2015/01/30

Quoteworthy lines from KoW

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Let us stop for a moment to reflect that a former Vice Presidential candidate (...) and a distinguished military hero have cheekily joked at the idea of killing Moore. Why? Because the latter had the temerity to question the heroism of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. No Charlie Hebdo cartoons will be tolerated about the icons and ideals they hold dear. It is a shocking backlash given the outcry for freedom of speech of late and makes clear the standard is “your beliefs, not mine” when it comes to critique. According to the Church of Appropriate American Patriotism, the heroic image of Chris Kyle is made sacred.

(...) I think it’s worth stating and understanding that where the rubber meets the road, most people hold others to standards they often fail to meet, it’s human.

I suppose the hypocrites in the Western world are no better than their dearest foreign enemies, and would have taken their place if born in their country.

Concerning Kyle; I don't know much about him, nor will this change since I am thoroughly disinterested. A very high kill count in a rather low intensity war of occupation doesn't smell right in my opinion, though.


S O
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2015/01/29

Fallows on U.S. Security Policy

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At this point James Fallows sounds identical to Andrew Bacevich:




There were plenty voices telling similar things years ago already. The warnings about the idiocy of invading Iraq were loud in early 2002 for everyone who didn't restrict himself to American TV and newspapers. The warnings about the Afghanistan mission becoming pointless and being doomed to fail were plenty and even came from insider officials back in 2005/2006. Belatedly connecting some dots, I figure that some pundits and semi-insiders knew about failures to come in 2001 and 2004 respectively - not out of pure luck, but by observing facts unknown to me at the time.

The warring countries chose to ignore the voices of reason and to follow the pro-wastefulness faction. It was a failure to choose correctly. There is no excuse about these failures being unpredictable or invisible until very late. We had the wrong people in power and the wrong people enact wrong policies, period.

S O
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2015/01/28

Launch the Global War on Bathtubs NOW! At least 100 billion bucks budget for first year!

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http://9gag.com/gag/aRP6PN5

The 340 figure may be from 2000, and bathtubs are indeed deadly. Usually in conjunction with a seizure, or for small children without proper oversight.

The "25 times" figure looks much low to me as an average, but it depends on the year. Bathtubs have no doubt killed more people in the USA since 2000 than errorists.

S O
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2015/01/26

Open thread

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I noticed some comments on this blog are largely if not entirely devoid of a link to the topic content-wise.

Feel free to write your comments here (new "Open Fred" page link on the left) if you just want to tell us something and don't want to wait until I write about the topic!

S O


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2015/01/25

The salami slice and pulse strategy against our freedom

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A government with authoritarian-minded bureaucrats and politicians (or simply with fearful pussy bureaucrats and politicians who are hysterically fearful in a honest way) cannot turn a democratic, free country into a total surveillance and omnipotent police state overnight. This can only be done at the pace permitted by the people.

The agenda towards more snooping, more surveillance, more police powers was kept in check till the early 1990's by the need to be different than the Warsaw pact. Total surveillance, unlimited detention, torture and the like were perceived as 'communist' government actions, and largely unacceptable in the West. Only minorities (black civil rights movement in the USA, for example) and foreigners in foreign countries (CIA torture in Latin America) were exposed to such methods.
This barrier fell with the demise of the Warsaw Pact; soon thereafter, the roots of a surveillance state had their breakthrough. Germany introduced a telephone surveillance law in the mid-90's, for example. Just as it was still publicly exasperated by the revelations about what the STASI did in East Germany.

Huge steps faced huge opposition and were rare without much support, of course. Small steps towards more surveillance, more snooping, more police and intelligence services powers were made instead; the salami slice approach. ideally, no single slice was large enough to mobilize the critical mass of political opposition. The next slice was in order once the people had accustomed to the last one. It was quite the same as with the creeping militarisation of foreign policy in Germany since the mid-90's.

