Why understanding e-mail might matter for a President
Lovable Liberal has a very smart post up that drills into Bob Woodward’s new book. LL focuses on the claimt that the reduction of violence in Iraq derives not from the so-called surge, but from, primus inter pares, a targeted assassination program.
That’s part’s been well covered, of course, but LL makes a deeper argument: such a campaign requires — as Woodward himself implied (see LL’s post for details) — a major technological effort to extract the intelligence needed to track and fix the intended targets.
If so, and I think LL is himself on target here, then this is a genuine success for an approach to war that emphasizes the use of machines, money and smarts instead of our side’s lives to achieve our ends.
It also — and here I’m going past LL’s argument — provides another reason why John McCain would be a terrible choice for commander in chief right now.
That is: by this time I think even the neaderthal wing of the blogosphere would be forced to concede that McCain is not exactly what you would call a technology-savvy indivdual. I mean, we’re not talking about a mad lack of gaming skillz, or a peculiar lack of interest in Python coding. E-mail, man, e-mail. This is someone who as of a month or so ago still had to have his staffers explain that he was “aware of the internet.”
I’m so relieved.
Now this stuff got a flurry of attention at the time McCain’s chisel-and-slate approach to modern communications first bubbled to the surface, but Woodward’s story and LL’s gloss point to why this stuff actually matters.
Recall that McCain has famously said that he “knows how to win wars.”
Actually, as this latest story suggests, he does not.
What McCain knows how to do, at its most charitable, is start wars, and then when they go south, to escalate them in the hopes that enough Americans at risk can correct the errors of the old men who sent the first lot of Americans in harm’s way.
In that McCain is fully embedded in what strategic thinkers now somewhat derisively term “The American Way of War.”
The fact that he has now embraced the simplest end of counter-insurgency and “small-wars” ideas does not correct for the underlying problem that (a) he has no grasp of the historical, political and social context of the conflicts he wants to fight (which is why the “success” of the surge ™ has not actually produced the political outcomes sought, nor the commercial benefits we once sought) as even a few of the more honest of his supporters will now agree….
And that (b): Experience doesn’t help if it’s the wrong experience.
I’m just saying: you can’t be ready on day one to be Commander in Chief running conflicts in Afghanistan, the Pakistan borderlands, North Korean nukes and all the rest if you can’t send your grandchild a birthday e-mail. Sometimes it really is that simple.
*reposted because it is (a) right on target and (b) too quantitatively fascinating** not to watch twice.
**40 rods*** to the hogshead is the equivalent of 10.48 feet to the gallon, which may or may not say volumes about McCain’s energy policy.
***It is worth noting (really? –ed.) that a rod is also a pole or a perch. You heard it here first (or second.)Explore posts in the same categories: Afghanistan, Iraq, McCain, Politics, Stupidity, War comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.