Sunday, January 10, 2010

Focus


(fm the BC thread "Looking out the window")

Habu,
I am joining the criticism of you here and I hope this doesn't ignite another flame war. It isn't that your conclusions are necessarily wrong, it is that your delivery short circuits the process. By calling for an existential response to the entire Dar al-Islam you are behaving like my Bridge player who calls out "Four No Trump" in the first round of bidding. The value added in the Club is in the analysis of theoretical constructs and the exploration of the consequences of policy choices. That does not make us effete or ineffectual, it gives us the tools to argue the logic of our choices to a larger community. There may be a time and place for a motivational Patton speech to reassure everyone of the righteousness of their deeds as they commit to combat but I do not think that this is that time and place. Please refocus your efforts to use your expertise to critique the contributions of Marty and Dave and Sigintel and Josh. There is real benefit to all of us in that. If you were training an Ensign who wanted to talk about Grand Strategy all the time you would gently guide their attention back to learning how to manage the Framus repair shop. We are all Ensigns here. The flame wars are a waste of your time and apocalyptic conclusions in this context do not benefit others.

-------
Habu,
Thank you for your reply. While it may be more satisfying if I attacked you root and branch like some ignorant bull charging for the coup de grace the fact is that I will not. My arguments are not intended as ad hominem nor meant to forestall your conclusions, which may be correct. There is nothing wrong with plausible deniability as long as it encourages communications and does not prevent decisive action. While this is not my house I merely want to encourage all to contribute to the best of their abilities. Otherwise the place would become to dull to attract any of us. So in general I prefer to note where I agree with you, as in the serious and growing nature of a threat from China, and I would like to hear your views on how to reform the intelligence process.

It is encouraging that you framed your reply in terms of specifics. My disagreement was not with your analysis that "AF-G is as perfect a nuke target as we will ever have." But with a prior call for an apocalyptic clash to eliminate Dar al-Islam. The first may lead to the second and a serious discussion of that eventuality may happen but I urge us all to consider the links. Would Waziristan be an appropriate place to use a device? Would Karachi be better? Would as some have proposed the Ka'aba be a place to target? These are technical and political questions. You have identified a threat, now some weapons are designed to work in some conditions and there are resultant effects of such an act, both physical (who is downwind?) and political. So rather than call for the Hobbesian war of all against all I ask you to explain your proposal in a way that allows others to critique it. You want to use how many devices on what targets to what effect? We are I hope well begun.

My initial reaction to your proposal is that it seems a desperation move that we may be pushed towards due to the destabilizing effects of the disarmament policies that have been pursued by both parties over the last 20 years. If we had another 500 B-52s and 25 full active Army divisions and 18 CVBGs etc. then the world would be a safer and more peaceful place. If wishes were horses we would all ride in style.

On a personal note when you get frustrated with the conversation here please either ignore it or respond to the content. That may frustrate those who want to bait you. Even those who you disagree with most personally here are in fact either fellow citizens, and generally on your "side," or allies. Your personal disagreements in here are not with the intruding trolls, those we all happily pile on together or have learned to wisely quarantine. We all always get more emotional when disappointed by friends or family then when attacked by the enemy. Free people have the right to be wrong. That is what we are fighting for.

Jan 10, 2010 - 3:03 pm

2 comments:

Teresita said...

The woman of wisdom is familiar with the principles of warfare, but she never grows to love them. To her, weapons are a necessary evil, and she does not relish using them.

Victory is a double-bladed sword with no handle. You cannot wield it and remain yourself unwounded. If you thrill to the prospect of bloodshed, you can never enlist the support of the people.

Teresita said...

The woman of wisdom is familiar with the principles of warfare, but she never grows to love them. To her, weapons are a necessary evil, and she does not relish using them.

Victory is a double-bladed sword with no handle. You cannot wield it and remain yourself unwounded. If you thrill to the prospect of bloodshed, you can never enlist the support of the people.