July 12, 2005

Is Our Military Too Small For Its Mission?

Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt:

And there is no question that American forces are stretched thin. Having rejected any idea of significantly expanding the size of American ground forces, the Rumsfeld-led Pentagon is on the verge of breaking the backs of the National Guard and the active duty Army. Moreover, there is no question that the U.S. is ill prepared for another serious crisis that might require the use of American military forces.

But the cost of reducing troop levels in Iraq or Afghanistan will be high. Neither Iraq's nor Afghanistan's militaries will be ready to take on the burden of fighting their respective insurgencies in the time frame Secretary Rumsfeld is pushing for. Creating new and effective institutions like an Iraqi or Afghan army takes time, as does fighting an insurgency. Neither task here is at all impossible but, if rushed, we do risk ultimate failure for lack of patience.

Secretary Rumsfeld has time and again said that he defers to his generals in Iraq about the number of troops needed. No one vaguely familiar with how decisions are made in this Pentagon believes that to be the case. And, indeed, as visiting members of Congress and military reporters have repeatedly reported from Iraq, the military officers there know quite well that more troops are needed, not less.

The British memo notes that, while Pentagon officials favor "a relatively bold reduction," the battlefield commanders "approach is more cautious." That is one way to put it. Another would be to say that Secretary Rumsfeld is putting the president's strategic vision at risk, while those soldiering in Iraq are trying to save a policy in the face of inadequate resources. [emphasis added]

I'm afraid this is all pretty much spot on. And as Rumsfeld continues to imperil the policy goals enunciated by this Administration--expect a wider schism between the Defense Secretary and smart neo-con hawks like Eliot Cohen and Bill Kristol who realize this all too well.

Meantime, what do Pete Beinart, Ivo Daalder, Jim Woolsey, Robert Kagan, Max Boot (and more!) have in common? Go here for the bipartisan fiesta!...

P.S. Yes, yes--I know, I know. A 'smaller footprint' is needed now in Iraq. Even Jafari is telling us to vacate the cities, haven't you heard B.D.? Regardless, the Quadrennials of the 90's are to blame, if anything. You go to war with the Army you have (true, though you can also change course and plan better for the future; rather than stubbornly insist our military and reserves enjoy roughly the requisite manpower). Oh, and really, the Generals haven't asked for more troops. How dare you call them cowards and insinuate they would be silent if they only really felt more troops were needed? They would have asked Rumsfeld, even loudly and publically and repeatedly, even if it imperiled their careers, see? And, anyway, didn't you know insurgencies are not defeated on the battlefield, but politically? And on and on. But, above all else, don't dare criticize the Donald. Message discipline demands it, after all. And, to boot, for he can do no wrong this matinee idol who sweeps from Chris to Tim to George to Wolf so seamlessly, who is feted and applauded by the Nascar set even, and who leads us valiantly (always standing up 8 hours a day!) through challenges lesser mortals would recoil from so daunting the tasks. Let us at least have the strength and fortitude and, above all else, the gratitude to appreciate his noble service and follow him to sweet victory.

But I digress. More seriously, I know more troops are no panacea. But we must be prepared for nettlesome contingencies (Shi'a rebellion, greater sectarian conflict, political crises and stalemate (say, over the Constitution-drafting) infusing the insurgency with more strength). And, of course, there are other potential flash-points around the globe that might merit attention. So why hasn't the letter sent to Congress this past January that I've linked above--one signed by very serious people like Walt Slocombe or Frederick Kagan who aren't in this for the limelight or because they crave cheap pissing matches--why hasn't it gotten more attention?

To quote:

There is abundant evidence that the demands of the ongoing missions in the greater Middle East, along with our continuing defense and alliance commitments elsewhere in the world, are close to exhausting current U.S. ground forces. For example, just late last month, Lieutenant General James Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, reported that "overuse" in Iraq and Afghanistan could be leading to a "broken force." Yet after almost two years in Iraq and almost three years in Afghanistan, it should be evident that our engagement in the greater Middle East is truly, in Condoleezza Rice's term, a "generational commitment." The only way to fulfill the military aspect of this commitment is by increasing the size of the force available to our civilian leadership.

The administration has been reluctant to adapt to this new reality. We understand the dangers of continued federal deficits, and the fiscal difficulty of increasing the number of troops. But the defense of the United States is the first priority of the government. This nation can afford a robust defense posture along with a strong fiscal posture. And we can afford both the necessary number of ground troops and what is needed for transformation of the military.

In sum: We can afford the military we need. As a nation, we are spending a smaller percentage of our GDP on the military than at any time during the Cold War. We do not propose returning to a Cold War-size or shape force structure. We do insist that we act responsibly to create the military we need to fight the war on terror and fulfill our other responsibilities around the world.

