The Rhymes of History: OODA Edition

156635-ISIS-largeThis is pretty interesting, and we would be well to file it in the “Rhymes of history” file. Whatever happens-it has before, probably often. Here’s Thomas Fleming bringing advice from George Washington to our present problems.

Another way to phrase this, that I use, it was developed by an Air force officer, is the OODA Loop. It’s a good guide to gaining and maintaining the initiative. I wrote some about it here. The problem here is mostly with the ‘Observe’ part. our NCA seems to be totally oblivious to anything except fundraising, and when he does do something it is too little-too late, and often the wrong thing anyway.

Channeling George: Regaining the Initiative

“By the spring of 1972, President Nixon’s decision to ‘Vietnamize’ the war was in full swing. He had withdrawn almost all our combat troops. Only a few hundred advisors remained behind, working with various South Vietnamese divisions. The overconfident North Vietnamese launched an offensive aimed at ending the war. It was a disaster for them. They were defeated everywhere. Their worst humiliation came in the town of An Loc, where a South Viet force, outnumbered five to one, held out while American airpower pulverized the attackers. Suddenly we saw a way to seize and keep the initiative without recommitting large numbers of American infantry.”[…]

“Like President Truman in Korea, President George W. Bush found a commander who knew how to deal with the situation. General David Petraeus saw that the real problem was our inability to retain control of towns and cities where we had defeated the enemy. As we moved on to other embattled sites, the enemy, in standard guerilla fashion, infiltrated men and weapons into the supposedly pacified territory, and resumed their destructive tactics, with the help of the intimidated local population. Petraeus’s answer to this was “The Surge.” With forty thousand reinforcements, he was able to keep the places we pacified under our control, and the peace-hungry majority soon turned pro-American. That is how we regained the initiative in Iraq and won the war.”

“But it hasn’t stayed won, alas.”

“That’s because President Obama, pressured by the left wing of the Democratic Party, withdrew too many troops too soon, and there were enough guerrillas still in the game to take advantage of it. When a President listens to domestic politicians instead of to his generals, we have a veritable formula for losing the initiative.

– See more at: http://hnn.us/article/156635#sthash.cTIYFW28.dpuf

via History News Network | Channeling George: Regaining the Initiative.

He’s indisputably right, of course. What he doesn’t talk about is the parallels with Carter as well. Especially the utter inability to see that not everybody in the world is like them, some are far more ruthless, and likely motivated by things that we do not even start to understand.

To me, our biggest problem here, though is that we have utterly lost the initiative to a bunch of rabid barbarians, and the Iraqi minorities are paying a horrendous price for out cluelessness. Obama can blame the intelligence agencies all he desires, it’s an utterly transparent lie. It has been obvious for months, if not years, even in the middle of the country. The only reason for not seeing it, is an unwillingness to face reality.

Unless, and until, we regain the initiative, it is going to get worse, maybe much worse. This is not the mostly rational Soviet Union we are (sort-of) fighting here.

Cavafy comes to mind again.

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution

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Neville Obama and the # Hashtag War

Neville Chamberlain

Cover of Neville Chamberlain

“F*** the EU,” top State official Victoria Nuland said on a phone call.

This phone call had been covertly recorded by Russia and was then leaked to the press, which should have been a signal that Russia, at least, was taking this more seriously than Obama’s team was.

The F-bomb is deployed because Nuland’s frustrated that the EU isn’t doing more to pressure Viktor Yanukovych, the Putin-backed Ukrainian president whose recent deal with Moscow instigated the last few months of protests.

Why wasn’t the EU doing “more” to pressure Yanukovych, Putin’s choice for President?

Here’s the thing: Because the EU was thinking hard about the Ukraine and realistically about itself.

The EU didn’t want to force Yanukovych out of power, nor encourage the Maidan movement to force him out of power, because they knew that Russia would react as Russia has in fact reacted.

And the EU knew this about themselves: They were not prepared to do a damn thing about a Russian invasion.

via “F*** the EU,” Revisited.

