Alex began to have an out-of-body experience, and found himself hovering above the weirdness of what was going on in the loft. On some different plane he saw deities drinking from a pool of “electric milk” a “vast lake of timpani,” of “vibrating energy.” Alex described the vision as follows:
“I had a vision of the group soul of humanity as a perfectly circular pool of intense living light. All around the rim of the milky pool were a complex variety of sexual rites, a metaphor for all social interaction. Translucent Hindu deities swooped over the group taking the excessive energy of the shimmering pool and passing through the group as ecstasy and pain. I saw that the reason we were all brought together was to provide a psychic energy feast for the Gods and Goddesses. I saw my heart as the axis of karmic, earthly, and universal energies, transected by and uniting the polarities of male/female, birth/death, good/evil, and love/hate. To maintain a balance of forces we all fed both Deities and Demons.”
This visionary experience eventually became the masterpiece: Demons and Deities Drinking from the Milky Pool.
. . . . . . . .
The Archons are masters of deception who manipulate by encouraging us to give away our power to external saviors and authorities. We become like the living dead when they succeed, like Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths–withered, obsessed beings forever craving but unable to reach “The Precious,” which could take the form of an object or person of desire, or a fanatic ideology/fundamentalist religion that enslaves us to its version of salvation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Colin Gray is THE top strategist in the Enlgish language, January 1, 2013
I have been a huge fan of Colin Gray since reading and reviewing his Modern Strategy. My own particular interest is “intelligence with integrity” and my motto is “the truth at any cost reduces all other costs.” This is not a motto the current Secretary of Defense in the USA is familiar with. After reading Leon Panetta’s recent speech on “strategy” to the National Press Club, I was moved to create a remedial reading list for any aspiring Secretary of Defense, and this book as well as Modern Strategy are on that list.
Colin’s key points are points that many of us have made over time after first learning them from Colin, among others — the US Army Strategic Studies Institute is a node of excellence that has employed both Colin and myself, and all that they offer free online in the way of strategically-oriented monographs is priceless. They are working on beginning to offer their books on Amazon.
01) Spending is neither revolutionary nor a strategy.
02) Technology is neither revolutionary nor a strategy.
03) To devise a strategy (connecting ends, ways, and means) one must first get a grip on reality.
Based on five years of investigation in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. The bottom line from our point of view is three-fold:
1. All money collected for an ostensible campaign must be “tagged” and audited and pooled so that the US military among others can draw down on the common fund and cover all costs associated with US military mobilization and continuing Stabilization & Reconstruction Operations.
2. We need a Stabilization & Reconstruction Intelligence Support Plan that includes Peace Jumpers and immediate air breathing wide area surveillance upon which to build a bottom-up needs assessment and Reverse TIPFID. Push the information perimeter all the way out to pre-loading approval contingent on having a big air docking space and small air or land or sea intermediate delivery channels.
3. We finally need to get serious about “preaceful preventive measures” as called for by General Al Gray, USMC, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, in his seminal article “Global Intelligence Challenges for the 1990’s,” American Intelligence Journal (Winter 1989-1990). His staff assistant for that piece was Robert Steele. We need a Whole of Government and Multinational Engagement information sharing and sense-making hub and spoke network built around the US defense open source intelligence program. IOHO.
Although the essays date back to 1994 this book (and the one above) are both published in 2008 and I will first testify that this is a fresh book, very ably strung together, and it does indeed address the fundamentals.
I totally share the author’s conviction that the war on drugs is a fraud that is in fact both a war on blacks and a means of populating the prison-slavery complex. I appeared in the DVD American Drug War: The Last White Hope testifying against the CIA for precisely this reason–the author does not discuss, but I am aware of, the close relation between laundered drug money and Wall Street liquidity, and I absolutely one hundred percent support both the legalization of drugs beginning with marijuana, and the eradication of SWAT teams and other forms of excessive militarization across America.
We knew the Pentagon had hit bottom when a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (C/JCS) best left to his well-deserved obscurity said “Real men don’t do Operations Other Than War (OOTW).” This is the same person that ignored General Al Gray, USMC (Ret), then Commandant of the Marine Corps, who in 1989 was calling for both “peaceful preventive measures” and what is today known as Irregular Warfare (nothing new, each generation rediscovers stuff–as Winston Churchill ikes to say, “The Americans always do the right thing, they just try everything else first”).
We were also very unhappy when flag officers who knew better allowed Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith to lie to Congress and get away with it. Integrity is about more than personal honor–it is about serving the Republic in good faith, and that includes protecting us all from enemies both domestic and foreign. Lies kill ones comrades. The current Administration is living multiple lies at multiple levels, which makes it an exact mirror of the previous Administration or, as the Libertarians are now saying: “two wings, one bird.”
