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October 28, 2013  

Willfully blind | Poor strategic planning | 4th-gen war

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Pfc. Michael W. Daley Jr. (right) and Pfc. Travis B. Woolwine, both Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), scan their surroundings while on patrol in Paktya Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin Moeller)

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Michael W. Daley Jr.
(right) and Pfc. Travis B. Woolwine, both Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), scan their surroundings while on patrol in Paktya Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin Moeller)

Tom Ricks says the U.S. military is not looking rigorously at several big themes from the past 12 years of war, including: whether generals were properly held accountable for war zone performance, the effectiveness of the large-scale use of battlefield contractors, promotion policy, the effects of torture on both perpetrators and victims, etc. This failure, he argues, is keeping the military from drawing the proper lessons from invaluable wartime experience. (Washington Post)

Resolved: the QDR and SCMR are poor substitutes for actual grand-strategy planning. Arguing in the affirmative: Lazarus at Information Dissemination.

A quarter-century after military thinkers started talking about Fourth-Generation Warfare, Gary Anderson offers a helpful primer on how 4GW has manifested in today’s world — and how the U.S. is doing at fighting it. (Small Wars Journal)

Warlord’s Quote

“I tell you that in the arts of life, man invents nothing; but in the arts of death, he outdoes Nature herself, and produces by chemistry and machinery all the slaughter of plague, pestilence and famine….In the arts of peace, man is a bungler….His heart is in his weapons.” — The Devil, in George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman

Contributed by Dave Koplow, on leave from the Georgetown Law School as Special Counsel for Arms Control to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense. From a list compiled by the Warlord Loop, a private email forum for national security experts.

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