Some slices cannot be kept small, though - the expansion sometimes bumps into taboos, and overcoming those means the slice will be large and visible. That's when hysterias are being provoked and exploited ruthlessly.
Every terror attack - domestic or abroad, "successful" or foiled - draws the pro-authoritarians into the spotlight, and they pretend loudly that breaking freedom-protecting taboos adds security. They even do it when the country hit by a "successful" terror attack actually already had gotten rid of said taboo, proving that this wouldn't protect. Effectiveness doesn't matter, of course: The authoritarians do this as a matter of principle and ideology, not because it would actually work well. 
Shortly thereafter, some bill is drafted for taboo-abolishing legislation that makes us less free and the government less restricted, more powerful.

And thus we're getting salami-sliced into a less free society, and pulsed by actually negligible acts of terror into giving up even large chunks of freedom.

This strategy works. It doesn't win every battle, but it's about to win the war because there's no antagonist strategy rolling all the rubbish back. You cannot win by defending only if the attacker doesn't get depleted.

- - - - -

I didn't add links to this text because I had dozens of old Defence and Freedom blog posts in mind while writing it. See for yourself:

A recent example is being provided by the British, with the serial liar Blair as one of the instigators:
It has all the features: Breaking of well-founded taboos, known to be ineffective rubbish, exploiting the post-Hebdo hysteria, attempt to make the legislation low profile (keeping the slice size small).

edit: Blair et all are simply contemptible since they show their contempt for everybody else: 


S O
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For your next Sci-fi movie set in about 2040 ...

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2015/01/23

On defence policy and alliances

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The discourse on "security policy" lacks a certain clarity of thought and clarity of purpose in my opinion. It's very much possible and even outright likely that resources will be wasted, avoidable hostilities be created, wealth, health, freedom and lives be lost if nations follow a path in "security policy" without such clarity of thought and clarity of purpose.

- - - - -

Humans live in groups because this is mostly the better way to live, and as groups they communicate and deal with other groups through representatives. Much of this is engrained in our genetic heritage apparently, but we have evolved our groups quickly during the last couple thousands of years. Clans were replaced by tribes, and tribes were replaced by states. States have created multi-state groups - even alliances with their own bureaucracy. Our instincts did not match this development because it was too quick. Much of our instincts suits the hunter-gatherer band much better than it does a modern state. Thus we need to think with great clarity and overrule our instincts often in order to achieve better outcomes.

- - - - -

Defence policy is first and foremost about warding off the loss and suffering brought about by war on one's own soil. It extends to warding off as much of the loss and suffering brought about by war in general - even if war was forced onto the state.
Security policy follows a broader definition. It extends as far as influencing the threat and outcomes of war in distant places, in an attempt to garner advantages for oneself. Said "oneself" is never the whole population or citizenry of one's state, but typically a special interest group or conglomerate thereof.

- - - - -

Almost no group has ever been able to defend itself or will ever be able to reign do so without the tolerance by other groups. Even great powers thus seek cooperation with or allegiance of other states, supra-state institutions  and even non-government groups.
Some weaker states sense threats to themselves which don't believe to be able to ward off with their own strength. Others believe this to be possible, but still consider cooperation with other states to be more favourable.
These states have good reasons to look at alliances as an institution which enables their defence policy to accomplish its mission, and typically so for much less effort than if defence policy was done in isolation. A state which believes itself to be able to defend itself and still enters an alliance would be led by fools if the resources allocated to defence policy wouldn't be reduced ceteris paribus to match the improved situation.

Weak states' leaders in a strong alliance are exposed to the same temptations as the leaders of strong states: The temptations to use the power at hand for policies which don't provide the public good of security against war's losses and sufferings, but advantages to special interest groups. Said special interest groups could even be foreign groups, such as (supposedly) ideologically aligned groups. It could also be a single ruler himself, driven by a taste for playing games with the game pieces available to him or her.

