Posts Tagged ‘Winslow Wheeler’

C-SPAN tells me that Book TV will air the Spinney/Sprey/Christie Mott House show this Saturday evening at 9:00 and again on Sunday at 9:30. See http://www.booktv.org/Program/12319/The+Pentagon+Labyrinth+10+Short+Essays+to+Help+You+Through+It.aspx

These events help the book “sales” immensely. Please feel free to e-mail the schedule/link to any e-mail lists, which I will do later tis week.
Winslow T. Wheeler
Straus Military Reform Project
Center for Defense Information
301 791-2397

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You can download for free at cdi.org

Imperial Hubris

A Review of The Pentagon Labyrinth

By Werther

Electric Politics, March 6, 2011 12:33 PM


* Werther is the pen name of a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst.

In a recent radio interview, the British historian Timothy Garton Ash stated that his overall impression of the United States was one of dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit, such as in the Silicon Valley. But Washington, D.C., he said, reminded him of Moscow in the former Soviet Union.

In the context of the interview, he probably intended that as a criticism of the U.S. capital as being stagnant, status quo, and wedded to obsolete theories. But in a more pointed way he may not have consciously meant, it is equally true that Washington is remarkably like late-Brezhnev era Moscow in the sense of being very visibly the capital of a garrison state. With its billboard adverts for fighter aircraft in local Metro stations, radio spots recruiting for “the National Clandestine Service,” its ubiquitous Jersey Wall checkpoints, and its electronic freeway signs admonishing motorists to report suspicious activity (whatever that may be), the District of Columbia quite accurately simulates the paranoid atmosphere of a cold war era capital of Eastern Europe, say, East Berlin or Bucharest, albeit at two orders of magnitude greater cost.


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My friend and September leader of the month Winslow Wheeler is now writing for Huffington Post. He points out in this article, while most Senators have no care for supporting Pork at the cost to our troops, a few Senators are showing character and leadership. One of them is Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma. Read on and as I do, pray we start to see some leadership regardless of short gain, for the long term health of our military and country.


Tuesday, the Senate passed its version of the DOD Appropriations bill. Bereft of a debate on Afghanistan, the Senators busied themselves exercising their default activity: porking up defense spending and slapping down those with the ethics to oppose them.

This year, the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Senators Inouye and Cochran, sank to a new low. But also, some events in this year’s debate (actually, there was not much of that) offer a ray of hope that we may be witnessing the high tide of the Pork Uber Alles era. I provide details below. I have been asked by the Huffington Post to join them as one of their blogger/commentators. My new piece on the Senate porkers is my inaugural piece for the Huffington Post, which they are now running at their politics home page. Find it at

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/winslow-t-wheeler/support-our-troops-the-se_b_314393.html, and below.

Please feel free to leave a comment there or to send it to me directly. There is more to come on what Congress is doing to our defenses this year. I look forward to writing about this in the coming weeks.


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The introduction by Chuck Spinney and article by David Michael Green get at what I say is the biggest crisis in our nation, lack of leaders with strength of character.  People who, based on well researched work, present workable and sometimes tough, solutions to our problems. These are people who are willing to sacrifice society’s definition of success: money, power and things in pursuit of what they believe is right and will bring a greater good to the larger group. 

Many of the problems we have created anyway, and can, with strong leadership, fix, with sacrifices.

That is the problem, we don’t like “tough” [and smart], we say this style of leadership is to harsh (see our reactions to some sports stars acting human-I wish the President would take lessons from Sarena Williams the tennis star (who in my opinion is competitive as was only acting human once and a while), and treat the assholes to protect special interests for their own self gain the same way).  Now the asshole that jumped up on stage, to take from the young singer who won the video award, that is typical self serving America I see today; but he will still sell millions of CDs.

Sacrifice, is fun to talk about in essays and applaud when the President talks about it, but it is no fun when it has to involve “me.” Why should I have to cut back on my RIGHT to drive anywhere I want, or have to take public transportation! And go on and on…watch my health, my weight, not me, I am American, I have to right to do what I want, all that talk about civic duty, what is that?

I agree with both assessments completely. As Dr. Green says at the end of his piece,

“What’s really wrong is the near total absence of prominent political figures willing to sacrifice much of anything to protect their country from these depredations.”

Do I think our nation can be salvaged, returned to the values outlined by the Constitution? Yes, I still have faith, but it is going to take a serious mental adjustment by every citizen to start looking beyond their credit cards and own selfish desires, at least enough set the standard and pull the rest up.


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This is a movie that gets at the heart of why the country I love has lost its character. The end-money-has become more important than the means- anyway you can. No morals or ethics. And our fucking government keeps letting these bastards get their bonuses (7 lobbyists for every congressman/woman and senator) on Wall Street (a place that produces nothing for a lot).

