July 01, 2005

You Go To War With the Army You Have...

Subsunk comments, in an earlier thread:

The Quadrennial Defense Reviews of 1993 and 1997 set us on the course to placing over 50% of our combat arms in the Reserves and Natl Guard. To understand why this happened, you need look no further than the collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the entire American military began a reduction in force to allow us to scale back the massive defense budgets we had used to crush Communism under the weight of its own sloth. George H.W. Bush began this reduction to an expected reasonable level, yet with an absence of knowledge on exactly where the Soviets would be, and who else would arise to challenge us. William J. Clinton's administration collapsed the size further because there was no visible serious threat in 1993 after Saddam's defeat in Gulf War I and he rightly had other priorities he could spend the money on. We weren't ignoring the threats. They just were no where near the size and danger levels of the Soviets.

The 1993 and 1997 QDRs enshrined over 50% of our combat arms, including artillery, special forces, and other combat support units were in the Reserve and Guard. Still about 60% of Armor and Infantry were active duty, but that means near 40% were part-timers. This is the military inherited in 2001. A conscious decision was made in the 90s to do this. We could not afford to pay those enormous amounts for defense without a public threat. (Where do you think the Clinton economy came from? Not Defense spending. Remember the Peace Dividend talk?)

So blaming stop loss and other shortages on Bush shows ignorance of the facts. It is the public's and Congress' fault for believing there was no threat despite the UBL edicts and North Koreans promising to turn LA into a "lake of fire". (Read your newspapers. The stories were there. I remember them. Everyone else seems to have been reading something else.)

Additionally, in 1989 the military recognized that the upcoming generation held insufficient male children to meet the usual recruiting percentages and maintain the Cold War sized military. All the Service Chiefs sent out messages to their people urging them to help out in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, parks, public forums, etc.. to ensure the military maintained a good image among the younger generation. Otherwise there wouldn't be enough kids of military age interested in maintaining even our all volunteer force at even these reduced levels. We are still in the middle of this crunch today.

No draft, no massive recruiting bonuses, --- nothing will fix this problem. We have the size military we can sustain, period. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the demographics. To fix this you needed to make lots more babies. Life would be different here now if that had happened. I don't remember when this baby bust will be over, but it won't be soon. I know. I was there. I saw the QDR reports. I had friends discussing this info. It was in the newspapers, and we were frequently talking about it. We were there. We didn't think it was smart, but we had no choice.

Again, in 1997, no one but your military was paying attention, but you couldn't get any more money to solve this in those years. Peace Dividend, you know! Now you've got the military you have today. The Reserves and Guard were intended to get called up for years if we went to war. Whataya know, it worked out that way. Too bad all our enemies are trying to gang up on us at once. Funny how it works out that way when you let down your guard.

So quit pontificating about trying to find a smarter way than people who get paid to solve these problems. You all assume they are stupid government servants who can't make a living elsewhere. They aren't. They are dedicated folks who do it to serve their country. They aren't in it for the money or the fame. And you guys acting like you are better and smarter than generals who have studied it, experienced it, led throughout it, is a silly proposition. They ain't perfect. But they are a hell of a lot smarter than us average Joe's are. And I'll follow Rumsfeld and the Generals on their worst day over you guys on your best.

Shame on you. Who died and made you CENTCOM?


Posted by Gregory at July 1, 2005 04:45 PM | TrackBack (10)
Comments

Thanks, Greg.

What a beautiful way to kick of this weekend.

Take care

Posted by: Tommy G at July 1, 2005 05:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Western Empires fall when their populations are no longer willing to fight for their freedom. The fact that so many Americans are willing to fight not only for their own freedom but for the freedom of others living 6,000 miles away (not just in terms of military personel but also in terms of public support for the war which remains at around 50%) bodes well for us I think. Perhaps we are no longer the Greeks of Salamis, or the Romans of the Second Punic War, but we are far from the decadence and apathy of the late Empire and the Byzantines.

Posted by: Jason at July 1, 2005 05:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dare one suggest that this post is rather beside the point? The strains on military manpower being experienced now are the result of the commitment in Iraq, which was not something that just fell on us out of the sky. Arguments from the authority of the Pentagon leadership responsible for creating this situation in the first place are bound to be highly unpersuasive. If that seems insufficiently respectful of their training and experience, tough.

Posted by: JEB at July 1, 2005 05:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Did you bother to read the post, Jeb, or are you simply that thick.

Fell out of the sky? Subsunk specifically tells you about the fact that we'd been watching the Iraq/UN Resolutions, and knew that it would eventually be on our plate - but the left wanted their PeaDiv.

Christ - can you give it a rest? At least until the weekend passes? One should hope that you blush when writing such nonsense.

Posted by: Art Wellesley at July 1, 2005 06:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dare I suggest that JEB's comment is beside the point? If he wants to rehash whether we should never have gone to war in the first place, that's fine. But I take away from this excellent comment that we're using all the military forces we can muster for Iraq; there just ain't no more. Everyone in the military has known from the beginning that this was all we've got -- and they thought when the war began that we could achieve our objective with these resources, and they think the same now.

Now, "achieving our objective" may not happen in the way that Greg thought we would and should achieve it - the perfect world in which we have so many troops in country that the insurgency never happened/is stamped out immediately, even while the Iraqis never bristle at so many troops in their country. But we don't live in that perfect world. We live in this imperfect world, where we are doing the best we can with the resources we've got.

But what do I know, I'm just a "chest-thumping, jingo rightist".

