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Jonathan Goss
03-08-11, 04:17 AM
Something for all Marines: What defines authority for you, why, and how does it manifest? Is violence the ultimate authority? If not, what is? Is anything more powerful than the threat of violence?

advanced
03-08-11, 08:47 AM
I like boobs.

advanced
03-08-11, 08:53 AM
Let me be clear; I like boobs because it epitomizes my battalion slogan "Get Some."

afraziaaaa
03-08-11, 09:55 AM
Something for all Marines: What defines authority for you, why, and how does it manifest? Is violence the ultimate authority? If not, what is? Is anything more powerful than the threat of violence?

What the hell are you talking about?

afraziaaaa
03-08-11, 10:11 AM
Because all Marines face extreme violence and we are all war/killing machines? We are ruled by violence and violent tendencies because that is what we do. We are programmed that way. Consequently, we all experience some symptoms of PTSD once we return from deployment. Violence is not the ultimate authority. Ignorance is far more powerful.

afraziaaaa
03-08-11, 10:33 AM
Not sure at all that we are ruled by violence.
But, I've noticed that the kill kill kill aspect of the Marine Corps is emphasized by a lot of young guys.
In our units in 1963-1967 the word "kill" was never used in conversation the way it is today. We saw ourselves as Marines, whatever use was in store for us, fine, humanitarian missions, combat, whatever, but we did not focus on killing, and this is interesting in our present day and age, to see a lot of attention focused on it.

Agreed. I was being sarcastic. I am on recruiting duty right now and I get questions like that all the time. They are always from civilians who just don't understand what a Marine really is. I am human just like everyone else. Assumptions about my character based on societal misconceptions regarding my Marine Corps just really **** me off. I love what I do and it is a large part of who I am. I am not dehumanized because of who I am. I am more human because of it. The fact that someone would venture to think otherwise is offensive. I am sure any Marine would agree with me.

The quote rings true in this case:

"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."

Gen William Thompson, U.S. Army

afraziaaaa
03-08-11, 10:47 AM
I thought you were serious, LOL, sorry.....

No worries. Sometimes people ask me if I am being sarcastic when I am being serious. Either way, I just wanted to express my inner discontent with the original post. :D

Jonathan Goss
03-08-11, 06:46 PM
Afraziaaaa, whatever discontent you have with my original post is misconceived. I imply nothing with my questions. As a guy who has Marine friends and hopes to himself one day become a Marine, I am not in the habit of obliquely talking **** on Marines. I am interested in what Marines think about the topic of ultimate authority deriving from violence (and if not, then from what provable societal force) because the Corps is a special division of our military where "Every Marine is a rifleman", which implies more attention uniformly spent on the application of violence (theoretical or practical given the MOS) than in other branches--"violence", by the way, doesn't mean "killing"; "violence" is just the manifestation of "force over will". But really the question extends to the military in general, it just so happens that I am a member of this particular forum and I can get just as accurate an answer here without having to activate an account on an Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard forum.

Dave2571, don't mistake my interest in boobs as being an indicator of low intention here. That was--to kill all aspects of its humor by explanation--a whimsical expression of my love for and belief in tangible beauty. Sunsets and prayers come and go, but tits stay the same. A joke. And the implication of God bears no relevance on my personal interests but if you believe you have compelling evidence to propose God as an ultimate authority, then please present your case. But I'm more interested in the original questions: Do you, as trained members of a special military division, consider violence the ultimate authority? If not, then what, and why?

Even the one who sacrifices themselves nobly is still obeying the laws of violence. To stand in the gap and take that bullet, to dive on that grenade, to offer up oneself to the threat of violence in preservation of another--however noble and exemplary of Love (Pressfield's opposite of Fear)--still falls under the sway of that violence. And, if given time, that person could surmount the force of violence with their own (defense/destruction).

Dave, you said it yourself: Authority without power is meaningless. This is true. But from where does the power come? What provides the power, the influence, the threat of "do it--or else"? Or else WHAT? is the much better question than insinuating I have some an ulterior motive here. My only agenda is learning the thoughts of those who are schooled in warfare.

So, WHY must people obey? WHAT are they obeying? If they disobey, what will happen to them? Can they stop it? Why or why not? Who will enforce authority? How will they enforce it? Can it be resisted? What ultimately happens if authority is resisted? Those questions frame the issue more concretely, but I'm interested in alternatives.

Tennessee Top
03-08-11, 10:38 PM
This topic is giving me a headache...I'm switching over to Chesty's Hooch.

