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Politics In the Rear National will and developments back home for the intervening nations.

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Old 04-27-2014   #41
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Also problematic, by the way, is the scope of application of the term. As was pointed out, at some level, some inhabitants of parts of Afghanistan may have had democracy. However, the so-called nation state Afghanistan did not (and I suspect probably never will) have democracy. I say so-called nation state because it and many other problematic nations in the world today, had their nationhood handed to them (or forced upon them) by their former imperial masters/colonial overseers/occupiers.

In what follows I am taking a lead from what Fuchs pointed out in post 32,

The West has managed to ensure a mess in a lot of the so-called 3rd world by the way it realigned the world after the last 2 world wars. Now they are trying to defend their bad past by trying to fix their mistakes. But, surprise, surprise,they are using almost the exact same means as they used to create the first problem.

First, the West told folks, rather forcefully in many cases, what nation they were by telling them where their boundaries were, rather than letting them figure that out for themselves. Now the West is telling them, again rather forcefully, what kind of governments they must have.

This seems like two failures in observing the principle of self-determination. I suspect each is derived from some sense of guilt for having caused problems in the first place and now trying to assuage that guilt by "fixing" things. But why we do it is less important than that we do it and will not stop.

I seem to remember that the definition of madness is doing the same thing twice and expecting different outcomes.

So, perhaps the 1st world nations could stop telling people outside their own borders where to draw their boundaries or what kind of governments to have. If enough of those other people can get their act together long enough to create a self-governing entity that seems to have staying power (what counts as self-governing and for staying power for how long are as yet to be determined), then viola, we have a legitimate nation that may ask for help from the "stable" first world nations and expect to receive it. Any other form of invitation should be politely declined. Any impulse to intervene without an invitation should be immediately suppressed, hopefully by the citizens of the nation whose leadership has the impulse. If the majority of the nation has succumbed to lunacy, then the other first world nations must intervene, just as any family would with when Uncle Wally starts dancing in the street naked.

Dealing with non-state actors who are not attempting to engage in nation building is a job for police forces, not the military. So is dealing with would be nation builders who use terrorism outside their own planned national boundaries as a technique for trying to get what they want.

The devil, of course, is in the details--like what happens if/when the Pashtuns want part of Afghanistan, part of Iran, and part of Pakistan. But even details need a basic framework to contain them, first, don't they?

How does this respond to Lind? I suggest he is just one of those crazies who try to get different outcomes with the same method.
Boundaries are another part of the problem, and the unwillingness to redefine them. Look at the mission statement: "Our goals are for Iraqis to take full control of their country as soon as possible and to maintain its territorial integrity." Territorial Integrity is code for keeping the borders where they are.
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Old 04-27-2014   #42
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I am also looking for attempts to "solve" Iraq and Afghanistan via constructive or destructive attempts to "fix" the Army or its doctrine. There is the long running fight between Gentile and Nagl over COIN, the concept of Disruptive Thinkers, and Lind's latest attack. Can anyone think of others?
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Old 04-28-2014   #43
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture if strategy is aligning ends, ways, and means using all elements of national power and our stated ends were stable democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan what exactly did our military fail to do when it comes to the use of military power to set conditions for this to happen?
It would be interesting to have opinions on what conditions would have allowed those ends to be achieved, and whether those conditions were at any point achievable through the application of military force.
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Old 04-28-2014   #44
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Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture if strategy is aligning ends, ways, and means using all elements of national power and our stated ends were stable democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan what exactly did our military fail to do when it comes to the use of military power to set conditions for this to happen?
I'll throw out a few ideas:

(1) Not emphasizing to the political leadership the military resources that would be required to conduct such a mission; one general did that in his testimony to Congress and was promptly fired. Everyone else subsequently cowered.
(2) Not having a long-term plan of occupation; in Iraq, the plan was to push the regime out of power and hope for spontaneous democratization, which failed to materialize after the whole Iraqi government was dismantled indiscriminately. And in Afghanistan, the reliance on the Northern Alliance and ANSF proved equally problematic in a state with very little history of centralized political control. Notwithstanding the political policies aimed at making good politics instead of good strategy, someone somewhere in the military bureaucracy should have placed a contingency plan of some kind on the shelf rather than wait until orders from their political masters.
(3) The ad-hoc and troublesome pattern of 6-18 month rotations that destroyed any operational continuity in whatever plan that was visualized.
(4) Focusing on the political end-state (democratization) at the expense of the military end-state (disarmanent and/or defeat of the opposition). Victory on the battlefield comes before the collection of the spoils of war!
(5) Minimizing the enormority of the conflicts at hand while gathering all the benefits (i.e. budget, new powers, etc) that came with it. Institutionally, DoD was never put on a 100% war-footing - there was still competing priorities with the "small wars" (i.e. in procurement) that shaped strategic decisions. Following procedures and future force visions were never completely subordinated to the war effort.
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Old 04-28-2014   #45
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Just some other thoughts on this conversation:

