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  1. #101
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    I have just created a new thread 'Lost Lessons & Fresh Thinking: a challenge for SWC', as a home for the discussion away from that on SWC being in the doldrums. Seventeen posts here have been copied over at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=18662

    Please comment here still on the issue Rob raised in 2007 and the renewed reading, with some posting!
    davidbfpo

  2. #102
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    Default Why I stopped using the SWC

    I saw this in the SWJ twitter feed, and stopped into read the comments. The description of the SWC perfectly captures my experience. When I first discovered the SWJ as I launched my own blog, I joined the SWC and started reading and commenting. I quickly learned, though, that to assert any one point on an comment thread meant being prepared to defend it to the death, often from sentence by sentence rebuttals.

    I then realized I was spending thousands of words to explain myself, and convince no one of anything. And while the SWC is in top of forums when it comes to the decency and respect of its members in their comments, its not perfect. Often ideas are dismissed and ridiculed, or people are told to learn their history or read a book. Moreover, even though the SWJ doesn't have the ideological bent, the SWC feels like it does. And I can't relate to that ideological bent. (This may have been more true 3 years ago too.)

    But the main thing is time. I didn't have the time to read countless pages and write hundreds of words when I would get much more value out of writing on my own blog and simply reading academic papers.

  3. #103
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Michael C.,

    Thank you, you were one of those members who had faded away. To be fair you did ask SWC in January 2012, for their views in a thread 'Keeping SWJ/SWC Relevant?' and then I re-discovered a separate thread 'SWC 'quite disappointing'? from November 2011.

    After a quick review each thread belongs here, although one has a number of humorous posts with pictures, including my own Italian photo.
    davidbfpo

  4. #104
    Council Member graphei's Avatar
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    I've been lurking far too much and not posting enough. I can't help but say 'mea culpa' at that. This is a bit of a long and rambling post. My apologies. I've written 3 RFPS in 4 weeks and I am approaching 'deranged'.

    A bit of where I'm coming from. My academic background is in Religious Studies- Islamic to be precise- and I've spent a lot of time pondering terrorism and broader themes of religious violence. Although my day job is currently a technical writer, I consider myself an independent scholar. During my entire undergraduate career I was groomed to be academic. I did make it through my Master's, but the funding in the humanities in the US is terrible. Not to mention the job market. Que sera sera.

    A friend recently sent me "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam" by Nagl. I'm sure you're all very familiar with it. As I've been reading through it, I've been thinking a great deal about the lessons that we (I'm speaking as an American here) have learned over this past decade of conflict. While I know we have learned some, I get the sense those lessons have not quite sank in. I'm concerned that by the time they are formalized and published, their relevance will have faded significantly. Nagl discusses this snail's pace of doctrinal change in the US military system at length, and I've found it closely mirrored the academic life cycle of information 10-15 years ago. Books take a long time to write, edit, and publish. Back then, they'd have a decent shelf life. Now, books seem out of date by the time they hit the presses. Academia moves at about the same pace as military institutions do, but institutions seem to be embracing the digital revolution. Small Wars has a chance to be part of that revolution that pulls the doctrinal beast out of the Stone Ages.

    Anyhoo, I've spent some time reading through the last six or so pages of comments and I've distilled what I think are a few key questions/concerns/points:

    First, how do we make this little corner of the internet grow? What types of people do we want to attract to it?
    I'm a member of the H-Net Middle East Politics mailing list and I had to provide verification of my academic credentials, what my research interests were, and what I was hoping to gain. This may be overkill for SWC, but it is something to consider. Perhaps everyone can post, but if you do have some kind of academic of military related credential, adding it to your title so the community is aware? Maybe the Editors can maintain a list of folks with appropriate credentials to do book/article reviews?

    With that said, I do have ideas on how to get more folks from the humanities over here.
    - Make the journal peer reviewed. Yes, this will require time but it can be put on the c.v. Academic service and all that jazz, but you're not going to be truly taken seriously without peer review.
    - Perhaps soliciting entries from scholars on a theme, and then having op-ed pieces?
    - Do we reach out to other organizations? MESA, AAR, and APSA come to mind off the top of my head.
    - Do we attend conferences and panels?

