Archive for the 'Constitutionality' Category

The Rule of Law

In the United States and in the developed world generally, we take the rule of law to be the foundation of our societies. The alternatives are usually thought to be gang/mob rule, anarchy, and a return to pre-civilized days (as in The Road Warrior).

Personally, I think there’s a lot of truth to this, especially if you want a functioning modern economy (It’s well beyond my competence to discuss alternatives, such as tribal societies).

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On War #250: Counter Counter-Insurgency

By William S. Lind

Retired Air Force Colonel Chet Richards has published another short, good book: If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration. The “it” in question is a republic, which we are unlikely to keep since republics require a virtuous citizenry. But suggesting a rational, prudent defense policy for the next administration is sufficiently quixotic we might as well also pretend the republic can endure.

Richards’ first major point is that most of our armed forces are “legacy forces,” white elephants designed for fighting the Red Army in Europe or the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific. They have little utility in a world where nuclear weapons prevent wars among major powers, wars with minor powers can be won easily and usually aren’t worth fighting, and legacy forces generally lose against Fourth Generation opponents. Although they are largely useless, these legacy forces eat up most of the defense budget. Richards would disband them, save the Marine Corps, some useful tac air (i.e., A-10s) and some sealift, and give the money back to the taxpayer.

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New book now available

IWCKI Final Cover If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration, by DNI Editor Chet Richards. Now available on Amazon.

On War #248: My Master’s Voice

By William S. Lind

Yesterday I placed my annual call to my All-Highest War Lord and Sovereign Master, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to offer my usual felicitations on his birthday. His Majesty was laughing when he picked up the receiver, so after congratulating him I took the liberty of inquiring what Heaven found so funny.

“Democracy,” His Majesty replied.

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Sample Chapter

IWCKI Final Cover If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration, by DNI Editor Chet Richards.Chapter III, “Is It War?” is now available [63 KB PDF]. This is a marketing teaser, to implant a subliminal impulse to buy the book and then tell all your friends about it.It should be on Amazon within the next couple of weeks.

New Book Cover

IWCKI Initial Cover Here’s the latest mock-up of the cover of my new book, If We Can Keep It. Right now, it looks like it will come out in February

Ave Caesar!

SWJ’s Dave Dilegge takes on Ralph Peters (Go Dave!)

As Dave notes, the urge to solve political and social problems with brute force runs deep. Near the end, Dave quotes Steve Metz of the US Army War College [– see correction in the first comment, below]:

As always, I’m green with envy over Ralph’s way with words. But this hasn’t shifted me from my long held position: in the broadest sense, there are two approaches to counterinsurgency. Treat it like war and either kill or cow those who oppose you (call it the “Roman” method). Or try and minimize the extent to which it is like war, stress the political and economic, and try and win support thereby undercutting the insurgency (call this the “British” method).

My feeling is that history suggests that the Roman method is more effective. The British method takes much longer and has a lower probability of success. But American strategic culture has simply taken the Roman method off the table for us. Where, I think, Ralph and I diverge is that I don’t believe that even the most articulate national leadership can sell the American public on it. The British were able to deviate from their own method–South Africa and, to some degree, Kenya–specifically because their public was not as engaged in the course of colonial wars as our public is in small wars. American strategic culture may be a terrible impediment, but we cannot wish it away. So we’re left with the British method even given all of its complications and shortcomings.

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