Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 74

Thread: Fiasco at the Army War College?

  1. #41
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    This article, to my mind, shows that the critics do not understand the subject matter they are criticising or the purpose to which it is ultimately put.

    Studying Marx would not have helped one little bit, in understanding Soviet Doctrine, Operations or Strategy, - we actually know that it was a mistake to do so!

    As a military officer, studying "Radical Islam" -what ever that is?- will not help you understand the Taliban.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  2. #42
    Council Member marct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    3,682

    Default

    Hi Wilf,

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Studying Marx would not have helped one little bit, in understanding Soviet Doctrine, Operations or Strategy, - we actually know that it was a mistake to do so!

    As a military officer, studying "Radical Islam" -what ever that is?- will not help you understand the Taliban.
    I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this. For me, the problem lies not with studying your opponents philosophy, etc., but for confusing that philosophy with its pragmatic applications in the field of conflict.

    So, for example, studying Marx was useful since it would illuminate potential motivations amongst a target population, although junk for getting at Soviet perceptions (Russian history and culture is the basis of that...). In the same manner, studying "radical Islam" is useful for getting at motivations and logics, but studying Afghan culture and history will do a lot more for understanding operations.
    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/

  3. #43
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,457

    Default

    That post and the comment thread afterward are like so many found on the internet these days. I applaud Dr. Metz for trying, but am not surprised that many remain unconvinced, prefering instead the conspiracy that suits their political or whatever bias.

    The internet, sadly, is a great tool for reinforcing people's natural tendency to confirm their own biases, especially people without much capability for introspection.

  4. #44
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Wilf,



    I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this. For me, the problem lies not with studying your opponents philosophy, etc., but for confusing that philosophy with its pragmatic applications in the field of conflict.

    So, for example, studying Marx was useful since it would illuminate potential motivations amongst a target population, although junk for getting at Soviet perceptions (Russian history and culture is the basis of that...). In the same manner, studying "radical Islam" is useful for getting at motivations and logics, but studying Afghan culture and history will do a lot more for understanding operations.
    Absolutely. Studying Islam, radical or not, will absolutely help one gain insights into the Taliban. Cultural fluency is critical if we're going to reshape the middle east.

  5. #45
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever my stuff is
    Posts
    823

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Studying Marx would not have helped one little bit, in understanding Soviet Doctrine, Operations or Strategy, - we actually know that it was a mistake to do so!

    As a military officer, studying "Radical Islam" -what ever that is?- will not help you understand the Taliban.
    I agree it won't help you understand their tactics. I disagree that it won't help you understand motivations, motives, impulses, and ideals. Knowing what the other person believes or doesn't believe pays huge dividends over a cup of chai.
    Example is better than precept.

  6. #46
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Absolutely. Studying Islam, radical or not, will absolutely help one gain insights into the Taliban. Cultural fluency is critical if we're going to reshape the middle east.
    OK, you may gain some insights, but are they useful, timely or relevant?
    Why not just study the Taliban behaviour, as a matter or empirical record? That is how the vast majority of insurgencies have been defeated.

    What is more, my understanding was that we are talking about the professional education of military officers, so their primary requirement is to be skilled in the application of force. The cultural insights they need are extremely context specific and part of pre-deployment training, not an education package at AWC.

    MARCT I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this. For me, the problem lies not with studying your opponents philosophy, etc., but for confusing that philosophy with its pragmatic applications in the field of conflict.
    I can't see where we disagree. I concur. Having studied what is laughingly called "Soviet Operational Art," it was entirely a product of both insightful, and flawed, experimentation and operational analysis - which is why PU was re-written 3 times in 15 years. If you wanted to understand the Soviet Army, you read PU, stuff from the Rayzan/Frunze and some Isby, not the collected works of Lenin.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  7. #47
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Absolutely. Studying Islam, radical or not, will absolutely help one gain insights into the Taliban. Cultural fluency is critical if we're going to reshape the middle east.

    Yikes! "Reshape the Middle East"??? And I thought the Intel guys were killing me with mission creep.

    We certainly need to "Reshape our approach to the Middle East," but any efforts to reshape the actual populaces and governances there is likely not to be appreciated or effective; and lead to even greater depletion of U.S. Influence through futile efforts to get everyone else to simply conform to our wise and generous will.

    Yes study Islam. Yes gain appreciation for the culture and concerns of the region. But don't then turn around and try to use that knowledge to exert your control over them. That's something "the bad guys" do, right?
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  8. #48
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Our lack of understanding Japanese culture and religion had a negative affect on our ability to cope with their tactics didn't it? Is this different? if there's a wealth of information on how a group uses force, then certainly it is more relevant to study than something else, if all you're concerned with is force on force applications. no doubt.

    In 2001 did we have a tactical study of Taliban methods?

