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Thread: Officers With PhDs Advising War Effort

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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    On the issue of adaptability training, I've often felt that the best "training" I ever got for doing fieldwork wasn't from school, but through training in improvisational acting. One of my friends in the theatre community used to train RCMP people for undercover work, and he would run them through improv training and then plop them down in a city with no money, luggage or ID, except for an emergency coin to make a phone call (if they used it, they failed). They had to report back to a particular location after 72 hours, at which point they would be debriefed and scored. The only person who ever scored 100% walked in wearing a $1000 suit, with another $6000 worth of luggage and a lot of cash.
    It's "The Amazing Race" and a cultural SERE school all in one! This would actually be a great experience, providing motivation for learning some language and how to interact with people in a positive way so that you can get from point A to point B without any money.

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Marct,

    Some more grist for your mill.
    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    The only problem I have with this distinction, and I would grant that it is a valid one in some situations, is that I believe it is a sliding scale distinction, rather than a qualitative distinction. This is based on the observation that "rationality", which relies on logic, is culturally specific rather than universal. I would certainly grant that some cultural logics are closer to an hypothesized transcendent logic, and I'd say that it is usually only in the realm of mathematics or, possibly, music that we get the closest approximations of this transcendent logic (yes, there are definite Pythagorian influences operating in my brain ).
    Your presuppositions are showing here. Where I come from, 'rational' simply means giving reasons for one's position. It does not specify how many or what kind of reasons count as enough. We could define a sliding scale of rationality as follows: to be more or less rational is to justify more or fewer of your beliefs with reasons. That, however is not what I had in mind.
    Logic is also not merely mathematical reasoning a la Whitehead, Russell, Quine, Tarski, etc. Nor is it just a Pythagorean harmony of the spheres. Logic is a set of rules for a method of enquiry. In addition to truth functional logic (which need not just be two-valued, as in true or false), we have, among others, epistemic logics, deontic logics, modal logics, and, my personal favorite, interrogative logics. This last is the kind of thing we find in Platonic dialectic/the Socratic Method, Aristotle's Organon, and Hegel's Transcendental Dialectic, to mention some of the big names. I think the most lucid description of it, however is Collingwood's logic of question and answer.
    We can, of course qualify, our assessment of arguments in each of these logics with normative statements as to what kinds of reasons are good or better than others. This might put us into a different type of sliding scale than the one you seem to allude to in your response. But we don't have too.

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    "[G]nothi seauton" or "know thyself"). I would, however, point out that the routes to knowing yourself are, in and of themselves, culturally bound and symbolically limited.
    I think this last smacks of the worst sort of relativism, derived from what I take to be the misinterpretation of the work of William Graham Sumner. I also don't drink from the Foucault and Derida post-structuralist Kool-Aid. And I don't necessarily agree with the "language as semiotics" interpretations of folks following in the wake of C.S. Peirce. Some things about who and what we are just are not up for grabs--we are all, after all, members of the same species. As a result we all have some of the same basic needs (although they may not follow Maslow's hierarchy). We probably best know ourselves by knowing others around us.
    This last is a long way around getting to the point that others mentioned. We can best train ourselves for operations in another cultural milieu by training ourselves in another cultural milieu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marct
    ...On the issue of adaptability training, I've often felt that the best "training" I ever got for doing fieldwork wasn't from school, but through training in improvisational acting. One of my friends in the theatre community used to train RCMP people for undercover work, and he would run them through improv training and then plop them down in a city with no money, luggage or ID, except for an emergency coin to make a phone call (if they used it, they failed). They had to report back to a particular location after 72 hours, at which point they would be debriefed and scored. The only person who ever scored 100% walked in wearing a $1000 suit, with another $6000 worth of luggage and a lot of cash...
    Similar in some respects, but it certainly wasn't a scored competition, was the final day of a Turkish "Headstart" course I attended when first assigned to a remote nuke detachment as a young artilleryman many years ago. (All cherries remained at the Group HQ near Istanbul until completion of inprocessing and the headstart course, then we were sent out to our various detachments) On the final day of headstart, our instructor brought us all out to Istanbul's Grand Bazaar - and then abandoned us. After just two weeks in-country, and four days of basic language instruction, we had to fend for ourselves and find our own way back. It was a real learning experience.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Selil, the elegance and accuracy of your summary has me mentally gasping. That was absolutely perfect on the spot.

