Quote of the Day

Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment—that which they cannot anticipate.

—Sun Tzu

Quote of the Day

If the campaign is in summer the general must show himself greedy for his share of the sun and the heat, and in winter for the cold and the frost, and in all labours for toil and fatigue. This will help to make him beloved of his followers.


Campaign Promises

… I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick … (X)ObamacareScreenHartWeb

… and good jobs to the jobless; (X)labor-force-participation

… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; ( )global-temperature-vs-co2

… this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation … (X)100918-A-0846W-219

… and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. (X)G20 Leaders Meet In St. Petersburg For The Summit


So far, we’ve manage one goal in spite of him.

A Bit of Perspective

463 days Construction of the Empire State Building 22 January, 1930, to 1 May, 1931

585 days US involvement in WWI 6 April, 1917, to 11 November, 1918

1093 days Manhattan Project time to first bomb test 13 August, 1942, to 16 July, 1945

1244 days US war with Germany (WWII) 11 December, 1941, to 8 May, 1945

1289 days Obamacare Website 21 March, 2010, to 1 October, 2013

Seven Score and Ten Years Ago …

… President Lincoln made some brief remarks at the dedication of a military cemetery in southern Pennsylvania.

On 19 November, there will be a ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. President Obama has blown off his invitation to participate.

I’m not sure what he has on his schedule for the 19th, but I’ll bet that the world will little note nor long remember what he does that day.

Manning Channels Klinger

Bradley Manning says he wants to be female.

For now, he should be headed to the U. S. Disciplinary Barracks, Ft. Leavenworth. That where maximum security military prisoners are held. Of course, if he is allowed to be transgendered, I suppose that he will be transferred to the Naval Consolidated Brig, Miramar. That’s where female military prisoners are held.

Arma Virumque Cano

I haven’t had much to say about the whole George Zimmerman case. Too many people have picked over its carcass, mostly people who are vastly unqualified by either training or experience to speak knowledgeably.

I won’t talk about the law involved, except to say that the evidence that I’ve seen points to Mr. Zimmerman firing in self-defense.

I want to talk about being armed and the real meaning of the Robert Heinlein remark that “an armed society is a polite society.” My friend Aaron Walker has argued that if George Zimmerman had been openly carrying his pistol, it is likely that Trayvon Martin would not have taken a swing at him in the first place. That makes sense. I can tell you that I once avoided being assaulted when I turned so that the other guy could see the .45 in my holster, and he realized that he was about to bring a knife to a gun fight. My potential assailant remembered his manners.

But that’s not the point of Heinlein’s maxim.

When one goes armed, he must remember his own good manners. When one is armed, whether with a gun or knife or any other weapon, he needs to remember that any conflict that he becomes a part of has the potential to become deadly. In that case, rather that feeling empowered to be obnoxious or assertive, the armed man seeks to avoid giving offense to others. Those who don’t have a significant risk of being removed from the gene pool.

The empirical evidence from those states that don’t interfere with Second Amendment rights suggests that gun carriers are a law abiding group. Folks with carry permits, for example, commit crimes at a significantly lower rate than politicians who are members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (but that organization’s crime rate is sufficiently high that it should be called Illegal Mayors Against Guns).

Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

UPDATE—I am not an advocate of open carry per se. Indeed, if Maryland would stop its concerted effort to suppress Second Amendment rights, I would probably engage in concealed carry most of the time. The incident I cite above occurred in a place where only open carry was legal.

Open and concealed carry have different tactical advantages. Neither is necessarily appropriate in all situations, but, regardless of how one goes armed, the necessity of being well mannered is always there.

Not Spending Other People’s Money

So the DoD is canceling most of the fireworks displays at bases around the country. I say, “most,” because it seems that the soldiers at Ft. Campbell will still have their display.

This is a strange. The fireworks displays at military bases are paid for with what are called “non-appropriated funds.” Sequesters and budget cuts should have nothing to do with this.

Non-appropriated funds are generated by the military community through the sale of goods and services and the collection of fees and charges for participation in military community programs. They do not involve federal tax dollars. The largest sources of non-appropriated funds are the PX and BX systems. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is an agency of the United States Department of Defense. One of it’s missions is to generate reasonable earnings of non-appropriated funds for the support of United States Army and Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs (MWR). The Navy operates the equivalent Navy Exchange, the Marine Corps operates the Marine Corps Exchange, and the United States Coast Guard operates the Coast Guard Exchange. The average soldier’s PX purchases generate a bit more than $200 of profits for MWR funding each year.