- - - - -

"Security policy" as well as "defence policy" could also be defined on basis of misconceptions about the outside world. Pre-historic hunter-gatherer groups may have misjudged the intentions of another group they met. Today's politicians, lobbyists, pundits, scholars, flag officers and interested citizens could easily misunderstand a foreign group's motives, capabilities, actions and plans. Ignorance about expenses required or benefits gained by certain policies usually leads to poor judgements as well. More general forms of incompetence aren't rare either.
The result could be wasteful and the actions could self-defeat their purpose - even without any pattern of anti-social motivations on part of the actors.

- - - - -

Changes in the status quo are more impressive than the status quo and affect our judgement out of proportion. Arriving reinforcements influence soldiers' morale in battle much more than their participation right from the beginning of the battle, for example. Such judgement suitable to bands of hunter-gatherers is ill-suited for decision-making on a state or alliance level. We know people react based on pre-historic patterns and should take this into account regarding the how to do, but not in decision-making regarding what to do. A politician serves his people best if he decides on a course of action without undue influences, but recognises that he needs to take into account undue influences on others in order to succeed.
Back to changes in the status quo; a change in the relative economic or military power usually provokes exaggerated reactions, which can easily lead to avoidable losses and suffering. It is most important to preserve, gain or regain clarity of thought and purpose when one faces events which outright provoke a breakthrough of the primitive self.
 
Avid readers of international news on security policy or history can easily find many instances of hysteria, irrationality, wastefulness, misjudgement unnecessary hostility and incompetence. These are failures of outgrown hunter-gatherer groups to react with clarity of though and clarity of purpose to their outer world. People suffer and die in the process. Anyone who tries to reduce such failures has a noble goal in life.


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2015/01/22

[Fun] Satire against Islamophobes

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Many people were driven into Islamophobia by propaganda and entertainment. I tried to push back against some of the more extreme misconceptions a couple years ago already, but the French produced a piece of satire on the topic that's so delicious, it deserves to be shown:

click on the image for the full length
click on the image for the full length!

It's too bad so much attention gets wasted on largely imaginary problems.

S O
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2015/01/21

UK: "Investigative journalists" ~ "terrorists" and "hackers"

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"New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers."

The Guardian

- - - - -

A different article on the (in)efficacy of all the "counter-terror" snooping:

Soon after Snowden’s revelations, Alexander said that the N.S.A.’s surveillance programs have stopped “fifty-four different terrorist-related activities.” Most of these were “terrorist plots.” Thirteen involved the United States. Credit for foiling these plots, he continued, was partly due to the metadata program, intended to “find the terrorist that walks among us.” (...)
(...) Senator Patrick Leahy (...) called the fifty-four-plots statistic “plainly wrong . . . these weren’t all plots, and they weren’t all thwarted.” He cited a statement by Alexander’s deputy that “there’s only really one example of a case where, but for the use of Section 215 bulk phone-records collection, terrorist activity was stopped.” “He’s right,” [NSA director] Alexander said.

New Yorker

A reminder for why I blog on civil liberties topics in addition to classic defence topics: It's pointless to defend freedom against outsiders if you already lost it to a clique of fellow countrymen!

S O
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Vintage film about fieldcraft

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I think he overdid a bit on the helmet. Even slight head movement would be very conspicuous because so much would swirl around.
The narrator also confused concealment (protection against detection, not against shot) with cover (protection against both) at times.

Isn't it a bit uneasy how much the narrator stresses the importance of being speedy on the foot at times? The movements shown when he says so are largely impossible for a modern infantryman weighted down by 15+ kg of armour alone.


S O
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2015/01/20

The DEA Just Ended A Secret 15-Year Phone Call Spying Program

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"The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has halted a secret, nearly 15-year program that collected virtually all data on international calls between the United States and certain countries, according to documents and officials familiar with the matter.
The sweeping bulk DEA database program was stopped in September 2013"

John Shiffman, Reuters

Please note; the program began in 1998, long before the 9/11 hysteria when Arab terrorists were little more than the baddies in action C-movies.

