Finished As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela, mentioned here. Varied enough to keep me reading. Bit too UK-centric though to tell you that much about the arms trade, though he does briefly venture over the border into Ireland. Mainly to expound on how terrible it is that the UK government doesn't control arms deals made there.
It doesn't help that he does briefly admit that Britain does have about the tightest arms controls of any country in the world. So at times he comes across like a Swiss guy complaining about how terrible the trains are. "The express to Zurich was twenty-six seconds late! It's an outrage!"
Has a few interesting bits. Extracts:
So portrayed, war appears a simple enterprise. But in practice, because of the countless factors that impinge on it, the conduct of war becomes extremely difficult. These factors collectively have been called friction, which Clausewitz described as "the force that makes the apparently easy so difficult." Friction is the force that resists all action. It makes the simple difficult and the difficult seemingly impossible...Listening
While we should attempt to minimize self-induced friction, the greater requirement is to fight effectively within the medium of friction. The means to overcome friction is the will; we prevail over friction through persistent strength of mind and spirit. While striving to overcome the effects of friction ourselves, we must attempt at the same time to raise our enemy's friction to a level that destroys his ability to fight.
The warfighting doctrine which we derive from our theory is one based on maneuver. This represents a change since, with a few notable exceptions--Stonewall Jackson in the Valley, Patton in Europe, MacArthur at Inchon--the American way of war traditionally has been one of attrition. This style of warfare generally has worked for us because, with our allies, we have enjoyed vast numerical and technological superiority. But we can no longer presume such a luxury. In fact, an expeditionary force in particular must be prepared to win quickly, with minimal casualties and limited external support, against a physical superior foe.
Finally, since all decisions must be made in the face of uncertainty and since every situation is unique, there is no perfect solution to any battlefield problem. Therefore, we should not agonize over one. The essence of the problem is to select a promising course of action with an acceptable degree of risk, and to do it more quickly than our foe. In this respect, "a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."
Am 2/3 through the Teaching Company's Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment. Not getting much out of it so far. At only twelve half-hour lectures it doesn't really tell me much that I didn't already know. I've only read "Candide", but Voltaire's wit doesn't come across at all: the lecturer makes him sound like a ponderously one-note satirist. Also I think as a philosopher Voltaire was more of a critic than an actual developer of ideas, so there isn't much to actually explain.
Saw this Times article on the "Great Moderation", the unprecedented period of financial stability of the last 20 years.
Thought I'd been pretty strict lately, but weight stuck at exactly 11st8 for the last 3 weeks. Hopefully this means I'm gaining muscle from the weightlifting at exactly the same rate I'm losing fat.
Next week's going to be tougher though as I've got more going on.
|< I blame coffee. | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|