Posted by: Al (not al) at July 1, 2005 06:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The strains on the military are due to taking the appropriate action to the threat that we face. Unfortunately, the domestic and international political environments exacerbate the problem due to their interference with the actions being taken.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 1, 2005 06:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Three words for the last three commenters:

"War of Choice"

If you have resource constraints, you act on the basis of those constraints. Of course, expecting that from our President -- Mr. Tax Cut and Spend -- is a bit much.

Challenge to the last three commenters. Why was Iraq the best move we could make in the War on terror, given the eloquently described resource constraints of the highlighted comment.

Posted by: Appalled Moderate at July 1, 2005 07:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Those reasons have been enumerated by many, I would refer you to the following as the best written response to that that I have seen.

http://denbeste.nu/essays/strategic_overview.shtml

The basic response is that drastic steps needed to be taken; the first one was in Afghanistan, the second in Iraq. For a number of reasons Iraq was pretty clearly the best choice. It was not felt, with very good reason, that there was an indefinite time to wait for this, and the programs in place at the time were clearly not achieving their purpose, and were actually making the long-term situation worse.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 1, 2005 07:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Consider the alternative choice Bill Clinton made from 1998-2000 - with OBL snug in Afghanistan - bombing our embassies and ships and planning 9/11

Yep - he made a different choice didn't he

Just be aware - the alternative to going after the terrorists and their state sponsors is only the ILLUSION of peace and safety

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 1, 2005 07:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, yes. The Imperfect World Defense, made with great passion by people in positions of responsibility determined to absolve themselves of blame for anything that goes wrong, and by people not in, near or ever likely to come within miles of power who will nonetheless leap to the defense of the present administration regardless of what it does.

Understand I hold nothing against the second group. If I were a Republican President I would probably find them as useful as President Bush does, even if the policies I pursued and the way I pursued them were quite different. It's the first group that concerns me, because once one is in a war the priority is to win it, not to pass the blame for not winning it off on someone else. I have some doubt that all the people in the Pentagon leadership -- civilians especially but not exclusively -- have this priority clearly in mind.

Posted by: JEB at July 1, 2005 08:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Who died and made you CENTCOM?"

Um, 1700 soldiers who've died because Bush and Rummy wanted to go to war on the cheap, without taking the time to adjust recruiting, training, and equipment to suit the long-term occupation that could have been foreseen by a blind man?

Even if you think we needed to go into Iraq, it would have waited a year or two, during which our alleged Commander In Chief could have made sure that our military was prepared for the task.

Of course, with the Pentagon and White House full of incompetent fantasists, thinking that everything would be sweetness and light and we'd be out in nine months, this was never in the cards.

They didn't make any adjustments because they didn't think any would be needed. They're still dragging their feet on adjustments. No, they've been more concerned about funding a missile defense program that doesn't work.

And don't pawn it off on Congress. This is pure Executive Branch screw-up.

It would have been far easier to increase the size of the military in 2002, but before the Iraq invasion, when they could have played off the success in Afghanistan and the desire to serve after 9/11.

Now, though, it's hard to recruit people, because we know the men in charge are feebs.

Posted by: Jon H at July 1, 2005 08:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do you have a pointer to something that describes the "Lake of Fire" comment? How graphic.

Clearly some thoughtful people hang here. I have a client that recently started blogging, as a means of therapy ( http://coasm.blogspot.com ). Any advice you all could provide her would be great. How did you get that security code feature for these comments?

Marion F. Young

Posted by: Marion F. Young at July 1, 2005 08:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Just be aware - the alternative to going after the terrorists and their state sponsors is only the ILLUSION of peace and safety"

So why did we go into Iraq, instead of taking steps against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

Now, granted, those would be difficult projects. But that's not a good enough reason to indulge in an expensive, bloody distraction.

Posted by: Jon H at July 1, 2005 08:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


I'd also point out, "Mr. Mahoney", that the Iraq war has been 100% about the ILLUSION of peace and safety.

Posted by: Jon H at July 1, 2005 08:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, other than the bombs and guns part...and the no second wave of attacks part. But , you know, other than that...

Posted by: John H at July 1, 2005 08:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If you have resource constraints, you act on the basis of those constraints.

Which means... what, exactly, in this context?

To me it means understanding that the war isn't going to go perfectly. As long as you think you can achieve the objective, that seems to me to be acceptable.

What seems to me to be completely wrong is to say that, because we live in an imperfect world, we'll wait until the world becomes perfect to do something we think should be done.

And what I never really get is what these "perfect world"-ers like JEB seem to think should have been done. Wait 10 years until we could build up a perfect army? Create the perfect sanctions regime? Leave Saddam complete alone in his perfect Iraq? Because all of those options are complete jokes to me.

Posted by: Al (not al) at July 1, 2005 09:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But I thought one of the consistent criticisms of the administration is that the post-war plans haven't worked out well because of a lack of troops. A *purposeful* lack of troops, to wage war on the cheap, so to speak? And now it's the opposite - they knew we didn't have enough troops, and still they got us into this war of choice! Which is it?

I like the suggestion that we should have waited a year, revved up our recruiting processes, and bang, there you go. We'd have no shortfall of troops. Remember, war planners. Whatever plan you have, the guy at the keyboard could have done it better, faster, and with less money.

And the commenter wasn't making an Imperfect World defense; the commenter was saying that the army we have is the army we planned, bought, and paid for, as a society.

Does Congress ever have any responsibility for anything? Aside from raising money for re-election campaigns, that is.

Posted by: MD at July 1, 2005 09:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, what is the point of this post?

The author uses three paragraphs to explain that we had a draw down in forces in the 1990's. Well that has to be a newsflash to everyone.

