December 17, 2004

Eastward, Ho!

Critical reading on the going forward rebasing of U.S. forces.

While the Bush administration’s proposed changes to the global force posture are a good start, they are far from complete. Most importantly, it does little to reassure both enemies and allies that the American presence in the Middle East is in proportion to the “long, hard slog” described by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. U.S. forces in Iraq, for instance, currently operate out of more than a dozen major sites. While continuing success in the counterinsurgency campaign may allow--and fairly soon--for a reduction of the 140,000-plus troops now in Iraq, no military commander counts on a full withdrawal. And even once the counterinsurgency inside Iraq is won, there will still be the matter of regional security. The American commitment to Iraq is growing as the country moves toward democracy.

President Bush has often described Iraq as the “central front” in the war on Middle Eastern terror. Just as it was necessary to defend the front lines in Germany during the Cold War--and the rationale for “forward defense” was political and strategic rather than military and operational--so it will be necessary to defend the front in the Middle East. Clearly, the current Iraqi interim government of Ayad Allawi is in no position to negotiate a long-term status-of-forces agreement--the legal framework that would establish the terms of a continued American military presence in the country--but a legitimately elected Iraqi government will be both able and ready to do so. Iraq’s mainstream Shia leaders recognize this fact, and Iraq’s Kurdish parties will demand continued American presence.

This need not mean that future U.S. bases must be an in-the-face irritant to Iraqi nationalism; although, indeed, the Kurds would welcome such bases. The backhanded benefit of Saddam Hussein’s massive army was that it had plenty of airfields and other facilities stuck out in the desert. These will prove an ideal infrastructure for a continuing training and strategic partnership between the new Iraqi security forces and the United States, and they will generally facilitate long-term U.S. operations. While neither the current American administration nor any future one will be eager for more wars in the region, it is folly not to prepare against the possibility. The operational advantages of U.S. bases in Iraq should be obvious for other power-projection missions in the region. Sites in northern and western Iraq would be key to patrolling the porous Iraqi borders with Syria and Iran. Lesser facilities in the far south would simply be an expansion of other U.S. posts in the Persian Gulf and Kuwait...

...The basing implications of the global war on terrorism, or the struggle to transform the greater Middle East, go well beyond the Persian Gulf. They extend inland into Central Asia, thus the operations from airfields in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The Bush administration has also come to accept that the peripheries of the war in Africa necessitate new basing arrangements. Consequently, the Pentagon established in late 2002 its first sub-Saharan garrison in Djibouti, located at the strategic chokepoint between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, where more than 1,000 troops are currently deployed as part of Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa.

In sum, U.S. posture throughout the greater Middle East should be conceived of as a network or web of mutually supporting facilities that will serve three purposes: expressing the American long-term commitment to political change in the region, enabling the deployment of forces to points of crisis, and sustaining an expanding set of partnerships and alliances with friendly--and better yet, free--governments.

We'll need more troops for this smart game-plan. But our Secretary of Defense doesn't get it. Glenn puts the blame squarely on McCain and assorted legislators. Hey, why expect the Secretary of Defense to deal with pressing manpower shortages (presently and going forward) in the military? Not his bag, right? Glenn (who knows better) links to this piece too:

The agenda of most of Rumsfeld's critics is clear: to wound the administration and discredit the war effort by taking the scalp of one of its architects. Some of those coming at Rumsfeld from the right have a more subtle concern. They can't bear to admit that Iraq has been more difficult than they ever dared imagine, because of the irreducible reality of political and social conditions on the ground. Remaking societies by military means can be harder, bloodier work than some neoconservatives care to acknowledge.

That's not B.D.'s agenda. I want to win this war. And I don't care about scalping any of its architects-as I supported the Iraq war and still do. But four more years of Rumsfeld, as I've said before, may well imperil our effort in Iraq. And, contra National Review's musings, people like me don't need lessons about Iraq being more difficult than we "dared imagine." I knew the post-war would be much harder than the major combat stage--and I've argued for more troops (and a better mix of forces) in theater since at least May of 2003 (it's all in the archives to the right). That still hasn't happened in sufficient number--over a year and a half out. So yeah, I'm frustrated. Yeah, I want new leadership at the Pentagon. Yeah I don't think Don Rumsfeld is some infallible higher being. Is this some vendetta? Do I hate him, on some personal level? No, not at all. I hear, in person, that's he's quite affable, almost a Mr. Rogers kinda guy walking around the office in cardigan sweaters and, er, slippers (perhaps he has a future as a blogger?). I will never forget his evacuating felled Pentagon personnel on 9/11. I was thankful he was in office during the Afghanistan campaign. He is clearly a hugely accomplished man--in both the public and private sectors. But I believe in accountability. And he's simply gotten too many passes. He needs to go. He won't just yet, of course, but I think he will in '06.

