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MikeF
11-20-2009, 01:28 AM
And this too shall pass.

I've spent the last eight years engaged in conflict. The Iraq war is finally settling down. Eventually, Afghanistan will draw to a close.

Does our intervention bring about a new peace?

What happens next? How does this end?

I'll be the first to plunge into any endeavor to kill bad guys and stop al Qaeda's expansion. Just give me the authority, the resources, and the men. I've been very clear on that point. I'll go wherever others are afraid.

I just ask one question.

Where does this end? At what point do I get to retire to a small farm in North Carolina, grow some organic veggies, prosper with the Green Age, and be a good neighbor? When do I get to concentrate on my local high school footballl and wrestling teams?

What constitutes the peace?

What does tomorrow morning bring?

Yes, I've got a story to tell. My boys demand it, but I ain't headed to Washington. I refuse to be any man's puppet.

jkm_101_fso
11-20-2009, 01:52 AM
Mike,
I've kind of been wondering myself what happens when Iraq and AFG are over. What will we do then? How will we train? What will those conflicts' legacy be on the Army? Will they have a lasting effect on the Army...or will we go back to pre-9/11 training? Will it inspire me to stay or retire?

And for me, it will be a farm in Kansas. And I'll be COACHING the high school football team.

I have one son to be QB and one to catch his TD passes!

MikeF
11-20-2009, 02:04 AM
Mike,
I've kind of been wondering myself what happens when Iraq and AFG are over. What will we do then? How will we train? What will those conflicts' legacy be on the Army? Will they have a lasting effect on the Army...or will we go back to pre-9/11 training? Will it inspire me to stay or retire?

And for me, it will be a farm in Kansas. And I'll be COACHING the high school football team.

I have one son to be QB and one to catch his TD passes!

Schmedlap(whoever he is) is very specific, "Schmedlap doesn't do strategy."

Mike is just as clear. Mike doesn't do garrison.

The only reason that I stayed in past my initial obligation from West Point is out of Duty. Jake, you watched me in combat. I'm good at what I do. There are few (no pun intended) to compare. Honestly, you'd follow me if I asked.

The doctors are telling me not to deploy anymore b/c of all the concussions that I've had. I'm going give them some time, but I'm about to give them the finger and go back to serve my country.

The only thing that I want to know is an endstate. As selfish as that may seem, I want to know where this ends.

I just want to know that my deeds are worthy of the sacrifice.

No one has answered that question thus far.

Schmedlap
11-20-2009, 04:13 AM
Mike,

I am keeping several options on the table for my short-term (1 to 2 years) future endeavors. One of those options includes going back into the Army. My desire to return has zero to do with the payoff for our efforts in Iraq, A'Stan, or elsewhere. For me, it is due to two factors:
1) I enjoyed working with other Soldiers far more than I think I will enjoy working with civilians.
2) I found satisfaction in helping the indigenous people where I deployed. I don't mean that I helped them by being a cog in the machine that implements our military strategy. I mean that I could choose to treat people like "civilians on the battlefield" or I could treat them like I would want to be treated if our roles were reversed. I chose the latter and it was rewarding.

I got out of the Army because I, like you, do not do garrison. It was not so much that I separated due to low job satisfaction so much as it was due to the fact that I did not see how I could perform at an acceptable level if I hated every minute of the job.

By process of elimination, I do not do strategy or garrison, which means that I do field at the tactical or operational level. Well, I'll add this to the mix: I don't do operational either. That said, the civilian alternative is far, far less exciting. After seeing how mind-numbingly boring the alternative is, I'm open to the prospect of enduring the soul-crushing, thankless, often worthless, tedious existence of a staff officer if it means that I might, if I'm fortunate, get to command Soldiers for one year out of five. The stark comparison of civilian vs Soldier has helped me to appreciate that even a staff job isn't as bad as I thought it was. With this perspective, I think I might be able to perform it better, so I am considering a return.

As for long-term, how does this end? I frankly think it is irrelevant. I think a more important question is: what are we defending? As I have watched the financial "disaster" unfold, and learn about just how widespread and pervasive the unethical, immoral, and flat-out illegal behavior was throughout all organizations involved (from the top to bottom); as I watch our response to it in the halls of government, with nothing but coldly-calculated moves by politicians to engage in CYA and ensure their own re-elections and enrich their contributors and future employers; and as I observe our society's continued slouch towards Gomorrah (don't read too much into me appropriating that book title), I really don't know what we are defending. Until I can answer that question, I can't see any relevance to the question of "to what end" or "how does it end" or anything similar. I am very pessimistic about our future - not due to economics or security, so much as due to the depravity of our society and the entrenchment of a class of people who have a lot of power and no morals.