There’s quite a bit more that you should read but, he’s right. And why weren’t they prepared to do anything about it? It comes down to a simple question. With what? Including US forces in Europe there are maybe 300,000 troops in Europe, including the UK.Some are superb like the US and UK, battle tested, and ready to go, most aren’t. And most are in Germany or England. That’s quite a road march, to get to Ukraine where there are supposedly 150,000 Russian troops waiting for them, and that leaves nothing for anything else in Europe, like the Baltics, or Poland.

Of course we have 400,000 people just at Ft Hood, in Texas, which is fine and good. We haven’t run that old exercise REFORGER (which you older guys might remember stood for Return of Forces to Germany) since the end of the cold war, and even then it presupposed prepositioned equipment there. Is it still there? I have no idea, if it is it’s 30 years old now, and it’s in the old West Germany still a much longer road march than either the Fulda Gap or the north German plain. See the plan was to take over nearly every civilian plane in the United States in the build up to war to ferry the troops to marry up with their equipment. Mostly it was always a command post exercise, because of the cost if nothing else.

Obama’s been called Neville Chamberlain a lot lately, in reference to the Munich Conference and appeasement. In fact Intelligence Squared ran a debate in London about it last year (I think I ran this once before, but here it is again)

I find the yeas quite persuasive here, especially Dr. Charmley’s point on the people not being ready to go to war. In fact, I think at Argentia Bay, in that famous church parade on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales, the American people were at about the same point as the British were at the time of Munich. And that’s a problem in a democracy, it doesn’t work well to have a divided people while you are trying to fight a war. I can’t be the only one to remember Vietnam. The other thing that bothers me in that video is that the nays are arguing completely from hindsight, and if we’re going to use history as a guide, that teleological stance makes your arguments useless, or worse. Simply because we only know what we know.

In plain English, if Putin decides to move, Ukraine is doomed, nobody can get there in time to do anything, and even if we had started when the Crimea blew up, I doubt we could have dome much.

So, in a backhanded sort of way, I agree with Obama on this one. There is the caveat that if our intelligence agencies were good for anything but snooping on American citizens we might have had enough warning to accomplish something. But even then, I suspect we’d be dusting off our Tennyson, you know the one that begins “Into the valley of death, rode the 600.”

That said, if you can’t do anything about something, it is a very good idea to sit down and shut up. Not do stupid stuff like this

 

Unless, I suppose, you really do think international relations leading up to a war is like a girls’ junior high school.

But I suppose that is what we get when we elect and reelect a president that thinks words are deeds.

And the fact is that I don’t trust these juvenile amateurs to lead us to the outhouse, let alone to war.

Sorry, Ukraine, you should have known better than to trust Obama

As usual a poem comes to mind

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
 
            The barbarians are due here today.
 
 
Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.
 
 
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
            He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
            replete with titles, with imposing names.
 
 
Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
 
 
Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.
 
 
Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?
 
            Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
            And some who have just returned from the border say
            there are no barbarians any longer.
 
 
And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution. 

C.P. Cavafy

 

 

 

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SOTU?

FUBAR

Watch a leader’s take on why

I watched this instead. Much more interesting.

Much batter than being attacked and lied to.

 

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In My Lifetime…America transforms from honorable to dishonorable in fifty years-a commentary by Don Koenig

Ozzie Nelson

Ozzie Nelson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I don’t have much to add to this, I pretty much agree with Sherry. I think it to be the base problem of our country. We’re going to have a major problem in being the America we know and love without an honorably citizenry. We always had a subset of dishonorable citizens (see any western film) but on average we have been able to trust our fellow citizens. That seems to be changing. If so, we may be done. If not, we need to change it back.

 

We are seeing the results now of an amoral ruling class in Washington (and in other parts of our government as well). It’s not pretty and if it continues we will prove again as Yeats said “The center cannot hold”.