I don't know why. Because people are gambling and hoping that we will win? Or because people believe we already have? Or because people think History will conveniently stop as we slog along haphazardly through the rest of the Iraq involvement? Or because no one was serious that this was a generational commitment to begin with? Wretchard writes well:

One route to victory, the ugly route, is to match the entropy within Islamic societies with a corresponding entropy within the West. The rising resentment against Islamic immigrants in Europe and the growing willingness in the West to see Islam and even Muslims as the enemy, are all early signs of the transformation of war into a corresponding blood feud. One of the constant themes of the Belmont Club is how this development is undesirable because it will, at the limit, result in the destruction of Islamic society and make us all murderers. The alternative route chosen by President Bush, but only half-heartedly pursued by mainstream politicians, is to decrease entropy within the Islamic world by making those countries functional, modern and free so that the "blood feud" concept becomes as anachronistic in Riyadh as it is in Cleveland.

To decrease entropy within the Islamic world and make Wahabists into Cleveland-like post-moderns will take a generation, at least, and it requires the marshalling of the entire gamut of hard and soft power the U.S. can muster (whilst also handling the rise of China and India in the East). Are we up to the many tasks ahead? Have our leaders sketched out adequately the nature and quantum of this difficult generational duty? I'm unsure. One reason why I am doubtful--and perhaps I am too antiquated in my view--is because I still believe there is no substitute for boots on the ground--especially in this new era of the three-block war. And, despite all the rote calls for sacrifice, I fear no one currently in positions of real power seems to be convincingly sketching a path forward--in terms of assuring that the requisite resources necessary for the national defense will be available in the future. Alarmist? Perhaps. But I prefer to be safe than sorry, and I do think 'overwhelming force' is better doctrine than 'just enough troops to lose'.

Posted by Gregory at July 12, 2005 11:23 PM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

My chiropractor likes to say that the five deadiest words in the English language are "maybe it will go away."

He has a professional reason for telling people that. But it's worth remembering in the context of America's defense posture. We should recall that before 9/11 Sec. Rumsfeld had not just a vision but a fairly specific blueprint for reforming this, his Revolution in Military Affairs, or RMA. It was based on a traditional American understanding of overseas conflicts and what we should do about them -- identify the threat, destroy it, and then go home. It emphasized network-centric warfare, heavy reliance on standoff weapons and PGMs, and procurement priorities that favored the Air Force, Navy and ground forces -- particularly the Army -- in roughly that order.

9/11, as they say, changed everything. But for how long? The campaigns in Afghanistan and (especially) Iraq demand a different kind of military -- more personnel, different training, a higher ops tempo. We can't easily pay or enlist enough volunteers to man a force capable of doing what needs to be done in Iraq and Afghanistan and all Rumsfeld wanted the military to be able to do pre-9/11. Say we make the adjustments, and build a military better able to meet the challenges of occupying a country like Iraq; we put off or cancel expensive procurement plans, reorganize units, retrain personnel. By the time the task is done, the mission will be over -- we won't have 140,000 troops in Iraq five years from now, and we will be strongly inhibited from committing that many troops anywhere else. In the meantime, the threats we will face, for example from China, may indeed be better addressed by the military Rumsfeld wanted pre-9/11 and has always sought to build.

At every stage since the Afghan campaign began in late 2001, the Pentagon has sought ways to minimize the commitment of forces, has even grasped rosy scenarios that pointed to a smaller, shorter commitment of a kind that Rumsfeld has never wanted and knew we couldn't pay for without sacrificing great chunks of his RMA. So security beyond Kabul was not deemed important in 2002. 4th ID was not needed in theatre in May 2003. A prolonged occupation of Iraq would not be needed because the entire former government would not collapse once Saddam fled. An insurgency would not arise because the only resistance to CPA was coming from "a few dead-enders."

Maybe it will go away.

Observers of the Pentagon budget will note that the hard choices required to sustain the kind of war being fought now have not been made. We are still committed, for example, to both the F-22 and F-35 programs, and to building another carrier and more attack submarines, and to the Osprey tilt-rotor transport for the Marine Corps, and to the missile defense boondoggle. This represents the path of least resistance in Congress, of course. I believe it also represents the Secretary of Defense's profound reluctance to scrap his vision of the military's future in favor of reforms aimed at helping us fight the war we have now, and may not -- will probably not, actually -- be fighting five and ten years from now.

I don't agree with all of Rumsfeld's vision -- I think the missile defense program in particular is a huge fiscal rathole -- but I do understand his objectives. Ideally he would make the hard choices needed to save as much of his vision as possible while diverting the resources we need to better complete the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Really, though, that isn't the ideal at all; the ideal is that the President, not the Secretary of Defense, makes those choices and takes responsibility for getting them ratified in Congress. This President can't do that. It isn't worth arguing whether he should or not. He simply lacks the ability to handle a task of that magnitude, and no Secretary of Defense could do it for him even if he wanted to. It's a real conundrum, and I can't see how to address it given the people we have in Washington now except in increments, hundreds of them, each one difficult and even painful.

I'm not a Rumsfeld admirer by a long way, for many reasons some of which go back a very long time. But the size and structure of the American military -- an issue central to his tenure at the Pentagon from 1/21/01 onward -- is not such a problem for us because Rumsfeld (or any of the other players) is stupid, crazy or criminal. It is a problem in large part because we haven't decided whether Afghanistan and Iraq are the American military's future, or only its present.