If war is policy by other means, then military officers, at least general officers, are also to some extent responsible for policy. GOs are not simply managers of a large military enterprise only concerned with how military resources are managed, thus absolving them of all responsibility when policy fails, but also have significant input into how those resources should be managed, and towards what ends they are utilized. We should be careful about constructing a myth with the 'stabbed-in-the-back' theme between the military and the political leadership.

And, as many have mentioned in this thread already, since the war effort is subordinate to the political ends, the concept of the 'strategic corporal', et al, is not a perversion of political-military relationships, but that relationship taken to its logical extreme in an era of satured information where now tactical decisions have a direct impact on the political ends itself. But this is also to some extent the nature of 'small wars' that focus on combating non-state actors embedded in the social and political fabric of the operating area; securing local alliances or providing services and infrastructure can shape the battle as much as eliminating key leaders or capturing enemy equipment.

I also disagree that understanding war is exclusive or independent of political science or sociology; we have already agreed that war is a political act, and it is also intensely human endeavor, which places it firmly within both fields of study. There is no excuse in the modern, complex world for senior military officials to be ignorant of either science; this only reinforces the argument that military leaders bear responsibility to some extent for the failures of the wars.

Perhaps the problem is that our generals are managers, not leaders.
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Old 04-28-2014   #46
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AP, just a quick reply. My intent would not be to claim anyone "stabbed us in the back", only that claims that better tactics or promotion system would have changed the outcome.

I am on the fence about what a general "should" know about sociology and political science versus what they probably did know based on the training they received prior to 9/11. I think we learned that we need a better understanding of the human domain. Not sure if complaining about how things should have been is helpful. But I do plan to emphasis the positive changes that are occurring as a result of this experience.

You could add micro economics to the things generals should know. Luckily at least one General in theater understood the economic consequences of our actions. He was ultimately recognized and moved up. Whether he is a hero of a false demagogue is now a matter of debate.
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Old 04-28-2014   #47
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Default How About Some Accountability...

Look at South Korea..... the Captain is in jail and the prime Minister resigned...we need that here. Look what happens when the Generals Phuc-Dup and loose and they did loose.... look what happens....... they get promoted and a gold plated pension.

Every General Officer should be fired and loose his pension if he looses a War. In fact ALL PENSIONS AND BENEFITS SHOULD STOP IMMEDIATELY. I participated in a study in the early 70's either Army or DOD don't remember which one but here was the NEW MILITARY DEAL 6 years you get 60 thousand when you ETS. 10 years 100k, 20 years 200k. No permanent pension and no medical benefits unless injured on active duty.

If you want to fight then you better win and at the end you get a bonus and a well deserved thank you. Accountability it works because it will help create Honor and Respect something that is sadly missing in Government Institutions including the Higher Ranks of the Military.

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Old 04-28-2014   #48
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There is a critical problem in your proposal:

It would motivate the generals whose reputation is at stake to push harder and harder, again and again for some more Friedman unit in order to avoid punishment.

What you're proposing is essentially a bonus system, after all: The pensions turn into a bonus system the moment the general becomes responsible for the war. High performance - high bonus. Failure - no bonus.

I know a governmental agency tasked to support high tech start-ups with equity capital for loans or economic policy purposes.
Its management board also gets bonuses.
Some of the start-ups supported are zombies. They keep getting fresh money in order to avoid that the management board needs to write off previous investments in these failures.



I wrote reputation on top because they wouldn't necessarily lose money. Many flag rank officers (especially those who really lead a campaign) will later 'earn' money with books, speeches, 'consulting' or from the arms industry directly.
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Old 04-29-2014   #49
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Default Blast from the Past

Quote:
Originally Posted by Germany's High Seas Fleet in the World War, Kindle location 4082ff
I should like to point out here that those in command . . .had no right to exercise a decisive influence on the conduct of the war, but . . . [a senior commander], being responsible for the execution of orders, could make representations if he found the conditions imposed on him too disadvantageous . . . .
This is from the memoir of Admiral Reinhard Scheer, commander of the German High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in WW1. In the chapter from which this quotation is taken, he is discussing the German leadership's deliberations regarding unrestricted submarine warfare.