Posted by Gregory at December 17, 2004 05:11 AM | TrackBack (83)
Comments

If Rummy must go, who would you replace him with? You admit he is hugely accomplished--who else is? For a man who has been throwing generals and admirals around like toothpicks, he is not that hated. Everyone who has watched his act appreiates it is the national interest which motivates him, and a rationalization of the military footprint which challenges him. He has the president's confidence, a big sine qua non. He is a bit candid sometimes, but so what? He's old enough to be a bit candid. Father Time will cut him down eventually, but let's enjoy his estimable services while we can. There isn't anybody better.

Posted by: exguru at December 17, 2004 06:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Your central argument seems to be that the war is going worse than YOU expected because of Rumsfeld.

Shouldn't you first consider whether our present situation is worse than could reasonably have been projected? After all, isn't Civil War the worst case scenario and doesn't that seem unlikely at this stage? Sure, best case would be a lot rosier than this, but how much closer to best case rather than worst case are we?

What does that then say about your expectations? Were they unreasonable?

Posted by: Systolic at December 17, 2004 10:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Er, clearly the Army doesn't like him, exguru. Seeing as how the Army got left holding the bag in Iraq, I can see why.

Posted by: praktike at December 17, 2004 03:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One can argue that the lack of planning is now coming to full fruition, or one can argue that no plan is perfect. But what appears to be completely beyond question is whether the DoD holding troops salary as hostage for future funding approval is what we want to see happening, here.

Posted by: Slartibartfast at December 17, 2004 03:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm still puzzled about one thing.

Rumsfeld's main defense to this charge that he hasn't provided adequate manpower is that the commanders in the field haven't asked. If true, this seems like a pretty powerful defense to all these charges of incompetence.

I have seen various news stories and reports that various military commanders believe there is a shortage of manpower, but if the actual theatre commanders have never made such a request, isn't this a major factor to be considered?

If in fact they, the Abizaids of the world, have made such a request and were turned down, then that's a completely different story. But I don't know that I would want a civilian SecDef to be overruling the military commanders out of a political consideration in either direction: too many or too few men.

-TS

Posted by: TheSophist at December 17, 2004 03:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Systolic, why does civil war look unlikely to you at this stage?

Sophist, if the commanders in the field were given the task of creating security, they would need a whole lot more troops. But they weren't given that task, and they say they don't need more men to do what they're doing. But what they're doing isn't winning the war. To win we need an iraqi government on our side that iraqis are ready to die for. But nobody wants to die for Allawi. And nobody wants to die under US command for Allawi. We don't want to put american soldiers at checkpoints to be targets, but less than 20% of trained iraqi soldiers or police are willing to be targets for us either.

We're barely providing for our own security. And the argument that we don't want more troops is that the security problem for our own troops would be worse if there were more of them....

That tells me the war is already lost. Except we're betting everything on the elections. Get an elected government that iraqis are willing to die for, and the iraqi troops under our command will actually follow our orders....

I think the problem isn't actually Rumsfeld. My best guess at this point is that we went in there thinking we were getting the 2nd-biggest oil reserves in the world. And when we looked at the Oil Ministry records, we found out that was another Saddam lie. So we did it all for nothing, and now we're trying to do everything on the cheap while we figure out how to pull out without looking bad. I don't have any evidence of that, but I also have no evidence that Saddam was telling the truth about his reserves. And we're definitely running the war on the cheap. Current projections are that we'll have spent less than a quarter of a trillion dollars by the end of 2005. We were saying up until the victory that the war would cost nothing, iraqi oil would pay for a wonderful reconstruction and pay for our troops too. And then it changed.

Various supporters want us to win the war they wanted us to fight. But maybe the war we're actually fighting is a war for oil reserves that we've found out aren't worth nearly what we expected when we started.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 17, 2004 05:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Okay tough guy. Where are the extra troops coming from?

Posted by: praktike at December 17, 2004 05:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Iraq, to my mind, has had two distinct operational phases: conventional invasion and unconventional foreign internal defense (FID). I specifically use FID rather than occupation and therein lies my disagreement with Greg and his take on the situation in Iraq and Rumsfeld.

