Posts Tagged ‘Franklin C Spinney’

The following introduction and essay are by two of my close friends and mentors, Franklin “Chuck” Spinney and Pierre Sprey. It talks about how we are not innovating, and continue to pour money down a black hole.


President Obama says that restoring America’s competitiveness is one of his top priorities. Yet under his watch, deindustrialization, financialization, and globalization continue without interruption. Many advocates of defense spending argue that spinoffs from the Pentagon’s R&D and high tech engineering practices are keys to reinvigorating America’s manufacturing economy. For whatever reasons, Mr. Obama shows no intention of reining in defense spending by anything more than a cosmetic amount, even though the defense budget is higher now that at any time since the end of WWII (after removing the cumulative effect of 60 years of inflation), and despite the fact that the United States is spending about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Let us hope Obama has not bought into the bogus arguments that spending more on defense will be good for restoring competitiveness in the manufacturing sector of the American economy.



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There is hope?? The middle class must take a moment to think beyond the shopping and holidays, about the country. We need to vote all these assholes out of office, while forming a new third party. It will be built on making the  nation a meritocracy again, while replacing the new nation’s values systems of time, money and things. The obligation of being a citizen must be stressed, while individuals pursuit happiness. Our citizen obligations is not just paying taxes, but getting involved intelligently about the world around us, so we can give effective input to our elected officials, and also know when they are bullshitting us. A good citizen also is willing to argue with something it loves to make it better. It is not about self, but about giving something more outside of yourself. I am not against free enterprise or people getting rich (within ethical bounds), but when we judge elite as equating to making a lot of money, then we will go down than Rome in the 4th and 5th Century.  I measure success of a person on doing well in their chosen field, being a good citizen, and if they chose to do so, raising and taking care of the family responsibilities.

If the below article does not fire you up, then nothing will!!

Have a Merry Christmas,


The New American Oligarchy
Thursday 02 December 2010

by: Andy Kroll | TomDispatch | Op-Ed


(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Sean McMenemy, Paula Bailey)
There is a war underway. I’m not talking about Washington’s bloody misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, but a war within our own borders. It’s a war fought on the airwaves, on television and radio and over the Internet, a war of words and images, of half-truth, innuendo, and raging lies. I’m talking about a political war, pitting liberals against conservatives, Democrats against Republicans. I’m talking about a spending war, fueled by stealthy front groups and deep-pocketed anonymous donors. It’s a war that’s poised to topple what’s left of American democracy.


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Attached FYI is a letter a group of retired DoD civilians and military officers wrote the deficit commission concerning cutbacks in the Pentagon’s spending plans.  We are proposing that we impose a current $ freeze on the core budget until the Pentagon can meet the audit requirements of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and the Constitution.  Personally, I think we ought to reduce it by 2-3% per year in current dollar terms until it can pass an audit, but that is an unrealistic goal politically.  However, a current dollar freeze is a step in the right direction, and it just might get some political traction.  As a practical matter a current dollar freeze would reduce the Pentagon’s purchasing power by the rate of inflation each year — and I guarantee the inhabitants of the asylum would howl.  
I hope you think this proposal is worthwhile.
Best wishes,
Weekend Edition
November 19 – 21, 2010

An Open Letter to Erskine Bowles
How to Cut the Defense Budget
The Honorable Erskine Bowles
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20504
Dear Mr. Bowles:
We are writing to you and other members of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform as individuals who have worked in national security affairs for decades for the Department of Defense, in the Armed Forces and for Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Our concern is the defense budget.

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It is not as if the disaster described below, in the Afghan war logs released by Wikileaks to the Guardian, the New York Times , and der Spiegle, was not foreseeable.   For example, my close friend and mentor Chuck Spinney wrote an Op-ed for Defense Week in April 2001 What Revolution in Military Affairs? , well before we began the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I also told comrades about the disasters that would await us if we tried to occupy and convert Afghanistan into a democracy (trillions and years later, still no progress), and later when we invaded Iraq (and I describe in my 2002 book Path to Victory: America’s Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs (Presidio Press)) regarding the failure of occupations by foreign armies. I prescribe to the doctrine of 3-3-3 (described by William S. Lind in http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/Articles/1995/lind.htm .
And I was hardly alone or invisible.  Readers familiar with the work of reformers Colonel John Boyd, Pierre Sprey, Colonel James Burton, Colonel Mike Wylie, Colonel GI Wilson, Colonel Bob Dilger, Bill Lind and Tom Christie, among others, will know that they have been highly visible canaries in the high-tech coal mine since the late 1960s.  For those unfamiliar with their critical analyses, I refer you to  James Fallows’ National Defense (Random House 1981), and Robert Coram’s Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Little Brown, 2002), or The Winds of Reform, Time (7 March 1983).