The quantity of such revelations supports the thesis that the reason for the mass surveillance is not terrorism or some specific threat; it's a systemic issue. The explanation for this should be searched and I think can be found in more general theories about bureaucracies such as Niskanen's bureaucrat, Principal-Agent model etc. or in psychology. It sure seems to be a global and persistent pattern. I don't think that this or that institution is evil or rotten while others are better: I believe the "better" ones are either better at hiding what they do or they have simply been given less resources and/or freedom of action.

Rules and supervision schemes can be devised to limit excesses and to discourage championing of excesses, but first the public needs to consider the issue worthy of its attention and worthy of outrage, or there won't be robust, lasting improvements.
Sadly, the public and especially so the "published opinion" tend to waste attention on irrelevant or marginally relevant topics and give more serious problems and troublemakers a free pass this way.

S O
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2015/01/19

Military Theory blog posts

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Blog texts tagged "Military Theory" were and are a particular object of pride of mine because very few milbloggers address such topics. There are (surprisingly) simple reasons for why my output in this area didn't keep up the 2009-2012 levels:

(1) Train travels
I travelled much by train  for my job in those years, and I preferred two things on long trail travels: Sleeping (uncomfortable!) and thinking about military theory, making notes.

(2) Age
I'm possibly past the age bracket of greatest creativity (yes, there's such a thing)

(3) Common roots
Much of what I wrote was in one way or another linked to a finite set of ideas I already had in 2008-2010. I've probably explored most of the conclusions from that set of ideas.

I'm still confident that I'll be able to easily exceed the quality ambitions of the gazillion of 'military power is sexy' milblogs. I will also push the German spin-off "Verteidigung und Freiheit" soon with a better layout, hopefully with an average of one post per week..

Meanwhile, events in Europe convince me that anti-war and civil liberties contributions are badly needed.

S O
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2015/01/12

"The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies"

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“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.

The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome’s duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people…

Thus there is but one way to an understanding: scrutiny of domestic class interests, the question of who stood to gain.

It was certainly not the Italian peasant…”
source: Heinz Norden's translation of Joseph Schumpeter's "Imperialism and Social Classes"

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2015/01/11

Policy convertites

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I have made an observation on the psychology of people who are strongly pro-civil rights, pro-peace, pro-cultural diversity and the like.

They may put a lot of effort into their favourite topic, but after years of such effort when faced by a similar topic but different taste of it, they may snap and turn with a convertite's fervor around.

The German greens provided anecdotal evidence for this: Their top politicians ranted for a decade against militarised foreign policy, arms exports and so on - only to become the top supporters of the ISAF mission.

Some people who looked like 150% pacifists have recently turned into IS haters wishing for military action against the IS.

A lot of "small government" ideology folks reliably turn into "big budget" folks whenever the topic is the "defense" budget.

Some civil rights movement leaders have had similar moments; still fighting for the interests of their own group against a favourite opposition group, they're often all-too easily lured into trying to oppress a third group.


It looks as if somehow the rational part of the brain got its way on the main topic, but after years the irrational, part finally got its way in a fresh topic. As if some kind of pressure was building up, only to be released by some kind of unexpected provocation.

I lack the researched rive and contacts to look up whether psychological research has discovered, confirmed and labelled this already. It would be interesting to know, but experimental confirmation would be very difficult.

The phenomenon - if existing - would be a major problem in the pursuit of rational, wise policies that face irrational, intuitive competing policy alternatives.

S O
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LCA ski ramp tests

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The Indians have finally tested their indigenous LCA fighter-bomber (a Mirage 2000-5 equivalent) on a ski jump ramp on land. I may not keep as much an eye on aerospace developments as in the 90's, but I still think there was much more echo to this kind of test when the Russians and Chinese did it.





Land-based ski jump ramps are really only for testing and training in preparation for a naval use, but in theory they do shorten the take-off runway length for all aircraft with a tricycle landing gear.

