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Tilting at Windmills

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September 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SPECIAL FORCES....Ann Scott Tyson has a depressing story in the Washington Post today about a conflict between Special Forces troops and regular Army troops in the volatile Anbar region of Iraq. Her focus is on operations in the town of Hit:

The conflict in the Anbar camp, while extreme, is not an isolated phenomenon in Iraq, U.S. officers say. It highlights two clashing approaches to the war: the heavy focus of many regular U.S. military units on sweeping combat operations; and the more fine-grained, patient work Special Forces teams put into building rapport with local leaders, security forces and the people work that experts consider vital in a counterinsurgency.

"This war was fought with a conventional mind-set. The conventional units are bogged down in cities doing the same old thing," said the Special Forces team's 44-year-old sergeant, who like all the Green Berets interviewed was not allowed to be quoted by name for security reasons. "It's not about bulldozing Hit, driving through with a tank, with all the kids running away. . . . These insurgencies are defeated by personal relationships."

Read the whole thing for more. There's obviously a personality clash of some kind here, and it may well be that the Special Forces guys have made some mistakes. Still, this is not an isolated case and the broader picture the article describes is one of the reasons I gave up some time ago on the idea that we had any chance of succeeding in Iraq.

Think about it: three years after the invasion we still have widespread opposition to counterinsurgency methods in the most volatile region in the country. That's nuts. If the past three years isn't enough to convince every general officer in the Army that counterinsurgency is the only way to make progress in Iraq, what's it going to take?

Of course, the other reason to be skeptical is that even if the Army brass figured this out, we don't have anywhere near enough trained troops to conduct a serious counterinsurgency anyway. As near as I can tell, we're not much farther along today than we were in 2003, which is why you read and hear endlessly about our great counterinsurgency success in Tal Afar. It's because it's practically the only one we've got.

Kevin Drum 12:24 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (136)

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Comments

Kevin -- This piece finally prompted me off my duff to make a $100 donation to the Monthly in recognition of your dedicated, relentless, and intensely patriotic stating of this fundamental point about our inane military strategy in Iraq. I understand we might never have been able to mount a succesfful counterinsurgency campaign across Iraq; but not having even tried is appalling.

-- Sam

Posted by: Sam on September 15, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'm too lazy to re-find the link, but I posted one here some time ago that was a discussion/debate amongst midgrade military commanders on what to do. One of the participants was a specwar guy, and suggested not joking that they leave Iraq to the specwar community.

Sounds good to me.

Posted by: Red State Mike on September 15, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is abhorable. And I think we should direct our criticism and anger toward those liberal-minded godless generals and bureaucrats for not allowing evangelism, particularly chritianity evangelism to take hold and be the foundation of every US solider.

Just imagine, every soldier rooted in belief of Christianity, and we will not have this factions war, and just have single-minded and common goal on just destroying those devil-worshipper Muslims and terrorists, or at least prevent them from attacking us instead.

The Third Crusade is here, people, wake up !!!!

Posted by: Left Behind Advocate on September 15, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

One of the participants was a specwar guy, and suggested not joking that they leave Iraq to the specwar community.

Red State Mike, I would disagree. I think we should send more troops to Iraq and this will solve any problems in Anbar province. The military reported sending more troops to Baghdad has reduced the murder rate in Baghdad by 52 percent. Sending more troops to Anbar would probably also halve the murder rate of Anbar just like it did in Baghdad.

Link

"However, the violence Baghdad endured in July receded during the month of August. Attacks in Baghdad were well below the monthly average for July. Since Aug. 7, the murder rate in Baghdad dropped 52 percent from the daily rate for July.

What explains this discrepancy from month-to-month? Since Aug. 7, Iraqi security forces, with Coalition forces assisting, have been fully implementing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Baghdad security initiative, the same plan that some had already written off in July as a failure, although it was only in its initial stages.

Operations have cordoned off specific districts, increased checkpoints and patrols, searched and cleared buildings to deny safe haven to terrorists and death squads, and targeted leaders of the death squads. Through Sept. 2, Iraqi and Coalition forces cleared more than 45,868 buildings, discovered 26 weapons caches, seized more than 1,066 weapons and detained 75 persons in connection with terrorism or sectarian violence."