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    Default The Petraeus Thinkers: Five Challenges

    Herschel Smith discusses the issues raised in this thread at his Captain's Journal web log - The Petraeus Thinkers: Five Challenges.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Characteristics of repeated lying and tribal loyalties

    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    Herschel Smith discusses the issues raised in this thread at his Captain's Journal web log - The Petraeus Thinkers: Five Challenges.
    For those of you who have yet to take a minute to read this Captain's Journal blog, you guys and gals now literally fighting this war for all of us, I urge you now to do so.

    My views dating from 1963-1965 stationed in Karachi @ our then US Embassy and ever since concur with much or most of what this blog says, but I am simplier and more blunt spoken:

    1. Both uneducated and even educated Muslims, be they Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, of the UAE, name any Muslim world nation, are flat out, everyday, all the time liars. They make up b.s. to suit the moment and are totally unable in most cases to deal in reality.

    2. I conclued 40 years ago in Pakistan they did this for two simple reasons:
    a) To "get along with" what they thought a Westerner wanted to hear and be told, despite the grim facts of real life in their part of the world.
    b) To appeal to any/a Westerner's "tourist sense" in hopes of getting you to buy something that was not as it seemed in their lying presentation.

    3. Culturally, tribalism and ethic, sub-sets of culture that date back long before Islam existed, run very deep. If they could, for example, the Pakhtuns would form their own economically illogical nation out of parts of mainly Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ditto the boys in Balochistan, where Pakistan has it's own hot small war running largely out of control today. The bulk of these fellows are uneducated or undereducated, many youth today cannot/could not afford the uniform required of a/as child to attend for instance a Pakistani public school, but the Madrass schools will take them in, totally free, without such requirements, and educate and brain wash them ASAP, turning out ready made suicide bombers and terrorists. All funded of course, in the main, with Saudi Wahabbi money, the most extreme Sunnis Islam.

    I have never been in Iraq, but have been several times in Iran. On Iraq, which is mainly Arab in composition as I understand, but then split between Sunni and Shiia, in the main, Islam, you have wild tribal characteristics that run back to the Old Testament argument of who was Abraham's "favored" son, Ishamael, born of Haggar, or Isaac, born of Sarah.

    Understand that most Arabs can't even read so only a semi-literate to a literate Arab Muslim would even know or care about or understand that this early simple dicotomy of Ishmael vs. Isaac was used by Muhammed as the foundation stone to claim the "origin" of Islam from our common worship of the same God "ancestry."

    Pakistan is mostly non-Arab, as is Iran, as you all know. No words wasted here, but the Islamic characteristic of huge lies and wild made up stories for whatever purpose, of late, to defame the West in general and the US/UK specifically, is the order of the day, clearly.

    The Islamic characteristic of lying as a form of daily life dates back in my lifetime to my days in Pakistan, 40 years ago, and goes on today unabated, part of the "lore and culture" for lack of a sharper definition.

    Again, the Captain's Journal blog is worth the read. While he invites comments, and I saw none, I think this larger forum would be the better place to comment back to the Captain's Journal blog, which is why this statement is my comment on that journal blog.

    George Singleton, Colonel, USAF, Ret. (6 years active duty up front, the rest mainly individual reserve with regular forces at the JCS level, total service 32 years)
    Former Commander, Det. 2, 6937th Comm Gp, old USAFSS, attached to the US Air Attache Office, American Embassy, Karachi, then West Pakistan, 1963-1965; former International Banking Officer, Asia (incl. SW Asia) Division, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., NYC, now part of JP Morgan Chase Bank; Assisant Deputy Commander for "the" Desert Storm Airlift out of Charleston AFB, SC, 1991; retired (reserve wise) from duty with HQ USSOCOM, formerly USREDCOM; detached reserve duty on TDY orders (repeatedly) with HQFORSCOM when/while then Lt. Gen. Colin Powell, USA was very "briefly", mainly on paper, the CG; TDY orders periodically for two years on war plans staff, joint/interservice/NATO, under Admiral Kelso, of Tailhook fame, while he was then CINCLANT out of Norfolk, VA. US Department of Veterans Affairs, Area National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Acting Manager, based out of Bham VAMC, 1993/1994. A coaltion of VA; DOD; the US Public Health Service (PHS): and FEMA which deals with actual operable plans for both domestic and international terrorist, natural, or war disasters. NDMS responded from across the nation with teams to the World Trade Towers both in 1993 and in 2001, as a small example. NDMS also sent teams a year ago to Kashmir to help with earthquake relief. Only meant as info basic background not meant as an old coot's bragging. You guys know more in a year of today's small wars than we did in a lifetime!
    Last edited by George L. Singleton; 02-08-2007 at 01:08 PM.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    I captured one "factoid" right away that I agreed with: I do believe that if we rolled into Iraq acting like "Billy Bad Ass", the end result would've been less US AND Iraqi deaths. Instead, we went in with a relatively soft image (though in reality we were killing a LOT of people) and our public face was "liberation from Saddam" not at war with Iraq.