 

The early 1960′s certainly were not perfect but the vast majority of people in America led fairly honorable lives back then. The mid 60′s probably were the very last of the Happy Days of Richie Cunningham. That TV program and programs like the Andy Griffith Show or Ozzie and Harriet were not that far off the mark for small town white America in the 50′s and most of the 60′s. There were a lot of children in those days, birth control was limited, abortion was not legal or acceptable, and there was little confusion about the role of males and females. People in most of America were living pretty honorable lives in those days. My, how things have changed from the honorable toward the dishonorable in much of America in just fifty years.

If there is any one thing that changed our culture, it would be the destruction of the family unit. Fifty years ago people basically stayed married. The man of the house worked and the wife stayed home and raised the children. The family with an extended family of relatives in the same vicinity was something most of us had in common fifty years ago. The family and not government took care of those in need. The family had a stabilizing influence because most were held accountable to the values of their family.

The destruction of the family unit can be viewed from both a sociological and a religious perspective. Creeping socialism with its entitlement programs and big government social engineering is the major sociological reason for the breakdown of the traditional family and liberal teachings coming from our religious institutions was the major religious reason.

In just fifty years America has “progressed” from almost all of our children being raised by two parents to half of our children being raised by one parent. If that is not destructive enough, that one parent usually has to work so children are really being brought up by the social system and by peers. Without strong leadership in the family, the most influential people in many of the lives of American children are street smart punks and the bad characters of our “entertainment” media. They teach children to be disrespectful, foul-mouthed, and to emulate all that is dishonorable in any civil society.

Some Liberals will label me a racist for just giving the history of the family breakdown in America but nothing could be further from the truth. The real racists are those that put their race above the Human Race that most of the rest of us are in (psychopaths could be soulless exceptions). With that said, the breakdown of the family structure in America first started among blacks in the 50′s.

After World War II many southern black men that honorably served in the military looked for jobs in the industrial north. Many of the jobs that black men could only get hired for were the low paying jobs that white men would not do. Many black men lost self-respect and became frustrated and angry. It led to the downward spiral into hostility and behaviors that destroyed many two parent black families.

 

Continue reading In My Lifetime…America transforms from honorable to dishonorable in fifty years-a commentary by Don Koenig.

 

I don’t have any easy answers, this is going to have to be fixed, one person at a time, or not.

 

A Reminder: Doubling Down On Stupid

unclesamI want to take a bit of time to remind you of this. I know you know it, but sometimes we forget to show it. I, like most of you am conservative, and believe we are all responsible for our own welfare. That’s all very well, and in truth it’s what built western civilization. Still, many of our countrymen have not had the luxury of learning that.

As we watch the implosion of Obamacare, and nearly every other aspect of this presidency, the urge to say “I told you so” is nearly impossible to resist. And there are indeed scenarios of high (and low) comedy in it. In fact it is almost impossible not to laugh as the absurdities pile up. I know cause I can’t resist either, particularly as the model, the British NHS, seems to be at least in part unraveling as well.

By no means am I saying that we should not fight this monstrous program(s): we will and we must.

But we also need to remember this: many, many of our countrymen, through no conscious fault of their own are being hurt, and many of them hurt badly by this breakdown of our society. We may believe, and we may well be correct, that their belief in a free lunch in all its multifaceted distorted images caused this, but in truth, we who know that are far better educated and knowledgeable about how the real world works.

They may be stupid, they may be uninformed, they may be many things, they are also our countrymen, and we need to take care not to inflict more pain on them than we can help. We know that Washington (in either party or the bureaucracy) will do little to reduce their pain, so as always it will be up to us, as individual citizen to preserve what we can of them.

Note again, I am not saying that we should necessarily not fight these terrible policies, we must. But we need to keep in mind that there are many Americans that are being hurt physically or mentally in the battle, and it is important to help (and educate) them as well.

Along this line, one of my favorite bloggers, Cassandra at Villanious Company posted this today, I’d like very much if you were to read it and contemplate it.

