I did explain earlier (somewhere in the blog, if I remember correctly) that military theory, history and technology are gazillions of mosaic pieces to me. They need to be assembled in order to make sense.

This is second nature to me; I absorb information of all kinds without expecting the individual bits to offer a complete and useful picture by themselves. Then I combine them and all too often it appears as if the mainstream did not, for I find myself in disagreement.

A discussion lately brought this to light again: I had recommended a source which in my opinion provided a gem of a mosaic piece, and the other guy lamented about this and that conflict - as if the tiny mosaic piece could be expected to provide a full picture. At first, I didn't even get his stance.

I am increasingly under the impression that he's rather representative, and that many -even influential-people take this lazy attitude and expect complete and still concise pictures, right now, with pleasant conclusion, for free - and from a single source!

It would go a helluva long way to explain why so many people buy so easily into enticing explanations, ideologies, prejudices, alluring power fantasies offered by certain hardware and the like.

For the record; I'll never complete my mental mosaic picture on human warfare. I can at best hope to get an incomplete yet still useful look akin to the famous mosaic of Alexander the Great and Darius III above. Luckily, statistics predict that I've got plenty time left. 
By the way; this blog basically represents -aside from fun stuff and political stuff- basically patches from the grand mosaic that appear to make sense as details already.

S Ortmann


  1. Is my impression that military professionals (and wannabes) often conceive of the military and the political as two categorically distinct spheres correct?

    Perhaps it is a U.S.-specific phenomenon. In any case, I find it very odd.

  2. Matthias Wilde5 April 2012 at 22:04

    Interesting point, MTB.

    In my very limited experience I also noted that military and law enforcement people tend to view themselves as "grunts" carrying out the orders, but viewing the politics leading to these orders with disgust or indifference.

    Which is, perhaps, the whole point of having separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.

    Probably from a certain pay grade on uniform carriers of necessity become more conscious of politics (Clausewitz etc.)...