I wondered for a long time whether mobile ramps combined with a land catapult wouldn't have been a superior competitor to rocket-assisted take-off (RATO) and certainly a more practical idea than the zero-length launch efforts (an extreme RATO).

Land catapults were tested; the German Luftwaffe had a prototype (FIST Landflugzeugschleuder Kl 12)* troops-tested in early 1941 already. A piston engine of 320 hp towed and accelerated an aircraft of 14,000 kg to 200 kph on 100 m runway length apparently. He 111 bombers were used for at least some of the tests. I always remember this when I read that the Americans are having trouble with their electromagnetic catapult and are spending money like crazy on it.

Add the normal arresting equipment (well-anchored arresting cables and emergency net) and possibly reinforcing plates for the touchdown area and you could turn a 150-200 m segment of road into an airfield, with all airfield-specific items ready for leaving within ten minutes.

It could have been outright fantastic during the 70's in Central Europe, coupled with F-5Es.

S O

*: I have photos of it and will add them later when I found them.
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2015/01/10

[deutsch] "...die üblichen Reflexe"

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(Link to German-language spin-off blog; the topic is the reflexive call for more data storing to counter terrorists even though the French had exactly that legislation and it did not help at all.)

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2015/01/09

Pivots

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Much had been written about political efforts to turn the U.S.military around for the wars of occupation, away from conventional warfare against high-tech opponents. The effects of such efforts on the R&D and procurement budgets were modest. Germany and other European countries with participation in Afghanistan and (some) even Iraq had similar efforts, and again with little effect on R&D and procurement budgets. The military bureaucracies have a lot of inertia and hardly anybody seriously suggested to ditch all those expensive conventional warfare big ticket programs in favour of what little occupation-specific gear could be developed and purchased. Eventually, the GWOT hysteria offered the budgets to pay for both anyway.

Another politically mandated shift of focus was the much-discussed "Pacific pivot", the intent to re-orient the U.S. armed forces against the PR China. This move was particularly useful to the navy, less so to the air force and the army wasn't happy with it. Again, it didn't take long till journalists and pundits began to point out that much talk, many presentations and papers later, little had changed actually.

Now ISAF ended, and Europeans have begun to pay attention to actual collective defence in Europe again after witnessing the events in the Ukraine. There's actually no need for arms racing or such because the EU has more than enough military power to keep Russia at bay. Mental and planning preparations for Baltic defence scenarios are in short supply, but tanks, fighter jets and the like aren't.
Still, European military bureaucracies welcome the return to their preferred mode, and welcomed the excuse for their current and future big ticket programs.
According to my observation much less Americans paid attention and pondered whether some more conventional land campaign capability would make sense for East European scenarios.

This begs the questions

Will the Americans truly focus on the air-sea arena in the Western Pacific region?

Will the Europeans truly focus on the air-land arena in the Eastern European region?

How long both will have lost the appetite for invasion & occupation?

It's perfectly possible that what looks like long-term trends will prove to be mere gusts of wind without lasting consequences. Examples:
A collapse of Cuba or Venezuela could draw the Americans into Latin America. The French may become busy stabilizing artificial states in West Africa. The Russians could cancel their military reform efforts for want of funds. The Japanese might turn into a military great power and oppose the Chinese almost single-handedly.

Personally, I would prefer a European focus on collective defence, but one with a rational appraisal of the actual balance of forces in Eastern Europe. A focus on collective defence means we can cancel the occupation-related budget positions. It does not mean we need to build up some new mechanized corps.

S O
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2015/01/08

Fearmongering again

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I had the questionable pleasure to notice the usual suspects crawling out of their hideouts in the wake of the extremism-linked murders in Paris.

One so-called 'terrorism expert' (not linkworthy) claims that we now need to expect everything, and that this so-called terrorism was of an entirely new kind.