Then the author claims "in 1989 the military recognized that the upcoming generation held insufficient male children to meet the usual recruiting percentages and maintain the Cold War sized military." Did he say Cold War-sized military? Back to newsflash #1: there has been a draw down -- we DON'T need to maintain that size force.

The author closes by saying "So quit pontificating about trying to find a smarter way than people who get paid to solve these problems." Well let's see, the people who initially ignited the troop levels controversy... what were their names... I do believe it was Shinseki and Franks. Damn amateurs.

This idea that people in the Pentagon always know better than people on the outside seems to ignore things like that clever Boeing tanker lease deal or the brilliant OIF Phase IV planning (company commanders lesson learned: "we had no orders on what to do after the end of Major Combat Operations.).

I would guess that others on this board who have worked extensively in the building would echo my view that there is plenty of room for outside perspectives and yes, criticism (nicer word than pontification). In my view, the root cause of what makes Rumsfeld so unpopular and so wrong all the time is this imperial staff view that they have all the answers.

Final point: The troop levels controversy isn't about blaming Rumsfeld for the current size of the force, its about blaming Rumsfeld for consistently understating the REQUIREMENT and getting us in the mess we are in today (personally I think the lack of planning was the bigger sin, but I digress). If Rumsfeld had recognized this AND taken the diplomatic aspects of the war more seriously, we likely would more substantial allied contributions sharing the burden in Iraq.

Posted by: POTUS B at July 1, 2005 09:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H
It is obvious to anyone who is actually looking for the truth, and not merely trying to blame the President, that steps have been taken with Pakistan and the Saudis.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 1, 2005 09:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"No draft, no massive recruiting bonuses, --- nothing will fix this problem."

I call BS on this one. Iraq could have waited a year or so under the administrations estimates (forever in my opinion). Plenty of time to call up a draft. Just the ever poll fixated Rove/Bush whitehouse wouldn't do it. Too risky; once the truth about WMD, etc inevitably came out.

As far as these demographics you speak of, I say smoke and mirrors for your intellectually challenged audience. Prove it. Demonstrate that there are insufficient numbers of yopung men and women available. Where are the numbers? Why don't you display them in a nice pivot table format so we can all assess the data thoroughly?

Then again, maybe the right wing could meld this issue with its anti-abortion stance (eg f_ _ _k for national defense).

Has a certain Hitleresque appeal, don't you think? You should like it.

Posted by: avedis at July 1, 2005 10:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do you have a pointer to something that describes the "Lake of Fire" comment? How graphic.

I tried finding it on Google...

and I couldn't (at least not from the 1990s). Which (along with certain other assertions made by the author) leads me to believe that we are dealing with a nutcase.

Certainly, the idea that a larger military was needed to deal effectively with threats from Osama bin Laden doesn't hold up to critical examination. Nor, in fact, is the North Korean nukes issue relevant to the size of the US military.

But perhaps most ridiculous was his assertion that demographic changes meant that there would not be enough young people available for military service to maintain Cold War personnel levels. Births maxed out in 1957 at about 4.3 million... in other words, these babies became military eligible at about the time that the "all volunteer Army" was institutied in 1974. The "cold war" lasted another 17 years, and we maintained Cold War personnel levels throughout that period --- despite the fact that births went down throughout the period 1957 to 1973 when they hit rock bottom (3,136,965 live births), and began increasing again -- by 1980 there were over 3.6 million live births.

In other words, the military decreased the number of active duty personnel at the end of the cold war when an increasing number of people were reaching military age --- there were 500,000 MORE kids reaching the age of eligibility in 1998 than at the end of the Cold War in 1991.

birth data can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/statab/t1x0197.pdf

It looks like Greg posted the comments of a crackpot to me....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 1, 2005 11:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do a google for "sea of fire" and North Korea.

Posted by: DC Loser at July 1, 2005 11:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H: "Um, 1700 soldiers who've died because Bush and Rummy wanted to go to war on the cheap, without taking the time to adjust recruiting, training, and equipment to suit the long-term occupation that could have been foreseen by a blind man?"

I do not those men and women would take too kindly of you using their death to score political points.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at July 2, 2005 12:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For myself, I don't take kindly to anyone using death as an excuse for *any* political points. And what I fear is the idea that, sooner if not later (and if not already), everything must be continued without question in part because we owe it to those who have passed in Iraq -- and it is specifically the 'without question' part that gets my goat.

Posted by: Ned Raggett at July 2, 2005 01:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I do not those men and women would take too kindly of you using their death to score political points.

gee, do you think the victims of 9-11 were equally disinclined to feel charitable about their deaths being exploited by Bush?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 2, 2005 03:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do a google for "sea of fire" and North Korea.

I did, and nothing comes up before 2003.

Which convinces me that this guy is, in fact, a crackpot. He implies that the "sea of fire" quote is contemporaneous with the reduction of active duty force levels --- its not.

When one combines that with his bogus demographics, well, it appears that he creating an argument out of whole cloth in defense of the failed policies of the Bush regime, pretending that the reason for all of these "stop loss" orders is that there simply aren't enough eligible people to serve in the military.

That's bullshit....the military maintained Cold War troop levels despite declining births that reduced the number of people coming of age each year throughout the entire "volunteer Army" period of the Cold War. Indeed, the number of people coming of age started to increase at the same time the Cold War ended. This doesn't even include the increasing integration of women into the military, which has significantly increased the pool of potential recruits to an all volunteer force throughout the 1990s.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 2, 2005 03:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do a google for "sea of fire" and North Korea.

I did, and nothing comes up before 2003.

Which convinces me that this guy is, in fact, a crackpot. He implies that the "sea of fire" quote is contemporaneous with the reduction of active duty force levels --- its not.