USNAviator
03-08-11, 11:23 PM
Afraziaaaa, whatever discontent you have with my original post is misconceived. I imply nothing with my questions. As a guy who has Marine friends and hopes to himself one day become a Marine, I am not in the habit of obliquely talking **** on Marines. I am interested in what Marines think about the topic of ultimate authority deriving from violence (and if not, then from what provable societal force) because the Corps is a special division of our military where "Every Marine is a rifleman", which implies more attention uniformly spent on the application of violence (theoretical or practical given the MOS) than in other branches--"violence", by the way, doesn't mean "killing"; "violence" is just the manifestation of "force over will". But really the question extends to the military in general, it just so happens that I am a member of this particular forum and I can get just as accurate an answer here without having to activate an account on an Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard forum.

Dave2571, don't mistake my interest in boobs as being an indicator of low intention here. That was--to kill all aspects of its humor by explanation--a whimsical expression of my love for and belief in tangible beauty. Sunsets and prayers come and go, but tits stay the same. A joke. And the implication of God bears no relevance on my personal interests but if you believe you have compelling evidence to propose God as an ultimate authority, then please present your case. But I'm more interested in the original questions: Do you, as trained members of a special military division, consider violence the ultimate authority? If not, then what, and why?

Even the one who sacrifices themselves nobly is still obeying the laws of violence. To stand in the gap and take that bullet, to dive on that grenade, to offer up oneself to the threat of violence in preservation of another--however noble and exemplary of Love (Pressfield's opposite of Fear)--still falls under the sway of that violence. And, if given time, that person could surmount the force of violence with their own (defense/destruction).

Dave, you said it yourself: Authority without power is meaningless. This is true. But from where does the power come? What provides the power, the influence, the threat of "do it--or else"? Or else WHAT? is the much better question than insinuating I have some an ulterior motive here. My only agenda is learning the thoughts of those who are schooled in warfare.

So, WHY must people obey? WHAT are they obeying? If they disobey, what will happen to them? Can they stop it? Why or why not? Who will enforce authority? How will they enforce it? Can it be resisted? What ultimately happens if authority is resisted? Those questions frame the issue more concretely, but I'm interested in alternatives.


Jonathan perhaps this treatise would be best addressed at the free and leisure time you'll have at boot camp?

BTW,, hope all works out for you at MEPS

Jonathan Goss
03-09-11, 12:20 AM
If clarification is needed, I'd say the question is in regards to "authority" in general regarding the overall human condition as part of a society--everyday in obedience to society, to the government, to the self, to others, to business, to the prevention of anarchy.

And yes, of course I have my own biases (or more accurately, "suspicions"), but I try to hold them in open hands, not clenched fists. As in, I know enough to know that I don't KNOW. I'm just interested in what those of an elite military order think about the relation of violence to authority and whether or not any of you believe violence is the ultimate driving force of underlying control in our society as sentient animals. Dig deep through the rules that govern us, the fears that hinder us. What lies at the root of our obedience? And if you don't think violence is the ultimate driving force of underlying control, what is?

It's a philosophical question, but it's a sociological one too that matters for better understanding ourselves. It has interested me for a while and I was just curious as to what others thought. If there's any way I can clarify more, please let me know. Thank you for the replies thus far (even the snarky ones, USNAViator ;) ).

hussaf
03-09-11, 05:51 AM
The questions you are asking points to the desire for an academic answer or discussion. No one on this forum can speak authoritativly to the "overal human condition" and its application to the state, id, ego, or whatever other barely tangible concept. Diving into the realm of pop-philosophy (like asking the 'root' cause of a topic like obedience or authority) on this forum will not give you the answers you seek. Perhaps a peer-reviewed sholarly journal would be more applicable in answering your questions. The only thing you will find here are experiences of individuals that can apply to them and thoes they interacted with muddled by perception, mood, memory and other variables negating a proper control for this socio-philisophical question. I'm just saying the variables involved in this discussion will not satisfy someone seeking an overall sentiment from the "warrior class" of the U.S. It should be mentioned Marines operate by guidlines of their chain of command, Law of Land Warfare, ROEs, and several other factors as seen fit by the political organs of the U.S. One philosophy suggests obidience and authority are linked as decisions made by both parties. Others would argue this unfair and take into account the circumstances of each situation. I'll end abruptly here as I have a meeting to go to, anyways, best of luck with your inquiries.
cheers.
A

ps sorry, no spell check.

afraziaaaa
03-09-11, 08:04 AM
Afraziaaaa, whatever discontent you have with my original post is misconceived. I imply nothing with my questions. As a guy who has Marine friends and hopes to himself one day become a Marine, I am not in the habit of obliquely talking **** on Marines. I am interested in what Marines think about the topic of ultimate authority deriving from violence (and if not, then from what provable societal force) because the Corps is a special division of our military where "Every Marine is a rifleman", which implies more attention uniformly spent on the application of violence (theoretical or practical given the MOS) than in other branches--"violence", by the way, doesn't mean "killing"; "violence" is just the manifestation of "force over will". But really the question extends to the military in general, it just so happens that I am a member of this particular forum and I can get just as accurate an answer here without having to activate an account on an Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard forum.

