Quote note (#257)

Greer on America’s multi-dimensional military procurement fiasco:

… Military procurement fraud is as old as war, and overinvestment in the latest fashionable gimmick is tolerably common as far back as historical records reach. Every nation’s political and military establishment has to contend with both, and most manage to keep them within the bounds necessary to ensure national survival. Those nations that don’t restrict them in this manner normally go under, and this mode of failure is particularly common in the declining years of great powers.

Those of my readers who’ve read up on the last years of vanished empires — the Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman Empires, Romanov Russia or Habsburg Spain, and so on down the list of history’s obituaries — know the results already: the imperial state reduced to a massive but fragile shell, invincible in appearance but shockingly vulnerable in reality, resting ever more unsteadily on a crumbling foundation of ineffective or broken weapons, decaying or abandoned facilities; a political leadership blithely unaware of the gap between its fantasies of invincibility and the reality of accelerating systemic failure; a high command too busy feathering its own nest and playing political games to notice the widening cracks; and a dwindling corps of servicepeople, overworked, underpaid, and demoralized, who nonetheless keep on struggling to prop up the whole brittle mess until the inevitable disaster sweeps their efforts aside once and for all.

(The lead up through a wreckage landscape of developmentally-retarded, death-star priced, radically dysfunctional weapons systems is not to be missed.)

June 9, 2016admin 33 Comments »
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33 Responses to this entry

  • Brett Stevens Says:

    As ideology increases, reality decreases, and eventually denial must increase as the problems of ideology — itself a reality substitute — manifest in increasing detail and ferocity.

    The only solution is removal of ideology, and exile of all those who require it to the third world.

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    Are we talking about DENRx?

    [Reply]

    Brett Stevens Reply:

    What is a good definition of DENRx?

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    HMM ,how many AIs can dance on the head of the cloud?

    Grotesque Body Reply:

    @michael

    LW have a really, really, really clever spatial metaphor about AI so they can tell us.

    R. Reply:

    ….you think the military procurement is rotten because of .. ideology?

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2016 at 3:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Arkon Says:

    See also Martin van Creveld’s new book about how Western cultural rot is creating a military that can’t win:

    http://www.martin-van-creveld.com/?p=657

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2016 at 6:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • cassander Says:

    He misstates the case, I think. The imperial state is not a fragile shell, there is much ruin in any nation. It’s not fragile so much as inflexible. States are very good at applying energy/talent/money/whatever to problems, but they’re very bad at stopping doing things, even when it’s clear that they’re useless or actively harmful.

    The life cycle is that the empire encounters a problem, the leadership sets some resources to solving it, then moves on. The solution might work, or it might not, but once established it lives forever. as the state ages, it accumulates more and more of these “solutions” which consumer more and more resources, until the whole thing collapses under its own weight. But that’s not a failure of fragility, there’s always plenty of resources to go around and even the failing state has immense resources at its disposal, it’s a failure of dexterity.

    [Reply]

    Seth Largo Reply:

    +1

    This seems to be similar to one of Sailer’s oft-repeated points: policies that made sense 50 years ago may not make sense today, and policies that make sense today, might not make sense in 50 years. However, in the context of the state, once a policy creates an infrastructure, like a virus, it will stop at nothing to replicate itself and spread its infrastructure in perpetuity.

    [Reply]

    Grotesque Body Reply:

    “policies that made sense 50 years ago may not make sense today, and policies that make sense today, might not make sense in 50 years.”

    Steve Sailer, notable progressive.

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    Traits that made sense 100,000 years ago might not serve today.If you cant raise the bridge lower the water

    [Reply]

    With the thoughts you'd be thinkin Reply:

    Reminded of this bulky quote from Red Plenty about the Soviet planned economy.
    “The Soviet economy did not move on from coal and steel and cement to plastics and software design, except in a very few military occupations, It continued to compete with what capitalism had been doing in the 1930s, not with what is was doing now. It continued to suck resources and human labour in vast quantities into a heavy industrial sector which had once been intended to exist as a springboard for something else, but which by now had become its own justification. Soviet industry in its last decades existed because it existed, an empire of inertia expanding ever more slowly, yet attaining the wretched distinction of absorbing more of the total effort of the economy that hosted it than heavy industry has ever done anywhere else in human history, before or since. Every year it produced goods that less and less corresponded to human needs. and whatever it once started producing, it tended to go on producing ad infinitum, since it possessed no effective stop signals except ruthless commands from above, and the people at the top no longer did ruthless, in the economic sphere. The control system for industry grew more an more erratic, the information flowing back to the planners grew more and more corrupt. And the activity of industry, all that human time and machine time it used up, added less and less value to the raw materials it sucked in. Maybe no value. Maybe less than none. One economist has argues that, by the end, it was actively destroying value; it had become a system for spoiling perfectly good materials by turning them into objects no one wanted.”

