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Time to listen to the military(20 posts)

Time to listen to the militaryOldEdScott
Apr 1, 2003 7:25 AM
From the New York Times (first couple of grafs):

Rumsfeld's Design for War Criticized on the Battlefield
By BERNARD WEINRAUB with THOM SHANKER

CORPS HEADQUARTERS, near the Kuwait-Iraq border, March 31 — Long-simmering tensions between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army commanders have erupted in a series of complaints from officers on the Iraqi battlefield that the Pentagon has not sent enough troops to wage the war as they want to fight it.

Here today, raw nerves were obvious as officers compared Mr. Rumsfeld to Robert S. McNamara, an architect of the Vietnam War who failed to grasp the political and military realities of Vietnam.

One colonel, who spoke on the condition that his name be withheld, was among the officers criticizing decisions to limit initial deployments of troops to the region. "He wanted to fight this war on the cheap," the colonel said. "He got what he wanted."
You might find this article interesting.bnlkid
Apr 1, 2003 7:45 AM
I came across this article from, of all places, MSNBC.com here is the link I was reading:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2080947/?0si=-

In the article there was a mention of "sharing anonymously" that led to this interesting article. This follows your comment above.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A55177-2003Mar30
wow; this is "on the cheap?"DougSloan
Apr 1, 2003 7:48 AM
I agree that we should listen to the military. However, how can anyone say that this is "on the cheap?" Wouldn't every single military person almost always desire more personnel and more and better equipment -- maybe even some tactical nukes?

Ed, are you suggesting that we spend MORE on the war? Man, we really are flip-flopping these days...

Doug
Well, maybe.OldEdScott
Apr 1, 2003 8:21 AM
I strongly oppose -- and am both frightened and appalled by -- the Neo-Con imperialist policy that led to this war. Cheney/Wolfowitz/Rumsfeld/Perle et. al. are arrogant, dangerous men and this war is their baby. And they don't know what they're doing.

But now that we are engaged, we have no alternative but to win, quicky and decisively, with minimum casualties, and get the hell out of there. I do not trust the C/W/R/P Axis to know how to do this, not do I trust that they WANT to do this. They have designs on the whole region, and their recent 'warnings' to Syria and Iran are, I fear, signaling their next anticipated step: An expanded war.

The military, for all its flaws, DOES know what it will take to get in, get it done, and get out, and that's what they want to do. And they don't want an expanded war. They know we're stretched pretty thin as is, worldwide.

From my own experience long ago, I know a couple of things: The only thing more screwed up than the military is the civilians controlling the military when their agenda is political rather than purely military. This whole screwball war is as much politically driven (geo-politically) as it is militarily driven. The only quick way out I can see is to turn it over to the nutty generals and fire the whole neo-Con Axis that got us in this mess.

Never happen.
so, what would you do differently?DougSloan
Apr 1, 2003 8:37 AM
Given we are in the war, what exactly would you suggest doing differently, other than generically "more troops" or "more money"? It's easy to criticize...

I can't think of any war that was "purely military," without a political agenda, too.

Our system of a civilian led military may not be perfect, but I really don't think you want the military led solely by the military, do you? I would think that would be the furthest desire of the Left.

I'm not convinced you are even being serious here, and not facetious or just "testing." You are sending mixed messages. While I agree we should always "play to win" or get out, when you are sending the messages of "get out" AND "play to win," it's confusing.

Also, this entire discussion premise is suspect, as someone else noted, when sources are undisclosed.

The Left conspiracy/neo-con/imperialist theories are not very convincing or even interesting. I guess it's easy for the "opposition" to slap an "evil conspiracy" label on the administration to make demonization more acceptable. As you are quick to point out, too, slapping labels on people and groups doesn't do much to advance the truth. I know we all do it, though, as it's a shortcut to cheerleading "our side."

Doug
The message may be confusing because we're on theOldEdScott
Apr 1, 2003 9:06 AM
horns of a dilemma: committed to a bad war based on bad policy. Forced to play the game, we have to play to win. Doesn't mean I'm happy about it, and there's no contradiction in defining 'victory' as 'mission accomplished, we're going home now.' Kill Saddam, whip his army senseless, find the chemical weapons we sold him and burn them, and get the hell out. Out of Iraq. Out of the Middle East.

Only a pea brain would call for immediate, unconditional withdrawal, now that we're engaged. Obviously, the peace-movement Left has its share of pea brains but I'm not one of them. I'm no pacifist.

Sure, all war is political. Von Clauswitz nailed that pretty good. And civilian control of the military is a sine qua non of democracy. But what we have here is civilian control, driven by a bizarre mutation of conservative politics, that is out of touch with military reality. I would hope the generals are being listened to, but I fear they aren't.

What would I do? Can Rumsfeld, appoint Powell Defense Secretary. Ask for Cheney's resignation. Drive the neo-cons from the Temple and try to get some friends back in the world. For starters.
Now you're talkin' some good sense here -nmStarliner
Apr 1, 2003 11:37 AM
Here, here!!!! nmJon Billheimer
Apr 1, 2003 8:51 AM
P.S.Jon Billheimer
Apr 1, 2003 9:02 AM
My "here, here" is in support of Ed Scott's comments. As far as name calling, his opinion is buttressed by the published statements of the Wolfowitz/Perle group. They have clearly stated that their foreign policy goals are worldwide American hegemony buttressed by permanent American military presence in major, strategic world regions.
I've never understood why the folks hereOldEdScott
Apr 1, 2003 9:15 AM
won't take the neo-cons at their own word? It's baffling. They say these things very, very clearly and very, very LOUDLY, but when I or Czar or Jon or PDXMark or Kristen repeat them here, we're called nutty conspiracists.