I don't think I explained myself well. The fact that you assume that all Marines are programmed to exert "force over will" (regardless if you are talking about our own will or any other will) proves my point that you are coming from an ignorant perspective and that you do not understand what a Marine is. So my answer is that the ultimate authority does not derive from violence, but from ignorance. The reason I say this is not because I think that you are generally an ignorant person, but because I see you as being an outsider in relation to the Marine Corps, and outsiders are ignorant. No matter how many friends or people you know who are Marines, you will forever be an outsider and therefore ignorant...at least until you earn the title. Look back to the quote I posted earlier in that thread. There is a reason that an Army General would say that.

Don't think I am saying that I am superior here because that is not what I am saying. I am ignorant when it comes to many things, however I do think that being a SNCO in the Marine Corps makes me a credible source regarding the mindset of Marines. In my perception, many of "society's" perceptions are based in ignorance. Civilians are a large majority in the global society. Military members are a minority. This is why I say ignorance is a higher authority than violence.

I hope this helps to answer your question.

Jonathan Goss
03-10-11, 02:24 AM
The only thing you will find here are experiences of individuals that can apply to them and thoes they interacted with muddled by perception, mood, memory and other variables negating a proper control for this socio-philisophical question. I'm just saying the variables involved in this discussion will not satisfy someone seeking an overall sentiment from the "warrior class" of the U.S. It should be mentioned Marines operate by guidlines of their chain of command, Law of Land Warfare, ROEs, and several other factors as seen fit by the political organs of the U.S. One philosophy suggests obidience and authority are linked as decisions made by both parties. Others would argue this unfair and take into account the circumstances of each situation. I'll end abruptly here as I have a meeting to go to, anyways, best of luck with your inquiries.
cheers.
A

ps sorry, no spell check.

Thank you, Hussaf. That is actually precisely the perspective in which I'm interested! Biases and limited scope perspectives are unavoidable beacuse we're human and finite, so--for my own sake--that doesn't pollute the results at all (though I sincerely thank you for taking it into consideration). I would very much like to know what those of you who have these experiences and perspective think about this topic because, as much as it intrigues me on a personal basis, it intrigues me on a larger basis of what others beyond myself, in a different position in life and with different experiences, think as well.

rwest158497
03-10-11, 02:25 AM
I Dont Know About All This Philosophy But I Like Boobs To.

Jonathan Goss
03-10-11, 02:29 AM
I don't think I explained myself well. The fact that you assume that all Marines are programmed to exert "force over will" (regardless if you are talking about our own will or any other will) proves my point that you are coming from an ignorant perspective and that you do not understand what a Marine is. So my answer is that the ultimate authority does not derive from violence, but from ignorance. The reason I say this is not because I think that you are generally an ignorant person, but because I see you as being an outsider in relation to the Marine Corps, and outsiders are ignorant. No matter how many friends or people you know who are Marines, you will forever be an outsider and therefore ignorant...at least until you earn the title. Look back to the quote I posted earlier in that thread. There is a reason that an Army General would say that.

Don't think I am saying that I am superior here because that is not what I am saying. I am ignorant when it comes to many things, however I do think that being a SNCO in the Marine Corps makes me a credible source regarding the mindset of Marines. In my perception, many of "society's" perceptions are based in ignorance. Civilians are a large majority in the global society. Military members are a minority. This is why I say ignorance is a higher authority than violence.

I hope this helps to answer your question.

Ah, I see, yes that does explain your position better. Thank you, Afraziaaaa. Yes, you are corret, I AM ignorant to the mindset of Marines by not being one myself (yet...unfortunately) but I hope that my ignorance is not so profound that it eliminates the credibility of my opinions. But, hey, if it is, then I would hope that I can be humble enough to be educated.

Your suggestion that civilians being the majority and largely ignorant in their perceptions fascinates me. It may very well be true. Or it may not. I'm not sure, but if you have the time to elaborate, I'm all eyes! And if not, thank you anyway for your input; that is something I have yet to dwell on enough to form an opinion.