Posted by: JEB at July 13, 2005 03:19 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'll second JEB's comments, and add that to a good degree I agree Greg we need a bigger military.

I do think the F-22/F-35 are needed. Our current airframes are just too old, and the newest generation of fighters coming out of Russia are just better. We need more planes, and it's cheaper and better to get the best. We can't even produce old airframes anymore like the F-15/16/18.

The A-10 however is matchless and needed for close air support. We need that. The Humvee is a dog and should be dumped ASAP. Same for the M-16 which has been a disaster in desert combat/urban combat. Go with the proven M-14 which gives us range and power, in three-shot bursts like the M-16 is currently. Both the .223 round and the M-16 weapons system are inadaquate. Troops report that three or more hits are needed to stop the enemy.

Rummy's RMA boils down to ... trying to avoid the tyranny of logistics, which limits what we can do to real enemies of the US including Pakistan, Iran, and the loathesome House of Saud. Possibly also Indonesia. Being lighter and faster does have advantages. However as you point out, boots on the ground still matters and for that we need a lot more troops, greatly trained. A far bigger Marine Corps and Army.

This requires IMHO both political will and bipartisan support to rally the American People. I don't see that happening until some massive attack ala a Nuclear 9/11 happens. Then I fear Wretchard will be all too correct.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at July 13, 2005 03:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

In defense of the military, the success in Afghanistan is in large measure do to the light footprint of our intervention and the existence of the Western Alliance to which we could lend air, logistical, and intelligence support. Putting boots on the ground at the level that we have in Iraq would have easily backfired. With Iraq we had no choice, but with Afghanistan we did, and we were smart about how we went about the campaign. We kicked out the Taliban, did not initiate a civil war, and minimized our intrusion into their agrarian society.

Before 9/11 Rummy knew that the military was obsolete for the challenges that it faced for the next century. Remember on 9/10, just the day before the attacks, he claimed that the Pentagon was America's biggest obstacle to it's own security. Rumsfeld is now between a rock and a hard place because of political divisions in this country. I think we all know that we need more troops, but how can anyone convince the majority of Americans when we are so divided? The claim is that people want honest talk. I don't see that at all. I see a sizable and loud segment of the country that would scream bloody murder if there was a draft.

Anyway getting to the main point of the post, I'm getting tired of Americans claiming that incompetance as an excuse to not support our strategy or our troops. Incompetance in this war is minor when compared to that seen in other efforts (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Civil, and Revolutionary War). Critisism of bad leadership is needed for understanding mistakes we are making and correcting them, it is never a reason for not pursing victory for a legitimate cause.

I'm also getting tired of "magical thinking". Of hearing people claim that somewhere there are leaders that will get us through this mess without making major mistakes and substantial sacrifice. When in war did that ever happen?
Christ what would people today have been saying about FDR in 1943 or about Lincoln in 1864 when we were mired in a siege at Petersburg Virginia?

Sorry for sounding so high on my horse, but we really have lost sight of the fact that American's really have to stop blaming each other for a pathology whose origins in the Middle East predated the birth of our own country.

Posted by: bob at July 13, 2005 04:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's probably bad that I need to preface this with "no snark intended" but why is this Rumsfeld's fault and not the President? or, more to the point, who the hell is running the show here? Rumsfeld? The Pres?

I'm happy to criticize Rumsfeld where I think he deserves it, but this is a failure of more than just him... I understand that there are tradeoffs being made and that you could perhaps make a case on both sides (of lighter/faster vs. a more traditional force posture), but I don't think this is a failure of that vision...

Posted by: just me at July 13, 2005 04:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This discussion needs to clearly distinguish between two very different questions:
1) do we need more ground force personnel for our global posture
2) do we need more personnel in Iraq

The answer to the first question is almost obviously yes -- although HOW you would do so is wide open to debate. The Army and NG are badly stretched and with the President committed to Iraq, will remain so for the forseeable future. And if you at all buy into the 4G argument (or a variant thereof), this type of scenario is likely to continue as part of the GWOT. Is adding troops to the Army the answer? Not by itself: it is clear we are vastly overinvested in air and naval resources and underinvested in ground resources. We do need some air modernization -- and the Army and F-35 JSF should be getting much cozier if airpower is to replace indirect fire support in the future. But I'm at a loss why we need 2 other tactical fighters (when's the last time we had a dogfight? who cares if the new Russian fighters are better -- that's now how we gain air dominance these days), investment in 3 different new escort ships (DDX, LCS, Deepwater), and continued modernization of the CVN and submarines (when is the last time we fought a naval battle?) Don't give me the "From the Sea/Seapower 21" litany: we are unparalled at projecting firepower anywhere in the world with devastating effect and digital precision. That's why the bad guys are hiding in cities (sometimes our cities) or mountains and using terror tactics. THAT is our weakness.