Well, at least the Commander-in-Chief made it back from Africa in time to watch the display on the National Mall. I hear the view from the White House is great.

Buffer Inventory Control

Darrell Fawley has an essay over at Small Wars Journal about the Army’s challenge retaining its best and brightest junior officers. (H/T, Instapundit) If you’re interested in the future of our military, you should read the whole thing.

One thing Fawley points out that drives many good soldiers out of the Army is the its tendency to pettifogging bureaucracy in a peace time garrison environment.

Forcing leaders to fill out pages of high risk trackers to be briefed to generals rather than allowing commanders to own their companies is just one example.  Having COMET teams run around post stopping vehicles to ensure they have their warning triangles is another.  Carrying around a standards book as an inspectable item?  Does that show trust?

No, it doesn’t. And I can sympathize based on my experience as a Second Lieutenant.

My initial set of assignment orders had me assigned to a unit at Ft. Hood as a Combat Signal Officer following completion of the Signal Officer’s Basic Course at Ft. Gordon. However, I did so well in the course that the Signal School retained me as an Instructor in the Officer Basic Course. One day, I received a set of orders appointing me the Buffer Inventory Control Officer for the School. Buffer Inventory? Was this some sort of supply detail? I called up the Adjutant’s office and asked what I was supposed to do.

I was to be the property custodian for the month of October for all the floor polishers (“buffers”) on the property books of the School, all 124 of them. I was to sign for all of them and then pass them along to another officer in November. If any were missing, I’d have to reimburse the Army for the full purchase price of a replacement.

So I decided to conduct a sight inventory of the “buffers,” signing only for the ones that I could actually find. I should mention that the orders specifically said that use of my private vehicle was not allowed, so I took off walking around Ft. Gordon. It was obvious from the reactions of the various NCOs and Army civilian employees I encountered that no one had ever actually asked to check on their floor polishers. After a couple of days, the Colonel I worked for asked me what I was doing. He called the Adjutant and got me a staff car and driver. That lasted for about a day-and-a-half until someone up the food chain realized what I was doing. I was actually following orders, and that was screwing up the system.

It turned out that sometime in the early ’60s someone lost a floor polisher. The corrective action (on paper) was to assign an officer to be responsible for Buffer Inventory Control, and so that became a slot on the School’s duty roster. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Apparently, I was the first officer in years who actually did an inventory, and I wasn’t finding all the “buffers.”

Around the 10th of the month, I received a second set of orders canceling the duty.

That’s how the bureaucratic garrison Army tends to be. If it can’t change, it will lose its best soldiers to civilian life.

On War

Once upon a time, the Progressives were big on the idea of the moral equivalent of war, and so we’ve had a War on Poverty (which poverty seems to have won) and a War on Drugs (Yes, Prohibition in all it’s forms has been a Progressive movement.) among others. Progressives usually don’t like war, but they love the kind of control that a military organization exerts.

I used to be a soldier, and many of the skills I learned in the Army haven’t had real world applications in civilian life, but some have. One thing that the Army teaches its officers is how to make a plan and how to execute it. That has been useful.

In the aftermath of World War I, British Army General J. F. C. Fuller formulated Nine Principles of War. A version is still taught as a part of leadership development by the U. S. Army.

Mass Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time
Objective Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective
Offensive Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative
Surprise Strike the enemy at a time, at a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared
Economy of Force Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts
Maneuver Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power
Unity of Command For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander
Security Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage
Simplicity Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding

Those principles aren’t really an invention of 20th century. They’re were old when Sun Tzu wrote about them in ancient China. They apply broadly to any enterprise. For example, violating the Mass principle by not having sufficient resources concentrated for an activity is a recipe for failure. And so on.

Throughout my career in business I have used the broad guidance of those principles to keep projects on track, and, yes, I’ve used them in my efforts vis-à-vis Team Kimberlin. Consider Surprise. I’ve known for months that perjurers can’t testify in court in Maryland. I didn’t let Brett Kimberlin know until a time when his lack of preparation was to my advantage.

Does any of this mean that I’m at war with Team Kimberlin? If I am, it’s not of my choosing. And if I am, I’ll use every skill and resource that I have.