Jonathan Goss
03-10-11, 02:35 AM
I Dont Know About All This Philosophy But I Like Boobs To.

Boobs truly are the profoundestly beautiful topic of discussion. There has got to be a religion based on boob worship. Hopefully I can become a Marine so I can preach this religion as the Boob Chaplain. If someone doesn't like boobs they are likely a pod person and should be summarily dispatched. Boobism? Boobianity? Boobosophy? :\ Hm, it's the kind of faith even the hardest-hearted prick can warm up to.

Sgt Leprechaun
03-10-11, 02:59 AM
A fascinating discussion. <br />
<br />
Let me take a crack at it. I come from one of the last professions in this country where it is still somewhat common to handle things with physical and lethal force....

Jonathan Goss
03-10-11, 03:34 AM
SGT LEPRECHAUN, I love the fact that you quote good ol' "YKMF" McClane! Truly a timeless badass. You seem to be speaking about those for whom violence is a way of life, where the rule of violent law is more overt and readily accepted. Do you think this same rule of law exists for all of us on a more subconscious level--that the average citizen's fear of the government, police and military derives from the fear of guns (or really just the ability of officials to kill)? I'm not convinced of this, but I obviously leans towards it when I think about authority and violence and the desire for self preservation inherent in sentient life.

For instance, why do we pay our taxes? Well, why give a damn what the IRS has to say? Because they can send agents and court orders to collect. Well, why obey them? Because if you don't they can arrest you. Well, why care about that? Destroy those who try to arrest you. But then they will send more, authorized to use lethal force. (A slightly askew example of this being the Branch Dividian Waco debacle) That's just one scenario of how violence potentially drives us from the ground up.

I hope I don't seem contentious or overly biased (though I'll admit the bias is there--however uninformed), it's just that I find the relationship between our "society" and our more natural insticts to be an interesting topic because getting to the source of why we do what we do and say "yes" and "no" to certain things in life (like authority) often gets lost in the mix of "right" and "wrong" and the partisan politics of social issues, when really we could make better decisions on the law and the self when we dig down to the roots of human nature.

Also, just for my own edification, what's a "furball"? I've never heard that expression before.

As always, thank you for taking the time to reply, SGT. You have always been helpful and informative in damn near every one of my topics (no matter how left-field or potentially asinine). And thank you to everyone else as well.

Sgt Leprechaun
03-10-11, 03:44 AM
I think that violence, for 'man' as a whole, is ingrained into our very subconscious, and despite the niceities of social mores, bubbles just below the surface. We are a "Killer Angel" to be sure, despite, again, 'polite' society frowning upon such things. Just look at a group of kids in the schoolyard. If left unsupervised, eventually they turn all 'Lord of the flies' on each other, and it doesn't take long for the 'Alphas' (boys AND girls) to come to the fore.

I don't think it's so much a 'fear' of guns, society is permeated with them. You can't turn on the boobe or the all seeing eye without some sort of gunplay popping up, looking for it or not. No, I think it's fear of losing freedom, and loosing whatever personal possessions "things" that drives us nowadays.

Agree with your IRS theory. Jefferson, I believe said that a gov. large enough to give you everything you want, is also large enough to take everything you have. Same applies. Americans pride themselves on being 'good citizens', and working hard. "Playing by the rules", even if we hate 'em.

'Furball' is a term that actually comes from old fighter pilots, meaning a dogfight in the sky. I use it for a 'dogfight' on the ground, because in a true, no holds barred fight, the 'fur' flies. It really does become, in the words of the 'man in black', "The mud and the blood and the beer". Working in a 'combat car' (what we called it in my little world outside Metro DC in the 90's), a 'furball' was what happened when you were rolling around on the ground with someone.

You are most certainly welcome!

v/r

Jonathan Goss
03-10-11, 05:15 AM
"Well, if he's an angel, all right. But he damn well must be a killer angel." (paraphrased from the flick, I believe)

It seems very true that violence residse just beneath the surface. And it strikes me that civilization, its rules, its mores, its niceities, its sensibilities, and its overall society, are not the brave and noble attempts of humanity to ascend to a more transcendant state of Love and perfection and all that warm jazz, but a veneer--layers and layers of cake--piled up to cover our animal nature. If people are pushed far enough, they tend to revert to basic instincts. Being 27 years old I admit I am not "seasoned" enough to speak with experience on this, but it captures my interest.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Basicall, the idea that society is a layered mask over our animal natures (kill, eat, procreate, survive) is the root of my theory on violence being the ultimate authority. But it's obviously not ironclad since we have things like honor, discipline and sacrifice that fly in the face of self preservation. This is part of why I ask the question on a Marine forum since honor, discipline and sacrifice are attributes/virtues that--judging from what I've gleaned as an outsider--are espoused by the Corps.

