Soldiers' Archangel:

Apparently SA is looking for a new, full-time director. It's good to see them doing well and expanding their operations. Here's the posting, if any of you are interested.

Short position description for
Soldiers’ Angels Executive Director
Soldiers’ Angels, one of the nation’s largest military support groups, is seeking
nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director. The ideal candidate
will be an entrepreneurial leader who has the vision, creativity, energy and experience to
continue the work of the founder and to place the organization on footing to serve the
future needs of our military and their families. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the
Executive Director will provide strategic leadership, empower and motivate the senior
volunteers and oversee all day-to-day operations. The Executive Director will also be
responsible for hiring support staff and other key employees. Areas of responsibility
include: financial management, volunteer development, program oversight,
internal/external communications, and fund raising.
The successful candidate will have:
Prior significant leadership experience in a multi-faceted non-profit organization
Demonstrated ability to work effectively with volunteers, staff and donors
Knowledge of and appreciation for the military and their families, preferably through
prior military experience, active duty or civilian
Strong communications skills
Experience in financial planning and management
This position also requires the candidate to demonstrate:
In-depth knowledge of fund raising program development and administration, including
direct mail and major giving functions
Experience in marketing, public relations, and media relations.
Cover letter and Resume should be mailed, before January 15, 2009, to:
Soldiers’ Angels
Attn: Executive Director Search Committee
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, California 91104
Or emailed to:
executivedirector@soldiersangels.org
If you email the documents please use the Return Receipt function to ensure that the send
was successful.
I nominate Cassandra.
Georgia On My Mind:

Well done, folks. Jim Martin's not a bad guy or anything, but -- in spite of my relative pleasure at Obama's early appointments -- I'm glad to see that there is a filibuster option to restrain the worst impulses of the incoming Congress. It'll be good for all of us: for liberals by keeping them from overreaching and angering the centrist majority, and for conservatives by offering some protection for at least their deepest convictions. The millions of members of the NRA, for example, should breathe a little easier today.

Some have said that the race was a test for Obama. I'd say that was not true in any broad sense of the word, but it is worth noticing just how strong the shift was in Sen. Chambliss' direction. He went from 49% in the general to 58% in the runoff.

What's interesting isn't really the magnitude of the spread or the shift, but the fact that the spread is almost precisely what it would have been in a normal election year. It shows none of the wave-strength that the Democrats had in the general election. These numbers are normally what we expect to see in a Georgia race -- 58/42 R/D is usual for a statewide race.

That may suggest that the general election was a spasm of anti-Bush/anti-incumbent feeling that has now been expiated. Well, that's what elections are for: letting you throw the bums out once in a while. This could be a warning that the population hasn't shifted left in any significant way, but was just in a really foul mood towards the Republican party. Once the anti-incumbent fever was spent, things snapped right back to normal.

You could also argue that this was a runoff in which Republicans were more motivated in Georgia, as they were the last chance to prevent a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. In that case, the general population may have shifted left, but they are feeling good now after the general election and didn't think it mattered much to get out again so soon. In that case, apathy rather than -- well, "change" -- is the problem for Obama and his new coalition.

We'll need more data to know which is closer to correct. As we've know since the Greeks -- and as Shakespeare also believed -- 'the mob' is full of passion, but quick to turn. It's also quick to disperse, and just wander away.

Monty McFate

Monty McFate and the Human Terrain:

She's been invited to speak at the Southwestern Anthropological Association meeting (h/t InstaPundit. She's the one who came up with the concept of the Human Terrain System. This led to the rise of the Human Terrain Team (HTTs, which operate at the Brigade level) and Human Terrain Analysis Team (HTAT, a Division-level asset).

Honestly, it's one of the most positive developments to come out of what we call the war on terror. The HTT helps the Army understand the culture it is operating with, in order to limit misunderstandings, reduce friction, and therefore act as a cooling factor on insurgency growth. That means fewer insurgencies, shorter insurgencies, and therefore fewer dead and wounded noncombatants where we come to be involved.

The core objection seems to be that HTTs "enable" targeting, which is somehow a violation of ethics for an anthropologist. It's been my experience, however, that the Army was already pretty good at targeting. What the HTT does is make targeting less necessary.

