Monthly Archives: May 2016

Government trolls

Study: China’s Government Fabricates About 488 Million Social Media Posts Every Year

For years, the Chinese government has been widely suspected of hiring thousands of paid commenters using fabricated accounts to argue in favor of the government on social media sites. This presumed army of trolls is dubbed the “50 Cent Party,” because of the rumored rate of pay per post – 50 cents in Chinese Yuan, or about $0.08.

Leadership

Want to lead America’s best? To start, you’ll need empathy, resilience, and good judgement. Below, SWJ discusses how the Army selects its best to lead — and how the process may have room for improvement.

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Small Wars Journal

Journal Articles are typically longer works with more more analysis than the news and short commentary in the SWJ Blog. We accept contributed content from serious voices across the small wars community, then publish it here as quickly as we can, per our Editorial Policy, to help fuel timely, thoughtful, and unvarnished discussion of the diverse and complex issues inherent in small wars.

 

Trust and courage


Perhaps the trust and courage that military service demands of its members could help build bridges across political divides, help dispell the animosity that paralyzes Washington, D.C. For this outcome to be realized, however, America would need her veterans and military retirees to accept a new call to duty: that of political leadership.

Small Wars Journal

Journal Articles are typically longer works with more more analysis than the news and short commentary in the SWJ Blog. We accept contributed content from serious voices across the small wars community, then publish it here as quickly as we can, per our Editorial Policy, to help fuel timely, thoughtful, and unvarnished discussion of the diverse and complex issues inherent in small wars.

 

General Order No. 100

Republican President Abraham Lincoln was one of the first world leaders to attempt to legally curtail the cruelty of modern war with the Lieber Code, authored by Napoleonic War veteran and legal scholar Francis Lieber:

Article 56
A prisoner of war is subject to no punishment for being a public enemy, nor is any
revenge wreaked upon him by the intentional infliction of any suffering, or disgrace, by cruel
imprisonment, want of food, by mutilation, death, or any other barbarity.

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Andrew Sullivan on Trump

Alarmist, perhaps, given that Trump is highly unlikely to be elected president, but as with most of Sullivan’s work, worth a read. A particular observation stands out:

The vital and valid lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that if the elites cannot govern by compromise, someone outside will eventually try to govern by popular passion and brute force.

What set the stage for this new reality has been an actual inability to compromise on the part of our leaders, spurred by the Fourth Estate’s treatment of American politics (in order to drive ratings) as personality-driven soap opera, coupled with economic and strategic setbacks that deeply trouble our population, accountability for which the political class, by appearances, at least, seems immune. These factors drive the anger of the electorate.

Trump’s character, that of a salesperson, is about stirring passion in others, pushing his agenda by strength of will. Such a make-up is not automatically a disqualification for political leadership; indeed, it may be asset. But Trump is also an impulsive, divisive, pro-torture flim-flam man and a bullyThe Party of Lincoln may undo itself for years to come if it accepts this dangerous character as its nominee. Ideological opponents would relish this outcome, but a multitude of Americans will not. They see trouble in River City.

— Marcus

America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny

Illustration by Zohar Lazar As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled – even surprised – me from the moment I first read it in graduate school.

Bureaucracy

Sometimes, when I was a deployed enlistee, I felt as if there was an inverted pyramid resting on my ruck-sack. The article below from Third Way offers some explanation.

— Marcus

Star Creep: The Costs of a Top-Heavy Military

The U.S. military is more top-heavy than it has ever been, and the problem has worsened with each passing decade. At the height of World War II, we had twelve million people in uniform, many of them draftees. 1 As the military has transitioned from the Greatest Generation to the Vietnam draft era to an all-volunteer force, it has gotten smaller.

Defense, Inc.

One of the more curious experiences I had after signing up to serve was being offered large sums (for a poor kid from North Carolina, mind you) to work as a defense contractor. Contractors take on the same tasks as soldiers, but earn pay that can be very high compared to the set military scale. The result of the DoD’s contracting focus is that America ends up with a surplus of contractors who hold positions that could be done by uniformed personnel for less expense. Veteran Special Forces operator Lloyd Sparks has written an insider’s account of working life in America’s defense industry, outlining its curious culture and contradictions; his views add weight to calls for reform.

— Marcus

Boondoggle: My Unexpected Career as a Military Defense Contractor

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