The answer to the second question is more difficult. I'd have a hard time answering it without doing a serious on the ground assessment. On the one hand, there are certainly a host of things we could be doing to help ourselves in Iraq that we aren't doing. On the other hand, George Casey (who I greatly like and admire) inherited a mess and a heavily fatigued Army unskilled in counterinsurgency/nationbuilding, so trying to do a lot more at this point may be too difficult (any increase in overall troop strength will take years to realize and begin to lessen the strain on the current force.) My hunch is that the time we needed more troops was in the first 6 months after Baghdad fell -- and we needed a plan and better skills too. Today, I think we are entering a period of slow messy handover to the Iraqis, hoping that fatique and our withdrawal take some steam out of the insurgency and thus keep it from overwhelming the new Iraqi government. In other words, not the right time for more troops in Iraq.

Posted by: POTUS B at July 13, 2005 05:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Another question to ask is why should this only be the US armed forces? (So many of these discussions become "all about the US").
However much you disagree with American policy, you are a fool if you think the world will be better if the coalition loses. If the ROW (rest of world) steps in, Iraq/Afghanistan can be stabilized more easily. If ROW lets things drag on, I bet they find that they cannot avoid paying a price. Better to solve this while the cost is relatively cheap.
The "blood feud" meme is a powerful one. As the ripples spread, there will be less and less multi-cultural tolerance. There is no way to tell the difference between a jihadi and a "well, of course we're against terrorism but you have to realize that the Joooos are responsible blah blah blah" Muslim. People will sooner or later stop trying to distinguish I think, though I don't have a feel for how close we are to a tipping point. Isn't it the nature of human conflict to require the innocents and bystanders to pick a side, or die? How surprised will you be if, for example, future pilgrimages to Mecca require a lead suit?
I sympathize with Greg's distaste for how coarse thing can become but it is inconceivable that the jihadists would be unable to force us down to their level. How can a rational person with any background in history think that?
Perhaps at a high level, Iraq can be considered in this way--if Iraqis can take the possiblity of a prosperous country with happy futures for their children and reject it...well, what choice do the rest of us have (Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Christian, etc)? What choice is there if the alternatives are kill or be killed?
George Bush's attempt to solve this in a win/win fashion are way underrated by people who should know better, Wretchard is exactly right.
Sorry to be so bleak.

Posted by: Jim, Mtn View, CA at July 13, 2005 06:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The crux of the problem is that we haven't...for political reasons...taken the steps needed to enlarge and retrain our military so as to be large enough not to be stressed by an extended Iraq style deployment, as well as be suitably trained to the demands of counterinsurgent warfare.

At this point, it seems obvious that recruitment won't fill the ranks. If anything recruitment will continue to slip as the public increasingly senses that something in Iraq has gone terribly wrong. Nothing like a draft will be proposed at least until after the 2006 elections...if then. And even if by some miracle enlistments rebounded and we trained enough troops to address the chaos in Iraq, it would not be done. The administration's domestic political calculus takes precedent over long termed national interests. This war has been played and continues to be played so our President could stake a historical claim as a wartime President, and...yes...it was also about winning elections for his party.

But Iraq went South, and the great unwashed public has become more critical of its conduct and of its reasons. The war has to get shuffled to a back burner before discontent mars any chance the President may still have to influence another election. The War has to stop being such a drag on the wartime President. He will reduce troop levels before Election 2006 regardless of the realities on the ground. He will claim a victory to some extent, and he will find a way to reduce our casualties, but getting things right in Iraq is of no import to the success of this administration. He only needs to lessen the drumbeat of casualties. He needs to get the war on the back pages, in small print, under the fold, and...yeah...He needs to win that election.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 13, 2005 06:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It makes me sad to finally see, here and elsewhere on other topics, the supporters of this Administration and this inadequate war finally come around to the arguments that responsible opponents of this Administration and this war have been making for years.

It makes me angry that adoption of their opponents views is additionally purveyed as great new insight and wisdom.

Posted by: jerry at July 13, 2005 01:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jerry - the opponents of the Bush admin are many and hold quite a number of views - which of them do you think should have been considered before and acted upon - and which do you find being adopted now by the supporters of Iraqi liberation?


I'd also like to second what Jim from CA said above - why is it the US Military only being discussed. Apart from the significant British contribution - the help provided by the rest of the free world in this Global War on Terror is pitiful

One supposes this is because they are opponents of the Bush admin and its policies - but frankly I don't see them proposing any alternative to prevent the next 9/11...3/11...7/7

Is it not clear yet - the enemy are islamic facists - and europe is in MORE danger than the US

So why are most europeans giddy with joy at the idea that it will be the USA doing all the work in this war while they jeer from the sidelines

Will a nuclear Iran...a Wahhabi Jihadist Saudi Arabia...will these be GOOD developments for Europe?

Will france be able to ban the burqua under these conditions?