I have been working with ours quite closely, expect to be working with them even more closely going forward, and I am glad they are here. Of course (as you will recall) I also hold a Master's degree in History, and value the very skills they offer: an ability to harmonize the military culture with academic rigor, and to help men trained in military honor to understand the workings of tribal honor.

I do think the academy should want to help, for patriotic reasons but also for humane ones. As I've written on occasion, the best education for a Westerner seeking to deal with this set of problems is to read the heroic epics, such as the Iliad and the Heimskringla. If you understand our own roots in very similar cultures, you can start to see how warriors can make a peace when no one else can -- as well as what kinds of things break such peace.

For more, here is Dr. McFate at SWJ.

Appointments

Appointments:

It's been interesting over the last few weeks to watch the Obama camp begin to make appointments for its administration. I've been struck by three clear themes:

1) Every lecturn that Sen. Obama spoke behind while running for President had the word "CHANGE" on it in big bold letters. He constantly repeated that his opponent was "more of the same." Yet his appointments show a man who isn't the least bit interested in serious changes: he's largely reappointed the Clinton administration, except where he's keeping parts of the Bush administration.

2) In particular, the appointment of Sen. Clinton to Secretary of State combined with the primacy of Clinton loyalists in other posts is nothing short of an admission that she was really the better candidate in the Democratic primary. It is an admission that she was the only one of the two who was really a serious candidate.

It is to say, "OK, we won, we're in charge!... now, Mrs. Clinton, if you would kindly take over?"

3) Obama's appointments, in spite of this, have generally been solid choices. I say this in spite of my grave irritation at the outright, cynical manipulation shown in point #1 (and about which Jeffrey was absolutely right -- he often said I should simply ignore anything Sen. Obama said or did on the campaign trail). I say it in spite of something like astonishment about point #2: that a man so empty of qualification or loyalty would put himself forward for the office, or that Americans would consider him seriously.

Yet here we are, and I must confess that if he was reckless to put himself forward, he has not been reckless in at least these early critical choices. He has selected to put the Clinton team in charge even though it makes him look bad, because they were the best choices available from the Democratic side. He has chosen to retain the Bush appointments to Defense even though it completely undoes his mantle of 'change,' or his alleged superiority of judgment over those who ever supported the war or the Surge. Again, though, they are the best men for the job: and being better than anyone even in the Clinton team, he has kept them.

That's fairly impressive work, and I am glad to say so in spite of everything. Meanwhile, Syd mentioned a Spencer Ackerman piece; here is one by him that I thought was insightful. He rightly points out that the Undersecretary of Defese for Policy position is very powerful, and will apparently be retained by a Bush appointee and Gates loyalist.

SOLIC isn't as powerful as he suggests -- or nearly as powerful as I think it should be, having worked with them in the past -- but they do have authority that turns up in interesting places. Ackerman passes on speculation that LTCOL Nagl might be in the running for the SOLIC posting, which would be a strong appointment indeed. We'll see if that proves out.

And of course then there's Paul Volcker, an appointment that ties him to the Washington of Ronald Reagan. Reaganomics! Greenspan's predecessor! Again, a strong choice: but nothing like a change from the Washington of old. He is the Washington of old: of 1979-1987.

I begin to wonder if this Obama hasn't been just riding the whirlwind the last two years: running for President just to build his stature for a later run, he suddenly found a national mood willing to take anyone who was just new and different. Carried to office by that mood, he now wonders, "What on earth do I do now?" And so, he has chosen appointments who can bear the weight suddenly thrust upon his unready shoulders.

Obama himself seems to be saying that it's the other way: that he is the man who can take the Washington of old and change it. His remarks of the other night, that we have to 'remember where the vision of change is coming from,' support that concept: that he believes that he will work some alchemy on these structures and people, and change their nature from lead into gold.

All of his appointments have more experience than he does. Almost all of them are older than he is. Unlike him, they have established networks with deep roots: the Clinton network, which will now be based out of the Office of the Secretary of State instead of the White House, reinforced by all the other network members who will enjoy lesser postings; Gates' network, which is well established at the Pentagon and through the Combatant Commands; Volcker's networks through the financial community.

What he is doing here is planting trees, if you like. You can think of each of these powerful, older figures as a tree with roots represented by their network of supporters and allies. He has chosen the trees well. I'm glad of that, and I appreciate it from the new president-elect. Once the roots of these networks are spread throughout his government, though, he will find the trees difficult to move.