If you read one thing this day, this week, or even this month, read this article from War on the Rocks. This stark, sobering, and true assessment of U.S. strategic capability since Vietnam portrays the utter lack of strategy with which we have prosecuted every use of force event in the last half of the twentieth century and on to today. Most notably it breaks down the utter farcical nature of the Weinberger doctrine and the Powell corollary, which boils military force into something useless, and unattached from political realities. The article is also underpinned by the military’s near obsession with the concept of “conventional” war. This is something I challenge in my (someday soon to be released) short book, that an obsession with war “types” and conventional war has undermined our strategic capabilities and allows military commanders to remain mired in the operational level of war. Most importantly this piece reinforces the essential theories of Clausewitz, and his concept on the nature of warfare. We forget and misconstrue these lessons at our own peril. My favorite line, however, is “Carpet-bombing is not a strategy. Strategic bombing is a myth. The United States and Britain dropped tons of bombs on Germany during World War II, and it did not break Germany’s will. The United States dropped seven million tons of bombs during the Vietnam War, and it did not bring victory. Bombs alone cannot defeat an ideology.” How many times do we have to write this on the wall before we understand it? Enjoy. Oh, and yes, the guy in the image above, that is Curtis Lemay, I am sure you will get the connection.
This will be my first attempt at keeping a written record, so please forgive the mistakes, missteps, and possible long duration silence you may experience when reading what is published here. In trying to decide what exactly I wanted to portray here, and why I wanted to do so (I am still not sure about that part yet), I put my mind to trying to define the influences with which I order my own life, with the hope of making them “blog-able”. Herein I list these influences in no particular order of importance, as I am sure they will ebb and flow based on circumstance.
- Logos, Ethos, Pathos with an emphasis on the first two.
- Thinking about National Defense for the betterment of those institutions within it.
- Staunch Realism with the occasional idealistic detour.
- Service before self, especially in leadership.
- Striving, and often failing, to live the strenuous life.
- History is the enduring story that lends context to the present.
- The importance of balance in life, thinking, and politics.
- Strategic thinking is a never-ending, lifelong pursuit.
- Never mistake the power in the contemplation of, and action through, virtue.
- There is no finer title that could be placed on my headstone than that of “Raconteur”.
I will do my best to remain ideologically consistent, and in all hopefulness, thoughtful and entertaining. To close, a quote from one of the greatest men of any generation:
“We must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the days of Washington, which made great the men who preserved this Republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln.” – Theodore Roosevelt