You’re 232 old today, and I have to say, you haven’t aged a day.
The more advanced the combatants in a war, the less likely it is they’ll be fighting the same war.
There have been many, many others like it around the blogosphere today, so I’ll just second this one from Scott Kelby.
- Hitchens on Falwell – a nice vicious hit job, closing with
It’s a shame that there is no hell for Falwell to go to, and it’s extraordinary that not even such a scandalous career is enough to shake our dumb addiction to the “faith-based.”
- On Generals – An interesting piece on the lack of turnover at the Pentagon due to the Iraq war. Unmentioned is the lack of turnover as a result of 9-11, which should be the larger clue.
I read this article on CNN.com
White House taps general for ‘war czar’ post
President Bush has chosen Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the Pentagon’s director of operations, to oversee the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a “war czar” after a long search for new leadership, administration officials said Tuesday.
In the newly created position, Lute would serve as an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser, and would also maintain his military status and rank as a three-star general, according to a Pentagon official.
and was reminded of this Albert Jay Nock quote:
Experience has made it clear beyond doubt or peradventure that prohibition in the United States is not a moral issue; it is not essentially, even, a political issue; it is a vested interest.
and this H.L. Mencken quote:
The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.
We have this horrible tendency in our culture to see the means (a big new bureaucracy) as an end in itself, nay, an achievement. What endeavor has failed because there are too few managers? The right managers, sure, lots of failures due to a lack of them. But too few?
Plus an additional bureaucracy just creates it’s own principal-agent and knowledge problems.
Functionally Lute will probably serve as a dedicated adviser, but why the title Czar? All of the Russian Czars were an odd combination of stagnant, incompetent and murderous. Why is that some role model.
After reading these two articles (here and here) about new forms of sniper scopes, I have to wonder, why aren’t robot armies in the field right now? Granted, all of the shooting must somehow involve a human, but I would imagine that remote operator could be anywhere. We’ve had unmanned aerial vehicles for years now, and those fly, which would seem to be much more complicated and expensive.
On the rise of privateers. We’ve let this option go as our country has become wealthier, but it’s worth looking at.
I was going to write this a while back, but here it is. I was on the fence about it at the time, but history did not to wait for me to reach a position.
What I was wrong about with regard to Iraq (2003 assumptions)
- I thought we would have over 10,000 military deaths by this point.
- I thought the war would take about a year of heavy fighting.
- I thought it would be over after that year
- I thought the Sunni-Shia split would not play out as it has, rather that it would stay at or around the 2004 level
- I thought we would have much more negative blowback – for all of the shouting and protests, not much has really happened on that front
- I thought we would have found at least chemical weapons (in large quantities)
- I did not think that Kurdistan would turn out as well as it has
- I thought Turkey would have intervened in some form by now
- I thought al Qaida would have benefited more, it seems that they have been hurt (in terms of their ideological appeal) by the Iraq war (more on that later)
- I did not think that we would still have this many troops (fighting) at this point.
- I thought that there would be much more conventional combat, and much less of this gang warfare
- I thought that the Iraqis would have scored at least three major wins (surprise attacks in some fashion) in the scores of battles that have happened since the war began. They don’t seem to have won any against American troops.
While looking over David Friedman’s blog today, I came across this article on “The Economics of War“. It’s an interesting read. Here is another one I haven’t read in ten years or so, Paying for Crime Prevention it winds up being a partial defense of the system we have in America where the government is not liable if a defendent is acquitted at trial. To wit:
The outcome of a criminal case depends, among other things, on decisions made by police and prosecutors. Consider a situation where, at some point in the proceedings, the police begin to suspect that they may have the wrong man. Suspicion is not certainty; they can choose to ignore the evidence that their suspect is innocent or someone else is guilty. They can also choose to do their best to keep such evidence out of sight of the defense. How likely they are to do so depends in part on the cost to them of being proven wrong. Under a legal system in which acquitting the defendant, or dropping charges after he has been imprisoned for some time, results in sizable cash penalties against the police department or its individual officers, the police have a strong incentive to repress their doubts and push for a conviction.
How serious this problem is depends on a variety of factors. If there is a substantial chance that the conviction of an innocent will eventually be discovered and reversed, a police department that suppresses such evidence risks having to pay for years in jail instead of months. If, on the other hand, such a reversal is unlikely, suppressing evidence may be an attractive gamble.
I suppose that is another variant of the Gandhi game, or turning the other cheek as it’s less tactically known.