An hour ago, I activated dozens on of bookmarks in Firefox to sweep over all bookmarked Milblogs. Then I proceeded with reading ... and now I'm kinda depressed.

To state it nicely, I feel alone with my idea of a Milblog.

I feel also quite alone in my appraisal of the costs of war, and my subsequent rejection of most wars and 'opportunities' for war as net harmful to all communities involved.

There are two explanations;
(a) I'm wrong.
(b) The Milblogosphere is quite terrible.

Neither is charming.

S Ortmann


  1. Don't worry sven, your NOT the only one who feels this way. Everybody is so swept in the false patriotism/anti-terrorism/military adventurism stuff, and we can't tell them otherwise. Its a delusional, self supporting cluster fuck with the backing of the military industrial complex. What WE need to ask ourselves, though, is what kind of consequences these crusades are bringing to us at home. Compromised liberty and economic ruin, thats what. This keeps up, I wouldn't be suprised

    And their ideas on war fighting are just shameful, absolutely shameful. I've seen all the arguments you've gotten into with these knuckleheads: They don't debate facts, they just call you a conspiracy theorist, or anti-american. Pffft.

    I too have recently opened a blog. Theres nothing interesting on there yet, but... I'm working on it. I have alot to say on the military subject, geopolitics, as well as the singularity and transhumanist stuff.

  2. Welcome to the real world!!:(
    I always feel like that as soon as i read the papers. or milblogs that give out depressing news, like defenceoftherealm(its very, very depressing.

    YOU ARE NOT WRONG, you are a light in the darkness of Idiocracy.

    I like weapons and bangs, but i don't like wars there wasteful. Unless you'r a-moral and don't care about casualties on both sides, however as a population control there not very efficient.

    Please get better soon. Look on the bright side of life de-do de-do de-do-de-do-de-doo

  3. People are like sheep. I 1st found your blog late last year and started reading your post (likely have read most all of them by now), I was looking for something different, because the other blogs just weren't hitting the mark for me.

    I have had misgivings about western forces and peer vs peer fights, which is how I 1st found your blog while looking stuff up on that.

    I also think others tend to lose focus on what the military is for to begin with. You can have a great military, but a awful civil society. Fighting wars just because you can isn't a good enough reason to fight them. I'm saddened by many of the wars that have been fought for what seems to be poor reasons.

  4. in many ways, you are wrong, tacticaly, your the best i read, small strategy, your good, but geopolitics, woah, not your area.

    Theres is a middle ground between occupying everyone in sight and moaning in the UNGC that another country is being mean to you.

    Get in, kick some arse and get the hell out before the other guy can gets his shit together.
    Thats not to say war should be our first response, but sometimes, like when embassey staff shoot police officers out the window, frankly, blowing shit up is about the only valid response.

  5. @trt:
    I'm a German. When a German said to an ally "don't worry, we're with you when you punish them" it lead to a World War.
    Seriously, what's to expect from such strategic raiding (blowing up and leaving) when mere words already lead to you being blamed for a world war?

    It's playing with fire.

  6. Its an imperfect world.

    I'm an englishman, when we said, "your on your own", we lost a chance to stop the next one before it started. And military support wasnt needed then, just a few words.

    Every situation is different, and has to be viewed on its own merits.
    Doing nothing is doing something, and "something" can always have serious consequences.

    At the end of the day, some wars are inevitable, two sides with irreconciable differences are going to come to blows. Thats why my views on Arab/Israeli peace are so dire, there cant be a negociated settlement because there simply isnt room for both sides to live, strip away foreign aid (and in the wider area oil money) and 75% of the populace is dead from thirst and hunger in short order.
    Its a horrible equation, but there is only one sensible choice when your options are to lose half your population (and all of theirs) in war, or losing three quarters of yours in peace.

    That said, many wars happen because one side massivly underestimates the others resolve.
    After the Cole bombing, a group of yemeni mps went on TV praising the actions, had they personally been introduced to the pointy ends of hellfires, might that have focussed the minds of the previous Afghan Government on the risks of hosting terrorists?

    The Falklands is an even stronger example, even when our fleet was sailing south, and quite possibly even until we sank their flagship, Argentina didnt believe we were seriously going to use force to retake the Falklands, it was all just piosturing.
    900 men died and a further 2000 were injured because we failed to communicate, an aggressive/inflamatory stance on the UKs part would have avoided war. It would have soured relations no doubt, but so long as Argentina new it couldnt win a war, it wouldnt fight one, and if the inevitable outcome of invasion was war, well, no invasion.

