Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Should We Rethink Our Strategy?

     Many TV crime dramas have a plot similar to the following: A crime boss goes into hiding. The police form a special undercover unit to find him. After months of questioning suspects, following up leads, etc., they locate his hideaway. A swat team raids his hideout, and he is killed in the ensuing gun battle.
     Change “crime boss” to “Osama bin Laden,” the “undercover unit” to “CIA and SIS (Pakastani secret service),” and the “swat team” to “79 heroic Navy Seals;” now you have the story the U.S. has been waiting for since September 11, 2001.
     The point is that bin Laden was found, not by the coalition forces in Afghanistan, but by good police-style work. He wasn't in Afghanistan. Although the armed forces were the best-trained in history, they were looking in the wrong place!
     The old story goes that one night Johnny found his friend, Billy, crawling around on his hands and knees under a street light. Billy explained that he was looking for a quarter he had dropped. Johnny asked, “Approximately where were you when you dropped the quarter?”
     Billy pointed into the darkness. “About 50 feet over there.”
     “Well, why aren't you looking for your quarter over there?”
     Billy replied, “Because, there is more light here.” The coalition had the same chance of success as Johnny had.
     General Petraeus has estimated that the number of al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan numbers about 100. The coalition forces are estimated to number about 140,000. At approximately $1M per year per fighter, that figures out to $140B per year. (Incidentally, this is money that is not included in the “cut spending” resolve of the current Congress.)
     Could we be using the wrong strategy for fighting the war on terror? Could we bring most of our fighters home, save billions of dollars, and get better results by turning the war over to personnel who are highly trained in finding people in hiding?
     The culmination was the appearance of the least stable tier of all: life itself! Living organisms did not come into the universe; they came out of it! We are all created from stardust!
     Matter Matters – The Spirit Runs Through It

“The Spirit Runs Through It” and “There Are Only Seven Jokes” are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.                            

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