Butler Fails to Execute While US May Be Executing to Fail

Sadly, March Madness has concluded with perhaps one of least entertaining games of the entire Men’s 2011 NCAA Tournament.  Although UConn played some solid D, I am not so sure it was so much the Huskies winning the game or Butler losing it.  The Bulldogs were abysmal from the floor, continued to pop the ball outside in lieu of drawing fouls underneath and looked out of sync for 90% of the game.  Given his recent history of success and the unique capabilities of this two-time NCAA finalist, I am sure wunderkind Brad Stevens prepared a game plan consistent with his team’s strengths.  Butler’s game plan was to go in to Houston, defend the aerial attack to limit UConn 3s, attack its foe with some long range bombing and mop up with Matt Howard underneath.  But the circumstances changed early in the 2nd half.  Butler continued to toss trey bombs from the outside, but the boys manning the paint could not finish the job.  Oh, and while trying to defend at the arc, the gate was open inside for some easy pickins’.   You know where I am going, right?  Yep, Libya.

Not to over-simplify, but the Odyssey Dawn game plan was to attack from the outside to weaken Libyan strongholds, limit Gadhafi’s ability to attack from the air and allow the rebel forces to take control of territory in chunks.  Okay, not a bad plan….  if you’re playing Risk against an eight year old.    But unlike basketball or board games there were some important endgame decisions that required deliberation before the game plan was initiated.  Here are a just a few…

  • Who exactly is leading this insurgency and who will be running the show in Libya if the rebels succeed in toppling Gadhafi?
  • What happens if the no-fly zone results in a stalemate?  How long could the US potentially be engaged in Libya? 
  • Is there any situation where the US would send in ground troops?
  • What if Gadhafi simply agrees to relinquish control of the rebel strongholds in the east in exchange for US/NATO withdrawal?  That’s all the rebels really seem to want so they would have their endgame goal.  Does that make a divided Libya an acceptable result to the US/NATO?
  • Will US military engagement be the practice de rigueur when insurgents in other countries seek dynamic democratic restructure?

It’s easy to say – after the game – that Butler should have reconsidered its offensive strategy when UConn began its run early in the 2nd half.  And it is likely that adjustments to the game plan were discussed but the Bulldogs could not successfully implement those changes.  The difference here is that Butler fully considered its opponent’s capabilities and aspirations, understood its own unified goal, knew the game would not end in a stalemate, and recognized the need for a fully-integrated plan of action involving all facets of the team  to succeed in attaining its objective.  To date, nothing coming from the Executive Branch has offered that much clarity with respect to our involvement in Lybia and endgame analysis.

Fast Fact:  Gadhafi has been cagey enough to stay in control of his country for 42 years.  He orchestrated (through Britain) Scotland’s release of a known terrorist on alleged humanitarian grounds.  He employs a deadly 40-member, all-female bodyguard team trained in martial arts and firearms.  And Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi thinks Gadhafi is the cat’s pajamas (probably in part because there is a 323 mile pipeline filled with Libyan oil running under the Mediterranean Sea to Sicily).

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One Response to “Butler Fails to Execute While US May Be Executing to Fail”

  1. Mrs. Earl Gray Says:

    Your basketball analogy gives way too much credit to the Libyan situation from a United States perspective. Unlike the UConn basketball game, with Libya we have no idea who the “sides” are, or even how many “sides” there are. So, to add to your list of questions which should have been considered pre-game, we can also add: how many “teams” currently comprise the rebels, who are these “teams”, who, ultimately, will own the spoils of the war and neither last nor least, how might those spoils be used to the disadvantage of the United States. Going back to March Madness, I am envisioning a game in which we do not know who the teams are, who the players are, where the game is held and what will be done with the ball when the game is over. In fact, all we do know is that there are 40 female bodyguards, trained in martial arts and firearms, surrounding the stadium.

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