[lit-ideas] Re: Reading Lolita in Tehran

  • From: John McCreery <mccreery@xxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 11:06:09 +0900

On 2004/06/04, at 2:18, Omar Kusturica wrote:

> I would think that these plans are probably on paper
> only, though they can be used to justify the existence
> of the Chinese military.

How you assess this kind of information will depend a great deal on 
whether you are a conscientious objector to war, a muddled idealist who 
believes that planning for a war means that you want to fight one, or a 
realist who recognizes that, so long as militaries exist developing 
contingency plans is one of their most basic responsibilities.

The relevant maxim here is that responsible military leaders focus 
their attention on capabilities instead of intentions. If, then, any 
nation (or, nowadays, transnational organization) has the capability to 
inflict harm on the nation the military defends, that military should, 
if it is serious about its job, make appropriate preparations on a 
"what-if" basis.

At a practical level, where resources are limited, there will of course 
be priorities involved. I suspect that Pentagon planners currently feel 
greater urgency about the Middle East than China and more about China 
than Mexico or Italy, and practically none at all about Monaco or 

I don't ordinarily recommend Tom Clancy and only read his books when I 
can pick them up for free at book swaps, but one I just stumbled across 
that way is one I would recommend to anyone with a serious interest in 
this issue.

The title is _Every Man a Tiger_ and is authored jointly by Clancy and 
General Chuck Horner (ret). General Horner is a fighter jock who flew 
combat missions in Vietnam, wound up commanding the Air Force component 
during Desert Storm (the previous Iraq war), and ended his career as 
Commander in Chief of the US Space Command. The book provides a 
detailed look at one successful military career and, in particular, at 
the military, political, bureaucratic, and personal issues in play 
during Desert Storm. It is remarkably candid and, published in 2000, a 
useful look at the state of US military preparation and military 
thinking just prior to September 11.

John L. McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd.
55-13-202 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama, Japan 220-0006

Tel 81-45-314-9324
Email mccreery@xxxxxxx

"Making Symbols is Our Business"

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