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CTG #10: Nothing is over

Photo credit: U.S. Army (link)
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policies or positions of the US Army, the Department of Defense, or the US Government.

You asked me I didn't ask you

I wish I had something valuable to add, but I don't. Everything has been said.

For what it's worth, I tend to think we achieved our objectives.

We just didn't stop.

Going to war is such a terrible decision. Sometimes it is necessary. But it never - ever - goes the way we'd like.

Every war is a monster.

I'll close with what I think captures the way many viewed Afghanistan over the past twenty years.

“We will never win in Afghanistan,” he told the team. “But know – now and always – that does not matter. That is an irrelevant fact. It gives us a place to go and fight, it gives us a place to go and be warriors. That’s it.” - Major Jim Gant, American Spartan

Carrying the Gun

Summer is ending, and I'm happy for it. It had me all over the place between intense work and vacation. I found myself happiest when the pendulum stopped and I got back to the normal routine. 

Here's the monthly round-up.

We don't need the United States Information Agency - Every year, for the past few years, someone writes that if we are serious about competing "in the information environment" then we need to bring back the United States Information Agency (USIA). Friend of the blog Matt Armstrong wrote a strong rebuttal to one of those recent articles. As I write in the post, "I continue to think that folks think bringing back the USIA will work because, you know, it has ‘information' in the name."

"Psychological" isn't a dirty word - The more we try to ignore the fact that just about everything has a psychological element to it, the further we'll fall behind in making any progress.

Repeat deployments and credit card debt - Army of Two was peak GWOT.

Pics (video) or it didn't happen - Have you noticed that when you watch the news these days (if you watch the news at all) the most inane things will be presented as important enough to deliver to an audience of millions of people? Cars falling off bridges, close encounters with dangerous animals, fights at restaurants in cities far away, and on and on. Why? Because there is video.

If you control the countryside, you control the towns - Not the other way around. Remember those maps that showed provinces in Afghanistan "turning red" as the Taliban swooped in? Well they were always red - just with a blue dot where the provincial capital was.

Watching it happen - The flash-to-bang keeps getting shorter and shorter. This isn't going away. We have to embrace it before it devours us.

Action is what matters in information warfare - This post is a placeholder for a longer, better piece. I think I'm in the minority on this opinion, but I feel strongly about it.

All the reasons we're bad at irregular warfare - The Irregular Warfare Initiative continues to put out some of the best material. 

Language ability is what sets SOF apart - "The HALO jump wasn't the hard part. Knowing which Arabic dialect to use when I landed was." One of my favorite SOF recruiting posters, for sure.

You only have time for one, maybe two hobbies

This was a shorter newsletter than usual. There's a lot of noise out there right now, and as I said in the intro, I really don't have much to add. Sometimes it is best to say nothing at all.

I found myself deleting tweets I never sent more in the past couple of weeks than I ever have. Definitely better off for it.

Still, writing is one of my hobbies. And I love the consistency of this newsletter. Get it out, every month. Just. Keep. Grinding.

For the tiny few of you that like the gaming stuff, I'm wrapping up my posts on MGS3 on the IG account. Should be done this week. Next game is coming soon.

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