    A few other members have brought up concerns regarding viewpoints other than official' not being welcomed. Maybe this is a good time to have a broad discussion about this? And what better location than here! How do we, not only as a community internalize this, but affect change.
    - Does the military really want to change or do they want to just check in the box?
    - Is the anti-intellectual culture myth or reality?
    - Now that the chapter of history that is OIF/OEF is closing, how do we retain these lessons we've learned and ensure they're carried forward?

    SWC is a place to gather, discuss, and learn. Jcustis has been after me for awhile to do a podcast series on topics surrounding Islam and other religions. Maybe we can podcast different discussions or roundtables?

    What about a reading club? We can have different groups/themes with moderators. Read a book/article- discuss it in a thread. While the 'Cycle of Bitching' is can be gratifying, it ultimately does nothing. Feed the grey matter monster, discuss it, and apply to your life- repeat.

    These are just my suggestions and questions. I'm also willing to put my money where my mouth is and volunteer to get some of this rolling.

  5. #105
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Graphei,

    As one of the humanities types to another (okay, I'm an Anthropologist with a background in Comparative Religion), I just wanted to comment on a couple of your points.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    - Make the journal peer reviewed. Yes, this will require time but it can be put on the c.v. Academic service and all that jazz, but you're not going to be truly taken seriously without peer review.
    - Perhaps soliciting entries from scholars on a theme, and then having op-ed pieces?
    - Do we reach out to other organizations? MESA, AAR, and APSA come to mind off the top of my head.
    - Do we attend conferences and panels?
    SWJ is partly peer-reviewed. Basically, the peer-reviewing comes in when the editor can't quickly decide on the merit of an article using the SWJ protocols. These protocols took a number of years to develop, but the key ones are

    • is it timely?
    • does it sound reasonable?
    • does it (sort of) make sense? and
    • will it start a discussion?


    I'd estimate that roughly half to three quarters of articles submitted are rejected out of hand, with most of the rest being published and only a few being peer-reviewed. The reasoning behind this was simple: we wanted to put the "peer" back in "peer review" . And, BTW, I'm one of the people who does what little peer reviewing we do.

    On the theme / op-ed idea, we looked at that and, for a whole host of reasons, decided to adopt our own variant of it. It's there, but tricky to find as such.

    As far as outreach to academic organizations or formal conference attendance, not really. There's very little reason for people to do that if we have other academic credentials. I'm not saying that it isn't done, just that it's not overt.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    A few other members have brought up concerns regarding viewpoints other than official' not being welcomed. Maybe this is a good time to have a broad discussion about this? And what better location than here! How do we, not only as a community internalize this, but affect change.
    Ya know, I'm definitely not part of the official narrative It makes it harder to interact in some ways but, really, it's fine once you establish your street cred. Honestly, this is just like joining any community; if you want to go against the generally accepted view, be prepared to defend yourself

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    - Does the military really want to change or do they want to just check in the box?
    - Is the anti-intellectual culture myth or reality?
    - Now that the chapter of history that is OIF/OEF is closing, how do we retain these lessons we've learned and ensure they're carried forward?
    Many, MANY electrons could be killed answering those questions....

    I'm only going to tackle the "anti-intellectual" culture one, and leave the rest for others. In my experience, the military is not anti-intellectual, it is anti-non-practical. You can be a total eccentric with "insane" research interests but, if you can say "look at X, Y and Z" and show how it has applied meaning, most military folks will accept it.