  9. #49
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I agree it won't help you understand their tactics. I disagree that it won't help you understand motivations, motives, impulses, and ideals. Knowing what the other person believes or doesn't believe pays huge dividends over a cup of chai.
    Again concur. That is not something you need to go to AWC to learn, and you didn't need to "study Islam" to understand and use what you knew. Correct?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  10. #50
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Col Jones, right or wrong, reshaping the middle east has been a policy of the US for quite some time

    http://www.cato.org/research/articles/kober-030325.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ddle-East.html

    http://www.italy.usembassy.gov/pdf/other/RS22053.pdf


    De Opresso Liber - don't we reshape everytime we do just that?
    Last edited by Voodoun; 01-23-2009 at 06:16 PM. Reason: because "Bob" is a Col.

  11. #51
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever my stuff is
    Posts
    823

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Again concur. That is not something you need to go to AWC to learn, and you didn't need to "study Islam" to understand and use what you knew. Correct?
    Agree. It's as easy as listening to someone who's living in the culture or cracking the occassional book.

    Again, I stand by the theory that dealing with people is the same in Jakarta as it is in Los Angeles - people want to be treated with dignity and respect. You don't need a class for that.
    Example is better than precept.

  12. #52
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever my stuff is
    Posts
    823

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Yikes! "Reshape the Middle East"??? And I thought the Intel guys were killing me with mission creep.

    We certainly need to "Reshape our approach to the Middle East," but any efforts to reshape the actual populaces and governances there is likely not to be appreciated or effective; and lead to even greater depletion of U.S. Influence through futile efforts to get everyone else to simply conform to our wise and generous will.

    Yes study Islam. Yes gain appreciation for the culture and concerns of the region. But don't then turn around and try to use that knowledge to exert your control over them. That's something "the bad guys" do, right?
    COL Jones,

    Completely unrelated question that perhaps COL Maxwell could weigh in on as well; Why have we been more successful in the Philippeans with our approach than we have in the Middle East?
    Example is better than precept.

  13. #53
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Our lack of understanding Japanese culture and religion had a negative affect on our ability to cope with their tactics didn't it?
    We (the British at least) has ample opportunity to study Japanese military culture, from the siege of Port Arthur onwards (where we had military observers). We just chose to ignore it. Slim defeated the Japanese in Burma, basically by understanding their logistics, far more than their military culture.

    In 2001 did we have a tactical study of Taliban methods?
    Well you should. There were many, many sources, considering it had not changed since the time of the Russians and the CIA assistance.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  14. #54
    Council Member marct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    3,682

    Default

    Hi Wilf,

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    OK, you may gain some insights, but are they useful, timely or relevant?
    Why not just study the Taliban behaviour, as a matter or empirical record? That is how the vast majority of insurgencies have been defeated.
    Hmmm, okay, I think this may be a terminology problem (aka, I forgot to unpack my brain ).

    Absolutely, the data for the study has to be Taliban behaviour and the Taliban "material artifacts" (e.g. night letters, propaganda, etc.). But the Taliban (and everyone) operates with certain un-voiced logics and assumptions which shape their behaviour and products, and these logics and assumptions are operationalized assuming a semantic network. Hmmm, this is getting more, not less, complex!

    The logics and assumptions are primarily cultural, while the semantic network is "cultural" but, also, rooted in Islam as a whole (as an example, the laws of war are different between Pastunwali and Islam, and both have strong symbolic resonance).

    So, if we want to understand, say, their inflitration / intimidation tactics, we look at their behaviour, try to figure out the patterns and then start looking at cultural myths and myth patterns contained in Islam. BTW, this is also the same process that is used in constructing both CA, IO and PSYOPS counter-propaganda (or it should be... ).

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    What is more, my understanding was that we are talking about the professional education of military officers, so their primary requirement is to be skilled in the application of force. The cultural insights they need are extremely context specific and part of pre-deployment training, not an education package at AWC.
    For the average NCO or junior officer, this really doesn't mean that much and getting into the analytic details would be somewhat ridiculous, at least at the level of required, formal PME. Where it is appropriate in the PME cycle is in things like a general discussion of narratives (which is one of the technical terms for this) and then giving a few examples while making more available if people want to get into it deeper.

    You mentioned the primary requirement being the skilled application of force, and I don't disagree at all. The problem, however, is, to use an analogy, in figuring out where and how to apply the appropriate force to achieve the desired result (i.e. targeting and force selection). Now, the application of force assumes that that force will be "read" as a message; in effect, the type of force and target selection for force application is a "language". The real problem is the assumption that it is a universal language - it isn't - and this is where cultural logics and semantic networks come in.