May not be convincing or interesting, as Doug said, but all you gotta do is read their own writings, or listen to them speak.

Baffling.
and the worst thing is how many of them...rufus
Apr 1, 2003 9:27 AM
are in high positions in this government, and have the president's ear. cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowitz, perle, etc.
Agreed... we're there for ...PdxMark
Apr 1, 2003 10:03 AM
unsupportable reasons with tactical plans that are dangerous for the troops and have no contingency at all for actually taking Baghdad (as opposed to having it handed to us by a coup).

As for the top level (military & government) expressions of how great the plan is in its flexibility, all you have to do is listen to any ground soldier, from the commander of the 3rd division (I think) on down to any foot soldier... every single one of them is surprised at how hard it's gotten.

But since we are there, we have to win and do it quickly... for our troops, to salvage any purpose from the stupid war, and to prevent a humanitarian disaster that will be our fault and responsibility. (It is amazingly disingenuous to blame resistance by Iraqi forces, regular or irregular, as "causing" our inability to get aid to civilians...) Iraqi civilians apparently had a 5 week supply of rations at the start of the war.... Supposedly, after that, things are going to get much harder on people... Let's hope it can be finished soon, but it's hard to see how it can be without a coup.
i think by "on the cheap", they mean....rufus
Apr 1, 2003 9:09 AM
basing their war plan on the assumption that the shock and awe aspect of the smart missile bombing would so impair the iraqi's willingness to fight, that they could carry out the campaign with fewer ground forces than traditional military conflict. it's certainly not cheap based on dollar figures or technology, but cheap as to the number of forces to commit. i guess they maen quick and clean, as opposed to down and dirty. andd when it's necessary to get down and dirty, there's no substitute for numbers and heavy artillery.

rumsfeld's entire philosophy for war in the modern age is based on small, highly mobile forces using superior technology to achieve the objective. not to destroy the opposing force, but to destroy its ability to operate effectively, by cutting communications and command infrastructure. basically to paralyze it into ineffectiveness.

but as we're seeing, if that technology fails to have the paralyzing impact expected, and the enemy uses unexpected means of opposition, that smaller force could end up being vulnerable in the field, as they don't have the numbers to press the fight while maintaining security over supply lines and rear positions.
uh huhmohair_chair
Apr 1, 2003 7:54 AM
I don't buy all the indignation from unnamed colonels. Colonels will always whine about not having enough--that's part of their job. Note that they don't suggest any numbers, they just say it's "not enough." Good colonels, the ones who eventually become generals, complain about not having enough but get the job done anyway.

Let's get real. How many thousands of troops could be packed into Kuwait pre-war anyway? It's not that big, and stacking up all that equipment and men in a small space invites a devastating Pearl Harbor style attack.

If Turkey had cooperated, there would be an another entire heavy division in Northern Iraq instead of on ships enroute to Kuwait. That is the biggest problem of this war. You can't blame that on Rumsfield or the Army.

Any colonel who suggests parallels to Vietnam should be canned and sent home, because they obviously know nothing about the Vietnam war. Besides, it's only day 12!!! Any colonel who has given up on day 12 should get out of the war business or join the French Army, which more suits his abilities.
Three stoogesNo_sprint
Apr 1, 2003 8:59 AM
Regardless of what these three think, the situation wouldn't be occuring if Saddam had kept his bargain with the world.

Blind bashers, conspiracy theorists, Daschle twins. Make no difference whatsoever.

:)
Hey, I got this fromOldEdScott
Apr 1, 2003 9:10 AM
reading rag Enquirer-type newspapers like the New York Times. Give me a break!
re: Time to listen to the militaryFredrico
Apr 1, 2003 1:06 PM
The all-or-nothing, life and death nature of going to war, brings out the best and worst in people. For every hero who steps up to the plate, there are a thousand cowards, nasayers, doubters, who often, in the desperation and confusion, attack each other's views. Bush made a decision and went to war, after months of discussions, analysis, debates, with his political and military people, and foreign leaders. Now he and those doing battle must live out the consequences. As one general said, "Nothing is ever known beforehand in a battle. Everything can change once an engagement begins, and you have to be flexible, adapt, and change tactics to fit the new realities." He could have added, "You must never lose your cool."

Everyone can have his theory of the outcome, but the truth will only come out after the war is ended. If Bush succeeds, all the doubters will eat crow. If he fails, they will proudly say, "See? I told you!"

If the American military takes Bhagdad, establishes an interim government, brings in massive reconstruction aid, more and more Iraqis will see the Americans as saviours, leading the way to a better life. If the military gets bogged down in difficult, street to street, battle with guerilla fighters indistinguishable from the civilian populations, and Bhagdad is destroyed, and there is turmoil throughout the Arab world, with sporadic suicide attacks on American interest, it could isolate the US in a hostile world. I don't believe George Bush, a man who undoubtedly prays at night, nor the people who's advice he trusts, will allow the second scenerio to happen. His seemingly arrogant demeanor during time of war must be taken as a will to fight. Any other behavior would be taken as weakness by the enemy.

It is good for people to air their ideas in times of crisis, don't get me wrong. But we just have to wait and see how this all turns out, and in the meantime pray that the generals make all the right moves, and use their forces wisely.
WEAKNESS?cycleaddict
Apr 1, 2003 2:04 PM
Fredrico--you talking about Bush-the-draft-dodger?
You may have hit the nail on the head.Fredrico
Apr 1, 2003 2:12 PM
This guy, suddenly almost by accident thrust into the role of Commander-in-Chief in a time of national crisis (9-11!), must prove he's not the wimp he used to be!
lol. He got a cushy stateside post and <i>still</i> deserted. nmczardonic
Apr 1, 2003 2:30 PM