    OTOH, if you have an on-point expertise but tell a commander it's going to take 6 weeks to do a lit review and run focus groups before you can give them any input, you will be tossed aside like used toilet paper. Good commanders have a feel for the intellectuals, scholars and academics they work and network with. Good intellectuals need to develop a feel for working within the military cultures.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    SWC is a place to gather, discuss, and learn. Jcustis has been after me for awhile to do a podcast series on topics surrounding Islam and other religions. Maybe we can podcast different discussions or roundtables?
    Not a bad idea, but the tech may be a touch of a problem since we are dispersed around the world. Hey, if you're in upstate New York, you're closer to me (in Ottawa) than you are to Dave D. who's in Florida. Dispersed podcasts are possible, especially via G+ hangouts, but may not be feasible to do well.

    All that said, please do start a series around Islam and religion in general! They can be a lot of fun but can also be a pain to put together well! BTW, I can say that because I'm in the process of putting together a serason of podcasts for War On The Rocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    What about a reading club? We can have different groups/themes with moderators. Read a book/article- discuss it in a thread. While the 'Cycle of Bitching' is can be gratifying, it ultimately does nothing. Feed the grey matter monster, discuss it, and apply to your life- repeat.
    Again, we've got the dispersal problem. I do meet fairly often with some of the other SWC people in Ottawa, but.....

    Cheers,

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    I've been lurking far too much and not posting enough. I can't help but say 'mea culpa' at that. This is a bit of a long and rambling post. My apologies. I've written 3 RFPS in 4 weeks and I am approaching 'deranged'.

    A bit of where I'm coming from. My academic background is in Religious Studies- Islamic to be precise- and I've spent a lot of time pondering terrorism and broader themes of religious violence. Although my day job is currently a technical writer, I consider myself an independent scholar. During my entire undergraduate career I was groomed to be academic. I did make it through my Master's, but the funding in the humanities in the US is terrible. Not to mention the job market. Que sera sera.

    A friend recently sent me "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam" by Nagl. I'm sure you're all very familiar with it. As I've been reading through it, I've been thinking a great deal about the lessons that we (I'm speaking as an American here) have learned over this past decade of conflict. While I know we have learned some, I get the sense those lessons have not quite sank in. I'm concerned that by the time they are formalized and published, their relevance will have faded significantly. Nagl discusses this snail's pace of doctrinal change in the US military system at length, and I've found it closely mirrored the academic life cycle of information 10-15 years ago. Books take a long time to write, edit, and publish. Back then, they'd have a decent shelf life. Now, books seem out of date by the time they hit the presses. Academia moves at about the same pace as military institutions do, but institutions seem to be embracing the digital revolution. Small Wars has a chance to be part of that revolution that pulls the doctrinal beast out of the Stone Ages.

    Anyhoo, I've spent some time reading through the last six or so pages of comments and I've distilled what I think are a few key questions/concerns/points:

    First, how do we make this little corner of the internet grow? What types of people do we want to attract to it?
    I'm a member of the H-Net Middle East Politics mailing list and I had to provide verification of my academic credentials, what my research interests were, and what I was hoping to gain. This may be overkill for SWC, but it is something to consider. Perhaps everyone can post, but if you do have some kind of academic of military related credential, adding it to your title so the community is aware? Maybe the Editors can maintain a list of folks with appropriate credentials to do book/article reviews?

    With that said, I do have ideas on how to get more folks from the humanities over here.
    - Make the journal peer reviewed. Yes, this will require time but it can be put on the c.v. Academic service and all that jazz, but you're not going to be truly taken seriously without peer review.
    - Perhaps soliciting entries from scholars on a theme, and then having op-ed pieces?
    - Do we reach out to other organizations? MESA, AAR, and APSA come to mind off the top of my head.
    - Do we attend conferences and panels?

    A few other members have brought up concerns regarding viewpoints other than official' not being welcomed. Maybe this is a good time to have a broad discussion about this? And what better location than here! How do we, not only as a community internalize this, but affect change.
    - Does the military really want to change or do they want to just check in the box?
    - Is the anti-intellectual culture myth or reality?
    - Now that the chapter of history that is OIF/OEF is closing, how do we retain these lessons we've learned and ensure they're carried forward?

    SWC is a place to gather, discuss, and learn. Jcustis has been after me for awhile to do a podcast series on topics surrounding Islam and other religions. Maybe we can podcast different discussions or roundtables?