Posted by: Al on September 15, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

even if the Army brass figured this out, we don't have anywhere near enough trained troops to conduct a serious counterinsurgency anyway.

Following up on that point, and required reading for guys like Al, you may want to check out this post from Defense Tech.

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002772.html#comments

Yes, Murtha's name will attract a number of asinine comments, but the facts presented there do not bode well for the Army.

Posted by: tomeck on September 15, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

The American forces in Iraq are in their last throes....

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Al

That 52% reduction was after they factored out people who were killed by car bombs, mortars and several other factors. That's a great way to reduce the murder rate, just don't count them.

Posted by: tomeck on September 15, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

LBA, that gobbly goop is worthy of Bush himself. Where do you people come from?

Posted by: HozenAl on September 15, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The military reported sending more troops to Baghdad has reduced the murder rate in Baghdad by 52 percent.

Actually, what really did it was that they stopped counting the number of people killed by car bombs and mortar attacks. Well, yeah, if you don't count half the people murdered the rate will sure go down....

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"I think we should send more troops to Iraq and this will solve any problems in Anbar province."

Yeah, that will really solve "any problems". Do you even read the posts?

Kevin, there's a third factor, and that's the 20,000 or so foreign mercenaries workjing mostly for American corporations. So you've got reg army, special forces, private security, Iraqi so-called army and police, as well as separate Kurdish forces, all ostensibly on the same side. With friends like those, who needs insurgencies?

Posted by: Kenji on September 15, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it isn't unusual for a specialist in a particular type of warfare to emphasize the superiority of his approach. One should note that almost all US military units seek to establish close contacts in their area of operations - they've all read the manuals and try to follow them.

That said, there is an historical tension between special operations soldiers and their conventional brethren. Esprit de corps being what it is, no unit likes to consider itself second rate or incapable of handling any mission.
No military establishment especially likes its elite units, though they certainly value them.

Elite units tend to act like elites and demand elite treatment. The relaxation of regulations and the ability to act without much outside supervision tends to make conventional soldiers both envious and distrustful of the elite units.

Then too, the selection process for most elite units is intentionally harder than it needs to be. Many very fine soldiers are washed out of special ops training each year, mostly for minor or arbitrary reasons. This contributes to the sense among conventional troops that the special ops units are a clique whose talents are not that much greater than their own.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

You want proof the Bush administration is really off its stride? When was the last time anyone heard about tax cuts? Its been weeks, if not months.

Lets go to war and have a party!

Posted by: brodix on September 15, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

This piece is good but I remain confused about exactly what our day-to-day tactics are in Iraq. Do our regular forces spend the day chasing down "insurgents" who attack them? This is a recipe for endless conflict given the large number of Iraquis who hate us and not an avenue national unity building.

On the other hand, building up local tribes to take control has serious limitations. The article states:

"The Special Forces soldiers realize there are drawbacks to relying on the tribe, which is focused on protecting its own territory and interests and which imposes tribal law that can undercut civil authority."

Hardly a recipe for a unified democracy. Whose side will we be on when the tribes start fighting for regional control?

Posted by: jb on September 15, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think Mr. Drum and Scott Tyson misunderstand what is really going on. The Special Forces are running the big money operation of smuggling Afghan smack. Some in the regular army are envious, and they want some of the action. Most regular army soldiers are content with just getting high to forget their crimes, but some have greater aspirations but could not get into the money outfits like the special forces, so it is a turf war. The conflict between the outfits has absolutely nothing to do with a strategy to fight the 'insurgency.'

Wait until they all come home and start really pushing this good stuff from Bush's private Afghan plantation hard. Gang wars and high grade junk make for good morning newspaper reading.

Please note, Tillman was murdered because he did not want any part of the heroin trade. He already had enough NFL money, but once you are in there is only one way out and he knew too much anyway. Also, the sailors are really pissed they are unable to participate in the spoils of this war.

Posted by: Hostile on September 15, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

This is nothing new. It's been a problem since the "Green Beret" units were first created forty years ago. Regular Army is anal and functions much like a large corporation. SF are more like a group of entrepreneurs at a start-up firm.

Posted by: JeffII on September 15, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Tyson's story (I've only read Kevin's excerpt) looks interesting, but basically irrelevant to the Iraq story.