As an aside, what a tragic irony it is that we as Americans enjoy the lifestyle that has its roots in Jefferson's thought, yet through the natural course of national events we often seem to conveniently turn a blind eye.

Also, I hope there is no misunderstanding as to my use of "guns" as an example. I am a firm supporter of firearms rights and knowledge, but they are among the most salient methods of "force application" in our society (for their lethality) and make for a good symbol of "the ultimate authority of violence" in our civilization. Now, is it possible that Fear is the ultimate authority? Fear of X, Y or Z that drives us to do what we do? Here, I'm sure, Steven Pressfield would have something to say...or Doug Stanhope.

Sgt Leprechaun
03-10-11, 05:28 AM
Try reading, for your edification, Victor Davis Hanson's books on the Greeks. VERY edifying, and well done. Nonfiction, I might add. You can begin with almost any of them, but I liked "The Western Way of War". He's also done several others.

Also, when it comes to the 'trenches', Marc "Animal" MacYoung as an excellent series, one of my favorites of which is "Violence, Blunders and Fractured jaws". Naturally, one cannot approach this topic without also touching on Major Dave Grossman's outstanding works, "On Killing" and "On Combat".

While I'm a fan of Pressfield, the only book of his I can sink my teeth into is the first one, the remainder, much as I've wanted to like them, I just can't get into.

Gotta run.. More later.

Jonathan Goss
03-10-11, 06:29 AM
I have some Victor Davis Hanson, actually! Can't recall which books but I know they're sitting on my research shelves at the apartment. I LOVED "Western Way of War"; that one I very much remember and it is a constant resource for anyone interested in the subject of hoplite warfare. I actually just saw an interview on Youtube of him and Christopher Hitchens which was pretty interesting about war crimes in WWII. He is engaging to both read and watch (partly because he looks like Robocop). Pressfield is also that way. I wish they had him as a talking head on more shows because he brings a much needed charisma and humility to often Ogaden-dry topics.

When you mention Pressfield's first book, do you mean "Gates of Fire"? He wrote one before that, "The Legend of Baggar Vance", but it didn't gain as much traction as "GoF", though it seems worth reading. Anyway, to book-nerd out for a second (as if anyone didn't see that coming), "GoF" changed my life. That's probably the best novel I've ever read. "Tides of War" was not as popular--probably because it was a story of antiheroes fighting an unheroic war--but I find it the most fun to reread. The character of Telamon was profoundly badass. And who can forget "The War of Art"? A must read for any aspiring professional (in any field).

"Violence, Blunders and Fractured Jaws" looks promising by the title alone. And "On Combat" and "On Killing" ring familiar, but I haven't read them. Thank you for the suggestions. Did you ever take a look at Pressfield's later novels like "The Virtues of War" and "The Afghan Campaign"? I'd imagine, given your occupation, you've probably heard of them. Not as Romantic (in the literary sense) as "GoF" but compelling in their own ways.

And thank you for replying at such late/early hours. Unless you're half way around the world, I assume this has been a "small hours" exchange for you.

Sgt Leprechaun
03-10-11, 08:19 PM
Yep. Gates of Fire it is. Great read.

I reply at such late hours because I work a midwatch LOL

hussaf
03-11-11, 02:13 AM
Gates of Fire is on the Marine Corps Reading List...I think for Corporals. Many guys in the Fleet have read that one now.

FYSA: I think Dave Grossman is a Lt. Col, though I'm pretty sure he's retired.

In my MOS I deal with authority/power in both kinetic and non-kinetic environments. I've found authority can only be given, not taken...though whatever level one grants others authority over them varries greatly. In the U.S. most grant authority based on laws. In other countries, its much different. Afghans will often do what you want when they are convinced it will benefit them....even if its just in the short term. Truly its the WIIFM strategy, "whats in it for me?" That could be the application or the cessation of the application of violence, or it could be the proverbial 'carrot.' In the military, being Western and subject to the UCMJ, we also acquiesce to rules such as the Law of Land Warfare, ROEs, Geneva Convection, et al. Per the above, we utilize violence in self-defense, only after establishing positive identification of the attacking parties, and with enoough violence to subdue the threat. Of course there are grey areas, mistakes, or just crappy situations that make that not always the case, but that is the intent. Specifically using violence to gain authority over the populace in Afghanistan does two things; it doesn't work, and its not allowed. Afghans, the Taliban specifically, are used to being treated violently and expect it. This means relatively little to them. One of their biggest concerns IS actually security. Most tribal elders are sick of the fighting...maybe not so much the younger guys, but many of them as too. However, when surrounded by violence their entire life...more application of it does little. If the Taliban offer security and safety so the locals can go about their day unimpeded, or if the US can, it doesn't matter. If they have to pay fees and taxes to the TB for this safety, they will do it...if we can keep them safe without being under the thumb of the TB, they would prefer that...but either would do.