I've never considered myself to be selfish, so it seems weird to look at this selfishly. But if I were to look at it selflessly, I would need to ask whom I am serving and what for. I can't answer it. So I am left asking what line of work I will enjoy more. I like working with Soldiers and deploying with the line units. Long response short: I guess I don't care how it ends, so long as I can participate and execute my piece of the fight to the best of my ability. It beats a 9 to 5 job.

Ugh. I didn't intend to type that much initially.

Steve the Planner
11-20-2009, 04:48 AM
MikeF:

Just a dumb ass civilian, but here's the closest I get.

I had an easy time of my decision to go to Iraq in 2007. I had been watching pictures of dead young soldiers in my morning Washington Post for a few years, and hearing the frustration with compounding mission or circumstance failures. What does a 50+ ex-tank commander have to do that could affect any of it?

In May 2007, a Crocker cable was released were he was begging for actual civilian planners, managers and experts to jump in in Iraq (not just young foreign service officers or military/interagency in-fills). As I found out later, I was one of about 30 similar senior civilian experts (almost all long-ago veterans) who, for the first time, saw a way to use what they knew to make a difference. So, by November, we were all prepping to go, and the briefing from Ambassador Clark was blunt: Everything over there, on the civilian side, is completely screwed up. We need you to go and change things, trouble shoot, and don't accept "this is how we always do it." Fix it enough to get things moving.

We all knew that our goal was not to create some dreamworld of Iraq, but just to get things going enough to justify and end---which we understood to be ending the list of pictures of dead young soldiers---a minimal enough excuse to come home. One thing Ambassador Crocker is not is delusional. He knows the end state in Iraq is decades from now (Strategic Patience), and not something that could be achieved by a surge.

My partner and I joined up with MG Hertling's MND-North operation. He carried the pictures of every dead soldier in his pocket (I'm sure he still has them at Tradoc today), and we saw a lot more of them flowing through Spiecher for a while, but everybody was focused (military and civilian) in slowing the flow, and creating the minimal conditions for the US end. No bull####, no dreams...just enough.

Whatever delusions people have about the "accomplishments" of the surge, I only see the one real goal and accomplishment---stop the flow of yound dead soldiers. And I know I played a little part in that with the minimal skills that I had. I hear others claim they did this or did that (opened clinics, etc...), but it was all bull#### and tangential. Stopping the flow was all.

Just fix the minimum things that are broken enough to let these folks get on with their next chapters. If, after that, there was a next US mission, say to improve Iraq, I would be happy to help, but that is fluff.

For the last year, I have enjoyed being home with my 16 year old and wife, but I see the same mess, and flow in Afghanistan. And friends calling and emailing about joining them there. But I am waiting....

Three weeks ago, I attended an event where Kim Dozier moderated a group discussion with Bob Woodward, Tony Cordesman, etc. about Afghanistan. As clear as they could be, they demanded that the civilian effort in Afghanistan is a disaster, and needs to start new.

The same yesterday at another event which Kim moderated on PRTs. There, the speakers wandered between a young wonk impressed with the little trinkets the PRTs were doing, and the much older and savier Bob Perito (USIP) who said the model's not right. (It ain't working).

Kim was nice enough to join a few of us PRT Iraq SME vets in talking about what's wrong with the Afghan civilian program and surge. Throwing CERP/US AID money at local economies until everything is corruption and inflation. Plan and execute from Washington. They know what media spin needs to occur. Drill enough wells to draw down the regional water table. Let Mikey (the American) do it; the Iraqis/Afghans just don't understand what we need to achieve and when. (Note: My crew didn't do any of that in Iraq; never spent a dime of US funds; just helped Iraqis do their own things (despite the US))

Today, I read the transcript about Secreatry Clinton's "meet and greet" in Kabul. She gushed about smart power, and all the smart folks around her at the Embassy doing smart things in Afghanistan. Oh, what joy! Oh, what accomplishments!

Is she just crazy??????

Just reminded me of those stupid weekly PRT reporting requirements for "Good News" stories. The message was that Washington only wanted bull####, and that's what they got through those weekly reports more often than not.

When I finally read that Obama has read the riot act on the civilian catastrophy in Afghanistan, and appoints someone fresh who is ready to get serious. I will be anxious to get there, and make a difference. But, just like Iraq, the goal just can't be delusional Nation-Building, or trinkets of schools and health clinics. It has to be about stopping the flow of bodies.

(Anti-Hoh. If it is broken, and young soldiers and native civilians are dying, we have an obligation to do what we can to stop it. Not run away.)

I hope the time will rapidly come where some sanity and focus penetrates the civilian mission in Afghanistan, but I don't see it. I believe the President, based on his recent personal exposures to the body flow, is getting near to the "bottom" from which clarity emerges (fingers crossed), but the rest of these folks are still lost balls in tall grass.

As with Iraq, fluffy stuff is nice after the body flow stops.