With all due respect to the Special Forces and their ability to cultivate friendships with people they might just as easily kill, you don't conquer and occupy a country with special forces. You conquer and occupy with overwhelming force--yours or surrogates'--and it's too bad Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their creature in the White House didn't listen to the common sense and experience they inherited from their betters.

Despite the "adapt to win" hokum we're going to be hearing, we did not enter Iraq with the purpose of providing limited military advice and assistance. We came in to remove the government, destroy the infrastructure (except for oil), defeat and disband the army, and remake the place to suit us. It isn't working out, and if the regulars and the special forces are bickering, it reflects failure higher up the chain of command.

Posted by: Cobbler on September 15, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Giving the Iraq campaign entirely over to special operations troops isn't possible, due to the sheer size of the effort. Plus, as people are fond of pointing out when criticizing the Administration, "Mass has a quality all its own."

The best solution remains a combination of special ops troops and conventional troops. There's been many a time when the special ops guys have run up against opposition they cannot handle. They then call for the heavy capability of the conventional forces. Further, much of the military mission in Iraq doesn't require special operations training. You don't use Green Berets to sweep a hostile area, nor do you use them to man checkpoints.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

This article from the NYT says a lot of the same things.

Posted by: george on September 15, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm too lazy to re-find the link, but I posted one here some time ago that was a discussion/debate amongst midgrade military commanders on what to do. One of the participants was a specwar guy, and suggested not joking that they leave Iraq to the specwar community. Sounds good to me. Posted by: Red State Mike

Fuck Iraq. It was a pointless mistake to begin with. However, the strategy favored by the intelligence community since before 9/11 and the so-called GWOT has been to leave the job to the FBI, CIA and, as needed, spec-ops people.

Posted by: JeffII on September 15, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, this kind of analysis is pretty much wasted on people who would give their right nut to see this war fail.

Posted by: mickeydee on September 15, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Despite the "adapt to win" hokum we're going to be hearing, we did not enter Iraq with the purpose of providing limited military advice and assistance. We came in to remove the government, destroy the infrastructure (except for oil), defeat and disband the army, and remake the place to suit us.

Uh, no. We took great pains to preserve the infrastructure, especially power and water.

Posted by: Red State Mike on September 15, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

the strategy favored by the intelligence community since before 9/11 and the so-called GWOT has been to leave the job to the FBI, CIA and, as needed, spec-ops people.

Well, historically they have the best networks for moving all of that smack as well as laundering the money.

Posted by: Hostile on September 15, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

The argument matters only in the short term.

In the longer term (I'm talking months, not years) the only thing that matters is how to extract both the regular troops and the special forces from Iraq while minimizing the harm that comes to them and to the Iraqi people.

If you want to argue, here's a question to which no one has managed to adapt a winning answer: Why are we in Iraq.

But if you want to be practical, figure out an exit plan. The government doesn't have one.

Posted by: Catapult on September 15, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, no. We took great pains to preserve the infrastructure, especially power and water.

Yeah, that's why we let them loot everything that wasn't nailed down (and, frankly, even a lot of the stuff that was nailed down) EXCEPT for the Oil Ministry.

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius wrote:

"Yeah, that's why we let them loot everything that wasn't nailed down (and, frankly, even a lot of the stuff that was nailed down) EXCEPT for the Oil Ministry."
__________

Not quite true, Arminius. We didn't post the entire force around the Oil Ministry - perhaps at most a company. Other areas and installations were guarded as well, including much of the infrastructure. What wasn't guarded was looted and that's what made for good reporting.

It probably took longer than necessary to shift from war-fighting to force protection to establishing order (as much as possible).

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that's why we let them loot everything that wasn't nailed down (and, frankly, even a lot of the stuff that was nailed down) EXCEPT for the Oil Ministry.
Posted by: Arminius

They still have their infrastructure. It's just all been dispersed into their houses now.

Posted by: Red State Mike on September 15, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Catapult wrote:

"But if you want to be practical, figure out an exit plan. The government doesn't have one."
______________

Of course, they have one, Catapult. It just doesn't happen to satisfy many people.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike wrote:

"They still have their infrastructure. It's just all been dispersed into their houses now."
_______________

Well, a lot of stuff was stolen, sure. Back in 2003. There's been a heap of repair and replacement since then.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the government's lack of an exit plan, Trashhauler replies "Of course, they have one, Catapult. It just doesn't happen to satisfy many people."

