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  • Mon, Aug 27, 2012 - 03:12pm

    #59
    OITW

    OITW

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    Joined: Mar 17 2012

    Posts: 26

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Poet, the problem is that Greer cites MC02 multiple times in the comments as an example of what can happen.  It is always possible, yes.  But the other side has its own cultural constraints, budget limitations, bone-stupid operators, inadequate and poorly-maintained equipment, as well as the one genius who will make you pay.  This is why the Army prefers intelligence assessments to include best case, worst case, least likely and most likely, to make the commander aware of the entire range of threats but to focus him on the ones that he most likely will have to contend with.  Same with the inflated capabilities assigned to the other side’s weapons.  Why is that ours always really suck and theirs are always godlike?  Marketing and willfull misconception, mostly.

I will say that most assessments that cry out about how vulnerable and “last war” our carrier task forces are, are driven by political or monetary motives and usually contain gross misunderstandings of a carrier’s true strengths and vulnerabilities.  Only a fool would say they are invincible, but they are a lot more survivable than their skeptics posit.  Whether they are needed or used wisely is one question, but to claim they won’t survive the first round of the next shooting war is hyperbole.  The price of losing a couple, though, is not.

The dependence on GPS is real and unfortunate.  OTOH, everyone in the world depends on it.  No one is willing to take it down because it necessarily blinds itself in the process.  And I would encourage a helluva lot more skepticism about Iran’s alleged GPS-hacking capabilities, based on that styrofoam modeling job they presented as the “captured” drone.  Again, they are godlike and we’re incompetent.  It’s a meme that is as misleading as the “last war” meme.  The great fear about GPS blocking before the Iraq invasion was mostly press hype that any logical thinker should see through (hint:  target is low, bomb guidance is high, and GPS signal source is way high and diffuse).

When teaching fighter pilots, we always say, “It’s the one you don’t see that gets you.”  The military is always scanning the horizon for what it might have missed, and rushing to correct when it sees something new.  The idea that we go blindly forward trapped in one technological canyon or another is silly, although lots of bucks get wasted that way.  Still, in the words of some SECDEF or other, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I would postulate Greer’s position differently.  His explanation has it appear that the military acts independently of our political leadership.  It doesn’t.  Instead, the military gets stuck in morale-busting morasses that last decades, bleeding money, machinery and ordnance and achieving nothing in the way of lasting peace and order, at the behest of the political leadership.  It gets stuck fighting with the last war’s technology because the new war makes no sense and so it wasn’t planned for.  It’s the slow bleed from loyally supporting some political hubris that’s more likely to kill us rather than the sudden reversal.  That bleed isn’t the result of military technology blinders, it’s the result of poorly conceived political blunders, often to support domestic political agendas.  It’s as old as the arrogant Athenian decision to invade Syracuse in the middle of the war with Sparta, and then the doubly arrogant appointment of Nicias, the most most vocal opponent of the campaign in the assembly, to lead the campaign.