Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 38

Thread: Neo Challenges the Matrix

  1. #1
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default Neo Challenges the Matrix

    Douglas Macgregor's latest piece, Will Iraq's Great Awakening Lead to a Nightmare? currently running on "Mother Jones."
    Last edited by SWJED; 12-12-2007 at 09:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,099

    Post Rant incoming

    Tehran is certainly watching developments in Iraq with interest. The Iranian leaders have turned out to be very competent chess players in foreign affairs, carefully calculating each move. As demonstrated by the recent National Intelligence Estimate's reassessment of Iranian nuclear aims, the Bush administration and its generals are, at best, poker players. Every raise and bluff by the Bush administration and its generals in Baghdad has been effectively countered with some very thoughtful, strategic moves by Tehran—moves aimed at cultivating close relationships with Turkey, Russia, China, and even Europe.

    For competent chess players they havent done a very good job of keeping their "figurehead" Achmedinajad from opening his mouth and inserting his foot continually. Especially when you consider the position Khomeni finds himself in regarding internal affairs.

    I really tire of military allowing themselves to be baited into agreeing with negative long term results in order to feel they are ahead of the pack in pointing out what just about anybody who really matters already knows.

    Are there inherent dangers? DUHHH
    Will they all just get along? NO DUHHHH
    Will the countires around them figure into their long term success or failure? Yes DUHHHHH

    How about we ask the one question that matters.

    What will the people do?

    Noone can predict the future so noone can honestly answer that one.

    Noone can affect anyone but themselves through their own actions and the subsequent reactions of others.

    So how bout we in the defense force worry about defending and let the cards fall as they may withut giving journalist so much to sideline us with.

    By the way I still don't get what the better answer is.
    Install another dictator, sure that always works perfectly too.
    (RANT, Sorry)

    Not meant personally against anyone just frustrated by the trend

  3. #3
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default I'll second that and add (of course)

    this:

    "But the main problem is the belief held by U.S. policymakers and generals that the critical issue in Iraq is tactics, not the overall mission: occupying and trying to control a Muslim Arab country. Given the conventional wisdom that the U.S. counterinsurgency efforts are working, the imperial hubris at the top of the Bush administration, and the complacency in Congress, the conditions are ideal for a spin-off war that could cause us one day to wonder how we Americans could have ever been so stupid as to occupy Iraq."
    Macgregor's final paragraph. He asks some good questions as could anyone -- but he posits no answers, so you wonder what he's trying to do -- then he gives it all away in the last paragraph. He's just griping.

    We have never really tried to occupy Iraq.

    We, foolishly IMO, acceded to diplomatic pressure and said we were an "Occupying power" IAW the GC back in '03 but that passed into history 5 Apr 05. Regardless of semantics we have never had the troop strength to "occupy and control" Iraq and he should know that.

    As for an ongoing Shia - Sunni squabble of one degree or another, been that way for 13 Centuries, no news there. I read the link twice, I'm still unsure what his point is...

  4. #4
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    ...I read the link twice, I'm still unsure what his point is...
    Sometimes you write things to make explicit points; other times you write things more to ask questions that need to be asked or to challenge certain ways of thinking. I think Macgregor in this piece is trying to do the latter two things rather than offering up specific solutions to problems or as you ask make a specific point. In this regard I thought his article was of value because it does view differently the current narrative that explains the lowering of violence in Iraq and suggests that what many think is the road to success may be the road to disaster.

    gentile

  5. #5
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    567

    Default

    "But the main problem is the belief held by U.S. policymakers and generals that the critical issue in Iraq is tactics, not the overall mission: occupying and trying to control a Muslim Arab country."

    I'm alway thrilled when someone who knows what they're talking about expresses my thoughts.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Sometimes it takes someone without deep experience to think creatively.

  6. #6
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Thanks for the reply. Looking at it as a question piece,

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Sometimes you write things to make explicit points; other times you write things more to ask questions that need to be asked or to challenge certain ways of thinking. I think Macgregor in this piece is trying to do the latter two things rather than offering up specific solutions to problems or as you ask make a specific point. In this regard I thought his article was of value because it does view differently the current narrative that explains the lowering of violence in Iraq and suggests that what many think is the road to success may be the road to disaster.

    gentile
    which I did the second time, it makes some sense. Unduly pessimistic I thought, though...

