Over the weekend, a leaked memo from the four star Air Force General in command of the Air Mobility Command caused quite a stir. Here is the memo.
The memo has elicited a good deal of comment in the echo chambers of social media, and so this addition to that din will likely not create any new understanding or insight. That said, I have some thoughts for Conservative Wahoo readers to chew on.
I am content to know that a four star Air Force general thinks this way and is leaning forward in the saddle. There is a lot of good guidance here for his subordinate commanders, and some useful exhortation to get ready for combat. I believe military commanders ought to be in some stage of preparation for war at all times and be clear with those they command in the process. Winter is coming.
But this is not a good memo. First of all, this sort of thing ought to be classified. It is not for the general public, it is written to his subordinate commanders, and it contains the considered judgment of a senior military official on matters of peace and war with another great power at a time of rising tensions with that power.
His direction in paragraph 6 (a) that all AMC personnel with weapons qualifications fire a clip into a 7-meter target is sound and worthwhile. His aircrews will fly into combat zones with side-arms, and proficiency in firing them could mean the difference between life and death. That said (and I’m no expert gun guy) “Aim for the head” is not prudent direction.
There are two substantial things about this memo that reflect poorly on General Minihan (aside from its not being classified). The first is paragraph 1’s glib assessment of the possibility of war with China, and the second is that the memo has predictably caused a good deal of interests in what else the General has said in the past. The example below—when considered along with the memo—create an unflattering image of the General’s sense of humanity and poise.
An interesting line of argument has arisen, and that is that little Minihan has said or written exceeds the things former Marine General and Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said. For those who don’t remember, Mattis was an incredibly quote-worthy Marine Commander. Some have justified the difference by pointing to Mattis’ service as a combat infantryman, where Minihan has served his career as a transport pilot. This doesn’t wash with me, because the fight depends on the whole team, not just the trigger-pullers. Context does matter however, as issuing a memo in peacetime is different altogether than addressing troops in combat.
Bottom line is that Minihan signed an irresponsible, unclassified memo, that if written by his Chinese counterpart about us, would be either embraced as a sign of the inevitability of war OR the ravings of a garrulous, soon to be retired polemicist.
Must Read of the Day
A really great piece here from Rob Henderson on social status and “luxury beliefs” You should read it all, but here are a few pull quotes:
In the past, people displayed their membership in the upper class with their material accoutrements. But today, luxury goods are more affordable than before. And people are less likely to receive validation for the material items they display. This is a problem for the affluent, who still want to broadcast their high social position. But they have come up with a clever solution. The affluent have decoupled social status from goods, and re-attached it to beliefs.
However, this preoccupation with relative income appears to be confined among relatively affluent Americans. A 2021 survey found that college graduates say "closing the gap between the rich and poor" is a more important goal than "ensuring Americans don't live in poverty." In contrast, individuals with only a high school diploma say "ensuring Americans don't live in poverty" is a more important goal than "closing the gap between rich and poor.”
Veblen proposed that the wealthy flaunt status symbols not because they are useful, but because they are so pricey or wasteful that only the wealthy can afford them. A couple of winters ago it was common to see students at Yale and Harvard wearing Canada Goose jackets. Is it necessary to spend $900 to stay warm in New England? No. But kids weren’t spending their parents’ money just for the warmth. They were spending the equivalent of the typical American’s weekly income ($865) for the logo. Likewise, are students spending $250,000 at prestigious universities for the education? Maybe. But they are also spending it for the logo.
Affluent people promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs because it advances their social standing, and because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others. The logic is akin to conspicuous consumption. If you have $50 and I have $5, you can burn $10 and I can’t. In this example, you, as a member of the upper class, have wealth, social connections, and other advantageous attributes, and I don’t. So you are in a better position to afford open borders or drug experimentation than me.
"I hope I am wrong."
Why the hell would you HOPE you're wrong? You're a USAF General, you have legions of intelligence resources both locally and from all respective allies abroad, likely the greatest combined effort of military intelligence on Earth, you don't deal in hope about these kinds of things, should you find yourself in a position where you don't have access to these vast internal resources you sure as hell don't broadcast your uncertainty to the world. Holy shit, dude.
Does nobody above this guy like him enough to brief him on what's going on, it sounds like simmering paranoia in the face of the unknown got the best of him and this incoherent turbo cringe is the result.
He could certainly do with some creative writing classes and possibly lay off the weed/booze, but this in part sounds like it's his superior's fault for not appropriately bringing him into the fold on available intelligence.
This letter isn't the result of one guy's f*ckup this is the result of a chain of f*ckups, this is a group effort.
Saw your YouTube with Ward Carroll.
My theory, he read Danger Zone over the holidays