Anyway, the military is not applying violence to gain authority...that is not the goal of COIN, which is the strategy we are applying. Perhaps violence is used when, say, attempting to create freedom of movement and stabilization in a certain AO or district center, but that is a means to an end....the end being that freedom of movement on that specific road in that specific district or village.....which, in turn, could be argued as a derivitive of authority. Basically, what I am saying is people allow temselves to be subjected to an authority as they deem most beneficial to them at the time. We are trying, or at least say we are trying (varries per occasion) to give Afghans what they want. The Taliban are utilizing Murder and Initmidation campaigns. The Taliban are winning because they have more numbers and better access to the population than we do....its their country and they know it better than we ever will, and better than our military leaders are even trying to (military commanders are an obtuse lot that believe they can reuse, or slightly rewrite, a generic strategy they attempt to allply to an entire country or province. This is anathema to what actually works, particularly in a "country" as variable as Afghanistan.

Ok, well I'm going to be in the field until May in the ****tiest part of Helmand, might be coming back to a computer after that. Maybe I'll have a different opinion after experiencing this year's Spring Offensive...I hope its more subdued than the last one
SF
A.

hussaf
03-11-11, 02:14 AM
yeah, no spell checker on this computer....plus some of the buttons are missing and sticking, so sorry for the hard read.

Jonathan Goss
03-11-11, 02:55 AM
yeah, no spell checker on this computer....plus some of the buttons are missing and sticking, so sorry for the hard read.


Not a hard read at all, Hussaf; you fared much better sans a spellchecker than I do at times!

So the application of violence in Afghanistan is so commonplace that it is practically a given by its people, do you think building a more efficient (I hesitate to use the oft-derogatory term "Westernized") infrastructure there will provide a peaceful stability that will remain when we depart? Or do you think the Afghan people would allow it to collapse out of mistrust and/or lack of appreciation as soon as we leave? I don't mean "lack of appreciation" in an insulting way, but tribalism seems to be resistant to change. The status quo is powerful.

Also, is there any justification for US military commanders rigidly holding to methods of operation/overall strategy that have been tried so often before but are just being tweaked? Or is there something to "staying the course", as it were? Is there any merit to consistency or is it just perpetuating ineffectual trends?

It seems that violence has been a profound source of authority there, used under the guise of "WIIFM" (in this case, "do what the Taliban says and our tribe will have an easier time"). So what could displace that? Can a new unified power structure arise in such a varied region of the world based on something other than violence-enforced law? I guess that also hints at another tangential question: Is the American Dream of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" a universal one, or is the mindset of the Afghan people focused on something else?

That seems like a dumb question but mindsets differ across the globe. Take the Eastern and Western approaches to religion; both are fundamentally different from one another in damn near inexplicable ways. The Eastern way of spirituality is so alien to the Western way that it almost requires a rewiring of the brain to plug in and understand it. I wonder if that same sort of thing applies to Middle Eastern and Western ways of thinking in regards to how ultimate authority should be granted and applied.

PS: It's a real tragedy that "Gates of Fire" wasn't made into a movie. It would have stomped "300" in nearly every regard. That **** was caaaaash.

hussaf
03-11-11, 04:34 AM
They don't want, care, or need to be Westernized. If it happens, it happens....as long as it doens't negatively effect their life...most don't care. What happens in Kabul is vastly different than what happens in other parts of the country. Bamiyan and Nare e-Saraj might as well be different countries....for example. Hell, Helmand province is vastly different than most other provinces in AFG. Its not a unified country, people have no real concept of patriotism to the state. If we can bring in Foreign Direct Investment, and promote some semblance of transparency and reduce corruption...then perhaps the governmental infrastructural will be valid enough to actually let their authority be known to, and effect, the Afghan people in a positive way. Realistically, most Afghans just want to do what they do and not have outsiders (whether Taliban or ISAF) effect them unless its to their benefit (and not even then for some of them).