When one combines that with his bogus demographics, well, it appears that he creating an argument out of whole cloth in defense of the failed policies of the Bush regime, pretending that the reason for all of these "stop loss" orders is that there simply aren't enough eligible people to serve in the military.

That's bullshit....the military maintained Cold War troop levels despite declining births that reduced the number of people coming of age each year throughout the entire "volunteer Army" period of the Cold War. Indeed, the number of people coming of age started to increase at the same time the Cold War ended. This doesn't even include the increasing integration of women into the military, which has significantly increased the pool of potential recruits to an all volunteer force throughout the 1990s.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 2, 2005 03:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Minh-Duc writes: "I do not those men and women would take too kindly of you using their death to score political points."

They might appreciate using their deaths to get the administration to get a clue, so fewer people have to die in the future.

Bush and Rummy's Iraq strategy was as insanely unrealistic as a Hollywood stalker's belief that, if he could only get past her security, Halle Berry would surely fall in love with him at first sight.

Letting proven fools stay in control is no way to respect the men and women whose lives have been wasted by idiotic planning and fantasy war scenarios.

Posted by: Jon H at July 2, 2005 03:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

exhelodrvr writes: "It is obvious to anyone who is actually looking for the truth, and not merely trying to blame the President, that steps have been taken with Pakistan and the Saudis."

Note that those steps apparently didn't require an invasion.

We could have had the same results without the pointless charity war in Iraq.

Posted by: Jon H at July 2, 2005 04:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Subsunk says "Rumsfeld and the generals"??!! Where the hell did he get the idea that the generals support Rumsfeld?

And isn't it Rumsfeld a wee bit responsible for the size of our armed forces going into 9/11?

Oh right, everything is the fault of Clinton or the media. W (and the administration) is infallible.

Posted by: Sean at July 2, 2005 04:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

MD writes: "I like the suggestion that we should have waited a year, revved up our recruiting processes, and bang, there you go. We'd have no shortfall of troops."

We'd have more troops to start, and they'd be trained for roles more appropriate to what is needed in a long-term occupation. And they'd be better equipped, because there would have been more time to make armored humvees and distribute modern body armor.

MD writes: "And the commenter wasn't making an Imperfect World defense; the commenter was saying that the army we have is the army we planned, bought, and paid for, as a society."

Aw, poor widdle helpless, defenseless George W. Bush. Nuthin's his fault. Unable to do anything to change things at the Pentagon. It's entirely out of his hands. The Clinton-era Congress took control of the military and the Pentagon, and never gave it back.

Bunk. We went to the war with the military Bush believed he would need.

I'll grant there are limits to how much the force structure could be changed, but not much change would have been required. A WW2-style effort was not needed. Some retraining in skills related to long-term occupations (MP, language, etc), some raised recruiting quotas, with heavy bonuses for long enlistments (which would help keep more in during the war without needing stop-loss.)

My point is that no effort was made at all. They sat there in 2002, and planned a fantasy invasion which would be quick, and clean, and for which they could 'make do' with the current troops, by having poorly-equipped troops do things they weren't trained for.

The worst internet-boom startup business plan was planned more realistically than Bush's Iraq war.

MD writes: "Does Congress ever have any responsibility for anything? "

Since when is the Pentagon part of the Legislative Branch?

Congress has the power of the purse. They don't determine required troop levels or how the forces are constituted.

Furthermore, ALL members of Congress fight tooth and nail against cuts that effect their districts. It's not in their interest to cut troop levels. Cutting troop levels reduces need for bases, which leads to base closures, which states hate to have happen.

Sorry, but Congress isn't to blame.

Posted by: Jon H at July 2, 2005 04:19 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do a google for "sea of fire" and North Korea.

I did, and nothing comes up before 2003. -p.l.


Try removing '-korea' from the search string.

http://www.mclaughlin.com/library/transcript.asp?id=279

Requested Transcript:
THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, ELEANOR CLIFT,
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, AND JAMES WARREN

TAPED: FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MARCH 30-31, 2002

[...]

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions: Lawrence.

[...]

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In June of '94, North Korea was threatening South Korea with a nuclear strike that would convert its capital, Seoul, into a lake of fire. President Jimmy Carter brokered a deal -- a swap whereby the U.S. would build nuclear power plants, and Pyongyang would stop building nuclear weapons. That deal will be dead within three months. Bad news.

Posted by: rosignol at July 2, 2005 07:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do a google for "sea of fire" and North Korea.

I did, and nothing comes up before 2003. -p.l.


Try removing '-korea' from the search string.

http://www.mclaughlin.com/library/transcript.asp?id=279

Requested Transcript:
THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, ELEANOR CLIFT,
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, AND JAMES WARREN

TAPED: FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MARCH 30-31, 2002

[...]

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions: Lawrence.

[...]

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In June of '94, North Korea was threatening South Korea with a nuclear strike that would convert its capital, Seoul, into a lake of fire. President Jimmy Carter brokered a deal -- a swap whereby the U.S. would build nuclear power plants, and Pyongyang would stop building nuclear weapons. That deal will be dead within three months. Bad news.

Posted by: rosignol at July 2, 2005 07:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I live in Los Angeles and well remember North Korea AND China threatening at one point to turn LA into a Lake of Fire. It was well reported in the LAT around 96-97 IIRC. If you have Lexis-Nexus you can probably find it. The original post was correct in that reporting.

Regarding troop levels, the original post is also correct that Clinton, Bush 1, Bush 2, and Congress all failed to act to increase the size of the military. A draft certainly would not work because the military requires extensive training, the modern military is not cannon fodder but highly trained and specialized troops.