Europe badly needs to wake up -

We do need more troops in this GWOT - the reality is they are ready and waiting in barracks from Berlin to Bilbao


And added to the troops consider the implications of a global consensus among the entire civilized world about the sorry state of ME affairs and the desperate need for reform and democratization and NO TOLERANCE for the hatred spewed from Arab media and mosque

How much easier would our task be if half of America and most of Europe didn't spend most of their time pondering the conditions at abu ghraib and gitmo and rather focussed more attention on the actual dire conditions for the people of Iran and Syria

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 13, 2005 02:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

First off, shouldn't the question be:

Is the Current Mission Wrong for the Military?

When we start with the assumption that the Iraq occupation is an appropriate use of our military resources, we have already answered the question of whether the Military is large enough. Before we decide how large our military needs to be, we need to define how it will be used in the future. (We need to differentiate between a temporary need for a larger military created by current policy, and whether we want a permanent increase in the size of the military in order to do more "Iraqs" more often.)

Secondly, we need to recognize that the current "crisis" in military manpower is really two different crises --- the first is the retention/recruitment crisis that means we are going to have fewer military personnel resources than current planning requires, and the second involves the question of whether planned force levels are sufficient to meet our national security needs.

(Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of what is going on with military manpower is that the Pentagon has been playing with the "recruitment goal" numbers in order to make it appear that we are meeting our needs. We're not --- and the reduction in "monthly goals" for the active duty Army, and the severe reduction in goals for the Reserves and National Guard at a time when we are literally running out of "deployable" Reserve/Guard units, strongly suggests that the Pentagon is setting up a Potemkin village of military readiness. When "we're meeting our goals" is entirely disconnected from "we're meeting our needs", the military is in trouble.)

I can't help but think that the reduction in US forces in Iraq to 60,000 in time for the 2006 elections is little more than a pipe dream. I don't think its an exaggeration to say that we will need at least 2 Iraqi soldiers to replace each US soldier. (The US soldier is extremely "efficient" and "productive" because of our high-tech Army, and it does not appear that we will be creating a "high tech" Iraqi Army to replace it. We don't have the time to train a "high tech" Army, nor is it likely we will spend the money on high-tech equipment for a high-tech Iraqi Army. ) Is it the least bit realistic to assume that we will have trained 120,000 Iraqis in a year's time?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 13, 2005 02:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

potus b makes a good distinction - we may well have too small an army, and may have been hurt by too few boots on the ground in spring of 2003, but it does not follow from that that we should have MORE boots on the ground in Iraq NOW. I take the brit memo at face value - the debate is between Rummy wanting to pull half or more of the force out in early 2006, and the generals wanting to wait and see how things are shaping up then. I really cant see an INCREASE in troops making sense - it really DOES undercut what we're doing politically there, the commitment to putting IRaqis in charge, etc. What do you really think we would do better NOW with say, 10,000 more US troops that would be worth the message? And no, 10,000 troops are NOT going to seal the borders. Youre talking much larger numbers than are feasible to seal the borders against every smuggled jihadi (note this is different from controlling the borders against largescale movement of supplies, which is doable largely by air - but is irrelevant, since there was so much weaponry in the country that was "looted" and is in insurgent hands.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 13, 2005 02:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Except for Bob's comments, I haven't noticed in these discussions any mention of whether fielding a larger army in Iraq/Afghanistan is in fact politically feasible. I believe that we have been able to accomplish whatever we have done solely because we have a volunteer army. The spectre of Vietnam still hovers, and it seems to me that the president is walking on eggs here. I understand that Kristol and Schmitt would like the president to LEAD more, as would I, but it is possible that he is doing the best that can be asked on this issue.

Does anyone know what sort of manpower base we actually have to draw on, even if we were able to increase recruitment or institute a draft? I am ignorant on this subject, but looking around me I see too many young men who are a) unhealthy, and b) couldn't pass the written tests. Moreover, we have no baby-boom population on which to draw. I'd love to hear from someone who knows the demographics.

Posted by: mom at July 13, 2005 04:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

according to the latest census estimates,

http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/natprojtab02a.pdf

there are around 104,000,000 people between the ages of 20-44. So I think its safe to say that the pool of people 18-35 would be in the range of 40-50 million, which one assumes is large enough to find enough "qualified" people to join the military, even allowing for those with bad health, bad characters, or the "too stupid to serve" folks.

I agree that it would be "politically" unfeasible to institute a draft at this point, but given that Bush presents himself as a leader who is above politics, one would assume that such considerations would not play a role in the question of whether he advocated a new draft.

More importantly, I have to take issue with the idea that Bush is doing "the best that can be asked on this issue." The military manpower issue is critical, and Bush could be leading the way in encouraging people to sign up. (For instance a "Social Security style" 60 stops in 60 days recruitment tour by Bush.)

The problem, of course, is the prospect that such an effort would fail, and fail miserably, even among those who are most vociferous and vocal in their support for the War and Bush's priorities. And if the President can't even get College Republicans to serve, exactly who do we expect to fight this war?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 13, 2005 04:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue, I think Jerry's point and, incidentally, what I read as the background to your point about troops "waiting in barracks from Berlin to Bilbao" is that the way this Administration has executed this war is the problem.