And then rejoin the battle because our country really is at stake, there will be casualties, that’s unavoidable. It would be well, though, if we didn’t gloat at their pain

Doubling Down On Stupid

One of the more amusing Twitter memes to come out of the White House’s National Park Service antics was #SpiteHouse. No, we didn’t link to it, but we laughed just the same. So we can’t help wondering how this sort of thing is any different from the Obama administration’s recent display of pettiness?

SHOULDA TAKEN THAT LIFE PRESERVER THE GOP WAS READY TO THROW: Jeanne Shaheen: Hey, maybe Obama should think about delaying that individual mandate. “You know they’re all thinking about it, even if they won’t all say so.” If I were the GOP, my position would be that that ship has sailed, and you’re going to have to live with the results.

The problem ought to be obvious here. Obama isn’t going to have to live with the results, because his health insurance doesn’t depend on the successful operation of the federal exchanges. Neither do the policies of Congress or cabinet members like Katherine Sebelius.

Who’s going to suffer the most if Republicans cut their constituents’ noses off to spite the DNC? People like Elise, who had their own insurance but received cancellation letters from their providers. People who didn’t ask for the so-called Affordable Care Act to be foisted upon them and are now suffering the consequences of a policy they opposed from the start:

I’m pretty sure I can buy health insurance directly from my current carrier, without going through the exchanges. At first glance, it looks like I can get a policy that will cost about the same as the one I have now but with much higher out-of-pocket costs. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about that. Seriously thrilled about knowing I won’t have to choose between using the exchanges and going without coverage. Sarcastically thrilled about getting less for my money.

Villainous Company: Doubling Down On Stupid.

The Supreme Court, Watchtowers, and Anniversaries

English: The Supreme Court of the United State...

English: The Supreme Court of the United States. Washington, D.C. Français : La Cour suprême des États-Unis. Washington D.C., États-Unis. ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Høyesterett i USA. Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so, the Supreme Court struck down DOMUS (the defense of Marriage act. From The Daily Caller

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

President Barack Obama praised the court’s ruling on the federal marriage act, which he said “was discrimination enshrined in law.”

“It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people,” Obama said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.”

The other high court decision was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month. […]

“We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,” Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.

In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s liberal justices.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

Both are very narrow, and in truth the one on California’s Proposition 8 was mostly that the group defending it didn’t have standing. And DOMA was also very narrow. In fact, if I understand correctly, what it does is allow equal federal benefits to people with legitimate (according to their states) same sex marriage, if I’m correct there, I actually have no problem with it.
And in truth, as a small government guy, I tend to approve of trashing it, because I don’t really think that marriage is any of the government’s (especially federal) business. And those lucky people in their same-sex marriages will be so happy to know that they, like traditional marriage partners are now subject to the Federal tax marriage penalty like the rest of us. It could be worse, it’s between $400 and $700 a year is all. Thanks for helping out guys.
cropped-desert_monast-sm-682400381Strangely, or maybe not, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of when Jess and I met in the blogging world, our first comments had to do with the Court upholding Obamacare (seems like a lot more than a year ago doesn’t it?)
So while Obamacare and maybe these decisions as well are terrible for the country, they gave me a very positive benefit, a new dearest friend, whom I treasure greatly, and always shall. Thanks, Jess, so much for your help and support over the last (ridiculously eventful) year.
These are the from the first posts where we commented  each other’s blogs, on 28 June 2012, who knew it would be as important as it turned out.

Ok, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect (and read) on the decision now. I figured out quite a while ago that lawyers use words in such strange ways that you need one to translate, so I was waiting for Dan Miller, and I’m nobodies political strategist, so I lean on others.

If I’m reading this right, The Court put a limit on the Commerce clause today, that’s good, not as good as overturning Wickard, but good. In addition they told the administration that if they want to raise taxes for healthcare they could but, it would be explicity be a tax, one of the largest tax increases in history.

Continue reading The Supreme Court, Obamacare, and the Future

A word of sympathy and a prayer for all my American Catholic friends. This too shall pass.

As St. Peter reminds us:

1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

A prayerful thought for American Catholics | All Along the Watchtower.

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