Figures Luksiak thinks military people are crackpots. The values they uphold, duty, honor, loyalty, patriotism, courage, are all antithetical to the multicultural, morally relativist values of the modern left, which stands only for hatred of the West and modernity, liberty, and humanity.

Bin Laden and his idea (which is just as dangerous) of course requires a large military, just like living in a dangerous neighborhood requires serious security steps that cost real money. Nothing is for free. Bin Laden is in either Pakistan or Iran (probably the former) according to Porter Goss. To root him out will require a massive military commitment, neither Pakistan nor Iran will turn him over willingly and we will have to go to war to get him. Both nations are massive threats, with time running out for bin Laden to get nukes from one or both nations and use them on US cities. Sam Nunn at the www.nti.org says the chances of a nuking of a major Western City is about 70-80% in the next seven years IIRC. This is a real threat that can kill millions of Americans and being nice to them and paying them money won't work just as Clinton ignoring the threat didn't work at 9/11.

Clinton certainly deserves blame, but Bush COULD have increased the military if he was willing to spend the money. Not by a draft but by huge pay or other measures (say complete free ride at any College plus Grad School). Of course this would take leadership to lay out a plan for comprehensive victory not a mere slog in a sideshow (Iraq) when the real threats await in Saudi (financiers of bin Laden) and Pakistan and Iraq.

The problem with the left is denial. Denial that we are in conflict with the larger Muslim world which has essentially bought bin Laden's idea that all the problems in Islamic Societies are the fault of the "stab in the back" of the Jews and more importantly, the Americans, and the way out is to kill enough of Americans to make them first run away (because they love death and it makes them "strong") and then collapse in wickedness. The left even loves a good part of bin Laden's ideas because they share the hatred of the West's "wickedness" which translates to people living their own lives free from their "betters" telling them how to live, feel, think and behave. Once you live this denial solutions look like Diversity seminars and being nice to terrorists not well, routing them, killing them, and changing their societies.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at July 2, 2005 08:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I live in Los Angeles and well remember North Korea AND China threatening at one point to turn LA into a Lake of Fire. It was well reported in the LAT around 96-97 IIRC. If you have Lexis-Nexus you can probably find it. The original post was correct in that reporting.

Regarding troop levels, the original post is also correct that Clinton, Bush 1, Bush 2, and Congress all failed to act to increase the size of the military. A draft certainly would not work because the military requires extensive training, the modern military is not cannon fodder but highly trained and specialized troops.

Figures Luksiak thinks military people are crackpots. The values they uphold, duty, honor, loyalty, patriotism, courage, are all antithetical to the multicultural, morally relativist values of the modern left, which stands only for hatred of the West and modernity, liberty, and humanity. The Left has always hated the military, nothing new here.

Bin Laden and his idea (which is just as dangerous) of course requires a large military, just like living in a dangerous neighborhood requires serious security steps that cost real money. Nothing is for free. Bin Laden is in either Pakistan or Iran (probably the former) according to Porter Goss. To root him out will require a massive military commitment, neither Pakistan nor Iran will turn him over willingly and we will have to go to war to get him. Both nations are massive threats, with time running out for bin Laden to get nukes from one or both nations and use them on US cities. Sam Nunn at the www.nti.org says the chances of a nuking of a major Western City is about 70-80% in the next seven years IIRC. This is a real threat that can kill millions of Americans and being nice to them and paying them money won't work just as Clinton ignoring the threat didn't work at 9/11.

Clinton certainly deserves blame, but Bush COULD have increased the military if he was willing to spend the money. Not by a draft but by huge pay or other measures (say complete free ride at any College plus Grad School). Of course this would take leadership to lay out a plan for comprehensive victory not a mere slog in a sideshow (Iraq) when the real threats await in Saudi (financiers of bin Laden) and Pakistan and Iraq.

The problem with the left is denial. Denial that we are in conflict with the larger Muslim world which has essentially bought bin Laden's idea that all the problems in Islamic Societies are the fault of the "stab in the back" of the Jews and more importantly, the Americans, and the way out is to kill enough of Americans to make them first run away (because they love death and it makes them "strong") and then collapse in wickedness. The left even loves a good part of bin Laden's ideas because they share the hatred of the West's "wickedness" which translates to people living their own lives free from their "betters" telling them how to live, feel, think and behave. Once you live this denial solutions look like Diversity seminars and being nice to terrorists not well, routing them, killing them, and changing their societies.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at July 2, 2005 08:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A couple of comments on troop levels:

1) Even after subcontracting a large percentage of "soldiering" to Haliburton and the like, we still have massive waste/fraud/abuse in the allocation of troops -- a sweep of all the submarine polishers, assistants to the chaplains' assistants, daycare operators, etc. would put a lot of boots on the ground.

2) Why not require all females in the armed forces use norplant during time of war (and universally on their first tour, at least). In a situation where our enemies use rape and rape rooms as part of their tactics the pres could legitimately argue it's a military necessity. And it would take away the "I'll just get pregnant" escape hatch.

3) Back in the day (old school talk) a 2/4 year enlistment meant you served that many years. Nowadays the military does not want to be bothered with malcontents or duffers. I little more disipline could cut down on the waste spent on recruiting and training the enormous percentage of troops that do not serve out their term.

4) We have plenty of troops in places like S. Korea, Germany, Okinawa, Greenland, etc., that are not needed, even resented. It wold be a long term benefit to take advantage of this climate to pull them out.

Posted by: wayne at July 2, 2005 03:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My above comments do not retract my prior positions that I think more troops in Iraq at this point would not be a productive use of our manpower. As long as Gen Petreaus {sp?} believes we are making satisfactory progress on training Iraqis to fight their own war I would not put in more US forces. Substituting our will for theirs is not a viable option.

