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If you're interested in the subject, https://www.amazon.com/100-Decisive-Battles-Ancient-Present/... is pretty fantastic.

"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and thoroughly immoral -- doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forgot this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms."

- Robert Heinlein

This quote has always stuck with me, and I posted it here a couple years ago. The reaction was almost universally negative. But after wising up a bit, I think offensive ideas need to be faced squarely if we're to evolve as a society.

I don't like it either. But I'd like it even less if it were a truth we conceal, rather than a falsehood we suppress.

It's hard to tell. But one thing is certain: If you read 100 Decisive Battles, you'll see the supremacy of intelligence in warfare. It matters more than any other factor. And the NSA would be our key way to get it.

I could understand this perspective if intelligence was a binary thing you have or you don't. But we shouldn't pretend abuses while gaining some forms of intelligence are justified by the need for other forms. You are arguing that intelligence is needed for military purposes. I'm arguing the apparatus doesn't need to grow in a time of military usage reduction. We might be talking past each other. The types of intelligence we're talking about barely overlap in a Venn diagram (i.e. domestic vs foreign, massive vs targeted, etc).

Personally I'd think that in more modern times, as close as we've been to wars (e.g cold war times, which I'll admit predates me), there are probably countless times where frantic phone calls and backroom diplomacy (importantly, that you do not see) have saved everybody's skin from war (or nuclear war).

I'll admit, this is speculation, but I'd be seriously blown away if not true.

But yes, sometimes nations just have to battle it out. I'm just not one of those people.

Both of the instances you mention would almost certainly rely or result on, and from, what intelligence might be shared or derived from having that frantic phone call or backroom diplomacy.

It's not just who you know, but what intel you can share to strengthen an alliance that matters the most.

What troubles me about this article is the after effect on those who might be employed by nation states who seek to better understand our intelligence mechanism, and while I realize that every actor in the schema is a cog in a very complex machine, it stands to reason that if tons of people are leaving public service for the private sector, there is a vast amount of leaky intel out there for the having.

I don't think there is anything wrong with consolidation, necessarily, but we need to have stopgaps in place to quell the unwanted outflow of personnel from what is essentially a defense-centered brain trust because of how much we as a public have invested in their training and relied on them to help us stay out of harm's way. I'm especially worried about the younger set (not to foment discrimination, per se, but maturity does shape one's thinking) who may more easily be duped by some seemingly friendly industry that is a shell company for nefarious activity.

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