12 December 2009

My head will hurt if I look at this today...

Kings of War, the Danger Room, and Building Peace have all linked a chart (courtesy of MSNBC News and Talking Points Memo) released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which apparently sums up the entire Afghanistan surge in one, easy-to-read chart. Ready for it?

It all makes sense now!

While I have yet to read through this chart in full, the bizarre lines and ambiguous phrases bring back bad memories of the infamous "Powerpoint Slide of Win", which came out of US Central Command during the build-up to the Iraq War. Indeed, what could be simpler than this:

Seriously, it's worth looking at, although without any accompanying information to put the chart in context, I suspect I might not get much out of reading through the entire thing. Nevertheless, it will be well worth a detailed examination in full...

...after I leave Las Vegas, of course.


N.D. Burnside said...


This is a systems dynamics model. As I am sure you know, models are not policy; they are meant to drive debate and inform policy makers. As I posted on Building Peace (though it apparently was not approved) you are skewing the debate by posting this and saying it "explains" the COIN "strategy" in Afghanistan. Armchair Generalist gets it right. You fail.

Starbuck said...

I don't know how closely you read that post, but it's not an entry into the debate. (Note the claims that, due to a Las Vegas-induced hangover, I am not even attempting to dissect the diagram until Monday)

Also note that I qualify the similarities to the Powerpoint Slide of Win by saying it's similar at an initial glance. I am in no way delving into the details of the slide until the weekend is over. Maybe you'd turn down an alcohol-induced orgy of debauchery in Vegas in favor of poring over the details of the slide, but I personally follow my dick like a divining rod. That's actually part of the appeal of this website at times :)

You sir, fail at being as awesome as I ;)

N.D. Burnside said...

All the above might be true, but it does not change the fact that you are obscuring the debate by saying this is a plan. You know better.

Orgies are awesome. Drunken orgies are that much better.

J. said...

I will thank N.D. for being a fan of the site, here's the link to my argument to those people who think this is a "plan." Not that Starbuck is doing that, but I would not say that this model attempts to explain the "surge" either. It's supposed to demonstrate the many aspects of COIN as per FM 3-24, see the link in my post to the methodology. I think it's being unfairly maligned as a contractor gimmick, certainly not an attempt to continue Powerpoint Ranger tactics.