I, even if no one else has, have enjoyed my three days dedicated to the Birmoverse…however now it’s back to this time line, which does have as many cool toys but nor has it been liberally sprinkled with anthrax and radioactive dust…
Lay the old divisions to rest…
I got some more homework from my visit to the Air Power Development Centre last week…a copy of the latest RAF Air Power Review (Autumn 2009)…I see that each issue back to 2000 is available online so will have to add them to the library when I next visit broadband land. I’ve just read the first paper on the Future of British Air and Space Power by the current Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton and am looking forward to working through the remaining six items…I do like the way Sir Stephen thinks (I’m sure that he is very relieved to hear this!) but his views are still very air-centric and I believe that this is a lesson that has yet to be learned…just as we need to cast off any perception that there is such a thing as a solely military option to a problem and embrace this Comprehensive Approach concept, we also MUST forget about any one service (or branch of service if you want to take it down a level) that has primacy over the others – there is just military power as a blend of capabilities from air, land, maritime, SF, etc operating under a broader Whole of Government/Comprehensive Approach construct. It’s easy to talk the talk and adopt the doctrine but less easy to shake off the blankie of the Fulda Gap and decades of interservice sparring and competition. This message is further borne out in this article from the UK (courtesy of The Strategist) as Defence chiefs square up for a bit of biffo over who needs the best toys
The thing that the Brits (especially) need to realise is that playing in the big kids world costs real money e.g. as per the example yesterday about the evacuation chain for a British casualty from Afghanistan. They bleated, cried and sniped at the US all through the Iraq War – til they bailed rather ignominiously – and realised that perhaps instead of dumping on the Yanks, they should have been following them around, notebooks at the ready, hanging off every word and taking copious notes…because…the Americans have it together…like it or not…warts and all…they have it together. and in comparing their treatment by the US to that of Portugal, they only insult the Portugese…I’m not specifically Brit-bashing as these lessons apply to some degree to all of us…the world has changed, certainly since 911, probably way earlier but we just didn’t really notice…
Clean your room!
Neptunus Lex discusses obstacles to true democracy in Iraq – I think that it is high time that ALL of the Coalition of the Willing stand up and accept responsibility for the mess they created in Iraq. As I commented there, it was a decade before Germany and Japan were allowed to take off their democratic training wheels after World War 2 and that was without the internal divisions that tear at Iraq AND, in both cases, where THEY started ‘it’. ‘We’ started ‘it’ in Iraq and thus have a responsibility to see the clean-up through. Ironically Iraq under Saddam was less a threat to the world that Iraq as it is now post-intervention. Even more frustrating is that the US wrote the book(s) on COIN in FM 3-24 and then JP 3-24 but does not seem to have spent much time reading them:
Counterinsurgents Should Prepare for a Long-Term Commitment. Insurgencies are protracted by nature, and history demonstrates that they often last for years or even decades. Thus, COIN normally demands considerable expenditures of time and resources, especially if they must be conducted simultaneously with conventional operations in a protracted war combining traditional and IW.
For some reason the WeRead app on Facebook keeps resetting my status on Accidental Guerrilla from ‘Read It’ to “Reading It’. In trying again to fix it once and for all (yes, I do tear my hair over minutiae, don’t I?), I noticed a review by ‘Sharif’, in particular, these words:
“…Fits well into the perspective of Sir Edmund Hillary: “slowly and painfully we are seeing worldwide acceptance of the fact that the wealthier and more technologically advanced countries have a responsibility to help the underdeveloped ones, not only through a sense of charity, bu also because only in this way can we ever hope to see any permanent peace and security for ourselves.” Detail oriented, thorough and succinct. A must read to gain perspective of the challenges ahead…“
Ultimately it’s all about stability. Countering Irregular Activities is a bit of a mouthful and Countering Destabilising Activities strays into double negativity – what they are is fact and in essence are stability operations conducted under the broad umbrella of the Comprehensive Approach. If you truly want stability, then go clean up your mess. If you truly want stability, follow the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in Haiti with a stability programme to address the real problems there – you could probably start by kicking out, or at least reining in, the cargo cult do-gooder NGOs. Even encourage Bill Clinton to run for President (of Haiti!!).
On NOT profiling
An interesting comment last night on the failing of profiling as a technique and discussing methods of identifying people at risk and potential threat – there is some food for thought on the Aggression Management website and I would be most interested to hear supporting and dissenting comments…
Flying fingers (all both of them!)
I have decided that it is well past time that I taught myself to touch type as even though fingers can rely fly now, then just don’t go fast enough and when I’m on a roll I tend to lose ideas because I can’t get them down fast enough. I’m dead keen on exploring open source software at the moment and so I am starting off with TypeFaster. Today is Day One and so far I can type words only using ‘f’ and ‘j’ at 28.6 words per minute…I’m also becoming quite partial to PDF XChange Viewer as a faster more powerful alternative to Adobe’s Reader: the free version allows commenting and comment export on PDF files without (so far as I can see) any watermarking or other promotional material to ‘encourage’ an upgrade to the Pro version.
It’s Only Paper
On Paper Modelers today there is a note that noted Hollywood special effects artist, Hilber Graf, has just died aged 54. He worked on The Abyss, and was also an author, screenwriter, paranormal investigator, Halloween haunted house creator and noted plastic/resin model builder. Some years ago he published an article on Paper Modelling “It’s Only Paper” that is a good intro to anyone considering having a crack at this art form – and having seen some of the Paper Replika free-to-download models in Playing with Knives the other day, who wouldn’t want to try it in the privacy of their own home…?