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Robert Gates on being defense secretary.

thett3
Posts: 14,378
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1/7/2014 9:09:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
An excerpt from his book, this was one of the best articles I've read in a while.

Some particularly good quotes in my opinion are: "I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country."

"While I was sitting in a hotel restaurant before my confirmation hearings, the mother of two soldiers then in Iraq came up to me and, weeping, said, "For God's sake, bring them back alive." I never forgot that"not for one moment."

"This is particularly worth remembering as technology changes the face of war. A button is pushed in Nevada, and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Mosul. A bomb destroys the targeted house on the right and leaves the one on the left intact. For too many people"including defense "experts," members of Congress, executive branch officials and ordinary citizens"war has become a kind of videogame or action movie: bloodless, painless and odorless. But my years at the Pentagon left me even more skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories or doctrines that suggest that war is anything other than tragic, inefficient and uncertain."

Thoughts?

http://m.us.wsj.com...
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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1/7/2014 10:11:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Unsurprisingly, it's the people who are directly involved in war that actually see it for what it is. While the rest of us are mostly clueless.

Soldiers are the first to tell you that they aren't heroes and that there's nothing honorable in the job. This is why I respect them. A kind of respect that ignorant war-mongering "patriots" deny them.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
YYW
Posts: 36,394
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1/7/2014 10:25:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/7/2014 9:09:56 PM, thett3 wrote:
An excerpt from his book, this was one of the best articles I've read in a while.

Some particularly good quotes in my opinion are: "I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country."

I think that's a fair and accurate assessment of congress.

"While I was sitting in a hotel restaurant before my confirmation hearings, the mother of two soldiers then in Iraq came up to me and, weeping, said, "For God's sake, bring them back alive." I never forgot that"not for one moment."

I think one of the hardest things for any soldier's parent to understand is that there are some things that are worth more even than soldiers lives. While their lives are incredibly valuable, and while it would be utterly immoral to callously order troops to battle and ask them to risk their lives for anything other than service to American ideals -our ideals, as a people and as a country are more valuable than any one of us (soldier or civilian). Bringing the soldiers home alive is important, but fighting for something meaningful is more so. It's what separates the United States from the rest of the world. We are fundamentally the nation that does not allow tyrants to abuse their people, for any reason. We are not perfect, but service in defense of liberty and human rights is no vice. I think entirely too often the pacifists and non-interventionists forget that -or they never knew it to begin with. I'm not sure which is more disappointing.

"This is particularly worth remembering as technology changes the face of war. A button is pushed in Nevada, and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Mosul. A bomb destroys the targeted house on the right and leaves the one on the left intact. For too many people"including defense "experts," members of Congress, executive branch officials and ordinary citizens"war has become a kind of videogame or action movie: bloodless, painless and odorless. But my years at the Pentagon left me even more skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories or doctrines that suggest that war is anything other than tragic, inefficient and uncertain."

Game theory is interesting, but it doesn't win wars. Actors are not perfectly rational, and even if they were that doesn't mean that we are able to perfectly assess their priorities. If there is anything that can be said for Obama's foreign policy, it is that weakness begets opportunity to those who would trample the liberty of people anywhere they are able.

Thoughts?

http://m.us.wsj.com...
Tsar of DDO
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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1/7/2014 11:38:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/7/2014 10:25:57 PM, YYW wrote:
At 1/7/2014 9:09:56 PM, thett3 wrote:
An excerpt from his book, this was one of the best articles I've read in a while.

Some particularly good quotes in my opinion are: "I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country."

I think that's a fair and accurate assessment of congress.

"While I was sitting in a hotel restaurant before my confirmation hearings, the mother of two soldiers then in Iraq came up to me and, weeping, said, "For God's sake, bring them back alive." I never forgot that"not for one moment."

I think one of the hardest things for any soldier's parent to understand is that there are some things that are worth more even than soldiers lives. While their lives are incredibly valuable, and while it would be utterly immoral to callously order troops to battle and ask them to risk their lives for anything other than service to American ideals -our ideals, as a people and as a country are more valuable than any one of us (soldier or civilian). Bringing the soldiers home alive is important, but fighting for something meaningful is more so. It's what separates the United States from the rest of the world. We are fundamentally the nation that does not allow tyrants to abuse their people, for any reason.

I'm drunk don't make me puke pretty pretty pl0x.

We are not perfect, but service in defense of liberty and human rights is no vice. I think entirely too often the pacifists and non-interventionists forget that -or they never knew it to begin with. I'm not sure which is more disappointing.

I don't think I've ever heard a non-interventionist disagree. Pacifists might but for an entirely different set of reasons that yer description probably IMO doesn't take int account.

"This is particularly worth remembering as technology changes the face of war. A button is pushed in Nevada, and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Mosul. A bomb destroys the targeted house on the right and leaves the one on the left intact. For too many people"including defense "experts," members of Congress, executive branch officials and ordinary citizens"war has become a kind of videogame or action movie: bloodless, painless and odorless. But my years at the Pentagon left me even more skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories or doctrines that suggest that war is anything other than tragic, inefficient and uncertain."

