War by bureaucrat

I’ve suggested that one of the main characteristics of the bureaucratic state is that no one ever has to take responsibility for anything. In fact, decisions made on the basis of someone assuming responsibility are generally regarded as suspect and are to be avoided at all costs.

It looks like we may be fighting for some Libyan civilians – apparently we’re not fighting against anyone in particular (I have no idea how this is supposed to work, but it’s a wonderful example of bureaucrat logic, someone in the State Department should get a nice bonus) – in a quintessentially bureaucratic way. From the FT:

France has resisted making the mission a Nato one, citing fears it would alienate Arab countries, while US and UK diplomats say the alliance is the obvious choice to manage the multinational coalition.

The emerging deal would use Nato assets for command and control but not flag the mission as a Nato one.

In other words, the structure is designed to ensure that no one is actually in charge. Clearly this is a recipe for disaster.

Mr Juppé said he was proposing that a “political steering body” of foreign ministers of countries participating in the coalition and the Arab League should meet in the next few days in Brussels, London or Paris, and meet regularly.

This is the process that we use to write international agreements. The process is perfect for making incredibly bland decisions over incredibly long periods of time. They usually serve good food at the meetings though.

Adm William Fallon, a former head of US central command, told the Financial Times that the problem was primarily a political rather than a military one, since the US and its allies had already shattered Col Gaddafi’s air defences and helped protect Benghazi.

The problem is indeed political. I would now guess that we’ll be in Libya for a long time.

The Daily Mail adds more color:

Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.

A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.

The infighting comes as a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said.

Someone should tell the Germans that the steering committee is in charge. Can you imagine telling a real German that a steering committee was running the war?


6 Responses to War by bureaucrat

  1. Windy Wilson says:

    First, what are German Frigates doing in the Mediterranean? Is there a bit of German coastline there I don’t know about?
    Second, and in the grand tradition of that beloved Kennedy son popularly known as “the Swimmer”, I now deem this operation to be a Quagmire (TM)
    It is not too soon, and the situation is in all important respects either the same as Iraq or worse.

  2. icr says:

    Alas, there are no real Germans left. Maybe it’s a good thing that they soon be extinct.

  3. Peter Arnold says:

    Hmmm. First, what are German Frigates doing in the Mediterranean? Is there a bit of German coastline there I don’t know about?

    Hmmm. First, what are numerous American fleets of countless warships doing in the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctic Ocean, etc? Is there an American coast in the Med, or Indian subcontinent, or in the vicinity of Sao Tome and Principe there that I don’t know about?

  4. RS says:

    > the situation is in all important respects either the same as Iraq or worse

    What about the nature of the people there. 1) are the races as far separate as the two main Iraqi races. 2) are they as little docile as the Iraqis are, which prevents coming to an agreement. That seems like the crux, but I don’t care enough to research it. But I tend towards agreeing with your conclusion.

  5. RS says:

    If Germans or whatever bunch of jerks one likes have undergone some kind of dysgenic or cultural degeneration, or both, which is still happening now, though WWII may have been quite a burst of it – it’s completely reversible. 100%. And without any need for conquests, barbarities, forced sterilizations, or anything more wretched than… robust taxation (I’m giving the libertarians a hernia), and a little enlightenment in creating incentives. Helping to establish such flourishing for other peoples beyond Europe is also possible. New Hafizes, Wagners, Windsbraute, Chuang-tzus, Tarkovskijs, new Songs of Solomon – many of these – ever-new “turns toward the intemporal, to perpetuate there the love of adventures”. Just in case one hasn’t contemplated that enough yet – in case one hasn’t truly realized how insane our contemporaries are, how odious they have trained themselves to be, how much they invite comparison with whatever has been most evil so far.

  6. RS says:

    I support democracy, I really think I do. Not today. First we need a human species, a millennium from now, which is suitable for real democracy – which means people who cannot be controlled by propaganda, whose “interior citidel” contains a bold cynic, cheerful enough to work through reams and gigabytes of propaganda with cheeky, jocular, and inexhaustible cynicism. In brief, people who as a demos are actually like a ruler, and therefore worthy of cratia. For I am sick of rulers and their conflicts of interest with the people, their attacks, their attempts to weaken the people in order to cement their rule, especially in imperial provinces ruled by a foreign metropole, but also everywhere else. For instance is it entirely coincidental that dysgenesis is ignored, and the study of it suppressed, which seems awfully convenient for producing ever more tractable subjects, that is slaves, and what MM considers to be bezonian shock troops? But there are other instances.

    Sometimes I’m certain that world government really would end the countervailing incentives, and so guarantee a boot stamping on a face forever. Take a look at what an essentially unified government over the West, plus a lack of major external competitors, has done for the West. In the face of competition, this baloney couldn’t go on, and indeed as China rises it may not be able to continue – assuming China stays really independent, which means not just ruling over land but having one’s own ideas, own brain – kept secure and independent by a profound cynicism. Which is the real ‘territory’ to defend.

    I’ve said before that Reagan was an essentially feeble case with no grasp of the downside (for the West) of destroying the USSR – namely that it would destroy our only incentive to avoid becoming far more pervasively decadent. Even mild decadents, like the 1970s USA, are eager to become much more decadent if there is no reason not to. My sense is that people like Nixon and Kissinger more or less were cognizant of things like that, that only enemies can force you to have virtu in periods when you are not healthy enough to desire it as its own reward – they contemplated stuff, and they discovered things like that in their meditations. Because they happened to have the love of knowledge/power for its own sake, and because they had cyncisim and the audacity for negation and paradox. I think they also enjoyed distrusting and suspecting one another, secretly testing each other for possible symptoms of secrecy, which is a primordial and sportive discipline for leaders.

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