Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kinetic Military Actions versus Stable Military Actions

Chemists* often juxtapose the words “kinetics” and “thermodynamics.” Thermodynamics reveal the ultimate cost of getting from point A to point B while kinetics address how fast that can happen and the short term costs. In other words, the two notions distinguish pathway and goal.

Describing something as a kinetic military action reveals that the current Administration believes it will be a short-lived conflict. It tells us nothing about the longer term strategic value of the conflict. We’d like to know whether it’s a stable military action versus a kinetic military action, i.e., will whatever we’re doing endure.

I don’t begrudge the Administration for failing to reveal its long-term military strategy – i.e., its goal [as a caveat, it would help to know whether the goal is uphill versus downhill. More thoughts on that here]. I’m certain that we have goals. But why should we show our hand in the open light of the internet while the other side continues to operate in the shadows? And if you need help in discerning who the “other side” is beyond Kaddafi, ask yourself who would most benefit from our failure.
*A chemist named James Huheey made an interesting comparison between structure versus reactivity in chemistry and status quo versus change in everyday life. I quoted him here.

1 comment:

  1. The War Powers Act requires the President to inform Congress (eventually).

    You asked why we should reveal plans and I agree that we shouldn't.

    However, a wise leader explains WHY in painful details to his people. And doesn't lie. GW Bush lied, not to preserve a national secret but because he knew that the people wouldn't support the war if he told them the truth. That works only in the very shortest term.