Friday, April 7, 2017

A Story About the Civilian Use of Force in International Conflict


On the occasion of Donald Trump, the moron king, attacking Syria and blaming Obama for Syria using chemical weapons, I have an anecdote from my days at the RAND Corporation.

There is a story from RAND that would have happened years before my time if it happened at all.

For many years, RAND managed for the US Government a lot of the original strategic simulations, what are popularly called wargames but which are more properly described as simulations of international conflict. They may not be primarily about war. Basically you had teams (red team, blue team, etc) and you had referees who managed the game, but what made the games interesting (and classified) was that the teams were made up of real people from the Dept of Defense, the US Military, the NSC, possibly members of Congress and so forth.

The goal would be to evaluate some different scenarios where nations might come into conflict and evaluate different policies, approaches, and so forth in advance. Anyone who has ever been through any of these types of simulations, even on a more informal basis, will tell you how involving and compelling they can be.

So you had civilians and military personnel mixed together in tension filled situations and you might expect, if you watched stupid Hollywood movies that it would be the military personnel who would first call for war and that it would be the civilians who would beg for peace. Give peace a chance, they might say. But the story I was told was pretty much the reverse of that. That it was the military personnel who knew damn well what war involved who were for diplomatic solutions but it was the civilians, the politicians, who were freaked out and "pushed the button" so to speak. 

Take that for what you will.

Moron Trump pushing the button

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