The invasion of Iraq was crafted to defeat a large, conventional military on the defense. Baathist Iraq’s force structure was conventional, mainline armor and infantry. To defeat this force, we massed armor and mechanized infantry, with its speed, firepower and attendant logistics; used strategic and tactical airpower and massed artillery fires to conduct a brilliant campaign winning in short order with minimal casualties. This, for better or worse, was a surgical campaign against the Iraq military and political structure and not a campaign of total war. The second phase is Iraqi stability and transition in the face of a Sunni-Baathist insurgency. This is the current phase. The opposition is diffuse, not massed, has little firepower or mobility and its target is other local nationals rather than the US military.

Different military operations require different numbers of forces and different types of forces because they seek different outcomes.

Without putting words in Greg’s mouth, I get the feeling that he advocates an Army of Occupation like that used in Germany and Japan post-WWII with hundreds of thousands of US and allied troops policing the country while allied forces created new governments from whole cloth.

That was never logistically in the cards. We conducted the Iraqi campaign with fewer forces than a single WWII Army Group, and we had multiple Armies in WWII (90+ US divisions, 30+ British, 250+ Russian?) with which to occupy the defeated nations after a campaign of total war. Occupying a country of 25 million inhabitants for several years would take more troops than we could conceivably field. Politically, as evidenced by the push for elections in January, the US wants to turn control over to local nationals as fast as possible. Occupation was never a viable option and is not the current strategy.

Since the prime target of the Sunni-Baathist insurgency is other Iraqi’s, the Iraqi’s have to create institutions and forces that can successfully compete with the insurgents across the political-military spectrum. This force structure has to be predominately local national and heavily paramilitary and police rather than military. Our job is to promote, accelerate and professionalize this process. Putting another brigade of infantry in the Sunni triangle will not solve the problems there. In fact, their mission training, to win massed wars, and their minimal language and cultural training, explicitly make them not the type of troops to deploy. An effective Iraqi paramilitary and police, stiffened with US advisors and backed by US air and firepower, seems a more compelling solution than more US troops. And, without being repetitive, the more troops you have the more troops you have to protect.

The solution is an active and aggressive foreign internal defense with appropriate forces not an occupation.

Posted by: DaveK at December 17, 2004 06:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Sophist, if the commanders in the field were given the task of creating security, they would need a whole lot more troops. But they weren't given that task, and they say they don't need more men to do what they're doing."

Is this still the order of the day though? I mean, this makes sense for the initial military combat phase of the operation, but at this point, and frankly, long before this point, I think it was pretty clear that the task of the commanders in the field is to create security.

The fact that the military revamped and up-armored thousands upon thousands of Humvees in the last... 12-18 months (?) suggests that they recognize that the task and the nature of the task has changed.

And yet still the commanders haven't asked for more men.

It's a puzzle. Is it because the top brass was given some sort of a evil eye hint hint from the civilian leadership that they'd best just shut up and not ask for more men? Seems really really illogical, and quite against the character of Bush or Rumsfeld.

"But what they're doing isn't winning the war."

I'm not prepared to accept such statements without (a) a definition of victory, and (b) some evidence/proof.

Suffice to say that for the limited discussion of additional troop strength, the pivotal question is simply why the actual military commanders have not asked for more men. One of three things is going on:

1. The military commanders are totally incompetent. They should then be fired and replaced with competent men and women.

Or, 2. The military commanders are either voluntarily or involuntarily refraining from asking for more manpower, despite needing it desperately. Voluntary means they're in some sort of conspiracy with Karl Rove, Rumsfeld, etc., which makes this a case of politics trumping military necessity, and frankly, if true, should result in criminal investigations. Involuntary means Rumsfeld/Rove/Bush/Others have threatened them with some sort of sanction if they dare speak out, which should then result in some sort of criminal investigation.

Or, 3. The military in fact does not need any more men, and it is the media who is distorting the facts to make it appear as if they do, followed up by pundits who claim to know better than the commanders in the field.

Greg's opposition to Rumsfeld doesn't hold a lot of water unless #1 or #2 is true.

-TS

PS: Unless there's evidence that the commanders DID ask and were REFUSED. Thus far, no such evidence.

Posted by: TheSophist at December 17, 2004 09:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Or, 3. The military in fact does not need any more men, and it is the media who is distorting the facts to make it appear as if they do, followed up by pundits who claim to know better than the commanders in the field.

I'm willing to bet that armchair generalling has been around in this country since, oh, General Washington. And for an armchair general, Greg's pretty good.

I also bet that if Greg posted about sports, we'd also see lots of Monday posts claiming he wouldn't have thrown that screen pass on third and long.

Nonetheless, we've had enough military bigwigs actually on the ground in Iraq so far that I'm confident that if we REALLY needed more troops there, at least one of them would have said something.

Posted by: Al at December 17, 2004 10:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aren't we adding more troops as we speak? I thought we were ramping up to 150,000 in time for the elections.
So apparently at least one of them did say something.

