Friday, December 5, 2008

Hitting the nail on the head

Recently I posted about the double redundancy challenge that faces the US military.

Reading this article, it seems I'm late to the modern military revolution, but that I was headed in the right direction.
Gates also blasts the Pentagon’s bizarre desire to treat the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as inconvenient distractions from a future of conventional warfare, a tendency reflected in the budgetary trick of funding the wars separately from the annual defense budget. “We must not be so preoccupied with preparing for future conventional and strategic conflicts that we neglect to provide all the capabilities necessary to fight and win conflicts such as those the United States is in today,” Gates writes.
I'll have to read Gates article in Foreign Affairs to figure out his stand on nuclear policy, but from what I've just read, it seems like he is well prepared to create and adjust our military to the purposes that will actually be asked of it.  And lest people think that this is just a new top-down approach to justfying shiny new technology, Gates is well aware of the complex nature of the wars the US military has been tasked with.
A fundamental argument made by Gates is that military solutions in the war on terrorism — what he describes as “a prolonged, worldwide irregular campaign” — are rarely sufficient. “Where possible,” he writes, “what the military calls kinetic operations should be subordinated to measures aimed at promoting better governance, economic programs that spur development and efforts to address the grievances among the discontented, from whom the terrorists recruit.”
While acknowledging that war is an unpleasant thing, it looks like we have someone on the job willing to go ahead and assume the difficult responsibility of easing a war into a peace.

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