As far as authority and violence, I was more focusing my answer from the point of view of the U.S. Marine Corps.

As far as mindsets of different cultures...that's a difficult one to disect. Yes they are different, and one can attempt to understand the machinations of a culture (like westerners studying taoism, or Budhism), which gives one a window into a certain aspect of a culture...but i don't think one could possibly completely understand a culture they didn't grow up in.

Jonathan Goss
03-11-11, 05:15 AM
I remember reading in Sebastian Junger's "War" that one of the problems with creating any form of "national" governing authority was the distances between population centers and the inability to provide a form of federal (like we have) control over them because they were so spread out and with so many variations, I guess a result of tribalism. It seems like dealing with dozens of different city-states, each with their own nuances and separated by terrain that doesn't lend itself to cross country government monitoring or control. Having never been myself and never studied a current map, I can't say, but it seems to make sense and I think that's what you're sort of echoing (though I could be wrong).

Some of your terminology is both fascinating and foreign to me, particularly "kinetic and non-kinetic environments", "the Law of Land Warfare", and "COIN".

Also, you spoke of the defensive role of violence in the military's role in Afghanistan, though it's way off topic, how do Marines approach the offensive role of violence? Do you seek out enemies and set up situations to receive fire from targets so you can return fire or actively pursue/stalk known combatants and destroy them? I admit being vastly naive on this subject and am just curious as to how Marines go about the more proactive side of violence in an AO, if at all. (I also understand that this is probably too multifaceted a topic to really do justice but any input is, as always, greatly appreciated) As always, thank you for taking the time to read and/or answer. The point of view of the USMC is exactly what interests me in these matters, hence why I ask here.

Jonathan Goss
03-11-11, 05:17 AM
*clarification: "off topic" referring my question on offensive role of violence, not your answer. Your answer was very much on topic.

Covey_Rider
03-11-11, 05:34 AM
I remember reading in Sebastian Junger's "War" that one of the problems with creating any form of "national" governing authority was the distances between population centers and the inability to provide a form of federal (like we have) control over them because they were so spread out and with so many variations, I guess a result of tribalism. It seems like dealing with dozens of different city-states, each with their own nuances and separated by terrain that doesn't lend itself to cross country government monitoring or control. Having never been myself and never studied a current map, I can't say, but it seems to make sense and I think that's what you're sort of echoing (though I could be wrong).

Some of your terminology is both fascinating and foreign to me, particularly "kinetic and non-kinetic environments", "the Law of Land Warfare", and "COIN".

Also, you spoke of the defensive role of violence in the military's role in Afghanistan, though it's way off topic, how do Marines approach the offensive role of violence? Do you seek out enemies and set up situations to receive fire from targets so you can return fire or actively pursue/stalk known combatants and destroy them? I admit being vastly naive on this subject and am just curious as to how Marines go about the more proactive side of violence in an AO, if at all. (I also understand that this is probably too multifaceted a topic to really do justice but any input is, as always, greatly appreciated) As always, thank you for taking the time to read and/or answer. The point of view of the USMC is exactly what interests me in these matters, hence why I ask here.

Be weary of getting into politics here. I understand you are having an informative discussion and your posts are well put together. Just know that this thread has appeared to be making a shift towards the political aspects of the war. Politics isn't a debate to be had in this section, as it most always ends badly.

You're also getting into trying to learn about tactics used in an ongoing war. Just know that you're not going to get all of the answers that you're looking for. Some information, whether it's open source or not, just shouldn't be passed around on an open forum.

Jonathan Goss
03-11-11, 05:44 AM
Be weary of getting into politics here. I understand you are having an informative discussion and your posts are well put together. Just know that this thread has appeared to be making a shift towards the political aspects of the war. Politics isn't a debate to be had in this section, as it most always ends badly.

You're also getting into trying to learn about tactics used in an ongoing war. Just know that you're not going to get all of the answers that you're looking for. Some information, whether it's open source or not, just shouldn't be passed around on an open forum.

Gotcha, thank you, Covey_Rider. I hadn't considered either of those points as being contentious or sensitive. I totally understand. I'd love to see anything that anyone is willing to share on the topic of tactics that isn't considered sensitive but absolutely respect the nature of the subject and how it can affect active service members. As for the politics, again I understand, I just didn't consider them to be wayward. But if they are then they are and I'll refrain.

I try to let the conversation evolve naturally and just go wherever the inquiry leads me, but I will always respect the necessity for discretion.

*I also realize that I can't get all the anwers I'm looking for, but anything is better than nothing. I'll take what I can get, as always.