Sounds like he is advocating a remonstration by the military regarding the paucity of resources (ways and means) to achieve the required end, but he is also suggesting that commenting on the ends is not with the military's brief. But that was a senior officer from Imperial Germany, not from the US Army of the 21st century. Still, I submit that the principle of civilian control may be so ingrained in the US military that senior officers may well have a similar point of view as that expressed by Admiral Scheer.

Folks should be careful what they wish for. Without this deep seated respect for civilian control found in the US Military, the country's changes in government might not have been as stables as they have been.
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Old 04-29-2014   #50
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wm,

I appreciate your concern, however I wonder if the division in civil-military relations is either artificial or too stringently policed. Do civilians really control the military?

First, 32 of 43 presidents (74.4%) had military service prior to becoming president. Twelve (27.9%) were generals. While these experiences can be separated institutionally, I don't think they can be demarcated on a personal level, meaning that their military experiences, perspectives, skills influenced their policy decisions. On a lower level, the military already influences policy through political actions as a bureaucracy (i.e. the timely announcement of delaying a carrier's refit during the sequestration debate; selective intelligence reporting, etc) or through the revolving door of retiring officials, lobbyists, think tanks, and corporate executives. The military may not decide which country to attack next, but it exercises significant influence on nearly every other policy decision. Is that civilian 'control'?

Second, what about the 'insurgent' approach to influencing civil-military relations and policy decisions? I.e. social media mobilization of veterans to effect a political decision. I think it's now possible that this relationship can be usurped from the bottom-up given the right conditions; i.e. strong moral outrage and mass action mobilized through social media.

Third, it's in military action that the President exercises the most unrestrained executive power contingent only on the cooperation of the military leadership. In this sense, the designation of the President as a 'civilian' is really rather arbitrary insofar he simply does not hold a military rank, but for all other intents and purposes his power is as absolute as any king or dictator restrained only by the increasingly subjective constraint of "lawful orders". The President can invade a country without a declaration of war, detain and surveil US citizens without warrant, and even order their deaths -- all by military actions. By most accounts, the invasion of Iraq was illegal but the military did not object - so where does that leave the assignment of accountability and responsibility?

So, I question the practical realities of the extent of civilian control and wonder where it's boundaries ought to be drawn to optimize military effectiveness and protection of democratic integrity. In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, did the protection of the norm of 'civilian control' exercise such a decisive impact on the senior leaders' incentives that they simply failed to object to bad policy and/or strategy? Or did they perceive opportunities for advancement from a parochial and/or institutional perspective when presented with the policy?
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Old 04-29-2014   #51
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wm,

I appreciate your concern, however I wonder if the division in civil-military relations is either artificial or too stringently policed. Do civilians really control the military?

First, 32 of 43 presidents (74.4%) had military service prior to becoming president. Twelve (27.9%) were generals. While these experiences can be separated institutionally, I don't think they can be demarcated on a personal level, meaning that their military experiences, perspectives, skills influenced their policy decisions. On a lower level, the military already influences policy through political actions as a bureaucracy (i.e. the timely announcement of delaying a carrier's refit during the sequestration debate; selective intelligence reporting, etc) or through the revolving door of retiring officials, lobbyists, think tanks, and corporate executives. The military may not decide which country to attack next, but it exercises significant influence on nearly every other policy decision. Is that civilian 'control'?

Second, what about the 'insurgent' approach to influencing civil-military relations and policy decisions? I.e. social media mobilization of veterans to effect a political decision. I think it's now possible that this relationship can be usurped from the bottom-up given the right conditions; i.e. strong moral outrage and mass action mobilized through social media.

Third, it's in military action that the President exercises the most unrestrained executive power contingent only on the cooperation of the military leadership. In this sense, the designation of the President as a 'civilian' is really rather arbitrary insofar he simply does not hold a military rank, but for all other intents and purposes his power is as absolute as any king or dictator restrained only by the increasingly subjective constraint of "lawful orders". The President can invade a country without a declaration of war, detain and surveil US citizens without warrant, and even order their deaths -- all by military actions. By most accounts, the invasion of Iraq was illegal but the military did not object - so where does that leave the assignment of accountability and responsibility?

So, I question the practical realities of the extent of civilian control and wonder where it's boundaries ought to be drawn to optimize military effectiveness and protection of democratic integrity. In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, did the protection of the norm of 'civilian control' exercise such a decisive impact on the senior leaders' incentives that they simply failed to object to bad policy and/or strategy? Or did they perceive opportunities for advancement from a parochial and/or institutional perspective when presented with the policy?
As you note correctly, POTUS is the US military's Commander-in-Chief. From that perspective every US military member is a subordinate to the POTUS. At the GO/FO level, some are subordinate commanders, and some are staff officers. Staff officers' first rule of conduct is to do everything in their power to find the best course of action and then convince the boss to take that course. However, once the boss makes a decision, the next rule of conduct for the staff is to back that decision to the hilt and make sure it is executed as well as it can be. Subordinate commanders have a similar relationship with their next higher.

