July 23, 2001
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Please Be Patient
Please Be Patient II
Please Be Patient III
"We are here to embrace rather than conquer."
When a system operates parallel, bottom-up and distributed those within or affected by system operation behave differently, radically differentially from those who believe themselves operating within linear, top-down, sequential processes.
This last sentence refers to the actuality that we exist within multi-dimensional, multi-valued, multi-valuing (what some call "m-valued") systems operating in all dimensions simultaneously. It also means that we may be better advised to find history qua history. It is quite impossible, in actuality, to stop the bus to get off.
The pervasive imaginings that we live within linear processes without interactive systems, interactive processes and interactive effects are, therefore, quite illusory. It is these illusions which underlie fighting the last war as though it were the next one. These illusions underlie attempts to solve problems using the tools, techniques and thoughts which create them. These illusions lead us to attempt conquest rather than to embrace.
It is nearly one hundred years since Einstein began to publish about his general theory of relativity. In terms of physics, per se, scientists have moved far beyond Einstein in theory and practical applications incorporating succeeding theories. "Parallel, bottom-up and distributed" systems and processes are accepted norms in expanding areas.
Yet, we are, in parallel, still enmeshed in earlier approximations - fighting last wars, doing other silly things, seeking conquest - which many firmly and fanatically insist constitute "reality." The scary part is that too many such believers occupy power seats pulling all of us along with them.
The present day probability that hordes of barbarians in modern armor will rage through the Fulda Gap to restore dark ages to Europe is on about the same level as that of nuclear-tipped ICBMs pouncing on the Beltway. Few may remember a French response to a probability of resurgent German militarism after WWI (1914-1918 in Europe) was to build a budget-busting line of fortifications along their eastern border with Germany as reconfigured by the 1918 Treaty of Versailles.
French authorities achieved a false, very brief sense of security. Monsieur Andre Maginot's name entered history as descriptive of one of the greater and more expensive follies of hindsightedness then seen. The Nazi Blitzkrieg waltzed around the flanks of the Maginot Line and WWII (1939-1945 world-wide) is history.
Probability is much stronger that we may descend into a twenty-first century version of The Thirty Years War. For too much of humankind, barbarous anarchy looks more probable, if not actual than civility. The Balkans provide only one such example. Barbarous anarchy is presently the norm in increasing expanses of the so-called Third and Fourth Worlds - which includes pockets within the First and Second Worlds, aka "inner cities," ethnic and poverty defined ghettoes and rural enclaves home to survivalist militias and the like.
The presently anointed monarchy within the Beltway is hellbent on busting the present and future resources of the American Empire with a twenty-first century version of a Maginot Line in space. Which is as close to fighting an imaginary last war with a silliness of tools, techniques and thoughts as I am capable of imagining.
If I were to name that aspect of the monarch in president's clothing which I find most disturbing, I would point to his norm of conquest.
Let's get back to anti-historical and a-historical for a bit. "Anti-historical" implies history which belies history in actuality. "A-historical" implies history which is without history. In short, history ain't what we like to think it may be. If we will look for differences which have made differences and patterns which connect, we are forced to examine other possibilities, to calculate other probabilities.
"Big Picture" wars such as dominate history books have a low future probability. In the first place, big picture war-making technology is too one-sided for anyone, no matter how manic, to go up against. Nice, straight ahead enemies know that it won't work that way anymore. The lesson was given graphic form in Desert Storm -- Bush I's triumph of arms from the early 1990s. That a significant number of manic or near manic folks around the planet have figured that out is right in our faces, if we will look.
Folks with power ambitions are learning that a bunch of kids with simple weapons can take on and outlast war machines -- the "technicals" of Somalia are only one example... Folks driven by fanaticisms beyond our capacities to grok have already learned they can overcome. It may come down to folks like us owning parts of cities parts of days part of the time.
We have gone through a number of encounters, to paraphrase Machiavelli, with localized actions, ambiguities and multiple-agent identities, quite disastrously if examined in relevant context. The pushovers of Grenada and Panama were followed by overt flops in Somalia and the Balkans along with continuing delusions from "Drug War" encounters. In short, we are confronted with folks who don't play by the rules as we think they should. I notice that we are today's Redcoats pissed at the locals who fight from behind trees. Ironic, no?