    What about a reading club? We can have different groups/themes with moderators. Read a book/article- discuss it in a thread. While the 'Cycle of Bitching' is can be gratifying, it ultimately does nothing. Feed the grey matter monster, discuss it, and apply to your life- repeat.

    These are just my suggestions and questions. I'm also willing to put my money where my mouth is and volunteer to get some of this rolling.
    If you have been studying and thinking about religion and terrorism for one I highly encourage you to post and share your thoughts. Some will probably disagree and push back against your assertions while others will support, that is the nature of discourse. You can't be overly thin skinned in this group, those who take disagreement with their opinions disappear quickly. What I have seen over the years now, is that people are modifying their opinions based on the ongoing discussions/debates. I think most of us generally get to a point where think maybe Bob or Dave (for example) actually are right, or at least partially right and we incorporate those ideas in our world view until our paradigms are once again shattered. We have members who have no military experience or academic credentials who provide valuable input. In many ways their views are the most useful because they're informed/shaped by military doctrine or academic group think.

    One thing I'm relatively confident about is we don't have the right approach to successfully mitigate the strategic impact of Islamist based terrorism yet, so all ideas on the topic are welcomed.

  7. #107
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    I've been lurking far too much and not posting enough. I can't help but say 'mea culpa' at that. This is a bit of a long and rambling post. My apologies. I've written 3 RFPS in 4 weeks and I am approaching 'deranged'.
    But that is what is great about this place, anyone, from anywhere, can come in here and post ideas. SWJ has its regulars and after reading about ten of their posts you understand their slant. But in addition to them there are other people who are doctors, philosophers, or sociologists or just interested people who post. They see this world from a different perspective. Many won't agree. Some may be rude about it, but your ideas matter (unless they conflict with mine, then they are just CRAAAZZZYYY!)

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    With that said, I do have ideas on how to get more folks from the humanities over here.
    - Make the journal peer reviewed. Yes, this will require time but it can be put on the c.v. Academic service and all that jazz, but you're not going to be truly taken seriously without peer review.
    - Perhaps soliciting entries from scholars on a theme, and then having op-ed pieces?
    - Do we reach out to other organizations? MESA, AAR, and APSA come to mind off the top of my head.
    - Do we attend conferences and panels?
    I can say from experience that SWJ does not take every paper they get, there is an editor who weeds out the less desirable (like me). I have also seen that peer reviewed journals tend to take on an editorial line - things they like and things they reject. They also tend to not take risks on ideas out of the mainstream. They don't like to risk their own credibility. SWJ takes anything relevant to the topic from tactical considerations to issues with doctrine to attacks on the way the Army works. It is that diversity that makes it useful, again, to those that spend their time in a relatively closed society.

    I don't know if anyone here cares what I think. I care what I think. I care what YOU think (except when you disagree with me). So please, jump in.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 08-14-2013 at 11:41 AM.
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  8. #108
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    One thing I can say with some confidence is that you will get robust discussion here. As a mod, I can say we as a group are pretty tolerant of discussion so long as people stick to the issues and avoid personal attacks (attack the issue, not the individual). Pet rocks can abound, as they do in any group of people with some similar interests, but on the whole it's a pretty good "give and take" environment.
    "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."
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  9. #109
    Council Member graphei's Avatar
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    Default I swear I'm not normally this verbose- honest...

    For the first time in about 6 weeks I don't have an RFP to write. I have a grande caramel macchiato circulating in my system and I had some chocolate. To paraphrase OneRepublic, "I can think again…"

    First, I follow completely on the peer review and the reasons. It was definitely good to hear the reasoning behind it. Can I just say that it is outstanding anyone can publish if they have a point and can present it in a coherent manner? It is. I don't think people outside of academia really get how nasty peer-review and publishing can be. When people say you need thick skin in the 'Publish or Perish' world of academic press, what they really mean is you need is adamantine plated rhino skin. In short, bravo zulu to all of you.
    Anyway, I wanted to clarify on the theme. A few of my favorite journals will put out a special edition once a year or so on a topic selected by the members from examining a particular event or concept to 'advancing' the field. Now that the focus is being moved to other parts of the region :cough: Egypt :cough:, maybe these types of topics or discussions will be more relevant? Granted, you masochists publish at break-neck speed, so it would require a fair bit of logistics, but it's just some food for thought.

