Powell's Questions

Subject : Options for Resolving Darcili

From : Ambassador Joy Seven

To : The Federation Council

CC : Norman One (Coordinator of Mudd)

Classification : High

Powell's Questions

On the late 20th century Earth, prior to implementing a foreign intervention, a General Colin Powell of the United States of North America asked his civilian command authority a series of questions. The general himself said it is improper for the military to question the civilian command authority. Still, it seems proper that his questions should be considered and answered before using force in a foreign intervention.

  1. What is the objective of this operation?
  2. Are we sure we have sufficient force to achieve this objective?
  3. Are the politicians and people willing to pay the price in blood and iron to achieve this objective?
  4. Are the politicians setting undue political restraints which would prevent the military from achieving the objective, or significantly increase the costs?
  5. After the objective has been achieved, do we have a plan to get out?
  6. After we have gotten out, will the basic problem that caused the conflict have been resolved?

Levels of Escalation

We are committing to force at Darcili. I believe, for the most part, General Powell's questions can be answered in satisfactory ways. However, we have multiple options, multiple levels at which we can commit to the use of force.

I shall list six general levels of escalation, six options available. I will sketch very briefly very high level objectives and methods. I do not doubt these six could be adjusted, and that additional significantly different proposals could be made.

  1. Apply political pressure to end the fighting. Implement arms and / or trade embargoes.
  2. Stage limited hit and run raids to resolve Federation interests in the conflict. One or more of the following might be attempted. Recover Amber. Cripple the Darcili time line altering capability. Capture high ranking Darcili officials responsible for criminal acts such as time line alteration, initiating a war of aggression, and genocide.
  3. Peacekeeping from orbit. Make aggression a bad option. Establish presence in orbit and use orbital bombardment to prevent attacks across a defined neutral zone by one or both sides.
  4. Peacekeeping. Again, the objective is to block aggression by enforcing a neutral zone. Placing troops and sensors on the ground might give more options, might make the neutral zone defense more secure.
  5. Conventional war. Destroy the ability of one or both sides to commit aggression. Destroy from orbit military formations, armories, energy production, transportation, command/control, communications, and in general the ability to use force. Land ground forces after bombardment phase to force unconditional surrender.
  6. War of terror. Target civilians and the economy, rather than military capability. As an example, Risa recently proposed destroying a city a day until Amber was returned.

Planet Mudd's Concerns

For the most part, Powell's questions can be satisfactorily answered for most levels of escalation. I shall not bother to answer all six questions for all six levels of escalation. However, I shall raise a few points which concern me.

I do not believe weapons or trade embargoes will resolve the basic problems which started the war. Perhaps these pressures should be applied in support of other measures, but I do not expect that embargoes alone will resolve anything.

While limited raids might resolve the Federation's interests in the conflict, and we seem committed already to this level of force, I do not believe hit and run raids are likely to end the fighting, to bring peace to the planet. If ending the conflict is our objective, we will have to look at additional actions.

The rules of engagement on peacekeeping missions often prevent the peace keepers from resolving the conflict using force. Peace keeping missions are defensive. One cannot win wars with defense, only prolong wars. Thus, it is common that 'mission creep' shifts the role of peace keepers from defensive to offensive, as the rational desire to strike back develops. Still, the force and structure for successful decisive offensive operation is seldom available to forces originally deployed as peace keepers.

Peace keeping can be helpful to temporarily patch up an imperfect political solution. Peace keeping missions are useful if the majority wants peace, but fanatic extremists need be contained. Peace keeping might be performed short term, to protect a withdrawal of Fanali population elsewhere, for example. However, unless we get much more support for a cease fire from the Darcili and, or unless we are willing to station a significant force for an indefinite time, it seems unlikely that a defensive force protecting a neutral zone can provide an end to the conflict.

I am uncertain of the support of the people and planets of the Federation to fight a decisive conventional war. If our objective is to quickly end the bloodshed and restore peace, fighting a gloves off offensive war may cost less lives and bring peace sooner than other options. However, if we are to take the offensive, we should have a clearly defined, achievable, and ethically correct objective.

I do not believe we will have the support of the people and planets of the Federation to wage a war of terror.

Planet Mudd's Current Position

Mudd will support embargoes and limited raids. We will not support peace keeping - defending a neutral zone - without considerably more support and participation from the on planet belligerents. We will listen to the opinions of other planets on fighting a decisive conventional war, targeting primarily military objectives. We will oppose a war of terror, where the civilian population is the primary target.