    I think this was perceived as weak, and encouraged problems.

    In the movie "Unforgiven", William Munny leaves town shouting about how he was going to kill everyone he sees, their wives, kids and dogs. Of course, he kills no-one.

    It reminds me of the parable of the "two kings". The king who always rewarded was killed when it was his turn to punish. The king who always punished was lauded, when he started rewarding.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default War was with Baathis (Nazis) Party headed by Saddam

    To amplify your good remarks. The war was against the Baathis Party, made up of specific tribes, all Sunnis, of which party Saddam was the dictator and head. Baathist Party dates back well before WW II and is 100% built on the Nazi model. Hitler and his Nazi regime were/are popular in Iraq among the Baathists for a few simple reasons:

    1. Antisemitism appeals to radical Sunni Baathists, before, during, and ever since WW II. They flatly hate Jews, long before the founding of Israel the Baathist hated Jews.

    2. An early Baathis Mufti in fact became a General in the Nazi SS and went from today's Iraq to Nazi Germany to command his Muslim storm troopers as part of Hitlers army against the USSR/Russians.

    3. De-Baathification is better understood as de-Nazification. That is what it is.

    However, the US and our allies, even at the end of WW II, did not totally dismantle either the German nor the Japanes police at home nor all their troops in the field immediately. We in fact used the in place Japanese Army initially to help maintain law and order in what is today Malaysia and South China, as we had insufficient forces in these areas to do the security job then needed. Just one example.

    Cheers,
    George Singleton

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    Default Simplier and more blunt spoken !

    Greetings George !

    2. I conclued 40 years ago in Pakistan they did this for two simple reasons:
    a) To "get along with" what they thought a Westerner wanted to hear and be told, despite the grim facts of real life in their part of the world.
    b) To appeal to any/a Westerner's "tourist sense" in hopes of getting you to buy something that was not as it seemed in their lying presentation.
    A great summation that applies to nearly all of Sub-Sahara (and darn few Arabs there).

    I would watch our State counterparts (who dare not go outside the embassy walls during social and political upheaval) send their drivers and gardners to gather info

    Once info in hand, they would begin the arduous task of writing the day's report (your first reason above). The Zairian merely gave his "patron" exactly what he thought his patron wanted to hear. Tha fact that is was nowhere near true, meant little.

    Regards, Stan

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Simplistic Analysis

    George and 120,

    I disagree with both of you. Both of you are trapped in the dillemma of what was the objective of the war. 120, general officers I respect still debate the "hard versus soft approach"; the very debate is tied to the lack of a clear objective for the war.

    George,

    Simple slogans like all Muslims are liars are essentially worse than useless because they obviate the need for any thinking. As for Baath=Nazism, that is equally simplistic and that very vein of simplistic thinking led Bremer to make simply stupid decisions: disband the Army, purge all Baath.

    I would question the statement All Baathists Hate All Jews, especially the statement before Israel became an independent country.

    As for service in the Waffen SS or Wehrmacht; that itself is a long list. The Free Officer Movements in the Middle East--Iraq, Syria, Egypt--were more anti-British or anti-French than pro-Nazi. As for contamination by association, consider that Raziel one of the 2 founders of the Stern Gang actually went so far as to initiate contact with the Nazis in the fight to kick the Brits out of Palestine.

    Best

    Tom

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default My reply to Tom is now "missing"???

    Tom, I guess someone wishes not to have my factual, detailed reply that I entered here earlier today and which initially was posted?

    Cheers,
    George Singleton

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    Quote Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
    Tom, I guess someone wishes not to have my factual, detailed reply that I entered here earlier today and which initially was posted?

    Cheers,
    George Singleton
    Sir,

    I think the mods felt that the posts were going off topic (i.e. were only tangentially related to officers with PhDs), and so they spun some of the posts off into a new thread here.

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...=9743#post9743

    Cheers,
    Shek

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    Quote Originally Posted by George L. Singleton View Post
    Tom, I guess someone wishes not to have my factual, detailed reply that I entered here earlier today and which initially was posted?