My best friend called today to ask me to come to Afghanistan, and that triggered my deep consideration (once again). But as a Senior troubleshooter, I know there is still not much reason to go until somebody recognizes that there is genuine trouble that needs shooting. The Clinton speech left me with continuing doubts that it is really just a bunch of folks from Washington patting themselves on the back about bull#### while young PFC from Iowa are being shipped home in a box.

Do I go soon, knowing that the #### will hit the fan very soon, but be ready for when it does, or wait until it did so I can do my "troubleshooter" thing then?

In some ways, its even more frustrating that I know what is going on in Afghanistan, but it seldom makes the news (even in the Wash Post). Folks here just don't seem to care anymore... Maybe we are to close to see the forest????

Where does it end? Where do we engage that can make a difference?

Got no answers but struggling with the same issue.

Learned in grad school: Knowledge is transferable but wisdom is not!

Sometimes, it is not about anything more than what it's about.

Steve

Steve the Planner
11-20-2009, 05:01 AM
As a soldier, I would fight for my buddies.

As an old civilian, I will fight for peace, and put myself on the line when it is necessary. But not for bureaucratic delusions.

Steve

PS- Keep going back and forth about a book, but in my planning world, books don't make you rich and famous. You just try to help your fellow professionals by recording what you saw/learned. (Planning has a very small readership).

MikeF
11-20-2009, 05:02 AM
Boys, this isn't about me. It's about you.

1/4 of the men think, he's too crazy
The other 3/4's of the men think, I follow him anywhere.

Before I go forward with Mike's boys, I just ask for an endstate.

I'm not going to retire to a Washington think-tank. I refuse to live off how my boys bleed.

How does this end? My voice is pure.

davidbfpo
11-20-2009, 11:33 AM
Mike F,

taken from Col. Tim Karcher's regular email updates on Caringbridge and may affect your thoughts:

One of the things that I have always loved about the Army is the people; I really believe that this profession causes a person to care more about others than they do themselves. The people are what keeps me in the Army, and I really think that I will stay in the Army until I die or they kick me out. It is such an honor to serve with these men and women. Some of you think that sounds a little sappy, but for those of you who have served or are serving, you know exactly what I mean.

marct
11-20-2009, 05:30 PM
Many years ago back in my early teens, I read Heinlein's Starship Troopers. What resonated with me in that book (and, BTW, I HATED the movie), was the discussions in History and Moral Philosophy. For me, the crucial questions asked in it were:


To whom do we owe an obligation?
What is that obligation?, and
Why do we owe it?

As I grew older and got more heavily involved in politics, I added other questions to that list:


Do we still owe obligations if their effect is to destroy something else to which we owe an obligation?
What is the current and ideal balance of rights and responsibilities (duties)?
What is the time range necessary to consider both the balance of rights and responsibilities and second order effects of obligations?

Still later, I added in a whole series of questions about the relationship of people to institutions and ideologies, such as:


What is the practical limit of organization?
What is the practical limit of ideological adoption?

Right now, I'm reading Tom Kratman's Carnifex (http://www.amazon.com/Carnifex-Tom-Kratman/dp/1416591508/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258737011&sr=8-2), which deals with a lot of these issues. After more years than I like to think about, I still have no answers that I am happy with, only more questions.

At times, I find myself reflecting on the nihilistic poetry of Ginsberg (http://sprayberry.tripod.com/poems/howl.txt) or Yeats (http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html) but, like Yeats, I find that I cannot accept that nihilism as inevitable; a dip into the lake of despair is often enough to make me mad enough to say "Right, let's get on with it".

Mike asked

The only thing that I want to know is an endstate. As selfish as that may seem, I want to know where this ends.
To which I can only reply, there is no end state - our actions change the flow of life, but life goes on. All we can do is try to help move it in a direction of enhanced civility, individual opportunity, and individual responsibility - anything else we do will destroy us both as individuals and as societies.

omarali50
11-20-2009, 06:40 PM
The world is, was, and always shall be, an undying fire. Kindled in measures and extinguished in measures.

(that's my mangled version of a quote from Heraclitus).

There is no endstate. But I do hope that the powers that be use good men like you in good causes. Best of luck.

slapout9
11-20-2009, 07:06 PM
Before I go forward with Mike's boys, I just ask for an endstate.



There are know endstates there are only Targets and Exit points.

IntelTrooper
11-20-2009, 09:09 PM
I don't know how this ends but I suddenly feel really depressed.

tequila
11-20-2009, 09:17 PM
I'm wondering at the remarkable level of depression in this thread.

The overall strategic situation is not that bad, certainly far better than it was in, say, 2006-2007. Afghanistan doesn't look very good, but Iraq in 2006 was far worse.

The U.S. economic situation is ugly, but considering how much worse it could have been I think we can count ourselves quite lucky.