Trashhauler, tell us what it is. Don't keep this trash a secret!

And tell us if it satisfies you.

Let's support our troops and get them out of this meatgrinder.

Posted by: Catapult on September 15, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think Mr. Drum and Scott Tyson misunderstand what is really going on. The Special Forces are running the big money operation of smuggling Afghan smack. Posted by: Hostile

While this may be true in Afghanistan, the discussion at hand involves Iraq, which does not grow opium poppies.

Posted by: JeffII on September 15, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Catapult, the broad goals of the plan for Iraq are well known: Keep killing bad guys, train the Iraqi army, support the legitimate government until it can defend itself, then get the hell out. There are plenty of smaller details and a mountain of work to do, but that's basically it.

Does it satisfy me? Not very much, but it isn't a matter of being satisfied. Let's just say that I'm far less enthusiastic about any alternatives advanced so far.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I know where the poppies are grown, which are controlled by the SF. Iraq is the easiest smuggling route due to the occupation and wide spread corruption. The only hang up, as the Wapo tries to obfuscate, is the regular army, who want some of the action.

Posted by: Hostile on September 15, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

That's a great way to reduce the murder rate, just don't count them.

Sounds like standard Dumbya accounting, the deficit's too high? Just don't count Iraqi war allocations.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 15, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, this kind of analysis is pretty much wasted on people who would give their right nut to see this war fail.

One of the great successes of the Bush administration has been to reinforce the thinking of the knuckle-draggers like the guy who posted this statement above.

What outright absurdity. Adds a lot to the debate.

Posted by: Wonderin on September 15, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Keep killing bad guys, train the Iraqi army, support the legitimate government until it can defend itself, then get the hell out. There are plenty of smaller details and a mountain of work to do, but that's basically it.

This is a bad joke, Right? Would you go to war with these instructions?

This is not a plan; it's a wish list:

1. Keep killing bad guys. And stop killing the good guys, women and children, I hope. Who are the bad guys? Where are they? (Don't look behind you.) Do good guys turn into bad guys? Do bad guys turn into good guys? Those associates of the Special Forces, were they always good guys?

2. Train the Iraqi army. Iraq had an army. We keep training new ones. Where do they all go? (Don't look behind you.)

3. Support the legitimate government until it can defend itself. What makes this government, so clearly dependent on foreigners with guns, legitimate? If it's not legitimate, will it ever be able to defend itself? If it could defend itself, in which direction would it aim its guns?

4. Then get the hell out. Now you're talking. How fast do you think we'll be running? What will we leave behind? What will we have accomplished in the meantime? How many dead? (Don't forget to count the people we are defending.)

Trash indeed.

Posted by: Catapult on September 15, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler wrote: "the broad goals of the plan for Iraq are well known ..."

Yes -- the broad goal of the plan for Iraq is US control of Iraq's oil. And despite all the bad news from Iraq, that plan is actually going rather well, with the new Iraq government constrained by the oil law imposed by the CPA which uses the mechanism of PSAs ("production sharing agreements") to put the bulk of profits from Iraq oil into the hands of US-based multinational oil companies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 15, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

JB wrote: This piece is good but I remain confused about exactly what our day-to-day tactics are in Iraq

Yeah, you and Rumsfeld! And our Commander in Chief, who says our tactics is our stragegery.

Posted by: mister pedantic on September 15, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler wrote: "the broad goals of the plan for Iraq are well known ..."

1. Invade
2. ????
3. Profit!

Posted by: craigie on September 15, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Great progress is being made! Schools are being repainted as soon as they are blown up! The vast majority of Iraqis haven't died yet! Trenches are being dug to give the unemployed something to do, as well as providing a place to bury all the bodies!

We must not question our upline!

Posted by: Amway Zombie on September 15, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

There was a great piece in The Atlantic last year on the way Special Forces does things. It focuses on the Phillipines and Afghanistan.

An excerpt, about Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan who have grown beards because of local customs:

"Big Army just doesn't get it," Custer said, like a persevering parent dealing with the antics of a child. "It doesn't get the beards, the ball caps, the windows rolled down so that we can shake hands with the hajis and hand out PowerBars to the kids. Big Army has regulations against all of that. Big Army doesn't understand that before you can subvert a people you've got to love them, and love their culture."
Posted by: Kris on September 15, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 1:56 PM:

..the broad goals of the plan for Iraq are well known..

