You will be gamed

[by Lynn C. Rees]

It is dangerous to promote an ideal and pretend it’s not for entertainment purposes only.

Motivational constructs like “national interest” and “grand strategy” have, from time to time, proved useful for prodding the slothful along. Fiction has power to move people and move people it does. Mixing up myth for reality, however, inevitably leads to cognitive whiplash when reality steps, as it must, on myth. Many gleaming ideals are little more than bright colors painted on after the fact to cover up the grimy back stage shenanigans and less than visionary ad hoc improvisations, usually for temporary short term political gain. It’s too late in this historical cycle for a gritty reboot of statecraft. But a review may help some.

Consider three of the most consequential peace treaties of the twentieth century:

Key West Agreement” (Function of the Armed Forces and the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

Signed: April 21, 1948

Belligerents: United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force


  • ‘The Navy would be allowed to retain its own combat air arm “…to conduct air operations as necessary for the accomplishment of objectives in a naval campaign…”‘
  • “The Army would be allowed to retain aviation assets for reconnaissance and medical evacuation purposes.”
  • “The Air Force would have control of all strategic air assets, and most tactical and logistic functions as well.”

Pace-Finletter Memorandum of Understanding

Signed: November 4, 1952

Belligerents: United States Army, United States Air Force


  • “removed the weight restrictions on helicopters that the U.S. Army could use”
  • “widened the range of tasks the Army’s helicopters could be used for”
  • “created an arbitrary 5,000 pounds weight restriction that limits the Army’s ability to fly fixed-wing aircraft”
  • “the U.S. Army…is dependent upon the U.S. Air Force to purchase and man fixed-wing ground-attack aircraft to fulfill close air support missions”

Johnson-McConnell agreement

Signed: April 6, 1966

Belligerents:  United States Army, United States Air Force


  • “the U.S. Army agreed to give up its fixed-wing tactical airlift aircraft”
  • “the U.S. Air Force relinquished its claim to most forms of rotary wing aircraft”

These are all examples of what former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said about the decision to use “weapons of mass destruction” as the primary justification for the American led intervention in Iraq:

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