I mean, do you guys watch cable news or something? If so, you really should stop.

marct
11-20-2009, 11:42 PM
I mean, do you guys watch cable news or something? If so, you really should stop.

LOL - yup, that's what's doing it! Well, that and the days getting a LOT longer :D.

Ken White
11-21-2009, 12:45 AM
There are know endstates there are only Targets and Exit points.Life's good and the world's been in much worse shape on every count...

Ponies abound! :D

Rex Brynen
11-21-2009, 12:50 AM
Life's good and the world's been in much worse shape on every count...

Ponies abound! :D

Dammit, I wanted a unicorn.

Ken White
11-21-2009, 01:08 AM
or maybe the second over... :D

I know there's one somewhere. :wry:

slapout9
11-21-2009, 03:28 AM
Life's good and the world's been in much worse shape on every count...

Ponies abound! :D

Ken, your missing the point everyone is depressed because Oprah announced she is quitting her show next year.:eek::eek:

PS you doing OK haven't seen you around in awhile?

Ken White
11-21-2009, 04:15 AM
Yep, Okay for all practical purposes -- just been a little busy and like all old folks, have good days and bad days. In true Pony rustler mode, I have more good ones than bad ones... :D

MikeF
11-21-2009, 02:59 PM
Yep, Okay for all practical purposes -- just been a little busy and like all old folks, have good days and bad days. In true Pony rustler mode, I have more good ones than bad ones... :D

This type of thread is what happens when I think too much:eek:. I gotta put down the books on metaphysics, grab some salt tablets, and go PT (Ken's rules).

Mike

Steve the Planner
11-21-2009, 07:35 PM
MikeF:

I spent a career as a planning troubleshooter. Looking at problems, trying to understand what was wrong, and trying to fix it.

Without metaphysics, I find nothing depressing about tearing things apart in order to understand them better, and how to fix them.

I took this Tomorrow Morning thing to be about asking the positive question: How do I engage this? What can I do about it?

My simplistic and perhaps overly-sympathetic view is that this war stuff comes in two flavors: Big and small.

Small Wars are, perhaps, about confined and definable problems and objectives, but could also be viewed as a mission or campaign within a bigger war.

Since WWII, however, US ability to effectively engage in big wars seems to be increasingly bogged down in inter-agency infighting, variable political/military objectives, and, as a rule, a failure of "big picture" effective engagement with the World beyond our shores. Maybe that was just because the particular problem (Viet Nam, etc...) was not easily definable or properly understood, and "muddle through" an incremental, but limited, strategy was not a path to success.

For me, immediate stability/reconstruction, rather than military/political stuff, is a definable area where positive success can be identified, planned, executed, and obtained. Closing the door of US conflict, as measured by the end of body flow, is, to me, both a positive objective, and, based on Iraq, achievable.

History cruelly shows how unstable endings, like the first run into Iraq, or the WWI settlement against Germany, lay the foundation for future conflicts, and are not really endings at all. But it doesn't look like we can affect that.

At the moment, I have been trying to absorb what I learned about Iraq, and understand what to do about it.

Yesterday, I read part of a book by Michael O'Brien, America's Failure in Iraq, where he venomously assaults the failure in 1991 to "play through" in Iraq while 500,000 troops were on the ground, then, after 2003, the catastrophic "reconstruction" effort. While I might agree with a lot of it, it seems to me that his approach is, in so many ways, neither going to engage or solve....just a venting.

Lately, I am all the more becoming interested in writing a book on Iraq that looks past and around the 2003-2010 episode, and certainly not to engage the military/political "market". In my view, there are plenty of war fighters who should properly tell the heroic and unheroic tales of war, strategy, and personal experience of those. Literature, too, should have some interesting contributions after some of these young soldiers get through college and try their first books.

But that's not my place.

Maybe it is better, first, to engage a bigger public in a more general tale about the background, rich history and challenges about the area (to create a positive context for engagement).

I started with the idea that the background is the frame story against which the US activities are explained. Funny thing is that the more I approach the research and storytelling, the less I see the US activities as important to the story. If that makes any sense????

I'm not at all depressed by the thread you opened, nor trying to figure out the Tomorrow question. I do it every morning.

Steve

MikeF
11-21-2009, 09:15 PM
I spent a career as a planning troubleshooter. Looking at problems, trying to understand what was wrong, and trying to fix it.

Steve,

Well said. Every man and woman that post regularly here is passionate about problem solving. That's why I like this site. Although we may vehementaly disagree at times over ways and means, the folks here ultimately desire a better future for our children. Common interest with differing reasoning that may collectively broaden to the betterment of our fellow man.

As with all those that our driven and passionate, sometimes emotion overrides rational thought. That's where I'm at now. So, I'm gonna take a break until I can reconcile and not say things that may be hurtful towards others. That's what I need to do.