'Broad goals' do not qualify as an exit plan, Trashie...One might argue that the real reasons for invading and occupying Iraq were solely based on 'broad goals' instead of rational thought and professional planning.

Keep killing bad guys...

Please define who the 'bad guys' are...Are they the Sunni or Shia death squads or the numerically small 'jihadists'? More importantly, who does the Iraqi government consider to be the 'bad guys'?

..train the Iraqi army..

What Iraqi army? I'm sure that there are a few units that support the government, but most seem to owe their allegiance to local powers and/or religious authorities and sects.

support the legitimate government until it can defend itself

How do you quantify that statement? Is it the number of days since Fortress Green Zone was attacked, or car bomb went off, or police patrol shot at, or a tortured and executed body was found? What is your metric for measuring the success of that statement.

then get the hell out

Which is increasingly being seen as the only workable 'plan'...The US loses even more of the moral high ground and PNAC's wet dreams go unfulfilled, but we stop exacerbating the problem and get our overextended military back home.

There are plenty of smaller details and a mountain of work to do..

All of which should have been done prior to embarking on Dubya's Folly.

Posted by: grape_crush on September 15, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

3. Support the legitimate government until it can defend itself. What makes this government, so clearly dependent on foreigners with guns, legitimate?

A free election. Duh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on September 15, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

There was a great piece in The Atlantic last year on the way Special Forces does things. It focuses on the Phillipines and Afghanistan.

How far can they take these efforts to blend in? Where do they draw the line to make sure that they are protected by the Geneva Conventions?

Posted by: Bucko on September 15, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike, you seem to be one of those who thinks that having an elekshun is all there is to it! Presto, instant democracy! But it means nothing if you have no rule of law, no stable government, no civil society, and no constitution that actually works and people will agree to abide by.

Posted by: Duh on September 15, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, good report. The regular army has been hostile to COIN warfare since before Vietnam. That's why Nagl's book is so important. They are learning but the Big Army is growing too. There's a post on SFTT.ORG about an officer being told he can't eat in the air conditioned mess hall because his uiniform is dusty from repairing vehicles. I suspect there are enough troops but the point of our spear has always been small compared to the REMFs.

In Afghanistan, the drug warriors are trying to lose that for us by destroying poppy fields (Ignoring the lunatics who think our army is a drug gang) when what we should be doing is buying all the opium Afghanistan can grow. We did it for wheat and corn at home, why not ? Besides, there is a worldwide shortage of morphine.

Posted by: Mike K on September 15, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

How exactly is this depressing? This is good. The Army is slow to ply counterinsurgency. The Green Berets and the Marines aren't. They're getting the press involved. That will pressure the leadership.

No, this is not depressing. This is good news.

Plus, look for Moulton on the NY Times Op Ed page today. More depressing we've-done-lost analysis? Nope. More pressure to fight right.

Posted by: Chris on September 15, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, than everything starts to look like a nail. Don Rumsfeld's vision of the future of American Warfare is a colossal flop.

Adapt to win, huh? Its more like adapt to win more congressional elections with big-budget military pork. Nothin' supports ill-equipped troops better than a nice shiny submarine.

Posted by: Jon Karak on September 15, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

when what we should be doing is buying all the opium Afghanistan can grow.

Interesting idea.

Posted by: trex on September 15, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I expect that we will slowly abandon most bases in Iraq except for a few large ones in the desert. On these we will maintain special and regular forces sufficient to destroy any enemy concentration of force in the region. That is, roughly 60,000 troops for the next few decades.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji, you have a very good point. The very existence of large number of heavily armed foreign personnel with no legal constraints is in itself a questionable idea. How they are received by the Iraqis themselves is possibly one of the reasons the insurgency.