    If a copyeditor and/or another reviewer is needed, sign me up. Which reminds me, I need to renew my MESA membership...

    I brought up the conference thing in part because back when I was a good little snowflake of a graduate student, I went to my first American Academy of Religion conference in 2007 out in San Diego. It was the 'big' one and not one of the smaller, regional meetings. The Council of Foreign Relations sponsored a roundtable on religious violence. It was one of the headline events and had a 3 hour block. I think the table had the floor for about an hour and then it was opened up to the audience for the next two. It was enlightening, but I couldn't help think no matter what was discussed, it wouldn't matter; these weren't the people that needed to be a part of it. Given the wide range of experiences we have here, this is closer to the audience I *wished* could hear it.

    As far as the podcast/roundtable thing, I definitely know it's possible to get a quality cast done remotely with current open source technology. I've been doing a fair amount of research, and once I get this Intel DCO app out of my hair I can return to giving this my full attention. The main issue I've been running in is where to store and host the casts. Paying to have it hosted could cost me quite a bit. Rolling my own servers and maintaining them is just not in the cards right now. I know I'm not thinking of all the possible solutions, so I'm going to scoot out to my alma mater in September and discuss logistic with a professor of Media Studies. She has run her own radio show for years, and is well versed in digital production.

    The book club thing is definitely possible and I participated in one as an undergrad. In fact, my prof and two others at different colleges team taught a course that way. It was not without challenges on their end, but it did work quite well! I remember the discussion board quite vividly. Every two weeks, a team of students- one from each college- would devise discussion points with the professor's blessings. From there, they'd moderate and contribute. At the end of the semester, we had to prepare and anthology of sorts. I suppose you could say I was at guinea pig at the bleeding edge of digital pedagogy back in 2004. Right now, I know one professor who runs a book discussion on Twitter of all places. While I'm not sold on having 140 characters, it really forces you to think about what your point is. Granted, it's not the same as sitting in the same room, but it opens up many different possibilities for interaction.

    If either or both of these are interest to people, I will spearhead these and get them rolling.

    I will say this: I'm always up for having a great discussion about the ways religion and violence intersect- especially with Islam. It makes me giddy that I found a place on the net where I can have these types of discussions. However, I'm feeling a bit hesitant to share right now. I just realized the other day that September will mark a decade of me studying Islam and religious violence. I started as an 18 year old girl, and while there are many people who are envious of my large head start, it isn't without drawbacks- many of which I'm attempting to navigate now.

    What I'm trying to say- and failing so miserably at- is I feel you all deserve better than my musings of the past decade. Right now, I'm attempting to find ways to connect with resources, but I spend most of my energies looking for them instead of writing. I'm surrounded by colleges and universities, but none of them have the proper resources for me. Its a definite case of "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink…" I remember being so excited when the COIN Field Manual was revised, then feeling underwhelmed by how religious insurgency was handled. I've wanted to write something about that for at least 3 years, but without resources it's not any good. I can't cite my experience.

    And for those would say "Doctoral program- tally ho!", I would chuckle. Funding is non-existent and I have enough student loans as it is. If I knew I could get picked up at a think tank or research center when I was done, it would be another story, but for now it's not in the cards (sadly).
    Last edited by graphei; 08-14-2013 at 05:01 PM.

  10. #110
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    Default My wife says I talk too much ...



    Most of the time, my posts on SWC deal with the "rules" and "reasons" for killing or capturing people. Their "literary genre" is more or less "book reviews", since I often link one or more books, articles or videos. Then I comment - briefly or verbosely.

