More snakes than ladders


I started to draft this post on Saturday night, thinking to comment on the ups and down of life…eight hours later, an RNZAF Iroquois had crashed on its way to Anzac commemorations in Wellington, and this morning we heard that a young soldier had been killed outside Linton Army Base in the Manawatu so…more downs that ups at the moment…

The second-guessing of yesterdays Iroquois crash has already started…people just need to STFU until the inquiry is done and released…there’ll be no whitewash and the truth will out…in the meantime, so-called experts show feel for the families and show some respect…

The picture is of a cool playground version of Snakes and Ladders, clicking on it takes you to the GoogleMap of how to find it…found the picture on Doing New Zealand

Because of the downs, it’s just snippets today…

You think?

Wired has a brief item wondering if US pilots will fire on Israeli strike aircraft crossing no-fly zones in Iraq to attack Iranian nuclear facilities…it is really in question? I think that any qualms about engaging targets disappeared on the morning of September 11, 2001, when US pilots had to confront the spectre of engaging hijacked airliners. If Israeli still doesn’t get the message, it may find that big brother carries a very big and nasty stick…and in some ways, a good punch in the nose from the US may be the best way to drag Israel out of its Masada mentality into the 21st Century…

Oh, no!

Yeah, St Michael of Yon again…Wired reports that “Smears Turn Milbloggers on their Frontline Hero“. Actually, Yon is a hero to few but the most blinkered of his followers, the hardliner conspracy theorists who would still follow him if he reported that GENs McCrystal and Menard are actually alien lizards planning to take over the world.  Guys like Herschel Smith who may soon be having second thoughts after his latest outburst…

From what I have heard, Canadian BG Menard fired more than 1 round. The high-profile person in his presence was the Canadian 4 star general. This is a stupid investigation, however. Worst kept secret at TF K is BG Menard’s adulterous affairs with female soldiers at KAF under his command. This is a distracted and selfish commander. He should not be leading troops who are sacrificing everything.

…and even his Facebook fans are now starting to kickback (I wonder how many more will have their ability to comment blocked?)…

Michael… This is not reporting. This is rumor proliferation akin to a TMZ. Come on, man. You’re better than that.

So this reaches us third hand. You’re accusing the man of serious crimes. You’d better have some evidence.

Rumors of rumors of rumors. Mike, you are above this.

Michael. Seems like you take this too far.

Third stool down rumors mean nothing to me!! Just makes you look even worse..why don’t you just stick to reporting about the troops and leave the brass alone.

I agree with Carol. This is the rumour profligation, bordering on tabloid rumour mill, versus professional journalism. It makes a reader wonder if this is bitterness from losing embed privileges, or the inability to report on news because of the lack of access. I wonder if Canadian attorneys are monitoring for possible slander?

Regarding that last comment, I think it would be funny as all hell if the targeted generals play Yon at his own game and actually do start a campaign against him – probably starting with Facebook and any other services and ISPs that host his libel…as an independent, I’m not sure how far journalistic privilege will protect him, if at all…

On target

Smart guy that GEN Mattis…

Mattis is an evangelist for risk with two core principles. The first is that intellectual risk-taking will save the military bureaucracy from itself. Only by rewarding nonconformist innovators will the services develop solutions that match the threats conceived by an enemy that always adapts. The second is that technology cannot eliminate, and sometimes can’t even reduce, risk. Mattis warns about the limitations of sophisticated weapons and communications. They can be seductive, luring military planners into forgetting war’s unpredictable and risky nature, leaving troops vulnerable.

I couldn’t agree more. I’d heard a few ripples in the pond that the US military (or elements of it) might be reverting back to the old Fulda Gap zero defects way of thinking, what you might call i-don’t-want-to-get-into-trouble-itis rather than making judgement calls. Ben Shaw’s comments on Herschel Smith’s Yon post at the end of last week are worth reading regardless of the original post. Ben raises a number of issues regarding this – I’ve since contacted him direct and it sounds pretty dire in some units. It’s unknown yet whether contributing factors could be ‘winning the war in Iraq’ or maybe a lowering of standards to meet deployment outputs. More to follow on this…

There is also still a strong school of thought in the US DoD that still sees this whole COIN, ‘little war’ thing as an aberration, a side step or even a step backwards from ‘real war’. This especially seems to be driven from senior echelons of the USAF (except for the A-10 drivers) and USN, with a following in those branches like Armour and Arty that perceive that they have taken a back seat to the SF and infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan. For these types, technology rules in the sterile structured environments of a Tom Clancy story – wouldn’t be surprised if some sleep with The Bear and The Dragon under their pillows…dreaming of push-button wars…

In the end it’s all about risk-taking AND judgement – and teaching and practising it before ever getting close to the start line. Of course that would mean that DS might have to part with their trusty whites and actually think…

Wow! Way cool…

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