Marine1011
03-11-11, 08:06 AM
Few things more annoying than being pretentious just for the sake of displaying a way with words, with little real content.
Move to Political Forum, where kierkegaard, who is the same way, can enjoy this. TheReservist, too, will be involved.
Pseudo-intellectuals all.

advanced
03-11-11, 09:02 AM
Few things more annoying than being pretentious just for the sake of displaying a way with words, with little real content.
Move to Political Forum, where kierkegaard, who is the same way, can enjoy this. TheReservist, too, will be involved.
Pseudo-intellectuals all.

It's not that they're pseudo-intellectuals, it's just that they're pseudo.

hussaf
03-11-11, 10:28 AM
Without getting into specifics, guys pretty much walk or drive around until something, or nothing, happens....on a big map this lets flag officers say we have freedom of movement or presence in a certain area or district center.

everyone is answerable to someone but, for the most part, commanders can determine how to enact the intent of their orders...meaning the specifics are largely up to them...until they are not. Its the military so anyone can be told to do stuff.

Offensive operations, or direct action and targetting, is mostly done by SOF guys or Task Force. Regular grunt units typically try to maintain control of an area or objective....maintaining freedom of movement and presence of ISAF folks.

COIN is a very common catch-phrase in the military and political realm...its counterinsurgency operations, spoken about quite often in the news. Kinetic and non-kinetic refer to combat. the Law of Land warfare is a document, you can goodle, pertaining to just what the title suggests. Again, Marine abide by the ROEs set forth by commanders obeying politicians' intent.

Jonathan Goss
03-11-11, 10:32 PM
Few things more annoying than being pretentious just for the sake of displaying a way with words, with little real content.
Move to Political Forum, where kierkegaard, who is the same way, can enjoy this. TheReservist, too, will be involved.
Pseudo-intellectuals all.
You know, I once asked Steven Pressfield in an email about how to handle negative criticism. His reply: "**** 'em." So if you have nothing positive or informative to add, then **** you, HarperJim.

Lisa 23
03-11-11, 10:42 PM
I don't care if you like what HarperJim posted or not, you don't come onto a Marine Corps site and talk to a Marine like that.

USNAviator
03-11-11, 11:01 PM
You know, I once asked Steven Pressfield in an email about how to handle negative criticism. His reply: "**** 'em." So if you have nothing positive or informative to add, then **** you, HarperJim.

Jonathan that type of commentary can get you banned from here. Attacks on members are not taken lightly, especially by Marines

It's obvious to me you're an educated individual. But for some reason you have a chip on your shoulder. I don't know why nor do I care but if you're seriously thinking of enlisting in the Corps I'd suggest an attitude adjustment, for your own good. You won't be able to talk back to your DI's as you can here. Your freedom of speech ends at MCRD

Mind if I ask why the Corps? Doesn't seem a good fit with your personallity

Covey_Rider
03-12-11, 02:23 AM
Maybe you should take Steven Pressfield out on a date. Apparently he has all of the infinite wisdom in the world. I think the two of you are meant for each other, really. This is not the place to try and throw around any sort of machismo you think you have. Straighten up or get the hell out of here and choke on Pressfield's dick.

advanced
03-12-11, 06:25 AM
You know, I once asked Steven Pressfield in an email about how to handle negative criticism. His reply: "**** 'em." So if you have nothing positive or informative to add, then **** you, HarperJim.

Kid - You obviously have not learned a damn thing about Marines. You have come on a Marine Corps site and you have disrespected a Marine simply because he thinks you're full of ****, which you are. You can read all the books you want and talk to all the Marines you want - and at the end of the day you will never understand Marines. Only Marines and our enemies understand Marines.

You know, I once asked Mongoose in an email about how to handle negative criticism. His reply: "**** 'em." So if you have nothing positive or informative to add, then **** you, jonathan Goss. The black chopper should be here for you soon.

P.S. Here's a positive lesson on Marines; **** with the best, die like the rest!

Sgt Leprechaun
03-14-11, 06:35 PM
And that just got someone a 2 week extraction.

While on your time off, use it wisely and familiarize yourself with THE RULES OF THIS FORUM AND THIS SECTION.

This will be your ONLY warning.

Also, nothing was wrong with what was asked. If you don't LIKE a topic just on general reasons, fine. DON'T FRAKKIN RESPOND.

This goes for ALL OF YOU.

The only reason the remainder of you aren't being tossed for jackassery is because you are MARINES. But don't try my patience.

Consider yourselves warned as well.