I always look at it this way... How you do something is as important as what you do. The ends truly don't justify the means because the means often come back to bite you in the ass.

A lot of supporters of this war showed disdain for the international community and the U.N. It's not the ideal institution, but you know, giving the international community the finger probably doesn't make them want to help you. I've said this before, but many people who supported the war did so because they believed in the end result, that taking out Saddam or creating a democracy or the realpolitik equations made this move make sense. There are a myriad of reasons why I, for example, would've supported this war. I suspect many of these people looked past the details of how the administration was going about the war planning and war diplomacy because they supported the end result.

You might see parallels in those that supported the Kerry candidacy... while people may not have liked the ways by which Kerry was garnering support (Vietnam record, globalization comments, kerry haters choose your favorite here), his supporters just cared about the end goal: Bush out, change in administration, etc.

The thing is that the end result isn't really the end result you want if the means of getting that result screwed something critical up. The difficulty of bringing more foreign troops from the countries that have the forces and can afford an extended foreign deployment is directly related to pre-war diplomacy. You can claim what you want about how France and Germany hate us, but the fact is that we didn't even try to talk to them reasonably. Part of diplomacy is masking disdain and masking dislike.

Incidentally, I don't see why France banning the burqa is in any way related to terrorism.

Posted by: just me at July 13, 2005 05:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just me,

Didn't even try to talk to France and Germany? How can you possibly say that? There were EXTENSIVE discussions with France and Germany, both via the U.N. and outside the U.N. auspices. The fact is that neither of them was going to support the U.S. in Iraq, no matter what we tried to do. But to say that we didn't even try is JUST NOT TRUE.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 13, 2005 05:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just me wrote

Pogue, I think Jerry's point and, incidentally, what I read as the background to your point about troops "waiting in barracks from Berlin to Bilbao" is that the way this Administration has executed this war is the problem.
---------------------------------

IF YOU mean there have been problems and errors - then I agree
- of course there are ALWAYS problems and errors

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I always look at it this way... How you do something is as important as what you do. The ends truly don't justify the means because the means often come back to bite you in the ass.

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Oh the ends OFTEN justify the means - see WW2 bombing linked to end of Nazi rule

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A lot of supporters of this war showed disdain for the international community and the U.N. It's not the ideal institution, but you know, giving the international community the finger probably doesn't make them want to help you. I've said this before, but many people who supported the war did so because they believed in the end result, that taking out Saddam or creating a democracy or the realpolitik equations made this move make sense. There are a myriad of reasons why I, for example, would've supported this war. I suspect many of these people looked past the details of how the administration was going about the war planning and war diplomacy because they supported the end result.

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I ACTUALLY agree with most of this - except I would have to point out that the disdain came FROM the international community and was eventually reciprocated - I certainly followed that mode
I also understand the reality of the UN - and its not pretty

As for supporting the war for the other less emphasised reasons - I think you are correct

What gets me is to hear people who express vast knowledge of the whole issue complain how it was "all about WMD"

As if they didn't know more

These folks complain endlessly about the selective focus the Bush admin put on WMD yet have not one worry about their own selective focus on this one item

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You might see parallels in those that supported the Kerry candidacy... while people may not have liked the ways by which Kerry was garnering support (Vietnam record, globalization comments, kerry haters choose your favorite here), his supporters just cared about the end goal: Bush out, change in administration, etc.
-----------------------

WELL, I'd be interested to know what the "etc" includes I put it to you that this is the main reason Kerry lost - he never said what the etc part was did he

The first two goals were clear :)

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


The thing is that the end result isn't really the end result you want if the means of getting that result screwed something critical up. The difficulty of bringing more foreign troops from the countries that have the forces and can afford an extended foreign deployment is directly related to pre-war diplomacy. You can claim what you want about how France and Germany hate us, but the fact is that we didn't even try to talk to them reasonably. Part of diplomacy is masking disdain and masking dislike.

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

France and Germany NEVER had any intention of joining in the liberation of Iraq - under ANY circumstances

Nope - President Gore or Kerry would not have gottem them onboard either

Please - thats just the fact This spin about how "poor diplomacy" is keeping the Euro troops home is wearing thin

Its now 2 years since liberation - the terrorists are running amok in Iraq and the Iraqi people have voted and seem to want democracy and freedom

So where are the French and German soldiers now?

Still the fault of "bad diplomacy"?

Face it - they aren't going because they don't want to

If Iraq turns out good - fine - better for them If it doesn't - fine - they were right all along

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Incidentally, I don't see why France banning the burqa is in any way related to terrorism.

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Check out this article

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2764

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 13, 2005 06:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luka suggests " Bush could be leading the way in encouraging people to sign up. (For instance a "Social Security style" 60 stops in 60 days recruitment tour by Bush.)"


Why do I think you would make this kind of effort into a rallying cry to oppose the war and "proof" that we are losing?

Is it because you are suggesting it maybe


Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 13, 2005 06:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"You can claim what you want about how France and Germany hate us, but the fact is that we didn't even try to talk to them reasonably. Part of diplomacy is masking disdain and masking dislike."

