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America's Military  
User currently offlineORFflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1254 times:

I just received the below via an e-mail.... IMHO, it's perfect!

This is a classic piece.... well written and spot on.

Navy Chief lets loose a broadside.

America's military can win wars. We've done it in the past, and I have absolute confidence that we'll continue to do it in the future. We've won fights in which we possessed overwhelming technological superiority (Desert Storm), as well as conflicts in which we were the technical underdogs (the American Revolution). We've crossed swords with numerically superior foes, and with militaries a fraction of the size of our own. We've battled on our own soil, and on the soil of foreign lands -- on the sea, under the sea, and in the skies. We've even engaged in a bit of cyber-combat, way out there on the electronic frontier. At one time or another, we've done battle under just about every circumstance imaginable, armed with everything from muskets to cruise missiles. And, somehow, we've managed to do it all with the wrong Army.

That's right, America has the wrong Army. I don't know how it
happened, but it did. We have the wrong Army. It's too small; it's not deployed properly; it's inadequately trained, and it doesn't have the right sort of logistical support. It's a shambles. I have no idea how those guys even manage to fight.

Now, before my brothers and sisters of the OD green persuasion get their fur up, I have another revelation for you. We also have the wrong Navy. And if you want to get down to brass tacks, we've got the wrong Air Force, the wrong Marine Corps, and the wrong Coast Guard.

Don't believe me? Pick up a newspaper or turn on your television. In the past week, I've watched or read at least a dozen commentaries on the strength, size, and deployment of our military forces. All of our uniform services get called on the carpet for different reasons, but our critics unanimously agree that we're doing pretty much everything

I think it's sort of a game. The critics won't tell you what the game is called, so I've taken the liberty of naming it myself. I call it the 'No Right Answer' game. It's easy to play, and it must be a lot of fun because politicos and journalists can't stop playing it.

I'll teach you the rules. Here's Rule #1: No matter how the U.S. military is organized, it's the wrong force. Actually, that's the only rule in this game. We don't really need any other rules, because that one applies in all possible situations. Allow me to demonstrate...

If the Air Force's fighter jets are showing their age, critics will tell us that Air Force leaders are mismanaging their assets, and
endangering the safety of their personnel. If the Air Force attempts to procure new fighter jets, they are shopping for toys and that money could be spent better elsewhere. Are you getting the hang of the game yet? It's easy; keeping old planes is the wrong answer, but getting new planes is also the wrong answer. There is no right answer, not ever. Isn't that fun?

It works everywhere. When the Army is small, it's TOO small. Then we start to hear phrases like 'over-extended' or 'spread too thin,' and the integrity of our national defense is called into question. When the Army is large, it's TOO large, and it's an unnecessary drain on our economy. Terms like 'dead weight,' and 'dead wood' get thrown around.

I know what you're thinking. We could build a medium-sized Army, and everyone would be happy. Think again. A medium-sized Army is too small to deal with large scale conflicts, and too large to keep military spending properly muzzled. The naysayers will attack any middle of the road solution anyway, on the grounds that it lacks a coherent strategy. So small is wrong, large is wrong, and medium-sized is also wrong. Now you're starting to understand the game. Is this fun, or what?

No branch of the military is exempt. When the Navy builds aircraft carriers, we are told that we really need small, fast multipurpose ships. When the Navy builds small, fast multi-mission ships (aka the Arleigh Burke class), we're told that blue water ships are poorly suited for littoral combat, and we really need brown water combat ships. The Navy's answer, the Littoral Combat, isn't even off the drawing boards yet, and the critics are already calling it pork barrel politics and questioning the need for such technology. Now I've gone nose-to-nose with hostiles in the littoral waters of the Persian Gulf, and I can't recall that pork or politics ever entered into the conversation. In fact, I'd have to say that the people trying to kill me and my shipmates were positively disinterested in the internal wranglings of our military procurement process. But, had they been aware of our organizational folly, they could have hurled a few well-timed criticisms our way, to go along with
the mines we were trying to dodge.