    There's an ulterior motive for doing what I do. It forces me to read the materials I cite; and therefore I learn. Whether others learn is their choice. Whether others elect a different presentation mode is also their choice. One thing I can say with complete assurance: SWC has no "party line" for "literary genres".

    In basic mentality, I've been a practitioner and not an academic-scholar; though I was a law review editor for two years. So, I have a bit of experience there, having stayed at the Holiday Inn Express some 40+ years ago. Reduced to fundamentals, legal writing by practitioners and by academics-scholars is not that different: briefs vs articles. All are advocacy (albeit sometimes disguised, thickly or thinly); and should be well-sourced (personal opinions, generally, aren't worth much in the practitioners' world; probably, they are worth more in academia - "peer review", etc.). The formats are, however, quite different.

    Here are two examples, as I would post them.

    Michael C. Behenna v United States, Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (SCOTUS, 2 Jan 2013):

    Introduction

    Petitioner, Army First Lieutenant Michael Behenna, was serving as a platoon leader in Iraq in 2008 when an insurgent attack with an improvised explosive device ripped through his patrol, killing two soldiers and three Iraqi civilians. Lieutenant Behenna interrogated a suspected insurgent linked to the deadly attack by intelligence reports identifying him as a member of the local “Al-Qa’ida in Iraq IED Cell.” Because Lieutenant Behenna conducted the interrogation “without authority” and trained his handgun on the suspected terrorist during the encounter, a bare majority of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) ruled that Lieutenant Behenna “lost the right to act in self-defense as a matter of law.”
    ...
    The AAF’s ruling is likely to be determinative of servicemembers’ right to self‐defense in combat zones unless this Court intervenes. ... The decision below should be reviewed, and reversed, now.
    and Kevin Jon Heller, 'One Hell of a Killing Machine': Signature Strikes and International Law (to be published):


    Abstract:

    The vast majority of drone attacks conducted by the U.S. have been signature strikes – strikes that target “groups of men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities aren’t known.” In 2010, for example, Reuters reported that of the 500 “militants” killed by drones between 2008 and 2010, only 8% were the kind “top-tier militant targets” or “mid-to-high-level organizers” whose identities could have been known prior to being killed. Similarly, in 2011, a U.S. official revealed that the U.S. had killed “twice as many ‘wanted terrorists’ in signature strikes than in personality strikes.”

    Despite the U.S.’s intense reliance on signature strikes, scholars have paid almost no attention to their legality under international law. This article attempts to fill that lacuna. Section I explains why a signature strike must be justified under either international humanitarian law (IHL) or international human rights law (IHRL) even if the strike was a legitimate act of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Section II explores the legality of signature strikes under IHL. It concludes that although some signature strikes clearly comply with the principle of distinction, others either violate that principle as a matter of law or require evidence concerning the target that the U.S. is unlikely to have prior to the attack. Section III then provides a similar analysis for IHRL, concluding that most of the signature strikes permitted by IHL – though certainly not all – would violate IHRL’s insistence that individuals cannot be arbitrarily deprived of their right to life.
    We at SWC have been paying attention to signature strikes and other droney things for quite a while - and to the rules for killing or capturing HVTs. Not being a scholar, though, I can't pass judgment on Kevin's bolded comment as it applies to scholars.

    Thus, as I said before, different strokes for different folks.

    Now, who wants to write up a nice little article arguing that Kevin's message is all wet.

    Regards

    Mike

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post

    Now, who wants to write up a nice little article arguing that Kevin's message is all wet.



    Mike
    Me... I'd use the process laid out in the HVT Process document they declassified along with the process found in there.

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  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    First, how do we make this little corner of the internet grow? What types of people do we want to attract to it?
    That is the question. Answers are a little harder to come by, of course. In this case it's not only about attracting new people. There's also the question of re-attracting members that have become less active or inactive. Speaking only for myself, many, probably most, of the members whose contributions led me to come here are no longer around. Having them back would be wonderful; having new people here would be equally wonderful. How to accomplish that... I wish I knew.