Maybe you didn't see what I was seeing, but I watched the entire proceedings in the U.N. Security Council Meetings when Powell and Jack Straw made the case for intervention. I didn't remotely hear any rhetoric that reflected "disdain" or "dislike". You might disagree with our decisions, but our rhetoric was certainly even-handed where it counted, in the U.N. debates.

The blowback came not from American diplomats, but from the American public (remember the N.Y. Post's picture of the "Axis of Weasels") after it was clear that Germany/France were not going to support us and were advocating keeping U.S. troops fully deployed and staged through the summer and Fall in Kuwait until the U.N. sactioned intervention.

Note there was never any counter-proposal by either France or Germany that indicated they would put boots on the ground if we accepted their terms. They were basically trying to dictate when and where our troops (exclusively) were to go into harms way.

Contrast this with De Villepin's condescending remarks during the same meeting inferring that France was an older and wiser country, implying that we were a bunch of stupid cowboys, and hopelessly naive about the implications of going to war. (Presumably the French were as older sixty years ago as they are now and we didn't see great wisdom then.) If that is not disdain, well it's a first cousin.

And this doesn't even address the nonsense that went on in the Fall of 2002, where according to Kenneth Timmerman (Wall Street Journal reporter) in conversations with the French, Powell had been led to believe support when it came down to a vote.


Posted by: bob at July 13, 2005 06:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry. I meant to write this:

And this doesn't even address the nonsense that went on in the Fall of 2002, where according to Kenneth Timmerman (Wall Street Journal reporter), in conversations with the French, Powell had been led to believe the French would support the U.S. when it finally came down to a vote.


Posted by: bob at July 13, 2005 06:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dear Mr. Djerejian:

We address the subject of your post with a post at our blog:

http://westhawk.blogspot.com/2005/06/army-is-going-out-of-business.html

called "The Army is Going Out of Business".

Pundits and analysts may wish that the U.S. Army be larger by 100,000 or 200,000 soldiers, but it simply cannot happen. Absent some very strange circumstance, there will not be a draft. The biggest opponents to a draft would not be Washington's politicians, or America's mothers, but the officers and NCO's of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. They like the professional, voluntary military just the way it is - the last thing they want to deal with is hoards of surly, unmotivated slackers forced into service on short-term contracts. A draft would result in mass resignations in the officer corps.

And given that the Army can't get all the volunteers it needs for its current target end strength, how can it get them with a target 100,000 or 200,000 higher? Raise the pay for foot soldiers to the level of investment bankers? Not that infantrymen don't deserve this, but we don't think that's likely either.

But you are right that the problems of the world await, regardless of the Army's staffing situation. What to do? Change the operating model - fight the future wars with proxy armies, trained. led and equipped by a greatly expanded Special Forces/foreign forces training corps. We can see that conventional U.S. ground forces are hopelessly out of place as occupiers. But the Coalition is enjoying more success in Iraq lately as they step back from direct action and move more into training and advisory roles. In the future, the U.S. must fight its military campaigns with this model from the beginning, not two years after blundering in with its tanks and mechanized infantry.

The counter-insurgency campaign in El Salvador is a model. 55 Special Forces trainers raised and advised six battalions of El Salvador soldiers that fought the insurgents into a political settlement. Proxy wars such as these are nasty, brutal, and nauseating but how much better does Iraq look these days?

Transformation of the U.S. military should proceed to make this method more feasible. Less armor and its attendant logistics, more Special Forces, trainers, advisors, and foreign area officers.

Westhawk

Posted by: westhawk at July 13, 2005 06:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry - this needs to be said - Just Me wrote

"Incidentally, I don't see why France banning the burqa is in any way related to terrorism. "

I think you need to understand my friend - that YOU don't see this event as related to terrorism is not important

That the AQ jihadis do feel that way is what is important

You should follow the link provided and learn what they think of this


We ALL need to stop analyzing the actions of the enemy through the prism of our own opinions

Explaining the motive, in whole or part, for the London mass murder as a 'reaction' to Britains involvement in Iraq may be satisfying to the Stop the War crowd - but it doesn't mean the Jihadis are motivated by this event

If 75 Britons were killed last week for the 2003 liberation of Iraq - why were 60 killed on 9/11....in anticipation of the overthrow of Saddam?


The most aggravating part of all this is that our enemies have made themselves clear

The want an islamic sharia caliphate - a taliban for the entire muslim world and beyond

Will they acheive this? Not likely - but THIS is the goal - this is what drives them

Britain is attacked for standing in the way of this goal - as the US was on 9/11, as Spain was on 3/11

You may think differently - but the enemy has stated as much again and again

Wouldn't it be prudent to listen?

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 13, 2005 06:45 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.

The Army is making some adjustments to fill the gap—mainly by restructuring its brigades so that each one has more combat troops and fewer support-and-service personnel. This process has been going on for a couple of years now. Once the process is complete, the Army will have 43 or possibly 48 combat brigades (in 2000, it had 33)—each brigade smaller but loaded with 20 percent to 30 percent more fighting power. (For more on this, click here.)