He and his ilk are fearmongering. He claims there's an effectively unlimited, new threat - and he is wrong on both accounts. These kinds of crimes have been committed in all of documented history. There's nothing new.
The threat is furthermore negligible and shouldn't even be worth a minute in evening TV news because it's so utterly irrelevant.

Here's how irrelevant the "threat" is:

I looked up the causes of death in France on the OECD website. The statistic for 2011* is this: 679.3 people died of all causes of death per 100,000 population in the year 2011. The causes were

213.1 neoplasms [cancer]
166.4 diseases of the circulatory system [heart]
55.8 symptoms, signs, ill-defined causes
51.4 external causes of mortality [accident, violence]
40.9 diseases of the respiratory system [lung including asthma]
39.9 diseases of the nervous system
29.2 diseases of the digestive system
23.1 mental and behavioural disorders
22.8 endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases
14.3 certain infections and parasitic diseases
9.7 diseases of the genitourinary system
4.5 diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
2.7 diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs
2.2 congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities
2.1 certain conditions originating in the perinatal period
1.2 diseases of the skin and subcutaneous system

"51.4 external causes of mortality" in detail:
32.8 accidents
15.8 intentional self-harm
0.6 assault

Well, how much would 12 deaths change this picture? 12 deaths among 66.6 million people is about 0.018 per 100,000. That's a rounding error in the smallest subcategory listed above, "assault".

Only complete idiots** would stick to the notion that we should be concerned of terrorists in light of other causes of mortality being more severe by four orders of magnitude!


The terrorism fearmongers are fearful, insecure pussies.** Cowards and loudmouths.** Irrational idiots or antisocials.** They poison** our societies and strive to push us towards wasting attention span and resources on irrelevant and largely imaginary problems.

Finally, such fearmongers are the real terrorists**; THEY terrorise the population. I'm fine with a GWOT once the people recognise these real terrorists. Kick them off the airwaves, off the newspapers and put those fearmongers to the other idiots, where they belong: Right next to electrosmog hysterics, chemtrail hysterics, anti-vaccination activists and others who want to spread fear and misdirect our efforts.

related: 2014-07

*: 2011 is apparently the latest year with available data on the website.
**: It cannot be offensive or otherwise inappropriate language if it's the truth.
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Quick remarks on the bombing campaign over Iraq/Syria

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Isn't it fascinating how the recent COIN doctrine fashion with its emphasis on the civilians in the theatre appears to play almost no or no role in the current campaign in over Iraq and Syria?

On the other hand, FM 3-24 is an army publication, and the army plays only a small supporting role in the current campaign. As far as I know the USAF and USN never created real counter-paramilitary field manuals, and the involved fixed wing aviation of the USMC appears to follow USN naval air doctrine in such matters.

We're back to "bomb bomb bomb them", Kosovo-style - except that this time the objective is extremist again, calling for the destruction of the enemy. It is as if military theory and doctrine played no role whatsoever, as if we were back to smashing skulls with clubs.

Strategic air campaigns tend to have a very dumb appearance with primitive and excessive targeting, rarely any well-devised, logical link between action and objective and huge expenses with little to show for. Military theory about strategic air warfare is often outright primitive (Douhet et al) or little more than a fig leaf for primitive targeting of just about everything (Warden). Maybe primitive campaigns could be avoided if military theory could get some smart concepts recognized widely.


The whole campaign lets me doubt the ability to learn:
Extremist objectives, a mode of campaigning that will merely reduce the adversary's active repertoire instead of accomplishing the objective, a training and advising component (as if six years of largely fruitless training and advising hadn't proved this futile), in the Middle East and without a definitive end date. The whole bombing campaign sounds like the outcome of a 2007 competition for proposals for the most stupid hypothetical future military campaign.
 