The fun never stops when we play the 'No Right Answer' game. If we centralize our military infrastructure, the experts tell us that we are vulnerable to attack. We're inviting another Pearl Harbor. If we decentralize our infrastructure, we're sloppy and overbuilt, and the BRAC experts break out the calculators and start dismantling what they call our 'excess physical capacity.' If we leave our infrastructure unchanged, we are accused of becoming stagnant in a dynamic world environment.

Even the lessons of history are not sacrosanct. When we learn from the mistakes we made in past wars, we are accused of failing to adapt to emerging realities. When we shift our eyes toward the future, the critics quickly tell us that we've forgotten our history and we are therefore doomed to repeat it. If we somehow manage to assimilate both past lessons and emerging threats, we're informed that we lack focus.

Where does it come from: this default assumption that we are doing the wrong thing, no matter what we happen to be doing? How did our military wind up in a zero-sum game? We can prevail on the field of battle, but we can't win a war of words where the overriding assumption is that we are always in the wrong.

I can't think of a single point in History where our forces were of the correct size, the correct composition, correctly deployed, and appropriately trained all at the same time. Pick a war, any war. (For that matter, pick any period of peace.) Then dig up as many official and unofficial historical documents, reports, reconstructions, and commentaries as you can. For every unbiased account you uncover, you'll find three commentaries by revisionist historians who cannot wait to tell you how badly the U.S. military bungled things. To hear the naysayers tell it, we could take lessons in organization and leadership from the Keystone Cops.

We really only have one defense against this sort of mudslinging. Success. When we fight, we win, and that's got to count for something. When asked to comment on Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. Army's Lieutenant General Tom Kelly reportedly said, "Iraq went from the fourth-largest army in the world, to the second-largest army in Iraq in 100 hours." In my opinion, it's hard to argue with that kind of success, but critics weren't phased by it. Because no matter how well we fought, we did it with the wrong Army.

I'd like to close with an invitation to those journalists, analysts, experts, and politicians who sit up at night dreaming up new ways to criticize our armed forces. The next time you see a man or woman in uniform, stop for ten seconds and reflect upon how much you owe that person, and his or her fellow Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen.

Then say, "Thank you." I'm betting you won't even have to explain the reason. Our Service members are not blind or stupid. They know what they're risking. They know what they're sacrificing. They've weighed their wants, their needs, and their personal safety against the needs of their nation, and made the decision to serve. They know that they deserve our gratitude, even if they rarely receive it.

Two words -- that's all I ask. "Thank you." If that's too hard, if you can't bring yourself to acknowledge the dedication, sincerity and sacrifice of your defenders, then I have a backup plan for you. Put on a uniform and show us how to do it right.

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineGreyhound From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1026 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1240 times:

Quoting ORFflyer (Thread starter):
Put on a uniform and show us how to do it right.

Oh, but not everybody has the guts for that one. I'm waiting for someone to read this and start flaming away with some more stuff about this "illegal war" that we're in, missing the point of his writing this article. I agree with the Chief on just about everything he was saying...

As far as anyone coming up to me and saying thank you, if they do they do, and if they don't they don't. What I don't care to see is people harassing recruiters under the premise that they're ALL liers, or treating returned soldiers like crap and/or yelling such childish names as "baby killer" at them (which has happened in the area where I'm at). Treat us like everyone else is my opinion. If you want to bitch and complain, either do it yourself, or bitch moan groan and complain to your congressman.

29th, Let's Go!
User currently offlineORFflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1238 times:

Quoting Greyhound (Reply 1):
If you want to bitch and complain, either do it yourself, or bitch moan groan and complain to your congressman.

Absolutely.... and make damn sure to vote in every election!!


User currently offlineGreyhound From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1026 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1220 times:

Quoting ORFflyer (Reply 2):
Absolutely.... and make damn sure to vote in every election!!