I have a suggestion! Listen carefully, so to speak.
Based on news reports, I believe that US forces are experiencing a shortfall in new recruits, those recruits are on average lower in quality than pre-GWII, and existing units are facing fatigue in personnel and materiel due to repeated or extended deployments.
It has been suggested that the US may need to begin conscription to be able to continue to field the forces needed for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Herein lies my suggestion:
Conscript ALL contract military personnel immediately.
This has several advantages:
- they are already trained; no boot camp needed
- they are already equipped; no new materiel required;
- they are already smack dab in the middle of the theater; no transport or deployment orders needed
- doing so will reduce costs to the taxpayers substantially because of the above AND because enlisted personnel are paid much less than contractors;
- they all already volunteered for duty in Iraq
- they will be subject to UCMJ, which would bring them within the realm of legal responsibility for their actions (yeah yeah, it's still better than no legal authority)
- it will eliminate the existence of mercenary forces in Iraq, which the Iraqis may appreciate

I'm still trying to find the downside. Anybody?

Bloody vikings!

Posted by: kenga on September 15, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

And before Al starts bellyaching about the poor corporations not being able to defend themselves, they are welcome to pay the US Armed forces (at a rate higher than cost, of course) for permission to stay close enough to them to be safe(ish). And videotaped and wiretapped. For a small fee.

Posted by: kenga on September 15, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I respectfully disagree with the retired Lt. Col. Terry Daly in this regard: "We are further from our goal than we were when we started." When we started, Saddan and his 2 sons were in power.

That's true, but removing them has moved us how much closer to our goals? Not a whole lot. I' noting a distinct lack of dancing in the streets these days. Granted the Chinese proverb about the journey of a thousand steps starting with the first one could be applied, but there's a ways to go yet.

Also most of what he said (which you haven't acknowledeged), contradicts your ideas about how to succeed.

I agree with Al and Trashhauler above in that we need to send in as many troops, special forces, whatever it takes to finish the job.

Saying we need to do whatever it takes to do the job is simply a sentiment, not a realistic assesment of what is needed to do the job, which could then be used to determine if finishing the job is possible/feasible/palatable. Bad planning got us here (planning at the civilian level), and I don't think "doing whatever it takes" or "killing the terrorists who are left" is a comprehensive enough plan forward.

Posted by: cyntax on September 15, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

How about 500,000 troops and double the military pay? Last time I brought that up, you weren't buying, so what's the use?

Just gotta find a way to pay for it and the taxcuts...

Look in the end, you believe invading Iraq has made us safer. I don't. Like President Bush said, it had nothing to do with 9/11.

Posted by: cyntax on September 15, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kenga,

Re; "...enlisted personnel are paid much less than contractors"

I don't think that's generally true. I've sat on source selection boards for contract services, and for the those I've seen, the contractor's people were paid less than the enlisted people who would have performed the same functions, and they also used far fewer people. A contractor in a warzone may well be an exception, but then again, when the mission is complete, the contract can be simply terminated. I think the idea that contractors are more expensive comes mostly from perspective. The costs of a contract are visible, while the costs of military performing the same service are largely hidden. And finally, paying civilian contractors to perform rear area services frees up volunteers for duties closer to the tip of the spear. Its hard to put a value on that, but were it possible, I think it would be significant.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

500,000 troops? Sure, why not, and why not throw in an army of magic freedom-loving unicorns? And the Rohirrim, and the Men of Gondor? And why not deploy the Death Star and the Clone Army too?

'Cause those are all as real as 500,000 troops....

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1,

The idea that we should fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here is much maligned. But it is a theory that is as old as warfare.

One, collateral damage is a fact - and lots of it.

Two, the opposing force cannot ignore the occupation. They cannot seize the initiative without first defeating the occupying forces.

Three, the people who live with war learn what war really is, and they don't like it - that's a good thing.

Four, it increases the length of time in which positive moral can be maintained among the home population of the occupying force.

Certainly, any war can be opposed on moral grounds. But there are practical concerns as well. And fighting on the enemy's territory is very practical.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, cyntax. That was someone else who dismissed the proposal to double military pay (which would easily result in 500,000 new recruits, Jason).

Posted by: Thomas1

Even if there was a way to pay for it; it wouldn't result in 500,000 new recuits.

Joining the Army now means going to war in Iraq and there are a lot of people who are not buying that proposition. You don't go to war (as a volunteer soldier) for money, you go because you're defending your homeland. I didn't sit around the barracks when we were prepping for the Gulf War thinking: "you know I'm kind of up in the air about taking back Kuwait, but if the Prez would just double my pay, that would seal the deal." This president has said Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11, and the recruiting numbers would seem to indicate that a lot of people out there agree with him.