    Cheers,
    George Singleton
    Your detailed reply - along with much of the discussion that has branched way off topic - was moved to another thread in the Adversary/Threat forum. The subject matter had strayed well away from Iraq and into discussion of broader GWOT threat perceptions. Although no longer focused on Iraq, that discussion certainly has value in itself, and deserved its own thread.

    There was no intent of eliminating your response or shunting away your reply to be ignored. It was simply to move the emerging discussion into a more appropriate forum, and allow further discussion of the Petraeus' brain trust without this distraction.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Prateus's brain trust

    Much of what I have read here so far tells me many of your posting folk have a pretty good grasp of things themselves.

    I will say again, on the record, regarding the brain trust, that you cannot expect to successfully reason with disassociated tribes and variations of Islam folks who at the grass roots level view us Westerners as infidels.

    No, I do not for a minute say or think all Muslims are extremists or nuts. However, the number who are such appears to be growing, which is unhealthy for civilization in general and our boys and girls in harms way.

    Brain trusters are working a difficult problem that I would, as an ancient warrior, view as one of internal security and a policing nature.

    Brain trusters missed the boat but could recover if they will reconsider airlifting in multiple divisions of Turkish troops to use in Baghdad, as a starter.

    Cheers,
    George Singleton
    Last edited by George L. Singleton; 02-09-2007 at 03:41 AM.

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    Default Back on Topic

    I caught part of a story on NPR this morning about DoS's challenge in finding personnel for OIF, and the failure of the administration to get beyond words on the Civilian Augmentation Corp (something close to this phrase, where the President wants experts in various fields from civil engineering to electrical engineers to volunteer for service). I think it is a great idea, but I can understand why that will take time to implement.

    I think our problems in Iraq are largely associated with our legacy industrial age management systems, where every worker, and every organization, has a defined box to work in, you do this and nothing else. You can elevate that to the national level, where we describe the elements of national power as DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic), or possibly emerging doctrine MIDLIFE (Military, Information, Diplomatic, Law Enforcement, Intelligence, Finance, and Economic). What I saw in Iraq at the end of Phase III was that the military leadership largely thought their mission was done, so we went through the painful pregant pause that led to the mess we're in now. Instead of waiting for DoS to step up to the plate, which still hasn't happened, I think we need to get away from the stay in your box management system, and realize that we as the military own responsibility for all the elements of national power (in a situation like Iraq and Afghanistan, where we're starting from scratch after a regime change), until we can outsource it to the appropriate the agency. Bottom line until we can outsource it, we own it. That implies we can't sit on our hands waiting for the other elements of national power to catch up, we need to keep moving forward.

    Now when we talk about PhD advisors, we need centers of excellence (groups of experts on DIME and MIDLIFE (far beyond the capabilities of the POLMIL officer) at the appropriate levels in military organizations to facilitate planning and execution of what we're calling phase IV tasks in OIF) for DIME/MIDLIFE.

    Now pardon me if I'm pee in your neo-conservative corn flakes, but we need to be prepared to establish other forms of political structures beyond democracies for countries that never experienced democracy. We need to implement a structure that actually fits that society's culture, economic structure, and history. For those that can't let it go, DoS can "encourage" the development of democracy over the next 50 years, "after" that country is "secure" and functioning economically. That means we need political PhD advisors who can bring more to the table than our constitution, they need to understand how to stand up a variety of political systems, so they can advise the military on what we need to do to get the process started under martial law, so when we eventually transition it to another agency, we're already moving the right direction setting the right conditions.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-09-2007 at 03:18 PM. Reason: grammar

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default Ph.D.s. and The DoD/DOS disconnect

    Long ago and far away in the Land of Ahs (the marketing campaign used by the Kansas department of tourism when I lived there in the mid 80s), the Army taught me during CGSC about a thing called the "country team." I guess that hummer is passé now.
    One would think that DoD and DoS should be joined at the hip throughout the planning and execution process whenever the US gets ready to involve itself in some OCONUS adventure. Likewise, one would think that a similar relationship would exist between DoD and DHS for a CONUS-focused operation.
    It is not clear to me that we need a bunch of Ph.D's in uniform to solve the problem in Iraq. Someone else on this thread masterfully described a Ph.D. as a person who has gone from a macroscopic grasp of knowledge to becoming an expert in a piece of minutiae (I admit I have wordsmithed that other post greatly). What we really need are people who can see that many folks are stakeholders and have a part to play in the solution; we need people without blinders on or otherwise afflicted with tunnel vision. We need some folks who are wise, not just smart. Solomon, where are you???

