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Archive for February, 2009

All federal employees of the federal government, be they elected or appointed, uniformed or civilian, take an unconditional oath to support, uphold, and defend the Constitution. As members of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, adherence to that sacred oath is their number one moral obligation — and that means that they must insure that their official actions comport with the letter, intent, and spirit of the Constitution. At the core of the entire system of checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution is the principle of accountability to the people.

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By William S. Lind
February 23, 2009

For the gazillionth time, the U.S. military in Afghanistan had to announce last week that an American airstrike killed civilians. The incident followed a familiar pattern. We first announced that 15 insurgents were killed, then had to climb down, finding after an official investigation that only three of the dead were fighters, while 13 civilians died.

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I am most pleased to announce that Stanford University Press has taken over publication of America’s Defense Meltdown. The hardcover edition will be available March 20, but the Kindle Edition is available now (for $9.99).

The editor of the volume, Winslow Wheeler, has announced that CDI has exhausted the original printing. Many thanks to the Stanford University Press for arranging to keep ADM in print (and in Kindle).

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Gary Gagliardi Note: This article is inspired by the work of Maj. Donald E. Vandergriff’s in his book, Raising the Bar, Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War.)

The original concepts of traditional strategy were not so much forgotten as buried. We think of strategy today as planning because linear thinking is what we have been taught for several generations in school. This didn’t happen by accident. Education by the Factory and for the Factory During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the power of organization reach its peak and this had a direct impact on the nature of education. This period gave rise to what is now known as the progressive period (1880-1920) of education.

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By William S. Lind
February 17, 2009

In many Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, the story line depends on some sort of magic elixir or potion. Similarly, the advocates for Brave New World tell us the comic opera called “democracy” flows from the magic of elections. Just hold elections and presto!, wars vanish. Regrettably, BNW’s music is not nearly so entertaining as that of Sir Arthur Sullivan, while its plot is even more absurd than most of Gilbert’s.

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I took time off to go down to Richmond and the Museum of the Confederacy on Friday the 6 February to participate in this decision making exercise as a guest of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS)-(I was a student of Amphibious Warfare School 1990-91). Every once and a while, I also volunteer to teach in their advanced warfighting seminar on Thursday nights because half of the 40 students in the seminar are Army captains, and it is another opportunity to mentor and teach these future leaders.

The German General Staff used Kriegspiel in the late 19th Century as a method of educating commanders and their staffs regarding their duties during wartime. We played the August 1862 campaign in central and northern Virginia (I used Kriegspiel when I ran the Maneuver Warfare club at Georgetown ROTC). The centerpiece is a referee and simple rules (I have the entire packet if you are interested in seeing what you have to do to run it). But the referee or umpire, has to be incredibly knowledgeable of war to provide information of the particulars of the scenario. The umpire has to constantly make on the spot comments to the opposing sides on what they likely see, and how combat is resolved. I played the Assistant Adjutant General (AAG)(Civil War Ops officer) to General John Pope (played by instructor Phil Gibbons).

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Again, my mentor and close friend Chuck Spinney scores a bulls eye on the continuing saga over the appointment of William Lynn as the number two guy in the Pentagon (Department of Defense). My big gripe with this appointment is with the President’s pledge to change the way Washington does business, then he issues beautiful ethics rules right into office, then allows a waiver for Lynn. What really angers me is there are plenty of talented people in this great nation that could do a better job, and uphold the President’s pledge. I had given up hope that no one would dispute this nomination, but Senator Grassley from Iowa has fought it hard. Thank God for Senator Grassley displaying character and leadership on this issue instead of rubber stamping the issue. He is acting not only as a leader, but as the founding fathers wanted Congressmen and Senators to act, dispute decisions they do not agree with, bring balance to the executive branch.

Start Chuck Spinney’s essay.

Weekend Edition

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