Posted by: martin at December 17, 2004 10:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"But I believe in accountability. And he's simply gotten too many passes. He needs to go. He won't just yet, of course, but I think he will in '06."

Nice little trick, Greggy-poo. '06? Ya think!?!

By 2006 Rumsfeld will likely have instituted enough of his changes and placed enough folk in place to continue shepherding them through that I will be more than happy for you to claim victory in your crusade at that time.

By the way (and I am just curious), one can't help but wonder if you supported the reduction of the 18-division Army down to a 10-division Army back in the day?

Posted by: RattlerGator at December 18, 2004 12:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gosh, Praktite - no one wants to play ball with you. Oh well, I'll bite.

Since you're rattling cages on a couple of months of recruiting shortfalls, let's address the obvious. The recruiters are operating with the same relative advertising budget of the big 90's, and there is no overt message drive (re: beat the hun).

There has yet to be a significant, sustained, full blown media campaign for enlistments. Recruiting (and retention) efforts - a joint, symbiotic venture -have focused (rightly) on the retention of, and care for veterans. Due mainly to the fact that standing up tens of thousands of new full-timers is..

1) prohibitively expensive
2) an immediate cure for normative fluctuation, and

3 (and most importantly) contrary to the nature of this republic. Small surprise big goverment types (and thier shockingly confused supporters on the left) find common cause in arguing for a larger standing army. Confused and contrary to the notion of the founders.

Which is going to leave you with the expected shortfalls in guard accessions in the short term - as the article correctly explains - despite it's scare heading.

Tough enough for you?

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 18, 2004 01:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Or, 2. The military commanders are either voluntarily or involuntarily refraining from asking for more manpower, despite needing it desperately. "

Probably a combination of both. It is politically incorrect to ask for more troops and they know that there are realistically no more troops to send.

The other point is that they do not need troops desparately. They understand that this is an Iraqi issue and we just have to help them hold it together until the Shia and pro Democracy Sunni can grow a military capability to counter the experienced Baathist thugs.

The final point is that we are in the midst of the Iraqi civil war between the Baathist Sunni and the rest of the country but predominately the Shia. It is already as bad as it can get. The reality is that this is all that the "rebels" can do, and it is not much. It does not look like some peoples' expectations of the Shia on Sunni bloodbath because the Shia are winning by following the US plan (and getting billions in reconstruction aid-even Al Sadr finally "got it"). Time is on the side of the Shia (certainly) and on the side of Democracy (I hope).

Posted by: Robert at December 18, 2004 02:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

OK, so the idea is that a full-blown media campaign for new enlistements (active duty) is the right approach. So two years from now, those kids will be ready to go to Iraq. Meanwhile, one year from now, the National Guard will be broken. So in the meantime, the answer is ... faster rotations and longer time-in-country for the current active duty forces?

Posted by: praktike at December 18, 2004 04:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

...is the right approach *only* if you wanted to dramatically overcompensate for a perceived shortfall in (one of) the (54 State Area Commands of the US National) guard.

As for the infantry, ("kids" - nice touch, that. Shameful, but at least a rare glimps of your true feelings), they'd be ready to be privates after 16 weeks. Others, depending on their MOS would have to wait additional weeks.

Don't know where your getting the "2 years" from? I'm guessing the same place you're pulling your other military arguments. The only 2 years delay I can think of would be the time at which they could elect to leave the active service, get a job, and finish their obligation in the National Guard battalion of their choice.

Let's check and see if you're tracking before I move on.

Posted by: Art at December 18, 2004 06:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm confused here, sorry, Art.

Greg & the Standard want to increase the size of the permanent, active duty force; Rumsfeld wants to shorten the length of the logistics tail and boost end troop strength without enlarging the overall size of the military. That's one issue, and to solve it Greg's way would mean recruiting more active duty troops; yes, kids. From high school. Is pointing that out shameful? And my understanding is that it takes some time to get them ready, but you're telling me it's only 16 weeks from entry to deployment.

Now the other question relates to the Army National Guard ... if I understand you correctly, you're saying that the article (and by extension, Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly) is full of alarmist hooey and everything is going to be fine. All we have to do is launch a big splashy recruiting drive. Is that your position?

Posted by: praktike at December 18, 2004 07:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Top generals and admirals in the Navy have said for 3 years and are saying now that : 1 we went in with way too few men and are paying the price now. 2. we need more troops in total, now. See Gen Zinni in Alt Journ last week as just one.
Some in the Army have also made these statements; it is only the jAir Force that has been and is in agreement with Rummy.

