Tag Archives: war

All Tactics No Strategy:  Duck and Cover!

New Orleans       We saw the tactic swallow the strategy in the Occupy movement.  We just discussed the situation in Hong Kong over the last seven months where the tactics and adaptations have been brilliantly effective, but the strategy for victory is still unknown and perhaps tragically unachievable.  Now on a horrifying daily basis we are force fed the filter-less daily intemperate tactical obsessions and actions of President Trump.  If it scratches, he itches the heck out of it without thinking about what might happen the next minute to him, to us, and certainly not to the rest of the world.

What’s up with this epidemic of tactics devoid of strategy?  Do we blame the immediacy of social media where fingers seem always on the twitter-finger?  Do we point the finger at the hyper-speed of daily life leeched of reflection or second thoughts as eyes and fingers dart like hummingbirds to keep up?  Is our culture now just one big casino of risks trying to best long odds?  What the frick!?!

If street-level organizers working in the vineyards, like me, can see clearly that these global tactics are as disconnected as random moonbeams without a hint of strategic coherence, what are the wizards in Washington and around the world doing to make a living who are paid to both know – and do – better?  Susan Rice, former national security chief under President Obama, doesn’t see this as a lady versus tiger choice, writing an op-ed in the New York Times.  Looking at the options, she everything but says that this was just hip shooting, cowboy stuff without any thought or time allowed to looking at second, third, and fourth level consequences.  We already know that there was no briefing or consultation with Congress and not even a never mind courtesy call to our allies, including those on the firing lines.  Rice seems to conclude that the only real mystery is whether it will be a wider war versus a limited war.  What the frick?!?

Other experts seem to be depending on either luck or prayer.  As the signs on refrigerators often heralded after Katrina, “hope is not a plan!”  Some are even bending over backwards to suggest that Trump is sooo crazy and sooooo erratic, that perhaps Iran is confused about how to best deal with someone so out of control.  Meanwhile he threatens to blow up Iranian culture sites which is a widely recognized and condemned war crime.  We might ask, “what is he thinking,” but we know the heart of the problem is that he is not thinking at all!

Tactics without strategy produces chaos.  The only clear result thus far in Iran seems to be that Trump’s actions have brought the Iranian people and their government together, where there had been protests and unrest only weeks ago.  In other results, this action has divided the world, left the USA without friends or allies, and generally scared the bejesus out of all of us.

This is madness!


Thanks, President Trump!

New Orleans     Yes, you heard me say it:  thanks, President Trump for not throwing one of those big ones at Iran and starting a war.

After a period of crazy back-and-forth with Iran, fueled by mouth-breathers like John Bolton and other hawks, Trump has been transparent that he made the decision not to pull the trigger on a retaliatory strike on Iran.  He didn’t feel that potentially killing 150 Iranians was proportionate to the fact that Iran shot down an unmanned US drone.  I’m not ashamed to say it:  good call, Mr. President!

Reading about his decision is an exercise in our own kind of personal restraint, because you can feel in each story the spin from the two-handed pundits (on one hand and on the other) and the advocacy of the stone-cold hawks for more bombs and blood versus the folks holding up warning signs.  From the reports, it seems the generals were not even unanimous.  The Defense department was run by part-timers and short-timers giving the president less than confident advice.  The Secretary of State was a maybe, saying sure strike, but the sanctions are working.

The only thing predictable was that John Bolton, former temporary UN guy under George W. Bush, then Fox fighter, and now frighteningly the National Security advisor, was as always Mr. Blood and Guts.  This guy never met a missile he didn’t love or a war he didn’t want, whether it is looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or claiming that the Iranian government is a terrorist sect.  An Iranian must have stolen his date for his high school prom or something.  He’s so unhinged about all of this that it must be personal somehow?

The President is saying he was ready to push the button and then asked one more general what the kill count might be on the Iranian side and pulled back when he heard 150 might die when we had lost no one.  Some analysts are carping about this story and trying to paint it as the usual Trump embellishment and fabrication claiming that all assessments going to the president would have included a range of fatalities.  Others are saying the 150 was on the high end of the estimate of a strike on a missile site that might have been from zero to 150.  Defenders and  apologists are saying maybe Trump just wasn’t listening earlier or paying attention?  Some are saying that Trump thought perhaps the drone downing was a mistake and something done by a rouge commander.

Who cares?  He did the right thing.  The advice was conflicting and the sources were unreliable and in this instance he had the good judgement to keep the powder dry until he was confident. Furthermore, whatever the reason or instinct might have been, Trump was also right:  this would not have been proportionate at 150 to zero.  He was also right that it might have brought us closer to war.  Let me add that would be yet another war.

Maybe it’s the thing about even a stopped clock is correct two times per day, but this call was the right one for President Trump for whatever reason, and we should thank him for doing the right thing.