nerd of war

April 27, 2007
I'm starting to feel like a T veteran, because I've finally developed a strategy. One coworker says he always goes for the subway car where he'll have to walk the least, but my goal is to find the least crowded car, and hopefully a seat.

So not surprisingly, it's the far end cars that seem to be the least populated. And I've found my favorite seat on the Red Line: so, saying that the line goes south into Boston from Cambridge, the best seat is in the "northermost" car, southwest corner... usually the car is close to empty at Alewife, and that particular seat has this little shelf thing you can toss a bag or coat onto. Luxury!

(Me, overthink?)

Link of the Moment
  1. Most wars are asymmetrical / irregular.
  2. In these wars, the guerrillas / irregulars / insurgents do NOT aim for military victory.
  3. You can NOT defeat these groups by killing lots of their members.
    In fact, they want you to do that.
  4. Hi-tech weaponry is mostly useless in these wars.
  5. "Hearts and Minds," meaning propaganda and morale, are more important than military superiority.
  6. Most people are not rational, they are TRIBAL: "my gang yay, your gang boo!" It really is that simple. The rest is cosmetics.
I just found out about the "War Nerd" Gary Brecher (thought to be a nome de plume)

He's... really something. To say he's jingoistic is putting it extremely mildly. I think a lot of people will find his expression of love for war and his casual off-the-cuff bloodlust revolting. And some people claim that his belligerent style sometimes conceals a lack of hard facts, at least in certain cases.

But he's willing to call a spade a spade and skewer sacred cows like the greatness of the American Military (historically, it's really supply and logistics that we do really well, and beyond that we probably have only our fair share of heroes.) Like his take on WWII... pretty much all of Europe was borderline fascist, and the real fight was the Nazis vs Soviet Russia, the rest was largely window dressing.

The sheer pragmatism of his outlook is almost scary, especially with his stated hope of seeing more and more exciting wars. But his piece on assymetrical warfare (where that list comes from) and his strong arguments that Bush and Cheney and Co. set us up for nothing but failure in Iraq really reminded me just how nuts and agenda-driven these guys are. I wonder if the "war nerd" persona is meant to be a Vonnegut-ian "wrang-wrang", "A person who steers people away from a line of speculation by reducing that line, with the example of the wrang-wrang's own life, to an absurdity."

I liked his article on Count Carl Gustav von Rosen... he underplays how the civillian airplanes the Count refitted with missile batteries to fight a bushwar in Africa were originally designed as military vehicles, but besides that it's an amazing story. (Here's another link with some photos.)