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Thread: Another way?

  1. #1
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Another way?

    An update from Mike Few, currently at his Chapel Hill estate perfecting clear, mulch and grow operations. What does a young officer who has seen so much war do for the rest of his life? He dedicates it to finding peace — at home and in the world.
    Read more on direct link:
    http://www.lineofdeparture.com/2012/06/06/foxtrot-echo-whiskey/


    Or via the website itself:http://www.lineofdeparture.com/#ixzz1x2Y1y7o4
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-06-2012 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Direct link to Mike's article added

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Mike F,

    Good to know your mulching away and able to write again. Good luck with the transition, quite a goal to set.
    davidbfpo

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    Default Hey Mike,

    from foxtrot-echo-whiskey

    To that end, I’m going to live as close to my local community as I can ...
    Sounds good to me.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default

    To that end, I’m going to live as close to my local community as I can, embodying a call to life shared by John Robb’s notion of “Resilient Communities.”
    This is an idea I've thought about for about four years now. I'm not sure what did it, but "community" became a much bigger part of my my future goals than it once was. It used to just be a nice place to live, with all the amenities I was looking for. Now it's mostly about people.

    “I can’t prove it, but I I suspect that the real reason we surged in both Afghanistan and Iraq was not to establish a better peace. Rather, it was to allow an honorable exit for the United States from the conflict,” he wrote to me.
    I have to admit I've got a strong bias against Tom Ricks for reasons I won't belabor here, but I think he's absolutely right in this instance and have thought along similar lines for about three years now.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Mike,

    I always admired your passion and courage to speak with your heart, and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. I think your goals are important and like you I strongly suspect there is a better way, and it isn't COIN doctrine, it isn't the 3Ds, or hearts and minds, or any other fad that we have promoted. It probably is community and embracing our humanity. For a nation that claims to promote peace, we do over glorify war. Warriors will always be needed to defend societies, but we don't need to become Sparta to do so.

    There has to be a better way than forever fighting the Long War. I’ll start figuring it out by waging a little peace.
    We can't force peace, development, democracy or anything else upon others, we can only share it when they're receptive to it. It seems to me when we try to force it upon others, even with the best of intentions, we create an energy that then creates a countervailing energy that only spirals the violence upwards. This doesn't enable peace, but then again allowing the thugs to run the show doesn't either, so the right approach is still beyond our grasp and we need people to think hard about this and not simply come up with simpleton phrases like "hearts and minds" or if we just give them jobs, or we just need to kill more bad guys.

    At best the military can implement a momentary peace only when it applies more energy than our opponents can oppose, and that momentary peace will only last as long as maintain that level of energy output. Maybe Ricks is right by default, I don't think the intent of the surge was to enable an honorable withdrawal, but it did in fact enable just that.

    I doubt I will dismiss the necessity of war at times, which in itself is unfortunate, but over the years I have been humbled, and like you, I have learned the limitations of military force. To add to that, I have also have seen the limitations of diplomacy and development (at least the way we do it), so finding a better way is imperative.

    Despite our tactical successes, however, we never arrived at a lasting peace. Nancy and Anna challenged me to begin looking at these types of conflicts differently.
    All our talk about irregular "warfare" and why it is so important, and yet after years of it, whether "fighting" the drug war, countering insurgencies, or conducting stability operations, etc., we have rarely achieved our ends, and in our wake have left tens of thousands dead, homeless, angry and mobilized. All with the best intentions.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Enthropy

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    This is an idea I've thought about for about four years now. I'm not sure what did it, but "community" became a much bigger part of my my future goals than it once was. It used to just be a nice place to live, with all the amenities I was looking for. Now it's mostly about people.
    I think this sums up the sentiments of a lot of folks. As I was trying to make my own decision, I thought about how I'd gone from one village where the neighbors were trying to kill each other to another community where folks come together on Saturdays to listen to bluegrass and shop at a local farmer's market. The differences were striking and deeply effected me.

    Teaching is one way to engage the community. It won't be right for everyone, but it is a good fit for me. My wife had asked me what I really wanted to do next. As I thought about it, I replied, "I want to be a stalwart within the community." Sounds corny, but it's true.

    One fascinating point that I just figured out is that the students entering high school this year were born around 1998. Think about that. 9/11 is a distant memory. The Cold War is ancient history.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Bill Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I think your goals are important and like you I strongly suspect there is a better way, and it isn't COIN doctrine, it isn't the 3Ds, or hearts and minds, or any other fad that we have promoted. It probably is community and embracing our humanity. For a nation that claims to promote peace, we do over glorify war. Warriors will always be needed to defend societies, but we don't need to become Sparta to do so.
    If you think that I'm tough on Galula and the COIN stuff, then you can imagine how tough I am on the peace studies folks .

    In my mind, as we study, theorize, and practice, we must be realistic. Peace studies is not anti-war nor is it the absence of war. We cannot wish away human nature by trying to embrace humanity. There will always be conflict, but what matters is how we react to it and the choices we make.

    On the positive side, as I've studied conflict resolution from my own failed and humbling attempts to get competing tribes to stop killing each other and live in harmony to the actual theories, it goes back to math. Specifically, John Nash's equilibrium on trying to divide utility with competing parties. However, the limitations of Nash is his focus on utility (minds) and not taking in to account hearts (feelings) and souls (value, norms, beliefs).

    As I'm putting together my proposal which I'm hoping the school that I eventually teach at will accept, I'm envisioning plenty of guest speakers and Skype sessions.