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Country Teams and Solomon

    Long ago and far away in the Land of Ahs (the marketing campaign used by the Kansas department of tourism when I lived there in the mid 80s), the Army taught me during CGSC about a thing called the "country team." I guess that hummer is passé now
    CTs were my life and sometimes life was rather like the Hatfields and the McCoys as Stan and I encountered in our tour together in Zaire. Stan Reber was instrumental in identifying cousins and those who only claimed kinship.
    Rwanda was a much closer CT. The team leader, Ambassador David Rawson, set the tone and that was cooperate, coordinate, and watch each other's back.

    But I will also say the same kind of play occurred inside the Beltway; during Desert Storm it was much like Rwanda. Later when I visited from Rwanda, the inter-agency feud was in play like Zaire.

    In another post on here by Menning, he put up George Packer's New Yorker article on Dave Kilcullen and Montgomery McFate. The article is an extract of Assassins Gate. Anyway Packer relates how Kilcullen came to the attention of Paul Wolfowitz because of Kilcullen's writings on irregular war.

    I am glad that happened; I wish that in 2002 when Wolfowitz in speaking to Congress dimissed ethnic schisms in Iraq as trivial concerns when compared to the Balkans, he had stumbled across someone besides Ahmed Chalabi.

    McFate is anthropologist whom Packer descibes as a missionary for the importance of cultural knowledge. An anthropologist, she had become a consultant for the Navy.

    The Army and the Marines have long had a FAO program. The Navy and the Air Force started theirs in the 1990s when the JCS saw how important FAOs were to understanding the "New World Order" based on operations in the Middle East and Africa. I offer a quote on that very subject from 1994 I used to close my memoirs :

    ...I had two very important encounters with FAO’s during my recent trip to Africa and Europe:
    ...First, in Africa, I saw how important LTC Marley and LTC Odom are to their respective Ambassadors and to the CINC. They are both out in harm’s way using their unique skills to be invaluable eyes and ears in this crisis...
    ...As I go around the Army today, I find that the Marley’s and the Odom’s are as important as ever—maybe even more important when consider the role they could play in many of the crises we are facing almost daily.
    Gordon R. Sullivan General, United States Army
    Chief of Staff

    The Army has long had Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and PSYOPs. Kilcullen's experiences have resurfaced what many of those forces along with FAOs have understood for decades.


    In a round about way I am making three points:

    a. Our decisions are often made without counsel when there are many Solomons at hand.

    b. Sometimes it takes an outsider--because they are an outsider--to be heard.

    c. And any reaction depends on who is doing the listening.

    Tom

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    Piled higher and deeper? Actually, a good point in modern times,when degree granting institutions can be accredited by any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to do so. However, in the case of these Ph.D officers, I'm sure they all got theirs from top rank universities.

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    Default Country Team doesn't cut it when there isn't one

    Wm,

    You are one of the few that implies that our interagency process is functional. They still teach us about the country team, and I have it seen it work well for missions in Liberia, Senegal, Philippines, etc.; however, there was no country team in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is a "huge" difference in scale from advising a government, to standing one up; advising a gov on economic models, to standing up a working model, etc.

    The State Department (and this is only one agency) still can't mobilize enough resources to perform their functions in Iraq. The military is the only organization in the U.S. government that is robust enough to execute the DIME/MIDLIFE tasks in a situation like this. It would be worthwhile for me to see what the military's role was in post war Japan and Germany for reference.

    If we are going to take those missions on, then I would argue we need a cadre of PhD (forget the PhD, we guys and gals educated on how to do this) advisors to enable us to perform these functions at an acceptable level.

    Obviously State needs more funding, but just throwing money at the problem won't solve the problem, it will also require a significant culture change. Second, do we want to throw that much money at State for this type of venture? If we make that investment, it would imply we're signing up for a few more regime changes down the road. I don't think that is cost effective. The military will always provide the bulk of the doers in hostile situations.

    By no means am I taking taking anything away from the country team, I seen it function well when the "right" personalties were in place.

    We have all seen the result of what happens when the military waits for an alleged capability. I'm not faulting State, I understand some of the beltway politics that led to this. None the less, I think we need this capability in the military.

  20. #100
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emjayinc View Post
    Piled higher and deeper? Actually, a good point in modern times,when degree granting institutions can be accredited by any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to do so. However, in the case of these Ph.D officers, I'm sure they all got theirs from top rank universities.
    I'd like to know where you get that just anybody can accredit a degree granting institution. The national and regional accrediting authorities like North Central are far from just anybody. There are groups who give bogus degrees but those are ferreted out rather quickly.

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