Game theory is interesting, but it doesn't win wars. Actors are not perfectly rational, and even if they were that doesn't mean that we are able to perfectly assess their priorities. If there is anything that can be said for Obama's foreign policy, it is that weakness begets opportunity to those who would trample the liberty of people anywhere they are able.

Thoughts?

http://m.us.wsj.com...
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
YYW
Posts: 36,394
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1/8/2014 7:45:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/7/2014 11:38:36 PM, Noumena wrote:
At 1/7/2014 10:25:57 PM, YYW wrote:
At 1/7/2014 9:09:56 PM, thett3 wrote:
An excerpt from his book, this was one of the best articles I've read in a while.

Some particularly good quotes in my opinion are: "I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country."

I think that's a fair and accurate assessment of congress.

"While I was sitting in a hotel restaurant before my confirmation hearings, the mother of two soldiers then in Iraq came up to me and, weeping, said, "For God's sake, bring them back alive." I never forgot that"not for one moment."

I think one of the hardest things for any soldier's parent to understand is that there are some things that are worth more even than soldiers lives. While their lives are incredibly valuable, and while it would be utterly immoral to callously order troops to battle and ask them to risk their lives for anything other than service to American ideals -our ideals, as a people and as a country are more valuable than any one of us (soldier or civilian). Bringing the soldiers home alive is important, but fighting for something meaningful is more so. It's what separates the United States from the rest of the world. We are fundamentally the nation that does not allow tyrants to abuse their people, for any reason.

I'm drunk don't make me puke pretty pretty pl0x.

Wouldn't want you to throw up on your keyboard... but you know where I stand w/foreign policy.


We are not perfect, but service in defense of liberty and human rights is no vice. I think entirely too often the pacifists and non-interventionists forget that -or they never knew it to begin with. I'm not sure which is more disappointing.

I don't think I've ever heard a non-interventionist disagree. Pacifists might but for an entirely different set of reasons that yer description probably IMO doesn't take int account.

The description may not have taken their reasons into account, but I did when I wrote the description.


"This is particularly worth remembering as technology changes the face of war. A button is pushed in Nevada, and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Mosul. A bomb destroys the targeted house on the right and leaves the one on the left intact. For too many people"including defense "experts," members of Congress, executive branch officials and ordinary citizens"war has become a kind of videogame or action movie: bloodless, painless and odorless. But my years at the Pentagon left me even more skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories or doctrines that suggest that war is anything other than tragic, inefficient and uncertain."

Game theory is interesting, but it doesn't win wars. Actors are not perfectly rational, and even if they were that doesn't mean that we are able to perfectly assess their priorities. If there is anything that can be said for Obama's foreign policy, it is that weakness begets opportunity to those who would trample the liberty of people anywhere they are able.

Thoughts?

http://m.us.wsj.com...
Tsar of DDO
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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1/8/2014 2:16:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/8/2014 7:45:21 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/7/2014 11:38:36 PM, Noumena wrote:
At 1/7/2014 10:25:57 PM, YYW wrote:
At 1/7/2014 9:09:56 PM, thett3 wrote:
An excerpt from his book, this was one of the best articles I've read in a while.

Some particularly good quotes in my opinion are: "I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country."

I think that's a fair and accurate assessment of congress.

"While I was sitting in a hotel restaurant before my confirmation hearings, the mother of two soldiers then in Iraq came up to me and, weeping, said, "For God's sake, bring them back alive." I never forgot that"not for one moment."

I think one of the hardest things for any soldier's parent to understand is that there are some things that are worth more even than soldiers lives. While their lives are incredibly valuable, and while it would be utterly immoral to callously order troops to battle and ask them to risk their lives for anything other than service to American ideals -our ideals, as a people and as a country are more valuable than any one of us (soldier or civilian). Bringing the soldiers home alive is important, but fighting for something meaningful is more so. It's what separates the United States from the rest of the world. We are fundamentally the nation that does not allow tyrants to abuse their people, for any reason.

I'm drunk don't make me puke pretty pretty pl0x.

Wouldn't want you to throw up on your keyboard... but you know where I stand w/foreign policy.

Well it is a point of unfortunate disagreement between us old chum.


We are not perfect, but service in defense of liberty and human rights is no vice. I think entirely too often the pacifists and non-interventionists forget that -or they never knew it to begin with. I'm not sure which is more disappointing.

I don't think I've ever heard a non-interventionist disagree. Pacifists might but for an entirely different set of reasons that yer description probably IMO doesn't take int account.

The description may not have taken their reasons into account, but I did when I wrote the description.

Well okay then lol.


"This is particularly worth remembering as technology changes the face of war. A button is pushed in Nevada, and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Mosul. A bomb destroys the targeted house on the right and leaves the one on the left intact. For too many people"including defense "experts," members of Congress, executive branch officials and ordinary citizens"war has become a kind of videogame or action movie: bloodless, painless and odorless. But my years at the Pentagon left me even more skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories or doctrines that suggest that war is anything other than tragic, inefficient and uncertain."

Game theory is interesting, but it doesn't win wars. Actors are not perfectly rational, and even if they were that doesn't mean that we are able to perfectly assess their priorities. If there is anything that can be said for Obama's foreign policy, it is that weakness begets opportunity to those who would trample the liberty of people anywhere they are able.

Thoughts?

http://m.us.wsj.com...
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.