Mike, I have a list of the most visible, so-called elites in a number of categories: political, social, administrative, religious, legal, military, entertainment, financial, industrial, education (professors), and international. I feel sure that there are more groups of importance, but I am lazy tonight.
As I contended above, it may not be these visible characters that call the tune, they just parrot it.Comment Posted By mannning On 23.05.2009 @ 22:34
Not to champion a conspiracy theory, but I believe many of the most influential political"elites" do not seek the limelight, do not go around giving speeches or interviews (not often, anyway), and try very hard to work behind the scenes as far as possible. This implies, of course, that they are sufficiently wealthy to be able to stay behind the scenes, and to hire people to help. They do not seek public office, but act as "kingmakers", and they attempt to ensure that the office holders are beholden to them, one way or another.Comment Posted By mannning On 23.05.2009 @ 22:15
OK, one more time! Who are the "elites"? How would you recognize one if you saw one? This term is bandied about as if we all know the membership of the class called elite, but no one, ever, sets forth a real identification of them, by name, or even by recognizable attributes.Comment Posted By mannning On 23.05.2009 @ 20:41
So, who are they?
The most impressive group of people I have ever met were the analysts on the "open" side of CIA, and I had hours of needs-assessment interviews with just about all of them. I have no idea whether they have maintained the standards of excellence they had when I was there, as a decade or two has passed and there is a whole new crew in place.
It is the covert side that needs shoring up, in my opinion, or HUMINT, as B Poster cited. On the technical side, I think they are doing an outstanding job, but you can't do all that must be done using remote sensing, much as many want to believe. So, I agree with B Poster that some major reform steps, perhaps simply a lot more recruiting and longer-range efforts, must take place on the covert side, and that takes time.
However, the Congress and the Administration must support these reforms and not use a chopping block to emasculate CIA efforts on pretty-please grounds as was done by Clinton and Co. Good luck with that today!
I am also concerned that the Agency has become far more politicized than earlier, and more proactive in making their opinions felt through back channels. I have no idea what can be done about it, except to clamp down hard on the guys that get caught--and their superiors.Comment Posted By mannning On 18.05.2009 @ 14:23
Again we are treated to hand waving and biased opinion. You really don't get it, Michael. You are wedded to the present, and apparently unable to project your thinking into tomorrow or the next decade. Every argument you put forward cites the Russian situation of the recent past and present, but not their plans and programs for the future.
Your thin analysis of Russian aviation is rather shocking. You really ought to Google Sukhoi and read up on the SU-27, and the new SU-35, among other developments.
Do you really believe that Russia would go to battle in 10+ years with the same old tanks and APCs? Google T-90S and T-94, and read up on their newest T-series tanks with a 125mm smoothebore gun, a modern fire control system, and other armaments. These prototypes are serious rivals to M1A2s.
Down most lines of military hardware, the Russians have been designing, prototyping, and testing various new models before committing them to production. The T-90S has been produced in hundreds so far, and has been exported to India. The T-94 may well end up being the next major production tank, but it has problems.
Look into the BMP-90 as well. It is evidently an excellent IFV.
What we are seeing is a concerted effort by the Russians to field an advanced array of armor, and artillery at a measured pace, with the capability to turn on the production at any time they are satisfied.
This fits rather well with a targeted 10+ years of buildup from now I posited with a whole new set of modern, proven fighting vehicles. I find the same approach being implemented for their Air Force and Navy, and they are earning export funds in the process.
It is quite obvious that they are constrained by their economic situation--who isn't? But it seems that they do afford what they must for the military, especially under Putin, and they expect the ecomomy to improve in a few years, with their natural resources leading the way.
I find your attitude offensive, and unworthy of an intelligent man, and your replys full of your own opinion, not supported by facts. You are not worth talking to.Comment Posted By mannning On 15.05.2009 @ 20:28
The amusing thing is about Mr. Reynolds is that he does not offer more than hearsay evidence for his sweeping statements, and I have yet to see any military qalifications from him.
At various times I have been deeply associated with the all of the main US Army automation efforts, the efforts of the Swiss Army to create a more efficient artillery solution, as a contracted advisor to the German Army on automation, as an advisor to the Dutch Army, and a participant in many NATO efforts, covering in particular NADGE and GADGE, and as part of the NATO AWACS program. I was an early program manager in the advanced airborne command post efforts (E-4B), and many SAC programs, especially the B-52 upgrade efforts. Virtually every one of these efforts began with analysis of requirements, and the strategic and tactical picture of concern, before proceeding to the design phase.
Other efforts of a highly classified nature involved intelligence collection and processing systems of many types: one that my team designed went to SAC HQ in support of the SIOP, and was operational there for many years.
I was directly responsible for all of the command center upgrades for the Pentagon Renovation Program forabout three years, which involved obtaining a full understanding of their operations and needs.
In all, I have had 43 years of such experience in a range of military problems related to C3I.
Your turn.Comment Posted By mannning On 15.05.2009 @ 11:46
Mister Michael Reynolds; It isn't what we don't know very well, it is what so many, such as you, think you know and do not know at all. You have absolutely no knowledge of where I am coming from or where I get my information. That makes you a perfect fool.