    [Reply]

    cassander Reply:

    that’s a good quote. One of the many reasons for the failure of the soviet microchip industry was the fact that the industry was dominated by the guys that made vacuum tubes, and when you asked them, they always insisted on building more tubes, not disinvesting and spending the money on integrated circuits. the USSR made the US military industrial complex look like pikers.

    [Reply]

    William Newman Reply:

    “States are very good at applying energy/talent/money/whatever to problems”

    States are not as intractably hopelessly bad at that as some zealots like to believe, but “very good”? We’ve seen many versions of states vs. markets in e.g. agriculture, oil production, steel production, package delivery, and targeted investment, and “very good” is not the first summary description that springs into my mind.

    States are pretty good at scaling up to rival potentially-dangerous antagonists while largely shutting down such antagonists’ ability to use diplomacy or espionage to defeat the components of the state in detail. That’s been awfully important at many times in history and tends to make up for less-than-“very good” in various other areas.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2016 at 7:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Hattori Says:

    >The lead up through a wreckage landscape of developmentally-retarded, death-star priced, radically dysfunctional weapons systems is not to be missed.

    The f-35? What are the most glaring examples?
    I think the new stealth bomber will be much cheaper than the B-2.

    Also very related, and funny
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXQ2lO3ieBA

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2016 at 8:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Emperor Nyzan Says:

    Hattori, that video about the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was very funny. Unfortunately it was also complete bunk. It completely leaves out the main reason for the mid-course design change, the unveiling of the Russian BMP-1 and the resulting popularity of the IFV concept. That’s why it went from an APC to an IFV; the Pentagon told the designers “hey, build us an IFV, that’s what we want now.” And we got a really good IFV out of it, too, it’s just that maybe the IFV concept isn’t necessarily an entirely good one…

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2016 at 9:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • cassander Says:

    On the specific question of the F-35, he misses the mark almost entirely. Compare the F-35 to the development to private sector efforts like the 787, and it doesn’t look so bad. Is it over budget and behind schedule? Yes. but building a modern aircraft is a very, very hard thing to do. 60 years of studies about air to air combat have all had the same result, 4 times out of 5, the contest is not won by the faster or maneuverable plane, but the plane that detects and fires at the enemy first, Most air to air kills are achieved against people not even aware they were being shot at until it was too late, and the F-35 is designed from the ground up to make sure it sees first and shoots first.

    To compare it to claims about russian technology taken at face value is absurd. The russians have a long history of exaggerating their accomplishments, and comparing actual existing technology to russian promises is simply to be taken in by propaganda.

    [Reply]

    Xoth Reply:

    When was the last air-to-air kill anyway? Vietnam? Israel vs some Arabs?

    Today, I’d bet on developing comparatively cheap, annoying drones big enough to shoot down or (perhaps even better) wing their future F-35 opponents. At least for those capable of doing it (China).

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    drone swarms are on order also underwater drone swarms

    [Reply]

    cassander Reply:

    The last Ace was made during the Iran Iraq war: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jalil_Zandi

    I think the last US air to air kill was this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesar_Rodriguez_(United_States_Air_Force_pilot).

    As for drones, the trouble is that you have to be able to see your target to shoot at it, and that usually means a big, powerful radar, which isn’t cheap. drones will have a part to play, but they don’t solve the problem of air to air combat.