Posted by: wayne at July 2, 2005 03:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

rosignol...

First, it should be noted that it was Seoul, not Los Angeles, that was threatened with a sea of fire --- and that the threat was retaliatory (the US was installing Patriot missiles in the region, and NK was saying that if military agression against the regime took place, it would turn Seoul into a "sea of fire".)

In other words, the threat had nothing to do with Los Angeles, and was a threat of retaliatory action --- to suggest that this is evidence that North Korea represented an agressive threat to the US in 1994 is simply absurd, and demonstrates that the original poster is, in fact, a crackpot.

(Its like saying that the United States represents an agressive threat to the entire world because it would retaliate if attacked.)

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 2, 2005 04:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How about researching what a Patriot missile is?

Posted by: Cutler at July 2, 2005 05:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How about researching what a Patriot missile is?

Posted by: Cutler at July 2, 2005 05:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jim Rockford,

I live in Canada and am just reading blogs such as this one to try and understand what's going on.

-- What I don't, for the life of me, understand, especially given your comments is --- why the U.S. would invade Iraq, if the real problem was Pakistan and the Saudis? Why ?

If you ask me, Bush has shot himself in the foot with this war. He's weakened the U.S. militarily and economically. And most importantly -- with all the stories of American atrocities at Gitmo and Abu Gahrib beamed around the world - weakened the U.S.'s moral standing around the world.

Nobody is likely happier at the turn of events than Bin Laden himself. He's now got recruits eager as hell to join his fight.

-- And while some Americans think everything can be solved with money --- I believe that to the people hiding Bin Laden money means nothing.

D

Posted by: D at July 2, 2005 06:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, for heavens' sake Jon H.....

Although, you do make an excellent point about Congress and the Pentagon and troop levels; yes they control the purse strings but not the other things you mentioned like troop levels (although, aren't purse strings important and intimately related to things like armor, equipment, etc?)


Did the administration make enough of an effort or did they simply miscalculate? And is the level of miscalculation on the level of incompetence or expected in a task so complex and, frankly, revolutionary? Don't bother answering for my sake boys and girls; I can tell by reading the comments how given commenters would answer that question, and you could do the same for me. Although if you were to answer in Haiku or somesuch, I would be forever indebted to your cleverness...

Frankly, given what we are doing (invading two countries and fighting, essentially, a regional 'proxy' war with Syria et al), I am amazed that things have moved forward as they have. Whatever the correct troop levels should or shouldn't be, we plainly have a pretty freaking amazing military.

Posted by: MD at July 2, 2005 08:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Nobody is likely happier at the turn of events than Bin Laden himself. He's now got recruits eager as hell to join his fight.

its rather startling that, while those who believe in the righteousness of bin Laden's cause are joining his fight, we can't get College Republicans to join the Army to support the Bush agenda.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 2, 2005 08:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H,

I am glad that came back home from Iraq without a scratch. Had I die in Iraq from several IEDs that I had the misfortune of encounter, I would hate to have you use my death to push an political agenda that I do not believe in (in fact strongly oppose). It would be very insulting. I am hoping I am getting my point across.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at July 2, 2005 09:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Uhh, if my last comment seemed flippant or too 'light' given the context of this discussion, I apologize. I'm just trying to stay out of the nastiness that seems to erupt in blog comment sections at times.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Jon H.

Posted by: MD at July 2, 2005 09:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How to Lose a War
What more do the leftist and the MSM want?

Hey folks,

We have a war to win.

You are key strategic resources to win this war by informing the American people of the truth. The Blogos now has the power to report directly to the American people what the Liberal Left (LL) and the MSM are not.

The LL as well as the MSM are so wracked with anger and disdain for this administration, they can't see the forest for the trees. We are not bogged down in any quagmire nor is this another Vietnam, or some US imperialistic colonial movement no matter how hard the LL may wish or try.

Follow the links below and see how you can help. We need to branch out and quit just preaching to the choir.

We have a war to win whether well planned or not. The enemy declared war on us first in the early 90s. We just didn't notice until 9/11.

Rule No 1 in any war to win - KNOW WHO YOUR ENEMY IS!

Rule No 2 - KNOW THE IDEOLOGY THAT DRIVES THE ENEMY!

Has this adminstration made mistakes? You betcha. I subscribed to Victor Davis Hanson's theory to win you must continually engage the enemy on many fronts to keep it off balance. Yes, you must take risks and you will make mistakes. Learn from them and re-engage the enemy. The winner will be that side that makes fewer mistakes and who has the will to win.

General Eisenhower and General Marshall heads would have roled on D-Day had the MSM scrutinized them for the momumental mistakes that occurred that day. Our MSM does not understand warfare, read history, nor realizes we are in a global war to protect our very way of life, cutlure, and freedoms we cherish from the enemy whose cult-like religious mission is to destroy us.

I have yet to hear a coherent alternative strategic plan put forth by the Honorable Senator Feingold, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, and Senator Durbin. Until they have a plan worth pursuing, they can

SHUT THE @#$% UP!

Their constant gum flapping is sending mix messages to the enemy. This only empowers the enemy to kill more innocents and to kill or injure more of our brave men and women in uniform that are going into harm's way on our behalf.

See my comment over at The Jawa Report and follow the links:

How to Lose a War
What more do the leftist and the MSM want?

[...]

In creditible polls (RAND Corp and Pew), the American people do see a need for our continued presence in Iraq in terms of the larger GWOT. With the disinformation that the leftists and MSM are spewing, the people are left confused at times.

[...]

