26 July 2011

Is delusion an environmentally-enhanced trait?

Normally I thoroughly enjoy reading Christian Science Monitor. Their articles are well written and typically on point. This article, published yesterday from Anne Mulrine, left me scratching my head. While well written, I’m a little confused by the personalities she selected to quote through most of the article. Did she not have access to a Battalion Commander or his S-3?

Some of my favorite quotes from this article:

…says Col. Clay Hall, commander of the US Air Force’s 455th Expeditionary Operations Group (EOG). “There’s a feeling of, ‘Let’s use them to maximum effect.’ As we pull out,” with fewer and fewer US troops on the ground, “those engagements are going to become less and less effective.”

Since when is the Commander of a Group of flyers qualified to discuss the effectiveness of current or future ground operations? Sure he said, “There’s a feeling”, but again, this is not his lane. I'm not discussing whether he's correct or not, the point is that he's not a ground force commander. And honestly, could the reporter not find someone better to interview about ground operations than a pilot? How about look for someone, anyone, not wearing those awesome blue tiger stripes or a flight suit?


After dropping his bombs and being replaced by another team of Air Force fighter pilots, Sorenson returned to base and began listening to the battle on the radio.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about this other than to (once again) kick myself for not being a Zoomie.

And my absolute favorite.

“It’s a Pyrrhic victory is the bottom line.”

I’m sorry, what? Pyrrhic victory? The fact that the Taliban still has the capability to mass 300 determined fighters after a decade in this country is scary. And to say we have the enemy on his heels? Seriously, do you honestly believe that? This article is about the Taliban shifting operations to your Regional Command; as well as massing 300 determined fighters on one of your Platoons. And you, the Commanding General, think you have the Taliban on its heels in your area of operations? Luckily, that Platoon was able to fight its way out with seemingly outstanding support from our Air Force brethren. But RC East has been on the receiving end of massed Taliban attacks before, and they didn’t always end so well for us. Is this a TTP we truly want to replicate because their body count was a lot higher than ours?

How about a little candor? Why not try something like this, "The Air Force did a great job providing Close Air Support to beleaguered ground forces. My boys got pretty lucky with this one, but we won't always get that lucky. As the Commanding General of this Area of Operations, I am committed to disrupting, denying and defeating the insurgent networks operating in my area of operations well before they are able to mass to that level and attack my boys. again We got lucky with this, but I intend to take luck out of the equation and bring the fight to them before they can bring it to us like this again. Moving forward, my goals and plans may not progress perfectly; but we will do everything in our power, top-down, to keep a situation like this from happening again through comprehensive and holistic/integrated offensive operations directed against these networks."

If I were in RC East I'd get pumped reading something that honest and determined from my CG. Instead they get to read puffery and feel like their CG is willing to tempt fate with their lives to try for more Pyrrhic victories.

Syria & Organized Opposition

The Wall Street Journal reports that Syria's Cabinet is working on draft law to Allow Organized Opposition by "new political parties" who operate. I wonder if this move comes in light of the People's demand for change or as a strategy of the ruling party to control operations. Violence, of course, has been a major concern, but even though this strategy promises reform in order to quell violence the law may indeed spark more protests in opposition to this new-phased governance campaign.

Why - simply because its restricts the parameters of the protests and therefore hinders the dialogue the People want to have. Political parties (or their representatives) must submit an application to receive a license to organize and operate, upon which a Committee will conclude whether to grant license or not. I presume the Committee's "explanation" will be a forthright statement and will not include detailed reasons for or against, which will prove to be another point of contention for the People.

For example, criteria include "a ban on links or affiliation to any non-Syrian political groupings." Firstly, this pretty much will exclude almost everyone. The Committee, who will rule as a representative of the ruling party of the Syrian "state and society", can define "links" or "affiliation" according to their interpretation. Secondly, in effect, such definitions will enable the Committee to further define the strength or degree of relationship(s) between the organizing party who seeks a license and their "non-Syrian" link or affiliation. Citizen records, testimony, and avenues such as the Internet will most likely be used to confirm this.

Once again, we continue to deal with Socrates' Metaphor of the Cave: the State presents images to the People according to their worldview in order to met the objectives of their strategy. Even after the draft law is passed, lawyers will argue on behalf of the State that it is not supported by the Syrian Constitution, and the People will argue that the process is not working.

The People will continue to protest emerging points of contention to the misunderstanding of the State.