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    drones are really cheap getting cheaper nanotech making explosives lighter Im sure they will solve problem some cases no rader just obstacle anti avoidance already available as iphone app for many drones, other case radar station transmits coordinates to to drones to follow, Im no weapons eng but Ill be $1000 we will have drone swarms soon

    William Newman Reply:

    “see your target to shoot at it, and that usually means a big, powerful radar, which isn’t cheap […] drones”

    Drones (and small cheap platforms in general) have their limitations, but the one you’re describing should be much less of an absolute than it used to be. Modern communications and computers make it much easier than it used to be for one platform to tell another one where to shoot, and modern passive sensors are not to be underestimated especially for spotting inherently conspicuous things like high speed aircraft, and (for similar comm and compute reasons) even modern active radat doesn”t fundamentally need the transmitter on the same platform as the receiver nearly as badly as old radar systems did.

    Admittedly taking advantage of all this tends to be tricky, and leads to complex interconnected systems that are likely to have terrible teething problems even in realistic exercises, and worse problems once an actual capable enemy gets serious about screwing with them, but it doesn’t follow that taking advantage of all this is impossible.

    Posted on June 9th, 2016 at 10:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • Axel Mckibbin Says:

    I must admit that exile is a far more compassionate/superior solution than what I had in mind. My knee jerk tendency was to prefer the oven because of an unwillingness to contaminate other societies with exiled leftists. I think Jims solution is probably best though: reeducation. Kill only the ones who refuse to be re-educated. It minimizes the death toll that way. Or even better: confine the stubborn communist to a failed state reservation? Prevents as much killing as possible while also preventing leftist social contamination. I don’t know.

    http://theanti-puritan.blogspot.com/

    [Reply]

    Grotesque Body Reply:

    If Jim really said that, it’s got to be about the only time he’s ever dropped the ball. Re-education doesn’t work long term because re-education can always be faked for pragmatic purposes, eg (((conversos)))

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    True, but the cathedral works because theres few true believers and always a new generation. Shoot the true believers they are easy to identify the rest will convert to whatevers in fashion and the next generation will produce true believers of correct thought. Any stragglers are handled as racists are today until they can be shot for something.

    [Reply]

    Xoth Reply:

    The appropriate level of compassion is that of Israel’s for Nazi war criminals.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2016 at 2:29 am Reply | Quote
  • Xoth Says:

    The most curious part (though thematically consistent) has to be the decision to gradually replace their military personnel with weak LARPers and degenerates while making the legacy crew wear dresses, prosthetic pregnancies and high-heel shoes. Somehow it seems the US does not see a serious military threat on any horizon.

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    Or the threat they see as most serious is some Idaho farm boys turning on them with all those expensive toys, so replace them with niggers fags dikes and chicks with dicks

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2016 at 9:49 am Reply | Quote
  • Garr Says:

    Archdruid should hook us up with some of Getafix’s potion.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2016 at 12:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    I think the biggest threat [besides immigration/espionage] is we have outsourced all our factories if all this junk fails or we need to re arm like ww2 I dont see how we could do that in months like we did we havnt the factories or the skilled workers.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2016 at 2:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    very deceptive article. all the same everywhere, so why focus on army. Oh, yeah … election year.

    US planners realised few decades ago that new technologies and changing nature of war (network wars, insurgents support, media manipulation and so on) will require seriouse structural changes in army on all levels: central command, logistic, autonomy of combat units ect. Any organisation, including army, is most valnurable in such period of transformation. US army completed such changes long time ago and tested most of new concepts in real war scenarios.

    not Russia or China in current situation can do the same, too late for them. to complete such restructuring may take 10-15 years. they going to remain staructurally WW2 armies. they cannot fight US or NATO and they knew it.

    new tech toys can do little, when there is no brain on another side of the scope. example with Saudies.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2016 at 5:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Oliver Cromwell Says:

    People who said that aircraft carriers and tanks were gimmicks are now mocked.

    A lot of people are now saying the F35 etc are gimmicks, on the basis of gut feeling largely.

    I am not sure we have a reliable way of telling what is a gimmick and what is not until after combat has provided us practical experience.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 11th, 2016 at 4:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • NRK Says:

    “The Russian logic was as straightforward as it was irrefutable: if you want something to destroy lots of very fast objects at high altitude, start with something that can destroy a more modest number of slower objects at lower altitudes, and then tinker carefully from there. That approach works; ours doesn’t.”

    This is all that needs to be said about the zero-to-one ideology a la Thiel, and by extension about the relation of techno-libertarians to their socio-political surroundings. Libertarian materialism is an oxymoron.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 18th, 2016 at 9:34 am Reply | Quote

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