Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt

This is a detailed account of the naval part of the war of 1812, with an idea of identifying the key reasons for success or failure of the various actions.  The 19th century saw America grow into a first rate maritime power, which we still maintain today, but Roosevelt was a key contributor to our national vision.  The areas which he highlights are leadership, training, ability and commitment of the sailors, and equipment.  The US had most of these, but the equipment we had was produced in 1799, while Jefferson and Madison entirely neglected the military, even as the turmoil in Europe grew and knowing that it would inevitably spread onto our shores, just as it did in earlier times.

My main pondering on all this is the intrusion of the extreme rules of engagement imposed on the US military in the last few wars beginning with the Korean War.  More recently it has been political correctness that has intruded, so that a great deal of the training time must now be dedicated to things which have nothing to do with winning wars.  We still put a lot into our military, but we are also making a strategic investment into deadbeatism and other forms of social dysfunction.  Wondering how this will work out moving forward.


Rummuser said...

I would rather not comment as I am not an American. I would however point out a coincidence. I have recently been reading How Not to be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg and the starting of the book talks about returning planes in WWII with anti aircraft bullet holes.

The book of course is all about the use of mathematics but this story sets the tone for the other examples to follow.

Funnily enough, the story of the returning planes came to me first in a forward in WhatsApp and that led me to sending for the book!

Looney said...

Sounds like a good read. Statistics is still part of systems engineering, so we have to both know basics and have a few Ph.D's nearby. Unfortunately the competition between industries makes the probability of a statistician disappearing rather high!