    But of course, sometimes, a bit of ego stroking and deference is exactly whats called for, I think it was you who pointed out that Ho Chi Minh wasnt a commited communist and would have thrown out China and jumped in with the US for real independance and aid.

  7. Its of course b. The milblogging scene is U.S. centric and loves its gadgets without little thought on the consequences of wars.

    There are a few blogs out there that do blogging on war and strategy, mostly on the left, but are "milblogging" only as a sideshow to the discussion of current or future wars and their politics.

    Your blog is quite unique. Keep it up.

  8. I previously thought that most people in the military today, especially in the lower ranks, were just very stupid or uninformed. Because how can you hear all that war propaganda, corruption and oppression and still volunteer to be part of it, and most importantly die for it? How can you be willing to sacrifice your life for that? Just to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

    But I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to discover people from the military who are very intelligent and have some sense of morality.

    This is something that occurs in many fields where the fall into 'anti-morality' can happen very quickly. For example some of the most morally conscious people can also be found in the financial sector working in a very amoral and decaying environment.

    How can this be?
    There are many reasons...

    I think that it is because of their experience and many time even expertise in such depraved situation and many of them having actually participated in such depraved actions, that they are able to deeply reflect upon their own situation and that of others.

    Most importantly,
    I think we all are where we are
    because we are needed there the most.
    Not only for others but especially for ourselves.
    This includes those people mentioned above. And this also includes you.

    This can be (mis)interpreted in many ways. Do not interpret it in the extremes. Fatalism or Absolute Freedom. The essence is balance between accepting and using the situation as it is (history-destiny), no matter how messed up it seems and using your freewill to choose the best way to respond (present). Act response-able. And hope-trust for the best (future) without letting positivity blind you and depression paralyze you.

    "ask not what your community can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

    My fellow humans of the world: ask not what my community/country will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

    I always saw this part of the speech very pessimistically. "It is just nice rhetoric to make the poor sheeple die for lies, make the wealthy elite even richer by stealing from the poor and make the victims like it." But actually he has some point. [From an individual perspective] it is not about the community, environment, conditions and situation you are in. It is not even about your own intelligence, health, wealth and state of being. It is about what you choose to do with it.

    Power over others is one of the biggest illusions there is. We cannot control what other do. And we cannot even control the (long term) results of our own actions. The only thing we truly control are our own choices.
    Nonetheless it is still depressing to perceive bad results and conditions of course. But greatness grows best and only when tested with hardship.

    The 'public opinion' followers are usually the loudest. Usually when you talk with people individually about issues you will be surprised to find out that many will actually reject the public opinion, but are not willing to discuss it. Many times this is because they falsely think other people think like that.
    "Public opinion: what everybody thinks everybody thinks".
    I am just trying to point out that our own perception of silence (including in the blogoshere) does not mean consent of those who are silent.

    Also note that many (maybe most) followers are also not convinced followers but followers of what is perceived to be authority. This is not only true on a physical level but also applies on the intellectual level. So if authority changes, their position will change easily as well. The situation is not a bad and static as it appears.

    You probably already know all this, but sometimes you just have to hear it from someone else.

    I actually found your blog from a comment you posted on
    or a related site.
    It is more geopolitics than pure military, but it still has a military foundation.
    I think it is a pretty decent blog.

  9. armes kleines dingolein.


  10. Please keep up your good work with finding core arguments that do not depend on feelings.

  11. i found this post, SO, and felt i needed to say something - i'm not as knowledgeable in military matters as you are and i don't get the chance to read all your posts but your blog is top notch - do NOT be depressed!

  12. @TheRagingTory: Part of the Falklands problem, which is VERY common among dictatorships, is that war against the "other" will rally the people around the leadership. Between the Falklands and the Gulf War (1990-1991), both aggressors really made it look like a 1930s Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland movie (Hey kids, let's put on a musical [war] this afternoon!), rather than a sober assessment of what they were trying to do and was this the best way to accomplish it.

    @Sven: Rational thought about the costs of war and the unintended consequences of action/ inaction before thinks get hot is usually lacking at the political level. Again, what is the goal of going to war? Defensively, to save one's nation or another nation(s)or offensively, to punish someone. Is there a better way to accomplish the task?