    As you know, I share your concern that we'll overdo the COIN bit and I thought and think the so-called surge is of marginal overall value (on a cost benefit basis) so I can agree with him on those points. Further, I certainly don't have any problem rattling anybody's cage and believe that needs to be done on a regular basis, sometimes violent shaking is in order. He generally does that well and I applaud him for it.

    I guess my problem with the article is three fold. First is that, IMO, the idea of success in Iraq as originally defined by the idiot sector of the Admin was never going to happen therefor I didn't expect it so am not disappointed. 'Win' is, as I've often said, a bad word to use in application to any COIN operation, thus we were looking at an acceptable solution, no more. I also thought and think a major Sunni - Shia confrontation is inevitable; the question is when. The ME, unlike us, is long on patience and as Macgregor notes and as you and I both know, duplicity (and haggling) are the national pastimes...

    Unlike Macgregor (or unlike that article...), I think that it is probable we will achieve an acceptable solution and that the confrontation will be delayed for a variety of reasons. I also suspect we will be there at about 40K for quite some time -- but then, I've always been an optimist...

    The second problem is, of course, the 'occupy' set me off as I don't believe we ever tried to do that and know that he knows better -- but that, admittedly, is only mildly disingenuous or semantic and little more.

    Finally, I believe that just as dangerous as overdoing the COIN thing is, I think, getting over protective of the institution and I sense he sometimes does that. Could be wrong, have been many times and I hope I am in that sensing.

  7. #7
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,665

    Default

    For competent chess players they havent done a very good job of keeping their "figurehead" Achmedinajad from opening his mouth and inserting his foot continually. Especially when you consider the position Khomeni finds himself in regarding internal affairs.
    I agree about this one. The Iranians are far less unified than they are portrayed. Their system has enormous internal tensions that occasionally peek through to the surface and many highly competitive interest groups. The Iranians certainly have a better grasp of the Iraqi snake pit than we do, especially in the Shi'ite side, but a snake pit is still a snake pit even for the most experienced handlers.

  8. #8
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    ...Finally, I believe that just as dangerous as overdoing the COIN thing is, I think, getting over protective of the institution and I sense he sometimes does that. Could be wrong, have been many times and I hope I am in that sensing.
    Ken:

    thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree that as you have said before the pendulum can swing back too far in the other direction too and we certainly dont want that. Actually I think Macgregor over the years has been trying to obliterate the institution then rebuild it in a way the provides better strategic flexibility. His two classics "Breaking the Phalanx," and "Transformation Under Fire," attest to that position.

    I most appreciate Ken your humility and the proposition that you "could be wrong." That has always been the mantra that I lived by; that I might be wrong, that my next screw up is just hanging around the corner but if i work really hard, stay true to my values, and rely on my buddies on my right and left i might get through it. The overall value of Macgregor's piece is that it does poke a finger in the eye of those who are cocksure about things with their positive knowledge about the way ahead in Iraq and what the future holds. Even if he is read as an extreme, the extreme holds value if it reasonably challenges conventional wisdom, which i think this piece does.

    no worries

    gian

  9. #9
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
    "But the main problem is the belief held by U.S. policymakers and generals that the critical issue in Iraq is tactics, not the overall mission: occupying and trying to control a Muslim Arab country."

    I'm alway thrilled when someone who knows what they're talking about expresses my thoughts.
    I've been hitting the same theme as I try and finish the insurgency chapter of my book (and everyone just shut up--it's been at least two days since I've mentioned it!!)

  10. #10
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default Nemo??

    I've read the article twice and didn't find a single reference to little, striped cartoon fish.


  11. #11
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I've read the article twice and didn't find a single reference to little, striped cartoon fish.

    "Nemo Challenges the Matrix" is a riff off of the movie "The Matrix" where actor Keanu Reeves plays a character named Nemo who along with a group of others have figured out that the world is controlled by machines and that reality is created in the minds of people by these machines; the sad part is that the people are actually imprisoned in horrible little bubbles with tubes coming out of their bodies; in the movie that is the true reality of things although they don’t see it because they are controlled by the disinformation produced by the matrix.

    The main point to the movie as I see it is that individuals can make a difference and can challenge the way the masses think things are.