Should it turn out that officers are not able to support these two rules of conduct, then they ought not continue to serve. One would hope that they would end their service voluntarily, but sometimes, as in MacArthur's case, they must be removed. Some others may take what I call the Speer defense (after German Armaments Minister Albert Speer) and stay because they believe that their replacements would do even more damage.

The US military may not choose to override the decisions of the President. To do so would be to violate their oath to support and defend the Constitution. Military members may just like any other citizen try to convince those with that power to impeach the President They may testify before Congress as well. But they may not take the law in their own hands as we find in the book "Seven Days in May."

Two things about your discussion of prior Presidents' military service:
1. The fact of their service should have made them aware of the principle of civilian leadership (which they could have used to their advantage as President--I'm not sure that any did however).
2. I find your assertions about the military service of past Presidents to be largely a red herring. Only 3--Washington, Grant and Eisenhower--had experience at a level that I would consider as developing a meaningful understanding of the skills required by the country's chief executive. Of the rest of those who reached GO rank--Arthur, Garfield, both Harrisons, Hayes, Jackson, Johnson, Pierce, and Taylor--only Jackson and Taylor demonstrated significant independent command leadership with continued success. WH Harrison had some success against Indians but failed miserably during the War of 1812. With the possible exception of Benjamin Harrison, the rest were either largely undistinguished in their service or served only at a relatively low level of tactical command (regiment or 19th century brigade). Of this last group, all but one (Pierce) served in the Civil War, a war notable for the number of inept "political" generals.
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Old 04-29-2014   #52
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
There is a critical problem in your proposal:

It would motivate the generals whose reputation is at stake to push harder and harder, again and again for some more Friedman unit in order to avoid punishment.

What you're proposing is essentially a bonus system, after all: The pensions turn into a bonus system the moment the general becomes responsible for the war. High performance - high bonus. Failure - no bonus.

I know a governmental agency tasked to support high tech start-ups with equity capital for loans or economic policy purposes.
Its management board also gets bonuses.
Some of the start-ups supported are zombies. They keep getting fresh money in order to avoid that the management board needs to write off previous investments in these failures.



I wrote reputation on top because they wouldn't necessarily lose money. Many flag rank officers (especially those who really lead a campaign) will later 'earn' money with books, speeches, 'consulting' or from the arms industry directly.
1-It isn't my system, it was real a study that was done.

2-The time issues you bring up could be dealt with. Warden in particular teaches that there must be a limit on time as well as money and bloodshed.

3-I agree about the book contracts, speeches, etc. but at least that would not be Tax Payers money.

Bottom line until there is some form of accountability with some real sanctions nothing much will change IMO. Why should there be? It is a gravy train if you happen to be on it. We have created a Military 1%.

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Old 04-30-2014   #53
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wm,

My point is there is more than one dimension in analyzing the conditions of civil-military relations and the appropriate boundaries for the behaviors of senior military officers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm
Should it turn out that officers are not able to support these two rules of conduct, then they ought not continue to serve. One would hope that they would end their service voluntarily, but sometimes, as in MacArthur's case, they must be removed. Some others may take what I call the Speer defense (after German Armaments Minister Albert Speer) and stay because they believe that their replacements would do even more damage.
They 'should' but why don't they? As it appears, they attempted to fulfill your two 'rules of conduct' without regard for the consequences. And with the exception of a few senior officers relieved for one reason or another, they all benefited handsomely from their activities irregardless of the outcomes. Is this a question of incentives? Opportunities?
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Old 04-30-2014   #54
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wm,

My point is there is more than one dimension in analyzing the conditions of civil-military relations and the appropriate boundaries for the behaviors of senior military officers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm
Should it turn out that officers are not able to support these two rules of conduct, then they ought not continue to serve. One would hope that they would end their service voluntarily, but sometimes, as in MacArthur's case, they must be removed. Some others may take what I call the Speer defense (after German Armaments Minister Albert Speer) and stay because they believe that their replacements would do even more damage.
They 'should' but why don't they? As it appears, they attempted to fulfill your two 'rules of conduct' without regard for the consequences. And with the exception of a few senior officers relieved for one reason or another, they all benefited handsomely from their activities irregardless of the outcomes. Is this a question of incentives? Opportunities?
AP:
Your initial sentence speaks to more than one dimension in analysis. What are the dimensions you have in mind? Your ultimate paragraph seems to suggest that "it is all about the Benjamins" for these senior folks, which is a single dimension.