Posted by: Rod Stanton at December 18, 2004 08:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Here you go, Greg.

This is Rumsfeld's plan:
-----------------------
The Army's top enlisted soldier told more than 300 noncommissioned officers Oct. 26 that “transformation means predictability and stability for you and your families,” but changing the Army from its Cold War orientation would not be easy.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston said, “We're going to grow the Army over the next three years from 33 brigade combat teams to 43 brigade units of action” with an option to grow to 48 by 2007.

Speaking at the Association of the United States Army's 50th Annual Meeting in Washington, he said the “3rd ID was the tip of the spear” in transforming the Army. He said that transformation was “really hard.”

Adding later in answer to a question, “we took the 3rd ID through a partial transformation” in terms of equipment, he said.

“We are writing the doctrine now” on how these new brigades will function in the future.
At the same time as the Army is moving to units of action, it is “rebalancing the force over the next five years,” personnel changes that will affect 100,000 soldiers over the next five years, Preston said.
What is happening is that soldiers are being retrained from high-density, low-demand military occupation skills, such as 42L [administrative] to high-demand, low-density military occupation skills, such as military police.

Posted by: praktike at December 18, 2004 09:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes, I know you are. So we'll take it nice and slow, praktite. One topic at a time.

Sixteen weeks. (16)

13 weeks of training, and 3 weeks of getting in and out of the reception station and RSOI - ing to thier unit.

Here's the week by week break down, 'tough guy'

http://www.goarmy.com/life/basic/index.jsp

So let's clean up the juvenile "but you're telling me" language, and stick to the facts - so that we can make some progress here, you and I.

Are you ready to move on to your next question, or are you still not tracking on issue 1?

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 19, 2004 02:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah. Art, we seem to be on two different topics here. Let me see if we can clear that up.

If we were to somehow lose 20,000 privates from the army, we could (let's say) train replacements and get them to the front in 16 weeks. They'd be green and not experienced like the ones they replace, and they wouldn't fit into their new units as well being replacements. In combat they'd tend to die easier partly because when the time came that somebody had to do something dangerous it would be the natural choice to have the new guy do it.

Suppose we lost 7,000 corporals. We could train 7,000 new privates in 16 weeks, and if there's any need we could promote 7,000 seasoned privates to corporal.

Suppose we lost 1,500 sergeants. We could train 1,500 new privates in 16 weeks and promote 1,500 sergeants from the seasoned enlisted men.

What if it was 1,500 first lieutenants? That would be harders. We could send some enlisted men off to OCS and eventually some of them would be officers.

Now suppose we want two new divisions. It isn't enough to get two divisions'-worth of privates. You can do that in 16 weeks (assuming you have enough tranining facilities and enough DIs etc). But you also need extra sergeants, extra captains, etc. And you don't want to do that by promoting green privates or by bringing in a bunch of officers from desk jobs and making them into the officers of the new divisions. They'd be pretty pathetic. So you bring in experienced officers from your combat divisions and move the desk jockeys into the old divisions where everybody around them can teach them. And you move in experienced troops too. Ideally for each couple of green squads you have a seasoned squad beside them to show them how it's supposed to work. And for each couple of green platoons you have a seasoned platoon beside them. And up the line. You can't take too many good officers from the existing divisions or it will be bad for them, but you can't afford many green officers with green troops, either.

It will take more than 16 weeks before the result is two new combat-ready divisions in addition to all the other unimpaired combat-ready divisions. Of course, there's the alternative of just sending in green troops under green commanders and letting them learn by trial and error under fire. That worked in WWII, but it cost us in casualties.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 19, 2004 02:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thomas - You're incorrect, sir. You and I are not on a topic at all.

When praktite and I can move past his first point of contention, I'd be happy to address you. If I start multi-tasking now - I'll only confuse the poor thing.

Howsoever, sir, you'd better have a damn sight finer point on your argument than the above before you start with me, because your mathematics are stuff - I'd suggest you spend the meantime working on it.

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 19, 2004 10:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Art, you appear to be badly confused. Never mind the minor details of my arithmetic, I just showed you why they would plan to take 3 years to increase from 33 brigades to 43 brigades (or 48, the arithmetic in that quote didn't quite make sense).

Clearly the limiting factor isn't the time required to put recruits through basic training. Why would you think it is? You obviously haven't thought it out.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 20, 2004 04:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Re: 16 weeks.

J Thomas makes a correct and meaningful point. Art has no idea what he is talking about.