The below piece warms our heart. We celebrate this blinding flash of integrity by adding a photo and short bio of this worthy gentleman. Now if we can just get the President and his National Security Advisor to flush the partisan hacks out of the White House, create a non-partisan Cabinet and a National Strategy Center, and buy-in to the 450-ship Sustainability from the Sea Navy and the Four Forces After Next that have been kciking around since 1992 or so when the USMC first conined the term “911 from the Sea,” we might just get DoD back on track at the same time that we learn how to do peaceful commerce and moral policy.
New York Times
August 28, 2009
By Thom Shanker
Message To Muslim World Gets A Critique
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has written a searing critique of government efforts at “strategic communication” with the Muslim world, saying that no amount of public relations will establish credibility if American behavior overseas is perceived as arrogant, uncaring or insulting.
The critique by the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, comes as the United States is widely believed to be losing ground in the war of ideas against extremist Islamist ideology. The issue is particularly relevant as the Obama administration orders fresh efforts to counter militant propaganda, part of its broader strategy to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate,” Admiral Mullen wrote in the critique, an essay to be published Friday by Joint Force Quarterly, an official military journal.
Brilliant Tour, New Knowledge, Best in Class & Practical,June 19, 2009
For those who have not already digested the author’s seminal publication, Modern Strategy, I have a summative review there that could be helpful in conjunction with appreciating this new work.
10 pages of notes–this is a major work that is also easily grasped by undergraduates and graduates. I want to say up front that I have seen no finer overview that blends the original thinking of the author, himself a master strategist, with broad consideration of the work of others, and very disciplined integration of selected quotes and ample citations. The notes are superb.
My summary notes first:
Six lessons of Bush-Cheney era:
01–Bush era did not lack for brains or judgment, simply suspended intelligence in favor of “hopes, dreams, and good intentions.”
02–Crusades inconsistent with reality will fail
03–US forces not trained, equipped, organized for counterinsurgency
04–Transition to peace is harder than winning war
05–International politics is real and will not go away
06–Beware capabilities-driven strategy.
Three levels of strategic thinking:
–general applied to regular or irregular warfare
–tailored to a specific “episode” e.g. Haiti, Somalia, Iraq
US starts with multiple handicaps:
01–cultural disposition to look at pieces, not the whole
02–flawed theory of deterrence
03–excessive faith in technology, insufficient grasp of human factors, incompetence at irregular war
04–one size fits all military does not suit diversity of challenges
05–lack of authority among those we seek to influence
06–barriers between military and political leaders (and lack of inter-agency coherence at any level)
“Deterrence…is not a fixed, settled, and now long-perfected product.” [It is] not understood, illusions abound, and it [a theory of] is desperately needed as a companion to the concepts of prevention and pre-emption. This is the first time I encounter a concise well-organized critique of the entire field of deterrence. He cites Payne in noting how the US tried to “deter” NVN with a Rolling Thunder air campaign, despite having no clue “about the enemy’s policymaking process or how he rank-ordered his values.”
01–Deterrence must be part of broader strategy of influence in all its forms
02–We must take the ideas and perceptions of others seriously
03–Citing Metz & Mullen, “the age of the stupid enemy is past.”
Quoting Echeverria: “American way of battle has not yet matured into a way of war.” Later in the chapter on Irregular Warfare he observes, citing others as appropriate, that war is the whole enchilada–political, legal, social, economic, military, cultural; while warfare is the conduct of the war, predominantly but not exclusively military.
The chapter on surprise is original, lacking only one fundamental: intelligence must cast a wide net and policy must keep an open mind.
The chapter on revolutionary change is original but overlooks O’Hanlon’s Technological Change and the Future of Warfare and does not address the broad literature on the need to reinvent intelligence and shift from secret unilateral to open multinational.
I learn that context is both that which surrounds, and that which weaves together; throughout the book the author emphasizes the importance of Gestalt, of “the whole,” with particular attention to the political consequences of military actions.
Citing Field Marshall Keitel: errors in tactics and operations can be corrected in the current war, errors in strategy can only be corrected in the next.
p. 108: “Strategic surprise on the greatest of scales occurs as a result of changes in the contexts for national security.” He goes on to note that political surprise is what catches the US most unawares, in part because the US separates policy and politics from all else.
p. 119 “War is about peace…above all else, war is about the kind of peace that should follow.”
Essence of strategy:
01–About the use of force for political effect
02–About relationship between means and ends
03–Politics must rule BUT politicians must hear, understand, and respect the military
American “way of war (more properly, way of battle):
01–Apolitical (I would add, amoral)
07–Focused on Firepower
13–Highly-Sensitive to Casualties
Irregular Warfare demands:
05–Unity-of-effort (I add, Whole of Government, M4IS2)
The author is deeply respectful of our soldiers, lamenting that they are victims of a strategic deficit among both our politicians and senior military leaders, hence sent in harm’s way ill-advisedly to few good ends.
The author provides new thinking on pre-emptive and preventive war, stating on page 242 that both are “only feasible if intelligence is immaculate.” This chapter may be the most important chapter as well as the most difficult for conventional decision-makers, both political and military, to grasp, given their “closed circle” circumstances.