I am willing to acknowledge that this may be true for some of them. However, based on my experiences with many senior leaders, a variation of the Speer Defense that I mentioned before seems much more the case. If it were really just about money and power, then I submit that most of these leaders would have left before the magic 10 year mark, when many officers realize they are half way to a chance to get a pretty nice pension. Or, they would not have joined at all because they could have made much more in the private sector. BTW the pension piece , in my day, was still iffy until 18.5 years of service. You could be bounced at 18yrs, 5 months and get nothing after a third passover for promotion.
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Old 05-01-2014   #55
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Wink

I am a horrible example, but I don't think you can find a single answer. There were those who stayed for the Benjamins, and there were those who stayed based on the Speer defense. Many of us simply stayed because we knew the nation needed leaders and the bench was not deep. We knew that many of those on the bench sucked. We may not have been the best players on the field, but we had the interests of those who worked for us and those at home who paid our salaries at heart.

But I don't think that answers the question. It might be best if we move further comments to the "William S Lind and the US Officer Corps" thread on how to deal with the problems our current system presents to the officer corps.

Moderator adds: discussion thread referred to is:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=20590
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Old 05-01-2014   #56
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wm,

I don't think it's "all about the benjamins" for all of them (maybe not even most of them). Some may be driven by your so-called "Speer effect" - others because they perceive they have no other options within or outside the Army. Some might genuinely agree with the prescribed policy despite significant public or institutional criticism. In the specific case of Iraq, I think after Shinsheki was fired, a combination of passivists and opportunitists subordinated themselves to Rumsfeld's wizardry about a fast, quick, and cheap war.

If something is known to be 'impossible' beforehand by the technical experts designated to implement it, and the cost of implementation is measured in human lives, is there not an ethical responsibility to protest?
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Old 05-01-2014   #57
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If something is known to be 'impossible' beforehand by the technical experts designated to implement it, and the cost of implementation is measured in human lives, is there not an ethical responsibility to protest?
Some, although not in the administration, did protest. The quote in post #5 is from one voice arguing against Larry Diamond, one of the architects of the Bush administration’s plan. But that plan was built largely on the belief that we won the Cold War because democracy is the best system in existence and everyone wants to be like us, not that Communism had inherent economic detriments. It was largely blind faith*:

Quote:
Pundits, policymakers, and presidential candidates have offered opinions on the pace of political change in Iraq, but they have cited neither wellestablished theories of democratization nor rigorous social science evidence to
support their views.4 Scholars have an obligation to address such policyrelevant questions as how long it will take for Iraq to democratize, but thus far comparative, theoretically informed empiricism has been notably absent.

The result is confusion about both Iraq’s present accomplishments and its future course. Elections are lauded as symbolic of the arrival of democracy, but every democratic theorist agrees that there is far more to democracy than elections.
The voter turnout of the courageous Iraqi people is said to signal the triumph of democracy, but history shows that it has never been the unwillingness to vote that has prevented democracy, but rather the failure to honor
the results of those elections.5 An Iraqi-headed government may embody sovereignty, but scholars of democracy are unanimous that the tricky part of maintaining the monopoly on the legitimate use of force lies not in creating instruments
of power, but in constraining its illegitimate exercise. That requires a web of respected institutions, mobilized interests, and deeply rooted values, not foreign armies. Immediate problems—forming a government, holding an
election, or maintaining security—have been addressed as if their resolution would be decisive in engineering a democratic Iraq, without consulting the historical record of democratization elsewhere.
Long Time Coming: Prospects for Democracy in Iraq

I suspect that if there were those in the adminstration that disagreed with the potential for success they met the same fate as GEN Shinseki.

*Interestingly, it is the same blind faith that people everywhere think and act just like Americans are currently using when examining the crisis in the Ukraine or how to deal with Syria. For some Americans, the idea all people are created equal equates to all people have the same morals and values we do. It is part of the American myth.
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Old 05-01-2014   #58
slapout9
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So eveything about Lind no matter what is supposed to go to the other thread? Is that correct? Cause I got some stuff I want to say
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Old 05-01-2014   #59
TheCurmudgeon
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Slap,

Yes please.
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Old 05-01-2014   #60
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Much of what the military has been asked to do, and how the military has opted to do it clearly fails the "Acceptable, Suitable, Feasible" test.

I believe the following position is on point:

“Democracy, good governance and modernity cannot be imported or imposed from outside a country.”Emile Lahoud, President of Lebanon, 1998-2007
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"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)
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