And not to rehash it here but you can read Joe Galloway for a perspective on what the war has done to the Army (and the Marines):

    the army you describe as "so much more capable" than it was 5 or 10 years ago is, in fact, very nearly broken. another three years of the careful attention of your boss ought to just about finish it off. this is not the word from your anonymous officers; this is from my own observations in the field in iraq and at home on our bases and in the military schools and colleges.

Posted by: cyntax on September 15, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

500,000 troops? Sure, why not, and why not throw in an army of magic freedom-loving unicorns? And the Rohirrim, and the Men of Gondor? And why not deploy the Death Star and the Clone Army too?

That's some funny shit.

Posted by: trex on September 15, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1,

The idea that we should fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here is much maligned. But it is a theory that is as old as warfare.

Randy, it's only maligned when you invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, as President Bush said himself just a couple weeks ago:

    President Bush was in the midst of explaining how the attacks of 9/11 inspired his freedom agenda and the attacks on Iraq until a reporter, Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11. Nothing, Bush defiantly answered.

Posted by: cyntax on September 15, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

when what we should be doing is buying all the opium Afghanistan can grow.

Worked real well in Laos, didn't it? Maybe we can get permission from Iran to fly it through their airspace direct to our troops! And give Halliburton the refining contract...

Posted by: mister pedantic on September 15, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Randy,
I'm speaking specifically of the contractors bearing military spec weapons and using them.

As an aside, you get what you pay for. How much are we paying the contractors in rear area services to give a damn about the quality of service provided to troops on the front? Esprit de corps, caring for fellow service personnel, would likely be a more cost effective means of making sure the job is done right.
I've seen a fair amount of outsourcing in the private sector, and many of those contractors work hard and well. But they still don't give as much of a damn about it, or the other people who rely on their work, than the people that were laid off and replaced by those contractors.

Insofar as opium in Afghanistan is concerned, we'd be better off decriminalizing it. It could then be regulated, having the effect of driving some of the more pernicious lawbreakers out of the business, and the subsequent lowering of prices would lead to some(hopefully large) percentage of that effort being diverted to non-narcotic crops.
Revenue would be taken out of the hands of those currently receiving it, most of whom are "bad guys" aka warlords, terrorists, and drug cartel participants(whether or not this includes various governments black ops is immaterial).
Not an ideal solution by any means, but it's got a chance of improving the situation on several levels, which is a lot more than can be said about how we've been doing things for quite some time now.

Posted by: kenga on September 15, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's shouldn't have been a case of either/or between specops and regular military. But the Army and particularly the Marines have long been trained to win in battlefield combat. Whether they could have coped, or can cope, with such a radical re-envisioning of their function is another thing.

The British have done some fucked-up things in the south in terms of local militias, but they've done a lot of things fairly well, given the circumstances. They have COIN experience by necessity.

And the medicinal use of morphine is fine, except the synthetic versions are less addictive--are you jonesing right now?

Well, methadone kills more people than heroin. And, frankly, if I were in Afghanistan right now, I'd want to be smoking as much opium as I could get my hands on... just to block out the fact that I was in Afghanistan.

Posted by: ahem on September 15, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Catapult wrote:

"This is a bad joke, Right? Would you go to war with these instructions?"
____________

Catapult, I have gone to war with essentially those instructions.

Oh, I know I was being a bit flippant with the plan's outline, but that's it in a nutshell. If you want the full version, we'll have to get into the published documents and a whole bunch of classified stuff. Which we won't do here.

If you want me to write a thorough compaign operations order, it'll take a while.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I know I was being a bit flippant with the plan's outline, but that's it in a nutshell.

If that's the plan in a nutshell, then there is no plan. It's like Steve Martin's old plan for how to become a millionaire: "first, get a million dollars...."

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

It is comments like this from Cobbler up above:

With all due respect to the Special Forces and their ability to cultivate friendships with people they might just as easily kill, you don't conquer and occupy a country with special forces. You conquer and occupy with overwhelming force--yours or surrogates'--and it's too bad Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their creature in the White House didn't listen to the common sense and experience they inherited from their betters.

that show how misguided war supporters are. Unfortunately they also happen to be in charge.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on September 15, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that we should fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here is much maligned. But it is a theory that is as old as warfare.