Your rather pathetic attempt to attack my premise that in a matter of a decade or so the Russians could have a superior military to ours shows your own ignorance and bias most clearly. (It was never my premise that the Russians could best us today on the battlefield...that is your distortion.)
It is historically factual that extremely strong, even massive, military forces can be generated within a decade: witness Germany in the late 30's and 40's, Russia in the 40's, the US in the 40's, and Britain in the 40's. In fact, most of these huge buildups took only 3+ years.
Russia is certainly capable of doing that again, and is generating the revenue for it now from its oil and gas resources. In fact, by stretching procurements out over the longer period of 10+ years it becomes more affordable, and they need not mobilize till late in the period. Then too, The ruble goes a long way towards procuring military goods in Russia.
There is solid reporting on the existence of the recent Russian military buildup program, and the same holds for China, although less specific. Only a fool would ignore these actions. But, of course, the Obama administration is hell-bent on making heavy warfare reductions and cancellations to our military. Just the things we might need in 10+ years.
Fortunately, we have the means to detect a truly major buildup today, hopefully in time to counter it, and hopefully with a different administration in power when we do.Comment Posted By mannning On 15.05.2009 @ 01:35
Recall that what I said was predicated on a 10 year+ horizon. The problem is that development of new weapons and infrastructure takes 10 or more years to field, so if we arrive at 2019+ without developing an increased capability or by actually decreasing it, while one or more of our potential enemies has pushed ahead with their armaments, we are in serious jeopardy.
I would challenge the idea that either Russia or China cannot become a significant threat in 10+ years. I would ask you what sources are being used to make such statements about the capabilities and intentions of these historical enemies, and just how reliable these sources have been in the past in the real world (as opposed to sources with a heavy stake in the current government's political positions and financial chaos).
It is particularly worrisome that the EU, its individual nations, and NATO are very weak militarily now, and do not appear to have any intention to correct that position, largely trusting that the US shield will protect them just as it has for the last 60 years. Our small tripwire presence in Europe, now about 89,000 strong, is predicated on being able to delay a massive invasion from the East until reinforcements can be transported to Europe. This tripwire force would be overrun in days or a week, and the rest of the West's current level of forces defeated in a few weeks by a resurgent Russian military, after the 10+ years of buildup that I suggest.
The key to this would be to gain air superiority by defeating the gaggle of NATO air forces in the first weeks using hundreds of new and superior fighter aircraft whose high production levels were previously little-known to the West until too late to react.
If I recall the basic NATO plans correctly, if such a massive attack were to occur, NATO would be forced to resort to tactical nuclear weapons to stave it off. Once that genie is out of the bottle, who knows what may happen next?
My preference is to take out an insurance policy--a strong enough US military--that might well forestall this whole scenario, and other such scenarios as well, without risking lives and nuclear engagement.
This is not to say that we cannot find greater efficiencies in military procurements, in eliminating redundancies that do not add up to a benefit, and in actually canceling some items that are not needed, in the wisdom of the government and military properly exercised apolitically.Comment Posted By mannning On 13.05.2009 @ 12:22
Posters keep trying to sell the meme that the US need not maintain its military power at its current level, or with only an increase of a few divisions. They survey the current threats, the armies of the key nations, and conclude that they cannot stand up to our military, even if we slap it with a 25% or 30% reduction. Doesn't anyone remember what we had to do 5 years after WWII was over(Korea)? How about another 10 or 12 years after that(Vietnam)?
Oh, then Gulf I and II, and Afghanistan. We seem to forget what terrible contortions we had to go through after some disingenuous leaders declared that we don't need a big military in order to take funding away to give to their own projects (Clinton, for example). We are about to do it again, most probably focused on the "big ticket items" in the military pipeline--aircraft, major warships, and an integrated battlefield approach. This will be one of the Obama legacies.
Either Russia or China has all it takes to build super military forces with very modern equipment on a sound technology base, and with an enormous supply of men available. Give them 5 to 10 years and we could be outclassed and outnumbered in both conventional and unconventional warfare.
Our intelligence penetration does not seem to be at the same level it was at during the Cold War (which was not all that good), which says that we may not get sufficiently advanced warning of such buildups, nor of the new weaponry we might face. What is worse, we would most likely turn a deaf ear to anyone that predicted a conflict arising, until it was almost too late. The intentions of these buildups can be disguised very easily up to a point, especially when willing but weak souls are all too accepting of the peace rhetoric that usually accompanies such objectives.
So, in the face of not knowing a tenth part of the capabilities and intentions of our potential enemies (actually, both are historical enemies) over the next decade or so, we want to downgrade our conventional war capabilities and shift their focus to counter-insurgency actions.
We are going to be at great risk in these Obama/Reid/Pelosi--constructed out years; much greater than it has to be.Comment Posted By mannning On 12.05.2009 @ 21:33
OK, militia is militia, but then so are the people the people; you know, the guys and gals that keep guns and know how to use them. These are the ordinary people that used to make up militias when called to form up, that are now called up or drafted by the US Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines.
Just plain people: gun-loving, gun-hugging guys and gals--citizens all. We seem to have needed lots of them every few years, people that can shoot straight...and will again and again, which is an odds-on bet.Comment Posted By mannning On 7.05.2009 @ 21:48