    Macgregor has been an important challenger of conventional wisdom in the defense establishment for the last twenty years (his two classic works in this regard are “Breaking the Phalanx,” and “Transformation Under Fire.” He was also a brilliant tactician and fighter in the Gulf War and after that war when as a Cavalry Squadron commander he defeated the vaunted opfor at the National Training Center.

    So I use the title "Nemo Challenges the Matrix" for this thread as a metaphor to get at what I see as the importance of challenging conventional wisdom and the narrative surrounding notions of "success" in Iraq and where we are headed in the future. Macgregor might be wrong, I might be wrong, but the important point of this article is that the matrix is challenged. In that sense it is worth the read and not labeled as a "rant" by another posting to this thread.

    You queried, there it is.

  12. #12
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    "Nemo Challenges the Matrix" is a riff off of the movie "The Matrix" where actor Keanu Reeves plays a character named Nemo who along with a group of others have figured out that the world is controlled by machines and that reality is created in the minds of people by these machines; the sad part is that the people are actually imprisoned in horrible little bubbles with tubes coming out of their bodies; in the movie that is the true reality of things although they don’t see it because they are controlled by the disinformation produced by the matrix.

    The main point to the movie as I see it is that individuals can make a difference and can challenge the way the masses think things are.

    Macgregor has been an important challenger of conventional wisdom in the defense establishment for the last twenty years (his two classic works in this regard are “Breaking the Phalanx,” and “Transformation Under Fire.” He was also a brilliant tactician and fighter in the Gulf War and after that war when as a Cavalry Squadron commander he defeated the vaunted opfor at the National Training Center.

    So I use the title "Nemo Challenges the Matrix" for this thread as a metaphor to get at what I see as the importance of challenging conventional wisdom and the narrative surrounding notions of "success" in Iraq and where we are headed in the future. Macgregor might be wrong, I might be wrong, but the important point of this article is that the matrix is challenged. In that sense it is worth the read and not labeled as a "rant" by another posting to this thread.

    You queried, there it is.

    I know. I was just trying to get my day's silliness quota out of the way early.

    Doug was a student of mine at CGSC and we've stayed in touch over the years. I haven't had a chance to read his latest though.

  13. #13
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Belly of the beast
    Posts
    2,112

    Default

    The Keanu Reeves Character is called "Neo" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_(The_Matrix)
    Sam Liles
    Selil Blog
    Don't forget to duck Secret Squirrel
    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

  14. #14
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    The Keanu Reeves Character is called "Neo" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_(The_Matrix)
    thanks; stupid me; no wonder steve was asking.

    perhaps i shouldn't try to be so clever next time.

    gian

  15. #15
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    thanks; stupid me; no wonder steve was asking.

    perhaps i shouldn't try to be so clever next time.

    gian
    Actually, I thought it was brilliantly existential to posit the idea of a little cartoon fish challenging the Architect


  16. #16
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Actually, I thought it was brilliantly existential to posit the idea of a little cartoon fish challenging the Architect
    Ah; too bad i didnt think of it in that way but the other yet didn't spend the time to proofread the post. Perhaps i should go easier when grading finals.

    thanks

    gian

  17. #17
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    89

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Actually, I thought it was brilliantly existential to posit the idea of a little cartoon fish challenging the Architect

    Yes, but this doesn't leave us to the contingent affirmation of the situation.

  18. #18
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Belly of the beast
    Posts
    2,112

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    thanks; stupid me; no wonder steve was asking.
    perhaps i shouldn't try to be so clever next time.
    gian
    Somehow I don't think stupid and Gian P Gentile belong in the same sentence. Now Sci Fi Freak and Selil... those are entrenched.
    Sam Liles
    Selil Blog
    Don't forget to duck Secret Squirrel
    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

  19. #19
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    West Point New York
    Posts
    268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    Somehow I don't think stupid and Gian P Gentile belong in the same sentence. Now Sci Fi Freak and Selil... those are entrenched.

    thanks for the vote of confidence and thanks secret squirrel for watching my six.

    gian

    ps: i wonder if SWJ editors might help in correcting the title of the thread to "Neo" from "Nemo"

  20. #20
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    tps: i wonder if SWJ editors might help in correcting the title of the thread to "Neo" from "Nemo"
    SWJ is like marriage: we must learn to live with the reminders of our errors.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •