NaNoWriMo Underway I

1,935 / 50,000
(3.9%)

I got 1,935 words done yesterday on my national novel writing month novel. It’s titled Black Coats and Crowns, tentatively. I’m working on the novel in such a way that I’m also doing a series of world-building exercises at the same time, so I’m developing some of Orien that I’ve not worked with before.

Academically, it’s going to be a rough day. I didn’t get much sleep last night, because after I hung up with I was tired, but I wanted to read for a while before going to bed. I decided to check out the archive of William Lind’s columns. I wound up reading the whole thing, which took until 1:30 or so in the morning. Then I lay awake thinking about it for another hour and a half before I could really settle and go to sleep.

Lind’s basic point is that for thirty or so years, the nation-state, and the nation-state’s monopoly on war-making capabilities, has been steadily eroding, and at present the U.S. military’s culture is fighting based on principles that were discredited by the First World War. Meanwhile, we are facing off against organizations that are not states, do not operate like states, and do not fight like states, and which are therefore more maneuverable, less vulnerable, and more likely to remain operational for long periods of time.

His most stunning example is that the US presently spends $500 million to buy one stealth bomber, and the non-state-organization’s stealth bomber looks like a car or a truck.

The sequence of columns is stunning; he predicted back in February or March that we would not be fighting the Iraqi state in Iraq. Rather, we would be fighting a series of increasingly fragmented guerilla movements, each of which would have its own leadership, its own fighters, and its own agenda.

William Lind scares me.

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2 comments

  1. I call bullshit on Lund.

    Not his prediction, because anyone that had any grasp of the past fourty years of history on the region and its evolution knew we would be fighting a long term guerilla campeign in Iraq. Anyone. If anyone says they didn’t know that, they’re simply revealing their lack of knowledge in the matter. The Administration surely did know as well as the military hierarchy. They said as much, on multiple occasions.

    You, it appears, did not.

    But moreover, I call bullshit on his analysis of the military’s culture and architecture for warfighting. Look, this is kind of my hobby. I know what the discredited methodologies and systems were after WWI. And WWII. And Korea. And Vietnam. And Bosnia. In fact, after every major engagement, the US military structure, culture, and design has changed to better adapt to the new environment.

    Now, while it might be fair to say “the military is always fighting the last war,” its certainly bullshit to claim the US Army still thinks trench warfare is a new and exciting doctrine. Yes, its true to say they’re still feeling out the best way to strike at a distributed, dispersed enemy who has no concern at all for the Geneva convention and the reasons it exists. And because of the difference in nature of the threat than previous engagements, mistakes will be made on a fairly routine basis (but that’s true of any military engagement; as has been said, its not important how many mistakes you make, but who made the last one).

    So I don’t buy this analysis. It doesn’t even begin to mesh with what we have soldiers on the ground doing in pioneering new methods of HUMINT, distributed intelligence tracking and analysis, and the other dozen new techniques a day someone puts together. It denigrates the expertise of men and women who not only have a whole Hell of a lot more modern training in the field than Lund, but whose resourcefullness directly correlates to their survival rate.

    We’ve lost fewer personnel since the beginning of the engagements in Iraq than we lost in several hours of fighting in Vietnam. Consider the vastness of that scale difference. How long did it take to lose even 2000 men in WWI? Fifteen, twenty seconds?

    Lund’s full of shit.

  2. I call bullshit on Lund.

    Not his prediction, because anyone that had any grasp of the past fourty years of history on the region and its evolution knew we would be fighting a long term guerilla campeign in Iraq. Anyone. If anyone says they didn’t know that, they’re simply revealing their lack of knowledge in the matter. The Administration surely did know as well as the military hierarchy. They said as much, on multiple occasions.

    You, it appears, did not.

    But moreover, I call bullshit on his analysis of the military’s culture and architecture for warfighting. Look, this is kind of my hobby. I know what the discredited methodologies and systems were after WWI. And WWII. And Korea. And Vietnam. And Bosnia. In fact, after every major engagement, the US military structure, culture, and design has changed to better adapt to the new environment.

    Now, while it might be fair to say “the military is always fighting the last war,” its certainly bullshit to claim the US Army still thinks trench warfare is a new and exciting doctrine. Yes, its true to say they’re still feeling out the best way to strike at a distributed, dispersed enemy who has no concern at all for the Geneva convention and the reasons it exists. And because of the difference in nature of the threat than previous engagements, mistakes will be made on a fairly routine basis (but that’s true of any military engagement; as has been said, its not important how many mistakes you make, but who made the last one).

    So I don’t buy this analysis. It doesn’t even begin to mesh with what we have soldiers on the ground doing in pioneering new methods of HUMINT, distributed intelligence tracking and analysis, and the other dozen new techniques a day someone puts together. It denigrates the expertise of men and women who not only have a whole Hell of a lot more modern training in the field than Lund, but whose resourcefullness directly correlates to their survival rate.

    We’ve lost fewer personnel since the beginning of the engagements in Iraq than we lost in several hours of fighting in Vietnam. Consider the vastness of that scale difference. How long did it take to lose even 2000 men in WWI? Fifteen, twenty seconds?

    Lund’s full of shit.

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