    A start might be to ascertain what led people to be active here in the first place, and what leads them to become less active.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    I'm a member of the H-Net Middle East Politics mailing list and I had to provide verification of my academic credentials, what my research interests were, and what I was hoping to gain. This may be overkill for SWC, but it is something to consider. Perhaps everyone can post, but if you do have some kind of academic of military related credential, adding it to your title so the community is aware? Maybe the Editors can maintain a list of folks with appropriate credentials to do book/article reviews?
    If academic or military credentials were required, I'd never have been let in the door. One of the most appealing factors about SWJ (to me), from the start, was the blend of field experience and academic input in a mutually respectful environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    I do have ideas on how to get more folks from the humanities over here.
    I'd have nothing against having more people from the humanities, but I'd also like to see more people from the "field" side, particularly voices from outside the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    A few other members have brought up concerns regarding viewpoints other than official' not being welcomed. Maybe this is a good time to have a broad discussion about this?
    I'm about as far outside the official box as it's possible to be, and I've never found this to be the case. Of course views, official or other, will be scrutinized and criticized, but that the nature of a forum. I have never felt any sense that views from outside the military or the politically orthodox camps were at all unwelcome. Certain types of behavior are unwelcome, but those constraints are easy enough to meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    Does the military really want to change or do they want to just check in the box?
    I wouldn't know about "the military" as an institution, but there certainly seem to be people within that institution that want to explore and discuss change. I'm sure they face substantial inertia, but that is the nature of institutions. From the perspective of the forum, there seems no shortage of people on the inside who are willing to discuss change.

    I have noticed that many of those with proposals for change from within the .mil camp tend to gravitate toward the Journal, rather than the Council... perhaps because publication in the Journal fits on a resume? I think that unfortunate, as the Council seems to me a better venue for continuing discussion. I confess to having had occasional fantasies about tossing a few advocates of "Design" into a coliseum with Wilf Owen, Fuchs and a few others.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    Is the anti-intellectual culture myth or reality?
    I've actually been accused of anti-intellectualism a few times, on the Journal side. There may be an anti-intellectual culture, but there also seems to be a culture (possibly a minority subculture) that greatly esteems intellectual display... the aforementioned apostles of "Design" might again appear as exhibit A. My own perception is that this subculture at time prioritizes intellectual trappings over intellectual rigor, and the repeated (and strained) invocations of quantum physics and postmodernism occasionally make me want to toss... but maybe I really am anti-intellectual. I would say that while there may be an overall anti-intellectual atmosphere, there are enough intellectual subcultures to sustain discussion, and enough field folks to keep the intellectual discussion anchored and honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    While the 'Cycle of Bitching' is can be gratifying, it ultimately does nothing.
    This is true, and it brings us back to the chicken/egg question: does the discussion become cyclical because there are so few participants, or have the participants dropped away because the discussion became cyclical? Probably a bit of both, I'd say.

    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    These are just my suggestions and questions. I'm also willing to put my money where my mouth is and volunteer to get some of this rolling.
    As would I, given some practical ideas about what might be done. I'm still looking for some.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  13. #113
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    Default Sam: Yes ! You're on ...

    Either in a new thread (if you want), or in this thread, The Rules - Engaging HVTs & OBL, where signature strikes were first mentioned 1 Nov 2012, One Strike You're Out ??.

    Judging from the zero response to that post's request:

    Discuss, if you wish, the plusses and minuses of the matrix as written

    - as well as

    (1) the test you would use to include a factor (e.g., "more likely than not", "reasonable certainty", "high degree of confidence", etc., etc.);

    (2) whether you would include or exclude each factor separately without considering the other factors (strict "must stand on its own" test); or would you aggregate all factors supported by some evidence, even where each such factor would not "stand on its own" ("conditional probability"); and

    (3) whether other factors should be added to the matrix.

    This doesn't require legalese.
    either I was exhaustively correct in hypothecating the matrix - a doubtful proposition - or, no one was interested in the topic.