What is health care reform really about?

Well how to protect the insurance companies, and the fat people.

WOW, who runs the Federal government?

Not you or I.

That is why guys like Ron Paul are our only hope (well also Winslow Wheeler for President in 2012). But, people, do you want the the hard truth? I did not think so, keep electing the same dirt bags!

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for free enterprise and capitalism, as long as it is done with some ethics involved.  Like “when is enough, enough?” How about giving something back to the nation that allowed you to get all that stuff?

Friends of my good friends Chuck Spinney and Winslow Wheeler (September leader of the month), Andrew and Leslie Cockburn (who I have had the h0nor to meet and talk too) have produced a blockbuster documentary describing the “social ecology” of the financial meltdown, in the words of David Denby, who wrote the attached review in the Sept 7 issue of the New Yorker. I urge you to read the review and to see “American Casino” at your earliest opportunity.


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Winslow Wheeler’s career as a military reformist author and commentator, along with his thoughts for the future of defense reform, were the subject of Philip Gold’s column in Washington Law and Politics presented below.

I am proud to have known Winslow, or Win, for 10 years now. I first met him when he was a Senate staffer and had me, through Chuck Spinney, come over to brief staffers on my work about reforming the Army personnel system. Winslow is a highly intelligent and a leader of character. We have been involved together through many projects to try to get our Defense Department to get it right!

I worked with him extensively when he was editor of my book Raising the Bar: Creating and Nurturing Adaptive Leaders to Face the Changing Face of War (CDI Dec 2006).  It was his foresight and guts, staying on my tail end, that reduced it from a lengthy book aimed at boring academics, to a book that would be read by all ranks in the Army, and his aim proved right!  I was at the Army Recon Course in late July, observing the implementation of the Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM) under the doctrine of Outcomes Based Training and Education (OBT&E), when I met an Army Staff Sergeant who, after I introduced myself, said “you are the guy that wrote Raising the Bar?” “Yes,” I replied. “Well,” the Staff Sergeant replied back, “I enjoyed it a lot, and we [drill sergeants at Fort Knox] have applied a lot its principles.”  Winslow can be pleased that his leadership with me, got a book that is now being used at several Army courses, as well as the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Thanks, Win, for being a mentor and friend.

If our nation had more leaders like Winslow, we could rectify the destructive course we are on, or if those at top such as the President or Mr. Gates would listen to him, our Defense would be better prepared, as well as more cost effective against today’s and future threats.  I remember when Win exposed the bullshit of the so-called congressional reformers, such as Senator McCain and company, and as a result of his honesty, got fired. Wow, someone committing the truth.

Don Vandergriff


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My friend Andrew Cockburn has launched yet another stunning tubesteak. Read it and you will understand why we don’t need “change we can believe in.” We already have the best government money can buy. 

On the 4th of July, I was driving with my wife to see my step son and his family when we drove by the Prince William County Virginia Government buildings, and we saw several people in front protesting big government.  The signs talked about socialism and the massive debt we are taking on. The audience resembled more the parent crowd at a kids soccer game than sterotyped protestors.  I told my wife, I should be out there with them. I agree with their positions.  Sadly, I believed in the President when he first came into office though I am a Ron Paul supporter, but I had to give President Obama a chance.

Now, I am very disappointed.  Our country is turning into a nation of corruption, where the rich get very rich no matter how it happens, while most of the rest of my fellow citizens are turning into dependents of the government.  They are unable or unwilling to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their own actions.  Someone else is always to blame for their troubles., while the the big U.S. government is the only one that can fix their problems.

Then, there is no path for leadership in order to gain a position to fix the problems we face.   We select people based on stunning and long resumes, then they are groomed through a system that tells them to play along to get along.  If you do what is right, no matter how effective it may be, but it goes against the establishment, you become an “outsider.” We all proclaim through the media, pop culture and books that we like these boat rockers, heretics, etc…but as my good friend and mentor Chuck Spinney says, “as long as they don’t rock anyone’s boat.”

The following article, which could relate to the other institutions that make up our government, show how the top stay in control, and continue to screw the rest of us. They put self before the nation, retaining institutions and systems that are draining our national treasure, so they can fill theirs.

My solution, civic involvement, like the people I saw yesterday, get out and vote, but we need to form a third party.  Right now, both parties are one in the same, it is all about greed and power, not leading. Until we as citizens peacefully rally and fix this mess, our nation will continue to go down the tubes owing China and others a lot of money, while our fellow citizens become irresponsible, unable take any action while they wait for their periodic handout.


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