The concluding chapter on The Merit in Ethical Realism is absorbing and feels a huge gap in current US strategic thinking. Three quotes capture my admiration for this author and this chapter:
“…it is nearly always inexpedient to ignore or affront the ethical sensibilities of stakeholder communities, including one’s own.”
“As a practicing strategist, I am convinced that strategy’s ethical dimension is not subjectively irrelevant; rather it is integral to supposedly objective analysis, calculation, decision, and behavior.”
“The moral is strategic, and the strategic is moral.”
The author concludes that we cannot think in terms of one “Master Menace,” and must instead be prepared for a diversity of challenges and dilemmas. In my comment below I provide URLs for summary articles about the Army’s Strategic Conferences in 1998 and 2008, both ignored by all “deciders.”
Along with Colin Gray, Steve Metz, and Max Manwaring, Martin van Creveld is among the intellectual giants of our era with respect to strategic reflection, and he stands alone at the intersection of strategy, logistics, technology, command & control, and the art of decision-making under conditions of great uncertainty.
His contribution to OSS ’02 was created especially for this multinational group, and we believe it will stand the test of time as a seminal work for those who seek to transform intelligence from a bureaucracy that measures inputs to a cosmic force that determines outcomes favorable to all concerned.
Edit of 23 Feb 08 to add links. This book remains priceless & relevant.
First published in 1999, this is an original tour d-horizon that is essential to any discussion of the theory and practice of conflict in the 21st Century, to include all those discussions of the alleged Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), the need for “defense transformation”, and the changing nature of civil-military relations.
I am much impressed by this book and the decades of thinking that have gone into it, and will outline below a few of its many signal contributions to the rather important questions of how one must devise and manage national power in an increasingly complex world.
First, the author is quite clear on the point that technology does not a revolution make-nor can technology dominate a national strategy. If anything-and he cites Luttwak, among others, with great regard-an excessive emphasis on technology will be very expensive, susceptible to asymmetric attack, and subversive of other elements of the national strategy that must be managed in harmony. People matter most.
Second, and this is the point that hit me hardest, it is clear that security strategy requires a holistic approach and the rather renaissance capability of managing a multiplicity of capabilities-diplomatic, economic, cultural, military, psychological, information-in a balanced manner and under the over-arching umbrella of a strategy.
Third, and consistent with the second, “war proper” is not exclusively about force of arms, but rather about achieving the national political objective by imposing one’s will on another. Those that would skew their net assessments and force structure capabilities toward “real war” writ in their conventional terms are demeaning Clausewitz rather than honoring him.
Fourth, as I contemplate in this and other readings how best to achieve lasting peace and prosperity, I see implicit in all that the author puts forward, but especially in a quote from Donald Kegan, the raw fact that it is not enough for America to have a preponderance of the traditional military and economic power in the world-we must also accept the burden and responsibility of preserving the peace and responding to the complex emergencies around the globe that must inevitably undermine our stability and prosperity at home.
Fifth, it is noteworthy that of all the dimensions of strategy that are brought forward, one-time-is unique for being unimprovable. Use it or lose it. Time is a strategic dimension too little understood and consequently too little valued by Americans in particular and the Western alliance in general.
Sixth, it merits comment that the author, perhaps the greatest authority on Clausewitz in this era, clarifies the fact that the “trinity” is less about people, government, and an army, than about primordial violence, hatred, and enmity (the people); chance and probability on the battlefield, most akin to a game of cards (the army); and instrumental rationality (the government)-and that these are not fixed isolated elements, but interpenetrate one another and interact in changing ways over time and space.
Seventh, the author devotes an entire chapter to “Strategic Culture as Context” and this is most helpful, particularly in so far as it brings forward the weakness of the American strategic culture, notably a pre-disposition to isolationism and to technical solutions in the abstract. Perhaps more importantly, a good strategic culture with inferior weapons can defeat a weak strategic culture with an abundance of technology and economic power.
Eighth, and finally, the author courageously takes on the issue of small wars and other savage violence, seeking to demonstrate that grand strategy applies equally well to the savage criminal and warlord parasites that Ralph Peters has noted are not susceptible to our traditional legal and military conventions. While he does not succeed (and notes in passing that Clausewitz’s own largest weakness was a failure to catalogue the enemy and the dialog with the enemy as a major factor in strategic success and failure), the coverage is acceptable in making three key points:
1) small wars and sub-national conflicts are generally not resolved decisively at the irregular level-conventional forces are required at some point;
2) special operations forces have a role to play but lack a strategic context (that is to say, current political and military leaders have no appreciation for the strategic value of special operations forces); and
3) small wars and non-traditional threats-asymmetrical threats-must be taken seriously and co-equally with symmetrical regular conflicts.
At the end of the day, this erudite scholar finds common cause with gutter warrior Ralph Peters and gang-warfare iconoclast Martin Van Crevald by concluding his book with a quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “In the Computer Age we will live by the law of the Stone Age: the man with the bigger club is right. But we pretend this isn’t so. We don’t notice or even suspect it-why surely our morality progresses together with our civilization.”