Tag Archives: chet richards

The Defense and that National Interest website gets some ink

It’s nice to see the New York Times quote a real expert when discussing modern warfare, instead of the posers they usually interview.  It’s well-deserved attention to DNI.

From the “Morning Skim: Torture Foiled Nothing“, Eric Etheridge, posted at The Opinionator (a blog of the New York Times), 23 April 2009 — Excerpt:

Defense and the National Interest: Chet Richards says that in the event of another terror attack on the United States …

“we need to stay as close to normal as possible — no shutdown of the airlines, no F-15s boring holes in the sky, no draconian security measures at shopping malls and office buildings.

This is going to take some preparation; otherwise military leaders and local officials will err on the side of caution. . . .

So one question to ask every candidate for every office in the land is: If there is an incident, a really bad incident, are you prepared to live in your home, go to work, go shopping, travel, go to church, and so on, with no more security than the incumbent has right now? Be sure and record their responses.

If the other side is prepared to die for their cause, while we’re afraid even to go on with our lives, then as Martin van Creveld has often pointed out, they’re going to win.

Are Americans easily panicked cowards? I think not, but many experts disagree.

This question was raised during a few rounds of cyber tennis between two experts on 4th generation warfare, Chet Richards and John Robb — posting at their websites Defense and the National Interest and Global Guerrillas.  This being an open game in which any number can play, this post discusses one aspect of their debate.  First, a recap of the opening rounds.  These highlight only part of the debate; these posts are worth reading in full.

Biographical note:

Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired) is author of Neither shall the Sword (conflict in the years ahead), A Swift Elusive Sword (What if Sun Tzu and John Boyd did a national defense review), and If We Can Keep It (A national security Manifesto for the next Administration).

John Robb (Major, USAF, retired) is the author of Brave New World.

(1)  Chet’s “What to do about Somalia“, 20 April 2009 — Excerpt:

And it would also help if we quit acting scared to death of a few criminals with a religious veneer ensconced in a poverty-ridden “country” some 8,000 miles away. Terrorists are going to strike us again — there’s no way to prevent it — but in the meantime, just to put the threat into perspective, we lose more than 3,000 people to traffic accidents and 1,500 to homicides every month.

(2)  Robb’s “The Next Attack“, 21 April 2009 — Excerpt:

There’s been a long enough pause since 9/11 to generate a great deal of psychological shock from a significant new attack. … The attack, if it does come, will likely be suicide bombers (inexpensive wetware that is employed as terminal guidance systems for explosives) that detonate their packages in crowded commercial areas or Mumbai/Kabul style rampages/hostage take overs.

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What should we do about Somalia?

Introduction:  Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired) originally posted at Defense and the National Interest.  Everything he writes is worth reading; this is one of his best.

Beats hell out of me.  First, it’s not clear that there really is a Somalia — the CIA World Factbook identifies the Republic of Somaliland and a self-declared autonomous state of Puntland as making strides towards legitimate, representative government.  New states, in other words.

Second, the only reasons most Americans care at all about Somalia, other than those with relatives in the area, are 1) pirates, and 2) terrorists.  Pirates are the current news filler nowadays, so lets look at terrorists.

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