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    I can't see where we disagree. I concur. Having studied what is laughingly called "Soviet Operational Art," it was entirely a product of both insightful, and flawed, experimentation and operational analysis - which is why PU was re-written 3 times in 15 years. If you wanted to understand the Soviet Army, you read PU, stuff from the Rayzan/Frunze and some Isby, not the collected works of Lenin.
    Hey, when I was trying to get a handle on the Soviets (many, MANY years ago), I just read Russian history - worked wonders!
    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/

  15. #55
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Now, the application of force assumes that that force will be "read" as a message; in effect, the type of force and target selection for force application is a "language". The real problem is the assumption that it is a universal language - it isn't - and this is where cultural logics and semantic networks come in.
    ... and, with reference to that type of force, will vary massively across both countries and cultures, so AWC is not the place to learn it. Pre-deployment training will be.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  16. #56
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default More Wingnutdom

    101. tommyd:


    This is a really informative thread, Thanks for all the great info.

    Europe is for most purposes already in the can from what I can gather on the subject.

    The U.S. is next.

    With the incoming administration there is no way we can fight off the attack. Why do you think the rest of the world basically supported Obama?
    Now that this has come to pass there will be no stopping the advancement of Islam. The Islamist now know they will have a much easier ride for at least the next 4 years. Does anyone really think the Obama administration will do much other than TALK…
    That is exactly what the Islamist are counting on,
    While the west TALKS and postures and takes comfort in being “PC” the Islamist are moving, building, expanding, fortifying their positions.
    Fundamental Tactics,
    They are on a War footing and the west is worried about what size their next flat panel T.V is going to be.
    Face the facts, The Political class in the U.S. is brain dead. The citizenship for the most part is too decadent to see the tsunami coming square on.
    Attention All Hands:
    Stand by for Heavy Rolls.
    Someone from PJ Media buy this guy a plane ticket to Prague, Budapest, or Berlin like Joe the plumber to look for the "lost" Europe living under Islamic law.

    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  17. #57
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Europe's just "lost" period.

    Although I agree that's a bit of a bizzare partisan sentiment, next time you feel up to it, read "War of Ideas" by Walid Phares. There's some pretty interesting insights into how the Islamists work. I would direct you straight to Knights Under the Prophet's Banner, but that's just a pain to read.

  18. #58
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Europe's just "lost" period.

    Although I agree that's a bit of a bizzare partisan sentiment, next time you feel up to it, read "War of Ideas" by Walid Phares. There's some pretty interesting insights into how the Islamists work. I would direct you straight to Knights Under the Prophet's Banner, but that's just a pain to read.
    I just can't buy into a giant Islamist conspiracy.. Especially of the type the wingnuts on that site are talking about with "infiltrators" and "agents" emplaced throughout our government.

    Most of the Muslims I have met in Europe have little desire to live under an Islamic state, hence why they live in Europe and not the ME.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  19. #59
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,191

    Default The lost continent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Europe's just "lost" period.
    Another myth gains momentum; China was "lost" to the communists, Vietnam was "lost" too and Weimar Germany was "stabbed in the back". Sounds very neat "lost" and IMHO is a shallow argument.

    Yes demography says the Muslim population in Europe will increase, yes some of their views maybe different; this does not mean Europe's evolution is set in stone. The vast majority of Muslims do not follow the version of their faith that AQ, extremists and radicals advocate.

    One could argue that the USA that the world has watched since 1945 has in the last decade dramatically changed. A smaller white / European population, a huge Spanish-speaking set of communities, not to overlook the Asians. No-one IHMO in Europe says the USA has been "lost".

    A brief response.

    davidbfpo

  20. #60
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    72

    Default

    When I say Europe is lost, I just mean its lost - those people are goofy as sin. The Germans are the worst - seriously, its like if you dont have a pee fetish you arent cool.


    I don't know if there's much of a conspiracy, really, AQ and simliar groups have made their goals pretty clear.

    So I grew up in a small neighborhood next door to a large Palestinian family. They're very religious, but no more than your average devout Baptist. The three families with kids in the area had 3 boys of similar age. We all grew up together, celebrating Christmas and Ramadan at eachother's houses.

    The Arab family's extended relatives were always over, and on special occasions big trips to the local mosque would ensue, for birthdays and such. The Mosque was just a good sized house across from the University.

    A couple years after 9/11 that Mosque was discovered to be part of terrorist financing network.

    For years we thought the idea that the Soviets had agents in high levels of government was just McCarthyist claptrap. We now know that our entire counterintelligence apparatus was designed with the crucial assistance of an MI6 officer "Kim" Philby. Years later we discovered that Philby had been a Soviet Agent since he was at Cambridge.

    I don't think Islamists have penetrated our security apparatus, no, but there is certainly something to be said for their clandestine capabilities.

Similar Threads

  1. The overlooked, underrated, and forgotten ...
    By tequila in forum Historians
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 10-18-2013, 07:36 PM
  2. Afghanistan troop surge could backfire, experts warn
    By jkm_101_fso in forum OEF - Afghanistan
    Replies: 69
    Last Post: 09-06-2008, 10:43 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-11-2008, 05:38 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-05-2006, 02:06 PM

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
  •