With this reorganization, the Army will be able to maintain its current level of troops in Iraq without having to rely so heavily on the Guard and Reserve. (According to an Army spokesman, the last time U.S. troops rotated into Iraq, they consisted of 10 brigades from the active Army and seven brigades from the reserves. The next rotation, later this year, will consist of 15 active brigades and just two from the reserves.)

John Pike, director of globalsecurity.org, describes the result of the restructuring this way: "We'll be able to fight the war we're fighting, indefinitely." In short, it's a smart gap-filler, but little more.

The Good News and Bad News: But if we want to move beyond coping, we need a full-scale revitalization of Iraq policy, with resources to match it. Muddling along will ensure we don't lose in Iraq, but we won't win either.

Does America want to be—can it be—the world's policeman, colossus, liberator, call it what you will? If so, with what resources? By itself or with allies? Through international law or by whim? Whatever the answers, there is a potentially calamitous mismatch between the Bush administration's avowed intentions and its tangible means.

Posted by: georgio at July 13, 2005 09:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

shrink the gap

use allies where possible, esp for actions other than conventional war.

Accept that the regime of international law that works in the core, cant work in the same way in the gap.

Modify the force structure for the mission.

and now you know what Ive been reading.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 13, 2005 09:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No.

Westhawk and Georgio have already said what I was going to say, so I'll second, and not bore.

I'll add this though, the Guard is doing exactly what it has been training to do - support the active force on a maasive scale during times of large conventional warfare.

This "breaking the Guard" nonsense is just so much leftist wishfull thinking. Check with any of the states that have sent their BCT's, they have all done outstanding work, are immensly proud of their service, and - selfishly, are pleased as punch to be wearing the combat patches that their active duty bretheren have always liked to rub in their noses, as men are wont to do.

By the way, we want the money for combat robotics - Please google on your own. More Troops? Please - that's soooo 2004.

Posted by: Tommy G at July 13, 2005 10:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We're rehashing some of my favorite themes here. When Rumsfeld took office the purpose of NATO was to provide "boots on the ground" for nation building after the US did the dirty work; the formulation was that the US would do the cooking and NATO would do the dishes. That changed when Mr. Gerhardt Schroeder was running behind in 2002 due to his socialist economic policies, and decided to run on a pugnatious pacificism against the death-penalty cowboy in the White House. This was after he had explicitly assured Bush he would not enflame antiwar sentiments in Germany.
Schroeder's act was the detonator cap for the French explosion. Contrary to the comments above, the French did not decline to help us because they weren't asked nicely enough; they decided to do everything in their power to bleed us as much as possible in this war - short of picking up weapons themselves.
So where do we go from here? Unfortunately, the innocent Iraqi's are going to have to pay the price. They will have to suffer thousands more casualties than they should have under a more equitable UN/NATO nation building structure. They may have to take the war to Syria to make them clamp down on the suicide bombers, and a few more tragedies in Europe may trump the fashionable anti-Bush, anti-US posturing.

Posted by: wayne at July 13, 2005 11:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Here's a news article that I saw today regarding this question:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/12/AR2005071201422_pf.html

Posted by: jerry at July 13, 2005 11:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why do I think you would make this kind of effort into a rallying cry to oppose the war and "proof" that we are losing?

why do you attack my motives, rather than address the issue?

Seriously, what would be wrong about Bush going on a "recruitment drive" to encourage people to join the Army so that at least the military can fulfill its manpower needs under current planning?

The best soldiers are those that believe in their mission, and have absolute confidence in their leadership. The number of eligible Americans who fit that criteria may be shrinking, but its still considerable---and Bush should be out making personal appeals to them (trying to appeal to those who don't believe that we should be in Iraq, and/or don't have confidence in Bush's leadership, is not merely a waste of time, but would result in a volunteer force that had serious morale problems.)

I suspect that we both know the answer to this question --- that such an effort would fail, and fail miserably, and make it abundantly clear that Bush's support consists primarily of those who think its someone else's job to fight America's wars, while they sit back and enjoy the fruits of the sacrifices made by those "others."

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 14, 2005 03:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Umm. Because your motives *are* the issue?

Posted by: Tommy G at July 14, 2005 03:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well - what do you know - I was right again :)

Luka followed up on his Bush recruitment drive suggestion with this gem -

"I suspect that we both know the answer to this question --- that such an effort would fail, and fail miserably, and make it abundantly clear that Bush's support consists primarily of those who think its someone else's job to fight America's wars, while they sit back and enjoy the fruits of the sacrifices made by those "others."

reading this kind of thing makes me support a draft in fact - I'd like to see the Luka's given the choice of service or prison - or a one-way ticket to Canada

Because he thinks its someone elses job to go after the terrorists and keep HIM safe - and he doesn't even support the brave men and women who do this work for him

Forget it Luka - this won't be Vietnam 2 - you won't get to tesitfy in front of Congress ala John Kerry - there won't be any return to the Vietnam era

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 15, 2005 02:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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