    Failure to act decisively at an early stage can lead to potential catastrophe. How many heads of government went to bed saying "Thank you, Menachim Begin, for taking out the Osirik reactor", especially after the invasion of Kuwait? If the Iraqis had a nuke in 1990, then what? What are the options for the West if the Iranians detonate a nuclear device? Obama's failure in 2009 to support the Iranian protesters may yet be viewed as critical a mistake as the Kaiser sending Lenin to Petrograd in the sealed train.

    Strategy is a tough area to view at our level, simply due to lack of information. We can set out our parameters for acting/not acting and see how they compare to the elected leadership's thought process. And you have to worry about mission creep (Somalia) getting you in deeper than is prudent. The US decision to send "personnel" to Uganda to assist against the LRA can lead to a Somali situation rather quickly, especially if idiot "journalists" and their editors make a big deal of the suffering on TV. Darfur faded from view andthe problem has not been resolved to date.


  13. It is a pity that DNI died last year, it was a very good US blog on military strategy and related issues and it was not left :-).

  14. If you need a pat on the back, well here it is. Despite your occasional abrasiveness (a German trait, by my experience) I greatly enjoy reading your blog. I found that over the years I grew tired of a good number of mil-blogs and sites on geopolitics, mostly run by Americans, perhaps because many of them over the years delved too much into pure ideology (ignorance from my POV, but anyway). ID tended to be a good read, not too often anymore, or DefenseTech, when it was still run by Noah.

    These days Fabius Maximus, Walt at FP, TD, some others and your site constitute most of my regular reading. So keep it coming...

  15. @ miller

    das WHQ ist auf jeden Fall ärmer geworden!

  16. @last anon:
    Thanks to Goschi, Praetorian and that kid sdw. They annoyed the heck outta me.

    My long text on the Panhard Sphinx displayed the different approaches to 'discussion' on that forum quite well.

    Honourable mention should go to Ink Spots, where a quite sensible position was assumed in regard to the recent Iran affair and the budget.

  17. SO-

    I think you need have gone no further than your own blog link list, and clicked on MilPub, our blog. I think the only military action over the last ten years that got any support was Libya and that was limited to me with a couple of folks neutral and most of my co-bloggers openly against.

    Ditto with SST. Perhaps you're putting the emphasis on the military technology focused blogs which of course discount/misunderstand/don't comprehend the political nature of war . . . ?

  18. Seydlitz, there are subtle differences even between our positions.

    Besides; the war porn / hawkish blogs outnumber the dove blogs greatly.

  19. Anon
    91 is another great example.
    Sadam simply didnt believe the US had the will for a war, even though he new couldnt possibly win (although the scale of the loss was no doubt a surprise).

    Osirik is a good example too, although its easy wuith hindsight.

  20. Hard to classify SST or MilPub as "dove blogs" . . .

  21. "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."
    - Mark Twain, 1904

  22. SO, this is the only milblog I've found worth checking consistently, because you consistently make coherent arguments,think & explain clearly at a level I can understand, seem disgusted by war porn, and are appalled at the cost of war (in every sense).

    And yes, it is a little depressing that there aren't more bloggers thinking like you, but that just makes your efforts all the more invaluable.

  23. Sorry to be OT, but what do you think about the reductions of german military hardware de Maizière just announced?

    Regarding the uniqueness of your blog: Don't be depressed, you're doing great work. The sheer amount of knowledge in every single post is just amazing.

  24. It'll be more interesting whether he does something about the personnel qualification. Today's junior NCOs are more like 1980's volunteer enlisted personnel and our senior NCOs are more like 1980's junior NCOs.
    It's not just the rank inflation but a general watering down of training quality, including basics.

    I could be fine with a 100,000 personnel army that needs to re-arm for two or three years to be ready for a great war. A huge chieftain congregation with more army generals than tanks and more admirals than ships is not the way to go.

  25. So basicly a modern version of the Reichswehr?

  26. Yeah, I think I gave that already away in this post: http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2010/01/german-top-military-geniuses-of-20th.html

  27. Thanks for the (majority) support, but there's a problem.

    Blogs attract like-minded people (and trolls), and nothing on that happens on this blog can really change the perception about the mainstream of MilBlogs that originate in NATO countries (South Asian and East Asian MilBlogs are an entirely different story).