…a miscellany today…largely from tag surfing today while waiting for slow sites to load…
I don’t agree with everything in this post from Rebecca Griffin but the information on the real cost of this Afghan War helps add perspective when we question the aims of the conflict – if the aim is really to counter Al-Qaeda, then for these $$$ could we not be smarter about it: Jim Gant’s Tribal Engagement Team concept starts to look even better…I do think, though, it reading posts like Rebecca’s, we need to cognisant of what Afghanistan might be like if the US (and nato in deliberate lower case) wasn’t there and how a withdrawal will actually work – we don’t want to be seeing helicopters off the Embassy roof again and dealing with a another generation of ‘boat people’….
Keeping with a COIN theme, People First provides some guidance on using the ‘New Social Media (NSM)’. Interesting in its own right but, still thinking COIN, do these sound familiar (direct quotes in italics):
And such a relationship can only be lengthened if both parties are happy and satisfied through two things:
1) the company (security forces?) listening to their stakeholders (‘the people’?); and
2) the stakeholders (‘the people’?) giving honest information, and feedback regarding a company’s (security forces?) product and services (strategy?).
Like, y’know, we don’t what they really want and they don’t really know why we’re here or what we want…and it gets better:
The way to go is for companies (security forces?) to squeeze all the information that they can from their stakeholders (‘the people’?) and use it to their advantage. Not only will the company (security forces?) prosper but also the stakeholders (‘the people’?) would be happy and satisfied. Could this be what GEN Vance means when he talks about getting ‘the people’ to make a choice? I’m not a big fan of the ‘our way or the highway’ approach to COIN but this does highlight a clear breakdown in understanding on all sides, the Taliban being at least one other player in the game..uh-oh that’s getting Clausewitzian: ‘the people’, the military, and the (shadow) government…hmmm…
On one of the CAC blogs there is a tactical decision conundrum (we used to call them games but this is serious now) regarding a sniper and an armed child. It’s a lose/lose one but the discussion is interesting and passionate – for me it immediately brings to mind Jim Molan’s observation on the need to have DAMCON preprepared for such situations so that we can place the responsibility back on those who would use children in war…as too who would or who wouldn’t shoot, that can only lies in the hands and the heart of the shooter…
…and ethics and children brings us to my final point for the day, and I really do (yes, I must) take issue with John Birmingham over Jessica Watson, currently bidding to become the world’s youngest circumnavigating solo sailor – his stance in both Cheeseburger Gothic and his Brisbane Times column,Blunty, is why not? Well, here’s why not JB: it’s fine to let these things happen, let your teen daughter sail solo around the world and fake your 6 year old son getting trapped in a runaway balloon, or driving your family into the eye of a hurricane…right up to the point where to you want other people to risk their lives bailing these idiots out – it’s alright so long as you are prepared to accept that Search and Rescue will say “not our problem to rescue this silly tart when she gets into strife again“. Let’s not forget that she could even get out of port without hitting another vessel and those container ships are kick-arse big ships: it’s not like she just missed seeing an itty-bitty dinghy….Of course, no self-respecting SAR organisation is going to abandon anyone without a fight so here’s hoping that JB and co will be happy enough to help foot the bill when she needs rescuing – all in the name of “…doing something other than sitting on the couch, inhaling Mars Bars and watching ‘reality’ TV…“