What I don't like is, if someone hates the military so much, why bitch to the service member/recruiter? Like I can do a whole lot. If Joe Schmuckatelli comes up to me and says dammit I hate you guys being here, you're wasting my tax dollars, what am I going to do? "Oh I totally understand sir, hold on-- I'll be right back. Excuse me Admiral? I really must get back home and get a different job so I don't waste any more of Mr. S's tax dollars." Response? "Okay Mr., after a Captain's Mast or courts-martial, we'll send you home, and we'll have two to take your place. Sound fair?"

Honestly, what the hell am I or anyone else in supposed to do? I don't write the policies people. You get Representative X to do your bidding in the tax and spend world, not Petty Officer xxx.

29th, Let's Go!
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21652 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 1201 times:

Well, the fact that the Iraq invasion was illegal can hardly be blamed on the US military. Nor, for a large part, the fact that it was subsequently screwed up beyond reason. Quite a few active and retired generals (Gen. Shinseki notably among them) made their objections clearer than could have been expected.

Be it Viet Nam, Iraq or several other screwed-up campaigns, the primary mistakes leading to failure were of political nature,

And complaints about the military budget are (at least!) as old as there has been a military budget...

User currently offlineGreyhound From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1026 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 1197 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 4):
the primary mistakes leading to failure were of political nature,

It's nice to see someone recognizes that!  Smile It just seems as though the general attitude you hear about lately is just !$%^% you if you're in.

29th, Let's Go!
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 1184 times:

Thanks Klaus for totally missing the point of the thread. Also, a big steaming pile of thank you for being the first to try and make this thread political.

The thread starter points out a big part of the reason I stopped watching most mainstream news outlets, the constant bitching and talking just to hear their own voices got old. If I wanted to see bitching and people just going on and on and on because they like they way they sound I can read this forum.

User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11454 posts, RR: 72
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 1172 times:
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Many people latch onto General Shinseki and Gen. Merrill McPeak as examples of those who should be listened to in this endeavour because they are thought to be examples of military officers who represent the opposing view.

The problem here is that no one seems to want to look at the track record of people like Gen Shinseki, who is responsible for the Stryker and the Beret boondoggles...both of which were poorly handled.............y'know..this is off topic.

Take a look at todays column by LTG(ret) Jay Garner who outlines his views. THere are plenty of former senior officers who have been happy to outline their views, and its pretty obvious that most of the ones who are openly critical of the administration were originally Clinton administration (McPeak excepted) appointees or nominations to their posts, as the CinC the President appoints the Chiefs of Staff and the NATO commanders.

If you read the opinions of Generals who are willing to post their views you will see that there are almost as many different opinions as there are Generals taking the network dimes. I think the real point is that people forget warning issued at the beginning of all this. The war against terrorists will take a very long time, and it will be hard.

Every armchair general on this board, and others, sits just there....in his/her armchair. Right from where hindsight is most sharply focussed and criticism is most easily leveled. There has never been a war where things were easy, and the nature of this one is such that we are working toward a goal of liberalization and democratization of the existing nation, rather than destruction and complete rebuilding. We surgically amputated their government which left nothing to control the insurgents who got the impression that because the hands are no longer murderous iron fists they can get away with murder. It'll take a while longer to get this under control, and more sacrifice. THe payoff will come when people in that country feel that they have enough to lose to stop any support of terrorists in the Sunni Triangle and the obvious way to prosperity and peace is...well, a free democracy.

It ain't easy, and anyone who thought it would be was kidding themselves. President Bush and his entire staff told anyone who'd listen that it would not be easy, and what we have here is proof that this is the case. The right thing is not generally the easy thing. As long as most of the troops on the ground there still think we are doing the right thing, then I'm on their side.

Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21652 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 1172 times:

Oveur, if you stopped informing yourself because you just can´t deal with the complications of different opinions it would explain a thing or two... Big grin

User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 1161 times:

I never said I stopped informing myself, I said I got sick of hearing reporters rehash the same shit over and over and over for hours on end while staring at a live video of nothing.

I also got sick of "experts" telling those who are doing a given job they are doing it all wrong. Thus I stopped watching TV news. I still read some but I am quickly learning it is the same shit every day.

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