    Since the 1st of this year, the thread has been almost exclusively devoted to drones and kill lists, with not very much viewer input.

    So, yes; bring it on ! We clearly need some academic input.

    Regards

    Mike

  14. #114
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    Default

    Posted by Dayuhan

    I've actually been accused of anti-intellectualism a few times, on the Journal side. There may be an anti-intellectual culture, but there also seems to be a culture (possibly a minority subculture) that greatly esteems intellectual display... the aforementioned apostles of "Design" might again appear as exhibit A. My own perception is that this subculture at time prioritizes intellectual trappings over intellectual rigor, and the repeated (and strained) invocations of quantum physics and postmodernism occasionally make me want to toss... but maybe I really am anti-intellectual.
    Oh I needed to read that, I feel so much better that it just isn't me. Taleb wrote something similar in his book, "The Black Swan." He wrote about a professor that droned on and on about post this and post that and in the end made no particular point, but apparently was quite impressed with himself. I loved the way you framed it, trappings without rigor. Until the design crowd moves past the trappings to the rigor, and in effect get to simplicity on the far side of complexity it will make little progress. They'll blame the institution but in particular case it isn't institutional bias, it is just simply that this dog doesn't hunt in its current form. I attended a week of design training where the instructors were actually able to get to the point quite effectively without masking the meaning in philosophical jargon. I always thought when I retired retired and marijuana is legal it might be fun (or not) to toke on a joint and ponder the philosophical underpinnings of post this and post that and how it applies to design theory. On the other hand, maybe just drinking a cold beer and talking with friends would be more fun?

  15. #115
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    Ah, it's amazing what some sleep can do for a person.

    With regard to the 'anti-intellectual' comment I made, it wasn't so much with regard to here, but more aimed at the larger military culture. I've been working my way through Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife and I've been spending a lot of time ponder learning 'cultures'. I definitely agree intellectual trappings versus intellectual rigor. A professor of mine had a different phrase for those who wanted the trappings without any of the rigor: intellectual masturbation.

    I was attempting to hit at something similar with my questions regarding "official" view points. For those who are currently serving, is there any pressure for them to just quietly tow the line? The fantastic part about the Journal and Council is there is no 'official' line. Sometimes sacred cows make for great steaks.

    For the proof of identification, I wouldn't want it used as a measuring stick for membership here. Bringing all of these different perspectives together is what makes this spot on the net great. However, if someone claims to have military experience or an advanced degree, perhaps parameters for voluntary verification can be discussed?

    Now, I'm going to get the book club going. I need to do some more research, but look for a post by Wednesday.

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    I guess I feel like sort of an anti-intellectual, even though I just finished a massive info-intake about economics. I now know how to pronounce Bastiat.

    I've just always have had bad mental associations with any (at least self proclaimed) intellectual. Some guy who's first car was a gifted Saab, went to a prep school, didn't have to work while he went to college for 9 years sitting around all tweedy in a red leather captain's chair reading something written by someone else on an identical life track, nodding in agreement and secretly selecting passages to plagiarize for some up coming (and doomed to obscurity) paper.

    Also, my prose is fairly poor. I don't write as well, or as thoughtfully as some of you guys. Kinda embarrassing. So my go to position is not to post, even if I think I have something to add to the conversation. Lets not go into my need to google the spelling of the simplest words.

    As far as credentials, I could send a DD-214, no prob, but an Honorable Discharge doesn't mean I'm not an idiot. And a Master's degree doesn't mean your not a jerk I don't want to talk to. (That's not directed at anyone here). I don't know how you would vet members. I guess I read posts, and over a period of time, come to trust or distrust the author, based on my own probably skewed feelings. I like Dayuhan, even though he says things I dont like. Him, I would trust.

    Mostly, I just come on the site, skim around a bit, and leave. As far as getting more people on here, I guess SEO work, same as any other site. I like it here, I just turn off when it turns into a U.S. bashfest, no matter how deserved, on occasion. Small Wars? It's sort of heading towards one BIG small war, isn't it?

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