Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Axe


The closing of the "Killing the chicken ..." thread after less than 11 hours is a good moment to reflect. We seem to have two kinds of commentators, passing adolescents and moby trolls aside, sharing the Club in somewhat uneasy company. They could be considered and often are in fact the officers and the enlisted. The difference is not one of intelligence or human decency. It may be one of formal education and is definitely related to personal history. We need both officers and enlisted in life.

The officers look at a problem like the threat of Islam as a symptom of a set of long term conditions to be managed. They tend to engage in long term planning and discuss causes and goals and consequences. They tend to depersonalize threats being more concerned with their impact on larger institutions or systems. Officers tend to over intellectualize and share a common language and social space with the Left even if they are opposed to it as a project. Unless controlled their tendency to prefer analysis and process to action can result in sterility.

In most spheres of life the market provides some discipline to officers that makes them produce and come to conclusions. Combat is one example of a market in which necessity forces the officer to move from considering theoretical alternatives and commit to a choice of action.

The enlisted complete tasks with the tools available. They view Islam as a threat and they take threats personally. When they encounter a threat they want to eliminate it. Done prematurely this can have harmful consequences.

In the present war the key to future victories is often in the Intelligence that we can collect from prisoners. Administration actions that have reduced the ability to safely capture and interrogate prisoners not only improperly transfer the war into a legal contest but also reduce combat to s series of increasingly random kinetic encounters. They remove the capacity and role of the officers to plan and manage the conflict.

If you are playing Bridge and you open with a bid of "One club" and the person to your left opens with "One heart" you do not expect your partner to reply with "Four no trump." It would upset you to hear them say "We were going to get there eventually anyhow."

You can speculate as to which of our regular commentators fit in each category. As I said before both are needed. This exposition is separate from a consideration of the increasing focus by some commentators on the racial issue. That is simply cancerous and will drive good people from the discussion. While dealing with all this, and life too I presume as one of us should hold down a job, there is the third problem of the thread hijackers who will turn any topic into a defense of their personal interest. There is no useful advice that I can offer at the moment on how to keep juggling these balls but I hope that you manage to do so.

To be blogged.



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