ON WARDan of tdaxp
is becoming quite the Boydian commentator lately - ain't that a PISSR
Speaking of the Boydians, an essay at Defense and the National Interest
by William S. Lind caught my eye for the following passage
:"The officials said the United States would win any projected conflict across the globe, but the path to victory could be more complicated.“There is no doubt of what the outcome is going to be," a top defense official said. "Risk to accomplish the task isn't even part of the discussion.” It isn’t, but it certainly should be. The idea that the U.S. military cannot be defeated is disconnected from reality. Let me put it plainly: the U.S. military can be beaten. Any military in history could be beaten, including the Spanish army of Olivares’s day, which had not lost a battle in a century until it met the French at Rocroi. Sooner or later, we will march to our Rocroi, and probably sooner the way things are going.Why? Because war is the province of chance. You cannot predict the outcome of a war just by counting up the stuff on either side and seeing who has more. Such “metrics” leave out strategy and stratagem, pre-emption and trickery, generalship and luck. They leave out John Boyd’s all-important mental and moral levels. What better example could we have than the war in Iraq, which the Pentagon was sure was over the day we took Baghdad? Can these people learn nothing? "Government, by nature if not design, tends to learn nothing and remember everything.
I do not agree with Lind in every respect. The United States has not had a hyperaggressive foreign policy since 1991 but a wildly erratic one bereft of strategic direction, driven by the need to respond to the actions of others. Or worse, to ignore the actions of others based upon short-term political interests and public opinion polls. American hyperactivity has often been paired with a dolorous indolence in the face of obvious dangers.
Lind is dead square right on the folly of leaders who cut themselves off from dissenting views and attempt to manipulate their own information flows. All you accomplish by doing this in the long term is to royally screw-up your own analytical judgement by tampering with the feedback loop.
Treasure your critics, especially the ones who seem to hate you and even when they seem to always be wrong. They are like the slave of the Roman Imperator whispering " Remember, thou art mortal".