    I want to bring some of our best military minds, NGOs, etc into the classroom.

    I can only imagine the impact this will have on young 15,16,17, and 18 year olds as they go through their own teenage years trying to determine who they are and what they want to be.
    Last edited by MikeF; 06-07-2012 at 12:40 PM.

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    Default Good on yer, Mate...

    Few can surpass that...

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Regardless of our past differences, you took SWJ to a higher level as the editor, and for that I am most appreciative. I wish you fair winds and following seas for the rest of your life. You deserve that.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Opportunity Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We can't force peace, development, democracy or anything else upon others, we can only share it when they're receptive to it. It seems to me when we try to force it upon others, even with the best of intentions, we create an energy that then creates a countervailing energy that only spirals the violence upwards. This doesn't enable peace, but then again allowing the thugs to run the show doesn't either, so the right approach is still beyond our grasp and we need people to think hard about this and not simply come up with simpleton phrases like "hearts and minds" or if we just give them jobs, or we just need to kill more bad guys.

    At best the military can implement a momentary peace only when it applies more energy than our opponents can oppose, and that momentary peace will only last as long as maintain that level of energy output. Maybe Ricks is right by default, I don't think the intent of the surge was to enable an honorable withdrawal, but it did in fact enable just that.

    All our talk about irregular "warfare" and why it is so important, and yet after years of it, whether "fighting" the drug war, countering insurgencies, or conducting stability operations, etc., we have rarely achieved our ends, and in our wake have left tens of thousands dead, homeless, angry and mobilized. All with the best intentions.
    The emphasis that I added to Bill's quote is quite profound. What I am hopeful is what will happen when veterans return and apply the same energy to their own communities. Except this time, it will be real building and no clearing.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    The emphasis that I added to Bill's quote is quite profound. What I am hopeful is what will happen when veterans return and apply the same energy to their own communities. Except this time, it will be real building and no clearing.
    Look to the example of the Civil War veterans (the good, not the bad). What many of them achieved is quite remarkable and their impact on the nation very profound, and often missed in the whole "Greatest Generation" obsession.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Look to the example of the Civil War veterans (the good, not the bad). What many of them achieved is quite remarkable and their impact on the nation very profound, and often missed in the whole "Greatest Generation" obsession.
    Steve, I've always paid close attention when Ken White is sharing his journey

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Steve, I've always paid close attention when Ken White is sharing his journey
    Poor Ken!
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Steve, I've always paid close attention when Ken White is sharing his journey
    I said the Civil War, not the Punic Wars.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Wink Am I going to have to unleash my

    elephants on you children...

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    Default Your Future Mission Is To Teach AVC

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Mike, one of the benefits of getting old is....well there ain't any they lied, but I was trying to explain to a younger person about being an American. So back in the old days I explained:Before your were turned loose in the world (out of high school) you had to complete a course called AVC orAmericanism vs. Communism(notice it was called Americanism not Capitalism!,we was good back then). It was a semester long course and you received either a complete or incomplete no grade was issued. You just had to hear what it was to be an American and what would be required of you.

    The instructor was always a coach and the coach was also either a WW2 or Korean war veteran. Of course they made them stop teaching it in the 70's and we (USA) have been going down hill ever since. The point of my rambing is I couldn't think of anything better for you to do than to be a coach and a high school teacher. 15,16,17 year olds desperately need role models. Role models that stand for something other than how much money you can make in the shortest amount of time by hitting a ball or knocking somebody down or making a recording of the filthiest language known to man and calling it music. And then whine like babies when they find that rights can only exist when they are connected to responsibilities.You could give them some " proper schoolin"

    All the way,Sir

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Airborne Slap

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Mike, one of the benefits of getting old is....well there ain't any they lied, but I was trying to explain to a younger person about being an American. So back in the old days I explained:Before your were turned loose in the world (out of high school) you had to complete a course called AVC orAmericanism vs. Communism(notice it was called Americanism not Capitalism!,we was good back then). It was a semester long course and you received either a complete or incomplete no grade was issued. You just had to hear what it was to be an American and what would be required of you.

    The instructor was always a coach and the coach was also either a WW2 or Korean war veteran. Of course they made them stop teaching it in the 70's and we (USA) have been going down hill ever since. The point of my rambing is I couldn't think of anything better for you to do than to be a coach and a high school teacher. 15,16,17 year olds desperately need role models. Role models that stand for something other than how much money you can make in the shortest amount of time by hitting a ball or knocking somebody down or making a recording of the filthiest language known to man and calling it music. And then whine like babies when they find that rights can only exist when they are connected to responsibilities.You could give them some " proper schoolin"

    All the way,Sir
    Airborne, Slap. I really like the Americanism idea. Teaching what it means to be a good citizen, which is not simply about one's rights but also one's responsibilities.

    Actually, this is kind of what we’ve been exploring with the whole “Clear, Mulch, and Grow,” philosophy, and it is why I keep writing.

    The phrase was coined by my wife inadvertently while she was joking about my purpose in the post-military life while I was in between careers. We bought a house with about an acre of rough brush that needed clearing, and we wanted a garden and other stuff.

    Given that many of us spent so much time trying to “Clear, Hold, and Build” other villages in far off lands, her phrase is pretty profound for veterans coming home from war and trying to heal.

    So, perhaps, for now, many folks can just concentrate on being a good husband/wife, father/mother, neighbor, and citizen. I’m very excited to see how the returning vets take their energy back into their communities.

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