What happens tomorrow is an important question. As for me, two years from now, you'll either find me in Nuristan holding the gap or in Wilmington, NC working in concert with the police, social workers, and teachers to leave my home a bit better than it was before I got there. Where to serve- that's a decision that I must decide for myself.

Write your book. Tell the world your story, your sacrifice, and how you see things. In time, I will tell my story. It is important.

Mike

Kiwigrunt
11-21-2009, 11:15 PM
Write your book. Tell the world your story, your sacrifice, and how you see things. In time, I will tell my story. It is important.

Iím pleased you said that Mike because this (from your Paying homage to Ceaser thread)
bothered me a bit:


If you know me or have followed my thoughts on SWC, then you know that I could easily write a memoire and secure a financially-beneficial job with political influence within the Beltway and appear semi-nightly on Fox News.

Honestly, that prospect disgusts me.

I had prepared an over-long reply but refrained from posting because considerations got in the way. I now consider it redundant.
Thank you for continuing to share.

MikeF
11-22-2009, 12:23 AM
I’m pleased you said that Mike because this (from your Paying homage to Ceaser thread)
bothered me a bit:



I had prepared an over-long reply but refrained from posting because considerations got in the way. I now consider it redundant.
Thank you for continuing to share.

This is something that I've been dealing with as money is offered. I need to double post it in the other thread as it is not a knock on Andrew Exum, John Nagl, or Craig Mullaney. I know 2 of the 3 personally, and I respect all three. If you don't know them, I can tell you their hearts are pure. It is not fair for me to be hurtful or hateful to them in the public record. It is me dealing with my own issues.

As I write my own experiences, as I remember the blood spilled, I have to ask myself if I'm going to capitalize on it. It disgust me to even consider it. I'm in the process of establishing a charity/ngo to send any profits that I may one day incur. I'll probably limit myself to a salary cap in the example of Greg Mortensen- although I may splunge one day to allow myself a boat.

That does not mean that I shall not write or give my analysis/opinion.

That's a question every man must consider.

Mike

Kiwigrunt
11-22-2009, 03:31 AM
Hi Mike,

I was not suggesting that you were knocking others or being hurtful in any wayÖ.other than to yourself. So part of my planned post is back from redundancy, even though the considerations that prohibited me from posting it earlier are still in place. Those include not wanting to criticise and not wanting to be hurtful to you. Also fear for not being well enough versed to get my point across.

I canít help wondering if you are just seeing too much into all of this, as a result of which you are expending a lot of energy kicking up against a beast that is both to large for any of us to tackle and probably largely only exists in our perceptions.

Iím not saying that I disagree with you with regards to profiteers etc. Not at all. In fact I am probably equally cynical. I do however think that you need to be a bit careful with connecting financial benefits with greed or lack of morality. You get paid as a soldier but you choose not to see that in the same light. But that goes for many people in other professions. In fact, we all like to think that what we do (as a job or otherwise) is somehow important and beneficial to others.

My clients pay me to build a third bathroom in their house. I do that mainly because it is my job/trade and I have to pay the bills. Do I think it is important for them to have three bathrooms? Not at all, but so what. They want it (they actually say they need it) and are happy to pay me the money. Does that make me (or them) self-righteous and greedy? I donít think so. It does sometimes make me wonder if I could be doing something Ďbiggerí or more important with my time, but thatís another matter.

So, getting back to your disgust towards making money on your memoirs.

Are you afraid that you will prove as good an author as you are a soldier? The way I see it, if you were to make good money from it then that would be a reflection of your qualities as an author, and other peopleís interest in what you have to say. Whatís wrong with that? Also think about how much money was made on for instance ĎBand of Brothersí.
And here I was indeed going to suggest charities, but youíve got that covered. Just donít forget the Michael Nootebos benevolent fundÖ.:p

There are many different battles to fight and many different ways of fighting them, and as such there are many different ways in which to be of service. In fact, any contribution to the social fabric is of service. So far, yours just happened to involve an M4 carbine. Itís what youíve done for some time and youíve become very good at it. Just donít get too attached to the idea that thatís the only way to show respect to your fallen comrades and that earning a living any other way, including telling their story, is somehow disrespectful. I think that that may even minimise their sacrifice. Iím sure that they would want nothing more than for life at home to go on as usual, because that is what they fought for, not respect for their own blood spilt (which they do have of course). The ability and freedom for my clients to pay me for a third bathroom is supposedly what this is all about, right?

So, to conclude, I think you are staring yourself blind against this money thing to the point that it is stopping you from deciding (freely) what next to do with your life. Even if that does indeed still involve that M4.



Preaching was another one of my considerations.:o Hope it didn't come across too much as such.

MikeF
11-22-2009, 04:35 AM
Preaching was another one of my considerations.:o Hope it didn't come across too much as such.