A recent biography of Ho Chi Minh traces the single-mindedness of his dominant ambition, his drive to free his homeland of foreign domination, his capacities and willingness to persevere. All the King's Horses and All the King's Men of "the Free World" were inadequate to maintain domination from without. The successions of actions in southeast Asia which ended in 1975's high embarrassment from the Saigon embassy roof have, as one outcome, rewritten the doctrines of conflict.
Know what it takes to knock out a multi-billion dollar stealth bomber? A readily-available-from any-local-arms-merchant grenade launcher and somebody willing to get close enough to use it. There is little question that both low level weaponry and high living willingness to use it are now common throughout the planet. What does this bit of information mean in terms of war making? It means we can no longer safely forward-base multi-billion dollar stealth bombers.
I won't bother you with the actualities of cruise missiles in use. Think how many billions of expense, billions of supply, thousands of trained personnel, years of preparation and luck of the draw are needed to send a few million dollar cruise missiles against a few of so many possible targets.
Do you have any idea how many American-made Stinger shoulder-held anti-aircraft missile launchers we cheerfully supplied to our once-allied folks in Afghanistan now known as "Taliban?" Guess how widely this supply has been redistributed since then. Do you have any idea of how many ever more sophisticated versions of such weapons are now readily available from American, Brazilian, Argentine, Israeli, British, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean-South and North, Chinese, Russian, Georgian, Pakistani, Indian, Indonesian, et al., arsenals?
Do you know what availability of shoulder-held anti-aircraft missile launchers means in terms of survivability of armed forces such as we deployed in Vietnam? It means we could not do Vietnam again. Helicopters are no longer relatively safe for one example. Learned that one the hard way in Somalia. Did any one notice that new version, very expensive, super last war Apache helicopters never made it to Kosovo? Did anyone notice that the couple which did make it, didn't make it?
In parallel, increasing sophistication of shoulder-held-anti-armor missile launchers are giving armored vehicles a higher probability of becoming crew incinerators than fighting machines. In much of the world, people on their feet have a much higher probability of survival than massive monsters of technology.
In print there are now emerging numbers of "been-there-done-that" folks who have given up on trying to work within the systems which sent them there to do that. Most who have been in relatively sensitive positions are required to sign military or governmental versions of non-disclosure agreements. Try to tell and end up doing hard time. To tell their stories, to draw their conclusions, to relieve themselves of the burdens acquired by experience, they are turning to fiction.
One quite impressive such author is Ralph Peters. He is trying very hard to get the donkey's attention with a twelve by twelve. He has an eye for history in actuality.
Please Be Patient V
Milo Clark, a founding member of Swans, had it all: Harvard MBA, big house, three-car garage, top management... Yet, once he had seemingly achieved the famed American dream he felt something was missing somewhere. As any good executive he decided to investigate. Since then, he has become a curmudgeon and, after living in Berkeley, California, where he was growing bamboos, making water gardens, listening to muses, writing, cogitating and pondering, he has moved on to the Big Island in Hawaii where he creates thought forms about sunshine. Milo can be reached at Swans.
Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Milo G. Clark 2001. All rights reserved.
This Week's Internal Links
A Hot Rain's A Gonna Fall - by Michael W. Stowell
The Other War Criminals - by Sanjay Basu
Genocide or Veracicide: Will NATO's Lying Ever Stop? - by Stephen Gowans
Not Only Are They Demons, Serbs Are Imbeciles - by Gilles d'Aymery
The Circle of Deception: Mapping the Human Rights Crowd in the Balkans - by Gilles d'Aymery
The Fabrication and Dissemination of Deception - by Gilles d'Aymery
Beneath the Cloaking Device - by Michael W. Stowell
How Much is Enough? - by Milo Clark
Back of the Bus (in 1956) - by Sandy Lulay
Some of Milo Clark's Commentaries on Swans
Events - 05/28/01
Perspective and Perspectives - 05/14/01
Project Re-Think Thinking: Serendipity and Sparks of Genius - 04/30/01
Croatan - 04/2/01
Barbaric Silence - 03/5/01
The Resource Base - 02/5/01
Addendum to ...Dream - 01/8/01
...Dream - 01/8/01