--Dollar Operation, Arend van Dam
How can I bear unaided the trouble of you,
and the burden, and the bickering!
And the Governors agree to say:
"He's a lovely man!"
He makes it easier for
Them to screw
All of you...
Yes, that's true!
--Heavenly Bank Account, Frank Zappa
There can be economy
only where there is efficiency
The recent debt ceiling debate and budget cut proposals led Ranger to think about the Principles of War and how they were violated in the last several weeks (The Nine Principles can be viewed HERE.) The Principles are the foundation for planning and executing a successful military exercise, and the rules are readily applicable to ensure the success of most undertakings.
Ticking off the list:
Ticking off the list:
MASS: This fight could not place the combat power at the decisive place and time; it was an exercise in futility. The decisive battle should not be about caps and cuts but rather, how do we stem the economic assault on our defensive position? We are re-acting when we should be acting. The entire debt limit discussion was an admission of defeat.
OBJECTIVE: There was not a clearly-defined, decisive or attainable objective. Just as with the present U.S. Counterinsurgency (COIN) policy, the negotiation gave more credence to politics than to attainable objectives. The objective was not reached because it was obscured by smoke.
OFFENSIVE: Neither political party maintained or achieved the initiative.
SURPRISE: Both parties put all their assets forward, leaving them with nothing in reserve (which also affected their maneuver plan.)
ECONOMY OF FORCE: Ditto above regarding surprise. Additionally secondary efforts were ignored and never prioritized. Not discussed were balance of trade, loss of jobs, balance of dollars leaving our shores, loss of industry and weak economic white papers. Nope -- we just focused on borrowing more, slashing and burning more.
MANEUVER: Both sides were totally dug-in defending in zone with no demonstrable mobile warfare. Neither side possessed the combat power essential to overrun the opposing side. It was a static display of impotence.
UNITY OF COMMAND: One would assume the President would be the responsible commander, but this oversimplifies the situation. Obama should have stated his commander's guidance, but allowed the maneuver commanders to formulate their respective Operations orders. By placing himself on the battlefield he ignored the subordinate chain of command. In addition, his presence stiffened the opposition to an unacceptable intransigence.
SECURITY: There can be no unexpected advantages in this altercation because we had already lost our freedom of movement and would win or lose with the forces committed. This hardly describes the concept of security.
SIMPLICITY: Simplicity was violated because the principle of objective was ignored. The leaders preferred to ignore this principle to the detriment of the goals of the operation.
In a recent Time essay, "How Today's Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality," Fareed Zakaria bemoans the intransigence of today's conservatives, saying they have lost their touchstone of "reality" in exchange for reactive policies which ignore the truths on the ground. For instance, they failed to recognize that, "(t)axes — federal and state combined — as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest level since 1950":
"The U.S. is among the lowest taxed of the big industrial economies. So the case that America is grinding to a halt because of high taxation is not based on facts but is simply a theoretical assertion. The rich countries that are in the best shape right now, with strong growth and low unemployment, are ones like Germany and Denmark, neither one characterized by low taxes."
So the can has been kicked down the road; Ranger hasn't any faith that the next group of mutton-heads will apply the simple and infallible Principles to their effort.
Everyone says they love the military, yet they cannot apply some simple procedures to their policy-making processes.
[cross-posted @ milpub]