Every unit that I commanded ran by my rules. Every man was a volunteer. That's why I call them Mike's boys. If someone didn't like it, they could move somewhere else. I never had anyone ask to leave. The only problem that I encountered was those that wished to join, and I had no room.

I developed my command around the concept of team. Many of my West Point classmates and my bosses told me I was too close to my boys. I had 90. I'm still in touch with most of them and their families. We are family. I told my boss that I had to do it my way right or wrong. At times, I was told that I was not professional, and I was out of control. In other times, I was the only one my bosses could call on to fix the worst problems.

My brother is a preacher, and for a while, I thought that was my calling. Today, I sat at the bar encouraging a Vietnam vet looking for work to go help out in Salinas. My brother did not like my methods b/c I was drinking. Here's my thought process that I went through today.

1. It's not about you. Craig Mullaney popularized how we were raised.

2. Second guessing God. The entire scientific process assumes no creator. We are morons confused in brilliance of our own foolishness.

3. Glimpse into the darkness of my soul. Or as Tupac put it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boYi-yJOajE), staring at the depths of my solitude.

4. My faith must begin or rest on somewhere or something.

5. Love Beyond Reason.

6. Temper my feelings.

7. What is my purpose?

8. Where is my peace?

I returned to the story of Peter the fisherman. When he first met Jesus, he dropped everything to follow him. His self-confidence was elated, and he fought to be the best disciple. After Jesus died, he betrayed him three times and went back to fishing. His self-confidence was broken. When Jesus came back, he had to ask Peter 3 times if Peter loved him before he finally understood.

That's what I considered today.

I have to determine for myself an endstate before I head back into the breach. Once I figure it out, the boys will folow whether it's Nuristan or Wilmington. They're waiting on me.

When I process these thoughts, then I will know how tomorrow morning comes.

MikeF
11-22-2009, 05:24 AM
It's all in perspective.

If you ask my first first NPS dean, CAPT Kathrynn Hobbs, if you ask the head of the Defense Analysis Department, Gordon McCormick, they'll tell you that I'm one of the smartest students ever to enroll into NPS.

-He was in the top third of his USMA class.
-He has three valor awards in combat.
-He sat down to dinner with al Qaeda, destroyed two AQ training camps, and single-handidly took down the ISI in Diyala Province.
-He is a below the zone major.
-He's worked with Salinas to help them secure themselves.

If you ask the current dean, CAPT Jannice Wynn, she'll state,
-He does not earn his paycheck.
-He does not conform to military standards.
-He spent three nights in jail while drinking with gang members that deal drugs (Karl vick didn't put that in the WaPo story as part of my intelligence gathering).
-He slums around in pajamas(her nickname for ACUs)
-His actions are unbecoming of a military officer.
-He uses his PTSD/TBI as a crutch. He's too smart for that.

It's all in perspective.

I'm all that and more.

Have you ever loved someone that you would give an arm for? Not the expression, literally give an arm for? -Eminem (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHv9eL8GhbE)

Mike doesn't do garrison.

Mike.

Steve the Planner
11-22-2009, 05:31 AM
MikeF:

Here's the dedication I am scratching out:

"This book is dedicated to Private First Class Christopher Lotter, a young soldier from Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, who died at age 20 on December 31, 2008 after being shot by a sniper while on patrol to inspect a water treatment plant outside Tikrit, Iraq."

It took me a while to think through writing something that some might see only by the negative parts, but the truth is that Chris was shot on the day that I outprocessed working on a project I set in motion.

I went to his internment at Arlington, but watched from a distance. Was afraid I might say something negative...

Now, though, I am pretty sure the more important book isn't really about him, it or me, but about setting some background or context...especially where it might help in the next few years.

What is the thing that's going to make the biggest difference? That's the Tomorrow Morning thing.

Maybe I'll save the Qaddasaya stories for another day...

Steve

MikeF
11-22-2009, 05:49 AM
"This book is dedicated to Private First Class Christopher Lotter, a young soldier from Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, who died at age 20 on December 31, 2008 after being shot by a sniper while on patrol to inspect a water treatment plant outside Tikrit, Iraq."


Tell Chris's story. Tell your story.

I haven't been ready to travel to Arlington yet. I'm hoping that I can go there next memorial day to say goodbye to my boys. I'm not ready yet.

I have 24 boys to talk about. I keep having those dreams.

Mike

Steve the Planner
11-22-2009, 05:55 AM
So get up in the morning. Tell the stories that are going to make a difference.

The monitary, guilt trip and all the other issues will resolve themselves in their own wake.

Sleep well. You have a lot to get done.

Steve

MikeF
11-22-2009, 05:59 AM
So get up in the morning. Tell the stories that are going to make a difference.

The monitary, guilt trip and all the other issues will resolve themselves in their own wake.