Sure, you can create a private in 16 weeks. However, this is not a combat/mission ready private. BTW, I assume you're talking about the Army because Marine Corps *basic* training, itself (boot camp), is now a four month program. Afterward, there must be specialty (MOS) training. The Corps can't even produce an O311 (rifleman) in 16 months. All sorts of infantry training follows basic.

All in all, I would say it takes close to 1 year to produce troops (with a combat MOS) that are reasonably trained for modern urban warfare and/or nation building activities.

Then J. Thomas' point pertaining to filling gaps in the rank structure of various units still stands.

BTW, Even conservatives are saying the same thing. This is one way they try to alleviate public fears over a draft. They say that there is no way to adequately prepare troops for the realities of modern combat and have a meaningful tour of service in a two year time frame.

Posted by: avedis at December 20, 2004 01:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Boy, you sure got your panties in a bunch there, Art ...

Posted by: praktike at December 20, 2004 03:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That's your response? Well, praktite - I'll take that as assention.

On to your second argument; That the "Guard" will be broken in a year.

I see no reason to accept this premise. The (United States National) Guard is an organizational adminstrative entity, not a deployable agency. Analogous here would be you claiming that the Department of Defense is "broken" because the commissioning timetable has slipped on the DDX program.

Among other things, embedded in the States are 15 Brigade combat Teams specifically structured to be cascading. So that on any given year, you have two additional (pre-UA) divisions available for nearterm wartime contingencies.

For the last two years now, brigades designated for this mission have been rotating on and off of deployment, going to war with what they have, and filling the usual personnel shortfalls as all land components have for since the Second World War, by backfilling from units that are not currently on deployment. The most recent set to be activated have not yet been to either OEF or OIF. So where's the break-down coming from?

Aveda - you're just going to have to wait your turn, behind Mr. Thomas.

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 20, 2004 05:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Nice bit of sophistry there; I was just going by what McCaffrey said:

Operational Iraqi Freedom--the fifth rotation will use up our National Guard and reserve. We have called up a couple of hundred thousand of these troops. By law, you can't keep them on active duty more than 24 months. At that point, the inadequate size of the active Army and not just combat battalions, the logistic structure to make it work, at that point, we're going over a cliff. A year out from now we're in trouble.

So you're saying that McCaffrey is wrong?

Posted by: praktike at December 20, 2004 06:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ohhhh - I see. Now it's "it was him, he said it". Sophistry? Try responsibility.

Yes, praktite - he's wrong. By about 19 Brigades. (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/boots-guard.htm) Your beloved General Barry McCaffrey is wrong.

Was that the problem all along? Great, then perhaps you'll excuse me while I answer some of your fellow travellers. I think we're done for the time being.

Posted by: Art at December 20, 2004 08:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mr. Thomas,

"Never mind the minor details of my arithmetic"? There's an inauspicious start.

Here's a hint: Words mean things. You can't simply throw about the word "clearly" and assume you've made an argument.

"Limiting" of what, sir?

Posted by: Art at December 20, 2004 08:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why hasn't congress forced extra troops on the DoD. Like authorize another Division or three?

They force all kinds of unasked for eqpt on the military (pork). Why not force more manpower on them?

Why are the Congress critters attacking Rummy for what is essentially a Congressiional responsibility?

Uh.

Hmmmmmmmm.

Posted by: M. Simon at December 21, 2004 12:17 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Barry McCaffrey is one total lying general.

Nothing he said in support of drug prohibition was true including "and" and "the".

Any one who quotes him as an authority is automatically suspect in my book. It is one thing to follow orders. But to tell lies that are easily fact checked? The man has no honor.

----

J. Thomas re: the war is lost.

Every bomb blast increases the number of recruits for the Iraqi Army.

Of course that is not enough for an immediate win as it takes time to train an army for a new democracy. The rules are different.

It does seem to point to the fact that long term prospects for winning are very good. Provided we do not give up.

In addition wars against guerilla operations take from five to ten years to win if properly fought.

Properly meaning: intel is your main weapon not masses of troops. Do you know what massed troops are called in a guerilla war?

Targets.

Providing the enemy with targets is not a winning strategy.

Having studied at minimum BHL Hart's "Strategy" (on all the mil reading lists) I'm sure you knew that but forgot.

Posted by: M. Simon at December 21, 2004 12:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 21, 2004 01:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Providing the enemy with targets is not a winning strategy."

Brilliant!

Then I guess we should just completely withdraw all troops. less is more, right. With no troops in country, therefore providing no targets, we could completely demoralize and confound the enemy.

We never learn from history. So many huge massed forces going after objectives in so many wars. How silly the military strategy of nations has been through the ages.

Gosh, if we had hit Normandy (in 1944) with only twenty troops the Germans would have had no one to shoot at after the first nanosecond of combat and they would have then just given up; all the allied pain and death and ordnance lost could have been avoided.

