Profiles in Courage

The time stamps of Obama leaving his black nationalist church and Obama managing to half-disenfranchise Michigan and Florida are four minutes apart.

I don’t mean to imply that Obama abandoned his church the moment that Cook county the primary season ended. His campaign assured us it took the weekend.

Hopefully, we will get a less racially divisive Obama campaign out of this. For the good of the country, it is best if Obama has believed he has ridden his race-based campaign as far as it will go, but I doubt it.

John Boyd and “4GW”: GMW and xGW Approaches

Curtis has an amazing piece that starts out on the difference between GMW (the “4GW” of William Lind) and xGW (the 0GW,1GW,2GW,3GW,4GW,5GW work that’s been done online). It beings:

Triangulating Clausewitz and Boyd – Dreaming 5GW
Recent discussions re: “GMW vs xGW” [1] [2] [3] suggest that William Lind’s Generations of Modern Warfare model is insufficient and that the newer model xGW proves more useful for understanding warfare in our present era — as well as in previous eras.

In point of fact, Lind’s model has often caused dispute, particularly on the forth tier, that is with regard to the prognostication of 4GW. Useful or not, the first three generations are descriptive of what has already occurred in our modern era and so are “pre-verified”. The fourth generation is a guess of what is to come, which has been partly verified by current conflicts but was left open enough to suggest all future conflicts.

The fact that Lind’s GMW leaves “fourth generation warfare” open to becoming whatever happens in the future — the definition is vague and fluid enough — severely limits the usefulness of GMW. What are we to learn from GMW that will benefit us, whether as a state or as individuals engaged in conflict? By leaving no room for the development of a “fifth generation of warfare” that could defeat a “fourth generation warfare”, we are left no recourse in GMW except the ability to describe: Having described 1GW through 3GW, we come to “4GW” which we can use to tag all future events. What we are to do about those events doesn’t matter and is conspicuously absent from the GMW model.

Curtis then moves on to examining John Boyd in the context of the importance and limitations of descriptions. An amazing post, and one reason I am so happy that GMW is being ditched as the empty pseudo-hegelianism that it is.

The Unexpected Success of the Surge

That I was wrong, and John McCain was right, on an issue that I cared and thought a lot about is a driving force behind my endorsement of the Senator. While I was calling for withdrawal and criticizing the surge for slowing the ethnic cleansing that would be needed if Iraq was to cleanly fracture into three sovereign states, Senator McCain, Secretary Gates, and General Petreaus used better knowledge and better opinions than mine to craft our current Iraq strategy.

As success after success mount for the Surge, men like Muqtada al Sadr who once looked like the future are now justly seen as has-beens: marginal figures who will try their best, but seem to have little real influence or power. Indeed, the Surge has been so successful that it is replicating its success, as the Iraqi Government’s Mini-Me Surge in Basra, which met with similar opposition, is seeing similar success.

I was wrong on the Surge. So was Barack Obama. I admit that. Obama’s camp denies it. That’s typical. McCain supporters
(such as myself) can now crow about the wisdom & foresightedness of their candidate on one of the most pressing issues of the day. Obama supporters instead are reduced to Iraqi gotchas, of the “I was conceived by Red Army soldiers liberated Auschwitz under sniper fire” variety.

It will be interesting to see who wins in November. Both candidates have pluses (presuming that the Democratic Party gives the nomination to Barack Obama, and not popular-vote-winner Hillary Clinton. Still, as I vote on such provincial matters as having the correct beliefs, making the right sacrifices, and supporting wise policies when it mattered, I will be voting for John McCain.