Sleep well. You have a lot to get done.

Steve

Back to step one. It's not about me.

I'm 31. I've just begun. I finally realized that.

I checked my baggage at the gate. I've just begun.

Tom Kratman
11-25-2009, 09:49 PM
Marc:

Interestingly enough, Volume Three to the series (A Desert Called Peace being 1 and Carnifex 2), is The Lotus Eaters (Baen, April 2010), the underlying theme of which is putting some philosophical meat on the bare bones of History and Moral Philosophy.

Best,

Tom Kratman


Many years ago back in my early teens, I read Heinlein's Starship Troopers. What resonated with me in that book (and, BTW, I HATED the movie), was the discussions in History and Moral Philosophy. For me, the crucial questions asked in it were:


To whom do we owe an obligation?
What is that obligation?, and
Why do we owe it?

As I grew older and got more heavily involved in politics, I added other questions to that list:


Do we still owe obligations if their effect is to destroy something else to which we owe an obligation?
What is the current and ideal balance of rights and responsibilities (duties)?
What is the time range necessary to consider both the balance of rights and responsibilities and second order effects of obligations?

Still later, I added in a whole series of questions about the relationship of people to institutions and ideologies, such as:


What is the practical limit of organization?
What is the practical limit of ideological adoption?

Right now, I'm reading Tom Kratman's Carnifex (http://www.amazon.com/Carnifex-Tom-Kratman/dp/1416591508/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258737011&sr=8-2), which deals with a lot of these issues. After more years than I like to think about, I still have no answers that I am happy with, only more questions.

At times, I find myself reflecting on the nihilistic poetry of Ginsberg (http://sprayberry.tripod.com/poems/howl.txt) or Yeats (http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html) but, like Yeats, I find that I cannot accept that nihilism as inevitable; a dip into the lake of despair is often enough to make me mad enough to say "Right, let's get on with it".

Mike asked

To which I can only reply, there is no end state - our actions change the flow of life, but life goes on. All we can do is try to help move it in a direction of enhanced civility, individual opportunity, and individual responsibility - anything else we do will destroy us both as individuals and as societies.

marct
11-25-2009, 10:11 PM
Hi Tom,


Interestingly enough, Volume Three to the series (A Desert Called Peace being 1 and Carnifex 2), is The Lotus Eaters (Baen, April 2010), the underlying theme of which is putting some philosophical meat on the bare bones of History and Moral Philosophy.

Why did I have a feeling you might be here :D?

I'm really looking forward to The Lotus Eaters, and I certainly enjoyed both A Desert Called Peace and Carnifex. I'll certainly look forward to what "meat" you can stick on the bare bones of H&MP :wry:.

Cheers,

Marc

ps. For those of you who haven't read them, all I can say is "Get them and read them!"

Tom Kratman
11-25-2009, 10:16 PM
Hi Tom,



Why did I have a feeling you might be here :D?

Because I've just had two books out and tend to look to see what people have to say about them?

I'm really looking forward to The Lotus Eaters, and I certainly enjoyed both A Desert Called Peace and Carnifex. I'll certainly look forward to what "meat" you can stick on the bare bones of H&MP :wry:.

Cheers,

Marc

ps. For those of you who haven't read them, all I can say is "Get them and read them!"

And thanks for the plug.

I should perhaps add that it's going to be a long series. A Desert Called Peace: The Amazon Legion (originally entitled: The Amazon's Right Breast, but the publisher didn't like that for beans) is in the editorial queue now. I'll follow that with Molon Labe - Balboa versus drug lords, the Tauran Union, the Zhong Guo, and the United Earth Peace Fleet, and then probably another four to five after ML.

marct
11-26-2009, 12:10 AM
And thanks for the plug.

de nada :D!


I should perhaps add that it's going to be a long series. A Desert Called Peace: The Amazon Legion (originally entitled: The Amazon's Right Breast, but the publisher didn't like that for beans) is in the editorial queue now. I'll follow that with Molon Labe - Balboa versus drug lords, the Tauran Union, the Zhong Guo, and the United Earth Peace Fleet, and then probably another four to five after ML.

Sounds good to me - I'm all in favour of long series if they are good ;). I guess this means we'll have to wait for when the Legion hits Earth :eek::D!

Cheers,

Marc

Tom Kratman
11-26-2009, 01:39 AM
de nada :D!



Sounds good to me - I'm all in favour of long series if they are good ;). I guess this means we'll have to wait for when the Legion hits Earth :eek::D!

Cheers,

Marc

Two books after Amazon Legion, I think. Under Hamilcar's command, since the old man will be getting on in years.

Ski
11-26-2009, 03:05 AM
Mike

You are going to have to find your inner peace and your peace of mind. Perhaps you've already found it, perhaps not.