The MSM is no longer a relevant provider of objective information. We, in the Blogos who know differently, are left preaching to the choir. We read posts from Zeyad and Omar and other bloggers who are the true foreign correspondents in this war who are literally risking life and limb to report from inside these repressive tyrannical regimes.

The Blogos now has the power to bring objective news/info of the day directly to the American people without filtering or blocking by the leftist aristocracy and the MSM.

Yes, there is some truth that we created the Iraqi insurgency problem in Iraq. If you subscribe to the "flypaper" theory as articulated by Grim of Grim's Hall and others, we are drawing the loyal robotically programmed Jihadists into Iraq like moths to a porch light. I would rather kill them over there where we have the resources to do so then have them on kamikaze runs in our neighborhoods.

[...]

UPDATE -

I should add the majority of the suicidal bombers of late are actually Saudi/North African and not Iraqi.

[...]

Also it seems the local Iraqi "insurgents" are taking exception with these foreign Jihadists killing innocent Iraqis. There have been recent reports that the Iraqis are actively engaging in firefights with the "foreigners."

I wonder if we have cut a deal? You know we have had some talks with the indigenous Iraqi insurgents. Go figure on that one.

Do you suppose the MSM will get around to reporting this significant bit of information in their laziness or failure to understand what's going on?

Apparently some folks are tracking this on Jihadist websites with the "death statements" of these bombers and have made this finding.

Gee, I would call this real investigative reporting. NAW!

[...]

Jawa Report - Read More

http://blog.mu.nu/cgi/splorp.cgi?entry_id=99592

Scroll down to my comment "Dr. Rusty"

http://blog.mu.nu/cgi/splorp.cgi?entry_id=99446

[Sorry folks. Tried to hot link but kept getting server errors. First time posting here so don't know what HTML is allowed. I've cut all the HTML out of this attempt]


Posted by: Ron Wright at July 3, 2005 01:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

D,

I don't buy the argument that people from Canada are unaware of what's going on in the world, but if you'd like a refresher course on why Saddam was the greatest threat to our safety in 2003, read the Weekly Standard's free articles on their website this week.

I wish the "atrocities" at abu Ghraib had not occurred, I also wish the media will someday quit beating up on every American peccidello and inperfection and relate it to torture -- I wish Greg would start that process.

As for bin Ladin's recruiting, 20,000 American's in Saudi Arabia defending Mecca from Saddam was a pretty effective recruiting tool.

Posted by: wayne at July 3, 2005 02:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would add, another fine recruiting tool would be 20,000 American troops ATTACKING Mecca.

Imagine fighting the war we are fighting now in Saudi Arabia, dealing with insurgents using Mecca and Medina as bases of operations.

Then imagine the kind of press we'd be getting on Al Jazeera.

Pakistan? Unfortunately dozens to hundreds of nuclear weapons. Potentially the weakest link in the war on terror if Mushafraf and his like-minded are removed. Not that Musharraf is always a bargain himself.

Luk, you look up "Patriot missiles" yet?

Posted by: Cutler at July 3, 2005 06:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Potentially the weakest link in the war on terror if Mushafraf and his like-minded are removed. Not that Musharraf is always a bargain himself."

To clarify, I meant if his government was decapitated by stronger Al Qaeda sympathizers in the ISI or other forces.

Posted by: Cutler at July 3, 2005 07:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

To clarify, I meant if his government was decapitated by stronger Al Qaeda sympathizers in the ISI or other forces.

considering who we are discussing here, it wouldn't necessarily just be the government getting decapitated...

and yes, I have looked up "Patriot missiles". The best offense includes an effective defense, and the US had all the offensive capability it needed already in place....

of course, you completely ignored the main point, which was that the "sea of fire" statement was in the context of retaliation against agression, and not an "agressive" statement.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 3, 2005 06:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why we can't send more troops to Iraq.: "The fact is, the U.S. Army has substantially shrunk since the Cold War ended 15 years ago—to the point where it simply cannot fulfill the Bush administration's global dreams."

Posted by: georgio at July 3, 2005 06:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Whew! That was a lot of stuff to scroll thru. Regardless of whether it was an ocean, lake, or sea or fire, or whether it was Seoul or LA the poster was referring to, the world has a problem with N. Korea. Proliferation is the problem, not who might be the first to launch. N. Korea's main exports are fish paste and ballistic missles.

I find the arguments about "boots on the ground" more and more irrelevant. The Tet offensive happened when we had maximum troop levels in S. Vietnam. Yes our guys are dying, but the Iraqi security forces are losing 10 to our 1. Why? because it is their country they are fighting for. I find that Rummie's "smaller footprint " principle is still to be proven wrong. The recent reports of Iraqi insurgents turning against the foriegn jihadis I take as a vindication of this idea.

We are not in this conflict just to get Osama. The enemy is the constellation of non-state players now active in Iraq. We invaded Iraq not only to settle the WMD issue and eliminate Saddam before he could wait out and ultimately subvert the sanctions; we are making the "privatization of war" more difficult by removing one of the major funders of terrorism. The enemy has always been present; we have not "created" him by our intervention in Iraq.

We went to war with the army we had because there was no choice. We are in a race to defeat the enemy before he becomes better armed. The future of this conflict will involve the military less and less as the arena changes to that of politics.

Posted by: Chuck Betz at July 3, 2005 08:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"and yes, I have looked up "Patriot missiles". The best offense includes an effective defense, and the US had all the offensive capability it needed already in place....

of course, you completely ignored the main point, which was that the "sea of fire" statement was in the context of retaliation against agression, and not an "agressive" statement."

The main point is that you'll find and jump on any reason needed to excuse any regime opposing US policy, no matter its characteristics.