You guys - Art and M. - should be comissioned as five star Generals and/or appointed Sec. Def. The US would rule the world in no time - and with nary a US life lost.

It's like Zen mastery. The occupation of no occupation. I love it!

Posted by: avedis at December 21, 2004 03:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No mention of what the operations research guys say about the best mix and size of force.

Of course not.

It is secret and only Rummy and the President will see it. All the former military guys are just guessing.

Same as the blather here.

Afghanistan in 6 weks. Iraq in 3.

That gives you some indication that the planners, the logistics guys, and the pointy end know what they are doing.

Given all that I'd bet we are doing the best possible against our enemy with the resources available. Judging by past results.

If it is not good enough - tough. We had a chance to change all that back in November. Continuity was chosen.

Live with it.

Posted by: M. Simon at December 21, 2004 03:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Simon, you make a good point there. Every insurgent bomb blast creates recruits for the iraqi army.

And every US airstrike creates recruits for the insurgents.

So it's a race. Which side is building up the other's forces the quickest?

Hmm. This calls up an obvious strategy. When nobody is sure who the insurgents are, we could hire somebody to play insurgent. They could set off bombs that kill random iraqis to stir up hate against the real insurgents. And the insurgents can't return the favor; we can have guys posing as insurgents who chop off heads and such, but they can't do airstrikes and artillery strikes and pose as us. We can make them look bad but they can't make us look bad. Nobody else can compete with us at making us look bad.

I wonder how well the iraqi government could root out insurgents if we weren't involved. When we're in charge of the strategy and tactics the insurgents mostly get away except when, as in fallujah, some of them intentionally stay to be killed. (I read that we were still doing airstrikes in fallujah yesterday; the place isn't ready yet for the refugees to return.) I wonder if, for example, the shia might be more successful at keeping sunni terrorists out of mostly-shia cities if we weren't stopping them.

Yes, intel is the important thing. It's what we're weakest at. We're way ahead on firepower and mobility and communications and technology generally. And funding, armor, medical care. It's hard to see how our tactical position could keep getting worse except through abysmal intelligence.

But just because things keep getting worse for us doesn't necessarily men we're losing. Things might be getting worse for the insurgents even faster. We won't know about that unless we start getting some decent intel....

Posted by: J Thomas at December 21, 2004 04:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Simon said, "We had a chance to change all that back in November. Continuity was chosen."

Well, no. Bush was chosen. If Bush decides to pull out of iraq there's nothing any of his supporters can do about it except turn around and explain how brilliant it is.

I don't know what he'll do and neither do you. We didn't choose continuity, we chose whatever Bush decides.

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J Thomas, "clearly" you're not interested in the validity of your charges, just the forwarding of them. "Clearly" you either suffer from attention-deficit disorder, or you are a fraud.

Which is it, sir?

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 21, 2004 04:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Art, you haven't given any evidence for your serious charges. I understand how you'd rather attack the messenger than deal with the message. It's understandable though despicable.

Document your accusations or apologise.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 21, 2004 04:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


J. Thomas,

In war it is always about who it is getting worse for the fastest. I take it that you meant your statement ironically. It is true.

We saw this many times in WW2. Japanese attacks on the verge of success called off because the Japanese thought they were failing.

The same will be true in this war. Lack of will more than enemy effort will lead to failure.

Sitzfleisch.

As you pointed out our arms are strong almost beyond measure.

We are fortunate to have Bush making the decisions. And yes he could pull out tomorrow. I think such a move would get him huge criticism and lead to the temporary destruction of our armed forces. Similar to what our giving Vietnam to the Communists did.

I suppose letting the head choppers and the mysoginists have their way is an option. It is not one I favor.

Posted by: M. Simon at December 21, 2004 05:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Posted by: payday loans at December 21, 2004 06:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Evidence?

?????

Are you off your Meds?

"Document your accusations or apologise."

Accusations?

My dear sir, pay attention. This is the part where you explain waht you mean by

"Clearly the limiting factor isn't the time required to put recruits through basic training. Why would you think it is? You obviously haven't thought it out.

Posted by J Thomas at December 20, 2004 04:15"

To which i replied:

Mr. Thomas,

"Never mind the minor details of my arithmetic"? There's an inauspicious start.

Here's a hint: Words mean things. You can't simply throw about the word "clearly" and assume you've made an argument.

"Limiting" of what, sir?"

What. Why. Whichever. As I say, you can't simply write "clearly" and call it an argument.