The war is going to end at some point. Whether that is in three or ten years is irrelevant. If you can't handle the garrison aspect of the military, then you are going to leave once the wars are over. I think you know this.

There is no endstate. That's the bottom line. Time is going to continue, and you can either adapt to changing circumstances, be left behind and reminisce about "the good old days", or just leave the green machine. It'll keep on going without you.

The real question - to me, at least, because I've seen a lot of my peers and friends struggle with this is - Are you going to let your military service define the rest of your life? Is this it? Have your experiences been so intense, so personal, so real that you are going to let them continue to influence the rest of your days on earth? It's not a good or bad thing to me.

To me, my military service is but one part of my life. If I was to die tomorrow, I could say without reservation "I did my duty." And that's good enough for me. I did my duty in peacetime, and in wartime. And if I get to live for another 50 years - god willing - that is the question I will always ask myself at the end of the day - Did I do my duty today to the best of my abilities? I am on the downside of my career - I'm going on 11 years of active service, and I wish to see what else the world offers in nine years...unless the service and country need me to stay on...then I would...but at some point, I want to see what else the world has to offer outside of military service. That's my personal struggle...I was a traditional Guardsman for almost five years, and I know the corporate world well. It's not my cup of java, but there are other things I'd like to do and experience.

Garrison life is part of the Army. Operational and Strategic assignments are part of an officer's career path if you stay in for the long haul. You will be part of a very small minority if you get to stay within the tactical realm, and even then, you will have to do garrison duties. To me, I think you'd be invaluable as a trainer and a mentor to young officers and soliders no matter what positon you are in. And that's just as important as being the deadly effective combat leader and intellectual you already are....don't sell yourself short.

My two quatloos. Caveat Emptor.

Schmedlap
11-26-2009, 03:22 AM
If you can't handle the garrison aspect of the military, then you are going to leave once the wars are over. I think you know this.

When I was a 2LT, my PSG, 2 of my SLs, and 3 of my TLs were guys who ETS'd shortly after desert storm because they didn't foresee any further wars. They came back in the late 90s because they wanted to pass on their lessons to the next generation. Years later ('03 and beyond), I was damn glad they chose to do that.

MikeF
11-26-2009, 03:37 AM
When I was a 2LT, my PSG, 2 of my SLs, and 3 of my TLs were guys who ETS'd shortly after desert storm because they didn't foresee any further wars. They came back in the late 90s because they wanted to pass on their lessons to the next generation. Years later ('03 and beyond), I was damn glad they chose to do that.

When I was a 2LT graduating AOBC headed to Fort Stewart, I wrote a note in my journal- The unit that you are headed to has been around long before you were born, and it will be around long after you pass. The decision that you have to make is how are you going to effect it? Will it be better or worse off b/c you were an alumni?

I've looked at that passage a lot over the years. Ski is right in many ways.

For the past week, I reread my own notes-
- It's not about you.
- Temper my thoughts.
- What is your purpose?

Those are answers that I must define for myself.

I've been working through the metaphysics of Tolle and the philosophies of Ayn Rand as I continue to try to comprehend where I've been, what I'm doing now, and defining my own purpose in the future. Currently, I'm going to take a break from blogging. Don't worry, I think the world will continue to roll without "Deep Thoughts from Mike." I'm going to take a break over the holidays, and hopefully, I will re-emerge with new strenght and purpose.

As much as I appreciate the collective wisdom of this group, I need to take a knee and sort through my own thoughts.

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Mike

Ken White
11-26-2009, 04:35 AM
Don't eat too much. ;)

And I may endeavor not to drink too much. May... :D

Tom Kratman
11-26-2009, 05:09 AM
When I was a 2LT graduating AOBC headed to Fort Stewart, I wrote a note in my journal- The unit that you are headed to has been around long before you were born, and it will be around long after you pass. The decision that you have to make is how are you going to effect it? Will it be better or worse off b/c you were an alumni?

I've looked at that passage a lot over the years. Ski is right in many ways.

For the past week, I reread my own notes-
- It's not about you.
- Temper my thoughts.
- What is your purpose?

Those are answers that I must define for myself.

I've been working through the metaphysics of Tolle and the philosophies of Ayn Rand as I continue to try to comprehend where I've been, what I'm doing now, and defining my own purpose in the future. Currently, I'm going to take a break from blogging. Don't worry, I think the world will continue to roll without "Deep Thoughts from Mike." I'm going to take a break over the holidays, and hopefully, I will re-emerge with new strenght and purpose.

As much as I appreciate the collective wisdom of this group, I need to take a knee and sort through my own thoughts.

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Mike

Interestingly enough, I've some Camp Swampy time, myself. Commanded D-2/21 IN in 85-87 (it was a mech inf company then and became D-2/7 shortly thereafter) and HHC-2/7, 87-88.

Lots of good memories of Fort Stewart.