Lists and POVs and Changes
H/t to Starbuck for the link to Ricks’ Foreign Policy posting of what he considers to be the top ten minds behind COIN. A top ten anything is going to be contentious, and there’s a teeth-snapping discussion at SWJ which proves that rule.
The thing that stuck out to me, though, is that it’s an odd kind of meta-criticism of an argument already taking place, an argument Ricks is involved in. Sure, it starts a conversation, but…isn’t it the sort of sound-byte knowledge that is basic-level info for those who are into the discussion, and effectively useless for those who aren’t? Even if the point is to draw people who were less informed into the greater swath of discussion, Ricks hardly gives enough information about his list-picks for a good understanding of any one person’s position.
I don’t mean to pick nits, but even as a conversation starter, the post seems strangely third-person pov for such an immediate issue.
In the +1 to Ricks column, though, I did catch him on Weekend Edition on my drive back from taking Sister Pend and Bro-in-law Pend to the airport. He gave an interesting shading to Obama’s upcoming West Point speech that I hadn’t considered, points enumerated again in his blog. That was a nice surprise for a five AM drive.
I don’t really have anything to say about Exum taking a breather other than it’s a bit of a shame, but at least he’s not leaving a vacuum behind him. This is a truly wonderful community of thinkers and intelligencers and commentators, and Exum helped make that possible.
Things to read:
- Fred Kaplan on his Afghanistan ambivalence.
- Spencer Ackerman on Afghanistan and progressivism.
- Ink Spots’ posting of a Secdef Gates interview.
- Parameters, Autumn 2009.