The bombing campaign appears to be a 100% domestic political thing:
(1) Provides the military and arms industry with (false) justifications in the fight for preserving the almost GWOT hysteria-level budgets
(2) Maintains an external adversary for the population to project hate on and to distract from domestic issues
(3) Politicians entertained by playing with the military
(4) Relieves pressure coming from the press "to do something".
(5) Maintains the (partial illusory) aura of a globally relevant super power
(6) Attempted delay of a final, negative answer to the question whether "warfare works" well in foreign policy

S O

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2015/01/05

Against the language barrier

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Let's tear down the language barrier a bit. These French official publications have been hidden behind it even though there actually are English versions available:

Réflexions tactiques (francaise)
Réflexions tactiques (English, editions published with delay)
Réflexions tactiques (special issues)
"This new edition will replace “Doctrine Tactique ” as of publication of the special issue on the Army doctrinal conference. It aims to provide an insight into how tactical-level doctrine is approached and applied within the French Army. Each issue focuses on a specific theme, and includes articles on personal experiences related to this theme. It is not a regulation doctrinal document."

Héraclés (francaise)
Héraclés (English, editions published with delay)
"A quaterly liaison tool for the Army doctrinal community launched in early 2004, HÉRACLÈS  disseminates information in the form of short articles and opens its pages to the thoughts of all of the Army on doctrinal matters – courses of action, organizations and procedures."

La doctrine des forces terrestres françaises (francaise)
Doctrine des Forces Terrestres Françaises (English, editions published with delay)
"The Forces Employment Doctrine Centre (CDEF) has decided to make available to the public part of the French Army’s official doctrine, with the aim of making this doctrine more well-known. This is in addition to the publication of the general readership journals, “Doctrine Tactique” and “Héraclès”.
This doctrine is shared in order to show how the French Army handles the ever-present issue of adapting to the reality of commitments and their environment, in a context of intense strategic transformation where crises have moved far from the battles between States to the clashes that occur within societies.
This dissemination comes at a time where major internal work is being carried out on doctrine. By incorporating the new parameters of current crises where the French Army is involved, this doctrinal work should help the Army develop its organization, choice of equipment and courses of action, combined with the dual demands of power and control of force.
The dissemination of these documents is destined for those carrying out research and reflection in the field of defense, both in the military and civilian environments, at home and abroad. It is also destined for anyone interested in the current challenges that arise from defense issues in a large country of the European Union." 

Les cahiers de la recherche (francaise)
The Doctrine Research Journal (English, hardly anything so far)

"The Cahiers de la Recherche doctrinale (The Doctrine Research Journal) are a key contribution to the French Army research on the present major operational issues. The articles of this journal are written up by the Military History Research Office of the Research and Lessons Learnt Department (Forces Employment Doctrine Center/CDEF). They are drawn up from real events considered from an historical angle, and they aim at providing unconventional approach and analysis elements as a supplement to conventional Lessons Learnt process. Their standards are the ones required by university publications in human sciences regarding strict methodology codes and freedom of research, and they are to be considered neither as official reports nor as staff documents."


S O
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2015/01/01

[deutsch] AfD und Pegida

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(about German politics - not interesting enough to foreigners to justify an English version)

Nun ein Kommentar meinerseits zu den Phänomenen AfD und Pegida:

Die AfD ist eine zweiphasige Angelegenheit. Am Anfang stand die Idee, eine mehr wirtschaftswissenchaftlichen Erkenntnissen Beachtung schenkende Partei zu gründen, insbesondere für Währungspolitik.* Im ursprünglichen Gründungsaufruf wurden nur einige wenige weitere, zumeist liberale, Punkte genannt. Es gab dementsprechend viel Unterstützung von VWL-Professoren. Zudem fiel schon gleich am Anfang auf, wieviele frühere CDU-Mitglieder und -Wähler beitraten.
Trotz einer angeblichen Filterung der Beitrittskandidaten bezüglich unerwünschter (eingebräunter) Lebensläufe wurde die AfD dann jedoch praktisch zu einer Rechtsaußen-Partei, denn genau das fehlte (den rechts außen stehenden Bürgern) außerhalb von Bayern.