Posted by: Cutler at July 3, 2005 11:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

D (and many others by extension),

why the U.S. would invade Iraq, if the real problem was Pakistan and the Saudis?

Extreme myopia seems to run rampant when discussing our current situation. The inability to focus on anything other than the very close-up details is a great hindrance here, and shows either (a) a worrisome lack of historical perspective or (b) a willingness to ignore the same in the interest of partisan politics. (Of course I don't accuse you of falling in the latter cagegory, D, but it's certainly true of many, and in the case of certain US politicians, I know they know better.)

Anybody ever heard of the Hundred Years' War? The Thirty Years War? The Wars of the Roses? Even our most recent large-scale conflicts (WWI and WWII) are thought of by historians and political scientists as parts of larger generational conflicts. (To cite just one example, Phillip Bobbit classes the entire 20th century, including all of WWI and its runup, as part of what he calls "The Long War".)

So please--these things aren't happening in isolation, and there's no good that can come of trying to treat them as if they were.

Posted by: Kirk Parker at July 4, 2005 01:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Regardless of whether it was an ocean, lake, or sea or fire, or whether it was Seoul or LA the poster was referring to, the world has a problem with N. Korea. Proliferation is the problem, not who might be the first to launch. N. Korea's main exports are fish paste and ballistic missles.

the question is why does a nation feel the need to have a nuclear arsenal? If it sees nukes as the only effective means of deterring agression, you deal with that nation differently than you do if the nation plans to use those nukes agressively.

For over four decades, the USA had been openly hostile toward North Korea, but because it was protected by the Soviet's "nuclear umbrella" it did not develop its own nuclear deterrent. But when the Soviet Union dissolved, North Korea could no longer rely on the detterent effect of the "nuclear umbrella"....and the US was decided not making any effort at detente with NK.

Under the circumstances, it should have come as no shock to find out that NK was developing nukes in the early 1990s as a deterrent against US agression. Clinton understood this, and understood that NK developed nukes because it felt it needed them as a deterrrent --- so he pursued a course that attempted to reassure NK that the US was not hostile, and was successful in shutting down NK's nuclear weapons production.

Only a complete moron would think that NK wanted to nuke Seoul as part of some kind of "expansionist" agenda --- the North Koreans (and South Koreans) have always considered themselves a single nation that should be unified, and the idea of "destroying South Korea in order to save it" made no more sense to the North Koreans than it did to anyone else.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 4, 2005 02:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

i've deleted some double/triple/quadruple posts etc in the interests of keeping the dialogue open....keep. thread. alive. and happy 4th to all.

best
greg

Posted by: greg at July 4, 2005 12:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, I see. The North Koreans don't actually posses nuclear weapons, becasue President Clinton was successful in shutting down their nuclear weapons production.

Well, that's a relief. But let's stay on topic. You go to war with the Army you have. Contention? Counter-point? No?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Now then, since the left seems so damn eager to increase the size of the active military (ahistorical *and* dishonest - lose/lose? MMMMmmmm, my favorite...) perhaps they know why it is that the service chiefs have actively oppossed congressional efforts at this?


Posted by: Tommy G at July 4, 2005 09:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, I see. The North Koreans don't actually posses nuclear weapons, becasue President Clinton was successful in shutting down their nuclear weapons production.

Well, that's a relief. But let's stay on topic. You go to war with the Army you have. Contention? Counter-point? No?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Now then, since the left seems so damn eager to increase the size of the active military (ahistorical *and* dishonest - lose/lose? MMMMmmmm, my favorite...) perhaps they know why it is that the service chiefs have actively oppossed congressional efforts at this?


Posted by: Tommy G at July 4, 2005 09:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The North Koreans don't actually posses nuclear weapons, because President Clinton was successful in shutting down their nuclear weapons production."

North Korea is believed to have produced one or two nuclear bombs before Clinton shut down production of additional weapons.

Posted by: Kenneth Almquist at July 5, 2005 10:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jonny boy wrote -

"Just be aware - the alternative to going after the terrorists and their state sponsors is only the ILLUSION of peace and safety"

So why did we go into Iraq, instead of taking steps against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

Now, granted, those would be difficult projects. But that's not a good enough reason to indulge in an expensive, bloody distraction.

----------------------------------------------

Ok - lets hear it - what "steps" should we have taken against Saudi Arabia and/or Pakistan

Go ahead - I am open to some suggestions

Please be more specific than "pressure" them

And include some thoughts on what Saddam would be doing while we were not being "distracted" by deposing him and his clique in Iraq

See - very simple - just suggest what actions should have been taken since toplling Saddam was such a bad idea in your opinion - and tell us what Saddam would do while we pursued those other actions


My bet is you don't have the cojones to answer EITHER question with anything but John Kerry-esque "I would get more support from the international community" type of answers that make ZERO specific reccomendations

Because as soon as you support doing ANYTHING, all of the critics come out of the woodwork to tell you why whatever you are doing - you are doing it wrong and should be doing something else

But I will be happy to be proven wrong - lets see what your suggestions are....

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 5, 2005 07:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

In October 2002, North Korean officials acknowledged the existence of a clandestine program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons that is in violation of the Agreed Framework and other agreements.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/dprk/nuke/

Ah, yes...the definition of what "shut-down" is, is - no doubt.
Again, a digression, Kenneth, but the truth, nontheless. Care to opine on the subject at hand?

Posted by: Tommy G at July 5, 2005 10:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wow - not a single suggestion from Jon H....

The very request must have set off the alarms and sent him running to find some other place to begin his "they did everything wrong" ranting anew

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 02:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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