Friday, November 16, 2007

Twelve Myths

Ralph Peters discusses twelve myths of the 21st century:

  1. War doesn't change anything.
  2. Victory is impossible today.
  3. Insurgencies can never be defeated.
  4. There's no military solution; only negotiations can solve our problems.
  5. When we fight back, we only provoke our enemies.
  6. Killing terrorists only turns them into martyrs.
  7. If we fight as fiercely as our enemies, we're no better than them.
  8. The United States is more hated today than ever before.
  9. Our invasion of Iraq created our terrorist problems.
  10. If we just leave, the Iraqis will patch up their differences on their own.
  11. It's all Israel's fault. Or the popular Washington corollary: "The Saudis are our friends."
  12. The Middle East's problems are all America's fault.

Anyone who pays attention to the news outlets or reads what Democratic senators and congresspersons have been saying for the last five years has heard each of these in one form or another. Often they're stated with no supporting evidence and they're rarely questioned. Yet each of them is either false or, like #5 and #6, they make a point that's relatively trivial.

Read Peters' discussion of the errors of these twelve myths at the link.


Two Questions

There's something revealing about this line from a story at American Scientist:

"Civil engineers may be able to design more innovative and improved structures by borrowing from genetics."

Why are structures like bridges and buildings, whose engineering is borrowed from the biological world, considered to be well-designed, but the biological structures which they copy are just the product of blind chance?

Why do we repeatedly find structures in nature which have a design far superior to anything that intelligent engineers have developed yet those biological structures are assumed to be the result of blind, unintelligent, unintentional accident while the relatively inferior efforts of engineers are evidence of intellectual brilliance?

Just asking.


How They Did It

Kimberly Kagan at The Weekly Standard writes a thorough account of how the Surge accomplished the task of largely eliminating the threat of al Qaeda in Iraq. The strategy and tactics she describes may well be a major part of the curriculum in our war colleges in the decades ahead.