Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pushing

I thought that Mackubin Thomas Owens did a great job on the piece that Anthony references below -- and mea culpa, mea maxima culpa for not reading Anthony's comments in full yet, it's been one of those days. And I think Owens' points are well taken and exceedingly appropriate. I'd just argue that there is a difference between the uniformed military arguing whether or not to go to war and the uniformed military arguing over how to wage the war -- which doesn't necessarily contradict anything in the piece. Pushing back about waging war, bad, pushing back about how to wage war, perhaps not bad. Argue to the point of decision and then execute. I think there is an interesting convergence of political schadenfreude and mythmaking about how this is Rumsfeld's war and how if only we had listened to the Chief of Staff of the Army none of this would happen. As my friend Frank Hoffman has argued/is arguing at Carlisle Barracks yesterday/today, there was kind of a collective "look to the east on the morning of the 5th day" attitude about Phase IV in OIF whose responsibility extended beyond what did and did not happen in the halls of OSD.

Furthermore, I would argue that I find it slightly disheartening that The Soldier and the State is still a fixture of professional reading lists. No disrespect to Professor Huntington, and there is much of value in the book, but I still hold that the issue of extolling purist (purely military) over fusionist (socio-economic-politico-military) military advice is not helpful and, in fact, is very damaging when dealing with socio-politico-military environments such as Mindanao or Afghanistan or Iraq. I think that feeds into the pushing kinetic vice kinetic/non-kinetic solutions to problems on the ground. Of course, pushing for fusionist advice does not mean that military officers veto foreign policy, rather it just allows them to offer advice in hopefully a better context.

1 Comments:

Blogger Anthony said...

Now, if you'd just posted this 24 hours earlier, I wouldn't have put my post up and that way I wouldn't have embarassed myself by putting my commentary up for scrutiny alongside commentary from somebody who actually knows what they're talking about...

4:32 PM  

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