
    The good news maybe that nothing now can bring down the system, meaning if they did have this agreement then they can always have another.

  28. Maxon 06 Jun 2008 at 10:27 am 28

    I looked over my copy of “Military Reform” this morning
    and was enthralled reading the chapter “Dustbin Of History”
    by Windslow.

    Then in the news this morning came this astonishing current
    example of what Mr. Wheeler describes.

    Even pepole you might have once considered, and even admired or trusted to be on the side of the truth, and the best interests of “Defence And The National Interests.”

    M

    http://tinyurl.com/5nbawj

    “Former high-ranking Bush officials enjoy war profits”

    SNIP
    “May 29, 2008 | Richard L. Armitage, who served from 2001 to 2005 as Deputy Secretary of State, was a rarity in the Bush administration: an official who delighted in talking to the press. Reporters loved him for his withering criticism of the neoconservative zealots around President George W. Bush and in part because he fed them tidbits about the White House they could obtain nowhere else.”
    SNIP
    “According to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, Armitage advised Powell on more than one occasion to tell the neocons to “go $%^k themselves,” and, at one point, even refused to deliver a speech about Iraq drafted for him by Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.”
    SNIP
    “Yet, three years after those epic battles, Armitage is enjoying life as a stakeholder in a dozen private companies that are making money directly from the war started by his former nemeses.”

    “Over the past decade, contracting for America’s spy agencies has grown into a $50 billion industry that eats up seven of every 10 dollars spent by the U.S. government on its intelligence services.”
    SNIP

  29. Maxon 08 Jun 2008 at 11:11 am 29

    Reveiwing the chapter “the lost Decade” by Lawrence Korb.

    He details and makes some very compelling analysis on the short comings of the “Shock And Awe” stratigy and over reliance on overwhelming fire power by US forces. He goes on to describe, and I agree but would go a little further, with the asessement that the US propensity and reliance of fire power is a type of tactic and fallback in in the interests of mitigating risks and losses to US personel.

    Like bringing a gun to a knife fight, to use an crude
    analogy. Or a howitzer to an argument at the local big box parking lot.

    Windslow Wheeler in later chapters offers masterfull commentary with analysis and detail, on several fronts. If there’s a descrepancy between Mr. Korb and Windslow as Mr. Lind mentions, it’s simply that Wheeler has been around knows his stuff, frontwards, backwards, upside down, and inside out. In other words he’d be a very tough act for practicaly anyone to follow. I have a lot of respect for the man
    and the battles he’s waged.

    In “the lost decade” in the conclusions section Korb offers insights
    into what reforms might take place to better situate the US in dealing
    with future 4GW conflict.

    This is also a theme of acute interest here on DNI.

    This is in contrast to the Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, and Anti-War positions, with whom most here share so very much in common with.

    Where they argue, and I can’t refute their position, that the US has time and time again, emphericaly demonstrated it’s inability and ineptness in dealing with 4GW including “Nation Buliding” in general, and should be a lot more circumspect in choosing conflicts
    to get involved with in the future, and maybe just staying the %^*&
    out, and mind our own bussiness.

    A position I find that increasingly, makes sense.

    MaXimillian

  30. Maxon 11 Jun 2008 at 3:58 pm 30

    “He goes on to describe, and I agree but would go a little further, with the asessement that the US propensity and reliance of fire power is a type of tactic and fallback in in the interests of mitigating risks and losses to US personel.”

    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=207212

    Pakistan condemns “cowardly” U.S. attack; 11 dead

    Kamran Haider
    Reuters North American News Service

    Jun 11, 2008 08:55 EST

    ISLAMABAD, June 11 (Reuters) – Pakistan said on Wednesday an “unprovoked and cowardly” air strike by U.S. forces had killed 11 Pakistani soldiers on its border with Afghanistan and undermined the basis of security cooperation.

    The soldiers were killed at a border post in the Mohmand region, opposite Afghanistan’s Kunar province, late on Tuesday as U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan battled militants attacking from Pakistan, a Pakistani security official said.