While our troops pay in blood…

While our troops pay in blood… June 25, 2012

we are ruled by bickering cliques of Mean Girls from your sophomore year in the high school cafeteria.

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  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    Horrible and disappointing as this is, it is nothing atypical. This is EXACTLY the way most governments are run at national, state, and local levels. And it is exactly the way most major corporations are run — only moreso.

    Which is why the world neither advances nor recedes. It just wobbles along.

    • Ted Seeber

      It is in fact, a given for any organization with more than 100 individual human beings in it. Human social interaction simply cannot scale.

  • ivan_the_mad

    *sigh* I can’t say that I’m surprised, but it’s still depressing to wonder what lives might have been saved if not for the personal conflicts. As an aside, if anyone would like a very good history of US policy and involvement in Afghanistan (and associated dealings with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan), check out http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/

  • Oregon Catholic

    Mean girls immaturity aside it hasn’t changed any outcome. There will never be peace with the likes of the taliban or al quaeda. Holbrooke might have been able to extract us from this ridiculous war many muti-billions of dollars and thousands of lives sooner but not because of any brokered ‘peace’. Is there peace in Iraq where shiites and sunnis still kill each other and Christians are being slaughtered?

    • Hezekiah Garret

      You’re from Oregon. If you want to criticise cultures for being savage and violent, go after your own. Somebody might take you seriously.

      • Ted Seeber

        If this person is where I think they are likely located- it’s hard to go after a culture for being violent when all it does is sit around smoking pot and reliving the late 1960s.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “There will never be peace with the likes of the taliban or al quaeda.” I’m curious, Oregon Catholic: Is it, after all, the flux capacitor that makes time travel possible? Because clearly you’ve been to the future to be able to make that statement 😉

      • Ted Seeber

        I would make the same statement, but I’d put it differently: We can try for peace with the Taliban or al Qaida, but we’re going to have to be prepared to sign around 100 million treaties due to their theology. And going back on even one dot on one i in any treaty will cause 40-50 people to lose their lives.

        This is more than a year old (and the initial article I wrote on this strange new-to-even-Islam theology is even older) but it will help you to understand the theology behind the Muwahiddun:


        I find their theology as alien, and as fascinating, as Jack Chick Tracts. But I think that due to economic stress of believing in a irrational God, the Muwahiddun have far more followers than Jack Chick ever will.

  • Franklin

    What really bothers me about all of this was our failure to develop a workable strategy. Yes the 9-11 attacks were shocking and required our response, but instead we have meandered all over the strategic map on how to act. As our leadership bickered we engaged in a non-winnable war for 12 years which really is a sad commentary on where our Nation wants to be in this and the next generation. When the USA ventured into WWII they agreed at the outset to fight until we had a unconditional surrender from the Japanese and Nazi’s. So why didn’t we develop a winning strategy that would allowed this entire region to grow and join the modern world? I was at Bethesda Naval Hospital today for an appointment and counted 15 single and double and triple amputees. Young men who are forever scarred for life, and AFG still in the same chaos it was in 2001. In Afghanistan corruption is the rule, death is the future. Sad sad sad…pray for peace..

  • @Ted Seeber,

    You write:

    It is in fact, a given for any organization with more than 100 individual human beings in it. Human social interaction simply cannot scale.

    I am very curious to know if you have any experience of life in the military.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    • S. Murphy

      I do. Ted’s talking about something different. At the level of officer giving commander’s intent to staff NCO/NCO to figure out how to do the task and set LCpls to work executing, it usually all works fine. At the staff level, say at some massive staff like CENTCOM, junior high crap like that described in the link will happen, e.g. between staff sections whose principals don’t like each other. There’s normal human pissiness and cliques and whatever else at the E-1 to E-3 level, too; but when people with chickens and stars on their collars start playing games with each other, their sphere of influence is larger, and there’s nobody to tell them to grow up; so damage gets done. LtCols and majors, and sergeants major and first sergeants either get sidelined or get drawn into the morass, or have their own game of office politics going on within their own peer group. Or, at a training command (as an example, because they can get skylined, and high visibility leads to pressure, and pressure doesn’t always bring out the best in people), the people training the recruits are accomplishing the mission, but back in the office, they’re gossiping about each other, telling tales about each other to the officer who writes the fitness reports; and those officers are either falling for it, or getting busy with their own junior-high games. This isn’t everybody at all times; but these organizations exist at all because of Original Sin, and sin manifests itself in all the normal ways within them. In some cases, military discipline and a sense of responsibility for mission accomplishment mitigates the effects – sometimes people do put aside their personal feelings and act like professionals. I’m sure similar commitments to mission accomplishment and professionalism exist in the State department, too. The language used won’t involve discipline, and arguments won’t be resolved as easily by the senior individual explaining, “shut up and go do as you were told;” but people can still rise above themselves. In the story Mark linked to, it sounds like they didn’t — and the they involved two retired GOs. Maybe they needed to go back and be second lieutenants again for 6 months before collecting their retirement, I don’t know.

    • Ted Seeber

      No, but the military is a grand example of a huge organization that utterly fails in the justice department.

  • SecretAgentMan

    “Richard, do people really talk like that?” Well, yes, Mr. President, if they’re making momentous decisions in the Situation Room, they occasionally talk just like that. President Obama and his aides may know the J. Crew, weekend-in-the-Hamptons way to discuss a war that’s killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghans, but style is less than substance — as any substantial person knows.