You claim that the limiting factor in creating a Private from a Civilian man or woman takes more than 16 weeks. This is demonstratably false, as I have already shown you. So what in the world is this new "limiting" factor that you alone beleive needs to be imposed?

You don't appear to have one, so rather than learn from your mistake, you decide to make a charge, and then go elsewhere. Hence my question: ADD or fraud?

It's terribly easy to be credible. Simply say "I was wrong, thanks for correcting me" and move on with your life. It's called "taking responsibility for your actions"


Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 21, 2004 06:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Art, you have utterly failed to make your point.

The original claim was that it would take significant time to create new divisions to replace the NG units that must be removed from combat.

You argued that it's fast to train privates. This is a non sequitur. It has very little to do with the time it takes to create effective military forces.

As you quote, I pointed out that you were talking about something that was almost irrelevant and ignoring the important issues. You pathetically misread me to say that the issue was how long it took to put privates through basic training, when I never said that and never implied it.

So you have demonstrated your lack of reading comprehension. I accept that as your apology.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 21, 2004 06:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Art, no, I wasn't being ironic. Just because things are getting steadily worse for our military doesn't mean we're losing. Things could be getting worse faster for the insurgents. They could break before we do.

What bothers me is that it's a war where intelligence is primary and our intelligence is so weak we can't tell how fast it's getting worse for them. Also we aren't very good at telling how fast they're recruiting, or how fast new independent insurgent organisations spring up. It doesn't help us much if we destroy an aging insurgent group and two fresh ones arise to take its place.

Also, we can't find out how well the iraqis would handle their own insurgency unless we try it. As long as the government looks like our puppet and not competing government can arise except as an insurgency, they will be weaker than they would as an independent force. Also "the insurgency" shows strong signs of being a lot of competing groups that can't afford to attack each other much while they have us to fight. Without us would they argue politics and fight each other? No way to tell unless we pull out.

So it might not be so bad for iraqis if we leave -- we'd be replaced by somebody who could actually do good intelligence there. Whether the war would be run by forces that approve of the elected government or forces that are currentl insurgents would be an open question; it would be whoever is best at intelligence who also is adequate at everything else that matters.

And if the winners would support an elected government is also unknown, whether the winners come out of the IDF or the insurgents.

Most important, this is a "hearts and minds" war that we can't win by bombing campaigns. What would be ideal would be for the insurgents to notice that their bombing makes iraqis hate them, and for us to notice that our bombing makes iraqis hate us, and let the competition continue in some other venue. But I haven't seen any sign of that happening so far.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 21, 2004 07:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Here you go, Art.

Posted by: praktike at December 21, 2004 08:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gods, man - you're barely a clever parrot : "I accept that as your apology."? Heavens, where *did* you get that from? Let alone a skilled contrarian.

Nor are you honest. Isn't this the orginal premise of yours?

"It will take more than 16 weeks before the result is two new combat-ready divisions in addition to all the other unimpaired combat-ready divisions. Of course, there's the alternative of just sending in green troops under green commanders and letting them learn by trial and error under fire. That worked in WWII, but it cost us in casualties."

Posted by J Thomas at December 19, 2004 02:39 PM

Why don't you look into the link that praktite was just kind enought to post above - I believe you'll find that 32+ Seperate Brigades constitute over 10 additional division's worth of soldiers. Soldiers specifically funded and programmed for contingencies such as, well, you know...war, for instance.

However, since you're neither terribly clever, nor an honest broker - let's just cut to the chase.

Why do you so desperately wish for the US Army's manning system to break? What joy will it bring you? Surely you have a solution to posit, since you're so terribly damn fixated on it's inabilities? (Personified for you, neatly, in the person of Donald Rumsfeld. How pathetic.)

You know what? - never mind. I'm going back to praktite. He way have a different outlook on the conduct of the war., but he seems rational and consistent, if at least as rude and obnoxious as I.
You, on the otherhand, are at a minimum bi-polar - judging from your back to back posts above - or at the least, troubled and disfunctional.

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 22, 2004 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And Greg... You're being hacked - or at least someone is attempting to. Have you notice the "debt reduction" and "Viagra" 'posted by' lines with the string headers "8101", lately? Is this what is causing your server problems? I wouldn't know -but someone is up to some mischief.

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 22, 2004 12:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Art, you have demonstrated that you misread my statement, and you even quoted it again and misread it again!

This was a functional apology. You were not only unable to discredit me, you discredited yourself utterly and totally. It isn't just that you're dishonest, you're so unable to understand your opponents' views that you are talking to yourself.

While I could have asked for intellectual honesty from you, I couldn't have asked for a more sincere apology. You are a fine apology for a thinking human.

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