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The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review is so oblivious of the problems in our defenses, and the entire QDR process is so broken, nay corrupted, that it is time to put the quadrennial QDR charade out of its misery.  That is the inevitable conclusion from reading an outstanding analysis of the latest iteration of this phony and quite banal drill.  It is written by my friend and mentor Chuck Spinney for the March 3 issue of CounterPunch.  It is below.

March 3, 2010

The MICC Moves to Hose the Taxpayer One More Time

Eisenhower’s Nightmare Arrives



In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Dwight D. Eisenhower,
President of the United States
Farewell Address, 17 January 1961

A s I indicated in CounterPunch on 3 February 2010, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) just released by the Obama Pentagon is a bad joke. That bad joke is about to be given the good housekeeping seal of approval by a special panel appointed jointly by the Secretary of Defense and the defense barons of the Armed Services committees in Congress. When this happens, rest assured, any desire to get control of the out-of-control defense budget will plunge far below its already low level. Chalk up another victory in the Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex’s (MICC’s) war on the Constitution, the American taxpayer, and programs like Social Security and Medicare, which are hallmarks of civilized society.


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Yemen: Opening A New “Front” in the Long War Nicht Schwerpunkt as a Prescription for Defeat by a 1000 Cuts by Chuck Spinney

Recent events like the Fort Hood Massacre and the bungled attempt to fire bomb the airliner bound for Detroit have focused attention on and encouraged our escalating intervention in Yemen, which has been taking place quietly, as if Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan were not enough to keep our strategic planners and stretched out military forces occupied. Our reactions to events in the so-called Long War on Terror suggest an aimless spreading of effort throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. This aimlessness brings to mind a comment General Hermann Balck, a highly decorated German officer in WWII, made to a small group of reformers in the Pentagon in the early 1980s.

The subject was Operation Barbarossa, or Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Balck pithily dismissed the German strategy shaping that invasion with the words: “Nicht Schwerpunkt.” Balck was saying there was no focus or main effort to the German invasion, and without a focus, there was no way to harmonize the thousands of subordinate efforts. The result was a spreading of effort that led to eventual overextension as can be seen in the following map. Now the Eastern Front of WWII is very different from the ridiculously misleading label of a Central Front in the Long War on Terror. But the idea of schwerpunkt is germane to both efforts, and the US is showing all the signs of spreading and over extending its efforts which accompany a nicht schwerpunkt. This is no small thing.

As the American strategist Colonel John Boyd showed in his famous briefing, Patterns of Conflict, the idea of a schwerpunkt is central to organizing all effective military operations. It is far more than a simple question of concentrating forces. According to Boyd, the idea of a “Schwerpunkt represents a unifying medium that provides a directed way to tie initiative of many subordinate actions with superior intent as a basis to diminish friction and compress time in order to generate a favorable mismatch in time/ability to shape and adapt to unfolding circumstances.”

Now this is a very compressed statement, pregnant with information, and based on a lot of research, but it nevertheless makes it self evident that there is no comparable unifying medium in America’s Long War on Terror. Our failure to form a schwerpunkt is just as much a prescription for paralysis and defeat by a thousand cuts in a guerrilla war as it is in a mechanized conventional war between standing armies.


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The Afghan debacle is becoming a case study of how political debate in Versailles drips in a naturally self-organizing way to protect the dysfunctional status quo. As I indicated yesterday and in September, the fundamental flaw that set the stage for the current policy making fiasco was the unexamined analytical hole in General McChrystal’s escalation strategy — namely, its dependence of the rapid expansion of the corrupt and ineffective Afghan national security forces.

McChrystal did not analyze this corruption/ineffectiveness issue, but that crucial omission was ignored the hoorah accompanying the immediate leaking of report by his allies buried somewhere in the Versailles apparat. The only alternative that surfaced during cacophony of the ensuing months, the so-called Biden plan, was equally reckless, because it also glossed over this analytical hole by advocating that we substitute a greater reliance on robotic drones for boots on the ground (drones create their own problems) and further accelerate training of the Afghan forces. With Versailles leaking like a sieve, the debate became a ridiculous fact-free exercise in macho venting.

Now, it is beginning to look like Ambassador Eikenberry (a former Army general and possibly an adult to boot) has moved to pull everyone’s fat out of the fire by blaming the chaos in the escalation debate on corruption by the Karzai government (true enough), but not surprisingly, this blame is being treated implicitly in Versailles as if were a new development that has arisen suddenly since McChrystal’s supporters leaked his fatally flawed report. In this “new” rush of developments, the attached report in the Times [UK] can be forgiven if it inadvertently helps to reinforce the collective amnesia, because it does not connect the dots to link the obvious flaws in the original McChrystal strategy and the cynical leaking of that report which together put the whole dripping circus into motion.

Mr. Obama is in a no win situation, and the time to cut his losses is past due. Hopefully, he has learned a lesson and heads will roll. But I fear the more likely outcome will be double down with some form of mushy middle course, possibly adorned with Mr. Karzai’s carcass twisting slowly in the wind, that protects everyone in Versailles, if only in the short term.


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