Ich betrachte die AfD daher als ein Äquivalent zur Linken; sie führt zur Abspaltung des rechten Flügels der CDU, so wie einst der linke ("Arbeitnehmer") Flügel der SPD zur Linken abwanderte.

Von links nach rechts sieht das politische Spektrum der relevanten Parteien** für mich jetzt so aus (soweit eine lineare Anordnung überhaupt Sinn macht):

Die Linke - B90/Grüne - SPD - FDP - CDU - (CSU) - AfD
___________

Thema Pegida:
Erstens ist das nur eine handvoll Leute. Bundesweit sind es einige zehntausend, und bei ihren entsprechenden Demonstrationen teilweise grotesk in der Unterzahl gegenüber Gegendemonstranten (z.B. in Bonn).
Zweitens habe ich 2014 über den Eindruck gehabt, dass sich politisch in Deutschland vor allem Eines geändert habe; der rechte Flügel kommt zusammen mit Verschwörungstheoretikern und anderen Spinnern zunehmend ans Tageslicht der Öffentlichkeit. Woran das liegt ist unklar für mich. Es könnte sein, dass das Fass voll ist und eine Reihe von Ereignissen bei denen das Bedürfnis geweckt hat, öffentlich zu skandieren.
Die aktuelle Nachrichten-Medienkrise in Deutschland betrachte ich diesbezüglich auch eher als Ausbruch denn als Auslöser.
Das erneute Anschwellen der Asylbewerber-Erstanträge halte ich auch eher für einen Vorwand der Demonstranten. Rund 13.000 Erstanträge im Monat bei einer 80 Millionen Nation ist kein Problem erster, zweiter oder dritter Ordnung - obwohl es lokal unschöne Symptome geben kann.

Was sich wohl nicht geändert hat, ist, dass die Bevölkerung für Rechtsaußenpositionen wenig Unterstützung bietet. Von 20, 30, 40, 50% Wahlergebnissen oder Regierungsbeteiligung sind Rechtsaußenpositionen außerhalb Bayerns (wo auch mehr rechts gepoltert als rechts gehandelt wird) und Sachsens weit entfernt.


Insgesamt bedaure ich, dass CDU/SPD der AfD nicht (wie von Lucke wohl insgeheim erhofft) den Wind aus den Segeln genommen haben durch Korrekturen der Währungspolitik und dass der äußere rechte Flügel viel  vom Aufmerksamkeitspotential des Landes mit unwichtigen (oder eingebildeten) Problemen und aussichtslosen Forderungen verschwendet.


S O

*: Es gibt schon lange einige sich ergänzende Modelle, wie man den "optimalen Währungsraum" bzw. "optimum currency area" bestimmen sollte. Auf den Euro angewandt versprachen die einige mäßig schwerwiegende Vor- und Nachteile. Nur ein Modell kündigte große Probleme an, und leider hatten offenbar alle "optimum currency area" Modelle Recht, also auch die Letztere. Das Problem ist, dass wir seit Ende 1999 effektiv feste Wechselkurse im (ursprünglichen) Euro-Raum haben. Dies führte zu einer zunehmenden Über- oder Unterbewertung der Währung aus Sicht der verschiedenen Regionen. Für Deutschland war der Euro unterbewertet udn wir entwickelten einen abstrusen Leistungsbilanzüberschuss. Für Griechenland war der Euro überbewertet und sie entwickelten ein abstruses Leistungsbilanzdefizit. Hinzu kommt, dass Anleger entweder beim Kapitalexport Risiken unterschätzten oder dreist (und weitgehend korrekt) annahmen, der Staat würde für ihre Risiken aufkommen.
**: Die Piraten betrachte ich als gescheitert. Das könnte sich langfristig als verheerend erweisen, da sie eine Stimme der jüngeren Generationen hätten werden können und zudem stramme Bürgerrechtsvertreter sind. Ich würde sie inzwischen irgendwo zwischen Linke und FDP einordnen.
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