Yeah, but it's usually reserved for people who WOULD HAVE ATTACKED US OVER HERE. I don't know of any old military theory that says "attack them over there even though they would never have attacked you over here."

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think the idea that contractors are more expensive comes mostly from perspective. The costs of a contract are visible, while the costs of military performing the same service are largely hidden. And finally, paying civilian contractors to perform rear area services frees up volunteers for duties closer to the tip of the spear. Its hard to put a value on that, but were it possible, I think it would be significant.

Army to End Expansive, Exclusive Halliburton Deal
Logistics Contract to Be Open for Bidding

By Griff Witte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; Page A01

The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm's dominance of government contracting in Iraq.

The choice comes after several years of attacks from critics who saw the contract as a symbol of politically connected corporations profiteering on the war.

Under the deal, Halliburton had exclusive rights to provide the military with a wide range of work that included keeping soldiers around the world fed, sheltered and in communication with friends and family back home. Government audits turned up more than $1 billion in questionable costs. Whistle-blowers told how the company charged $45 per case of soda, double-billed on meals and allowed troops to bathe in contaminated water.

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

I think the idea that contractors are more expensive comes mostly from perspective.

10.15.2003
Statement of Rep. Henry A. Waxman on Contracting Abuses in Iraq October 15, 2003
Read Waxman's Letter to the OMB

....Today, I am releasing with Rep. John Dingell a letter to OMB Director Bolten that details the latest evidence of overcharging by Halliburton. I asked my staff a simple question: Can we trace the path of a gallon of gasoline from a refinery in Kuwait to the streets of Baghdad? Although the question was simple, getting the answer was hard. Obtaining useful information from this Administration is virtually impossible. But what independent experts told us was appalling. The taxpayer is getting gouged by Halliburton.

The wholesale price of refined gasoline in Kuwait and other Mideast nations is 71 cents per gallon. A reasonable cost to transport gasoline into Iraq is another 10 to 25 cents per gallon - unless the company is Halliburton. It is charging taxpayers nearly $1 per gallon to truck this gasoline 400 miles from Kuwait to Baghdad.

When we checked with independent experts to see if this fee was reasonable, they were stunned. One called Halliburtons prices outrageously high. Another said it was highway robbery.We then learned that this gasoline is being sold inside Iraq for as little as 4 to 15 cents per gallon. Although Iraq is an oil-rich nation, the Administration has apparently made a policy decision that the U.S. taxpayer not the Iraqi consumer should pay the costs of gasoline that Iraqi citizens and companies consume. As a result, the U.S. taxpayer loses $1.50 or more every time a gallon of gasoline is sold in Iraq.

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I've sat on source selection boards for contract services, and for the those I've seen, the contractor's people were paid less than the enlisted people who would have performed the same functions, and they also used far fewer people.

IRAQ: Civilian Contractors Working for U.S. Make a Bundle to Destroy Munitions

by Kevin Begos and Phoebe Zerwick, Winston-Salem Journal
February 13th, 2005

Soldiers, diplomats and private contractors in Iraq are all putting their lives on the line.

But should anyone be paid $350,000 a year to work in Iraq?

That's the basic labor rate for a liaison officer under the contract that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Charlotte's Zapata Engineering to help dispose of captured munitions. It's 10 times what the average soldier or member of the National Guard earns, even for full combat duty.


Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Cyntax,

I see Iraq as an opportunity that was too good to pass up. We were able to take out one potential threat, while placing an army at the doorstep of another potential threat (Iran), and placing yet a third potential threat (N. Korea) on notice. And it was all accomplished with the tacit approval of the world's major powers. Yes, I know, they have all voiced their disapproval, but they didn't raise a finger to stop us.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist wrote:

"Yes -- the broad goal of the plan for Iraq is US control of Iraq's oil. And despite all the bad news from Iraq, that plan is actually going rather well, with the new Iraq government constrained by the oil law imposed by the CPA which uses the mechanism of PSAs ("production sharing agreements") to put the bulk of profits from Iraq oil into the hands of US-based multinational oil companies."
____________

Sorry, SA, this issue doesn't have any place in military planning, so I can't speak to it. Except to point out, of course, that the CPA isn't in business anymore and anyone who had an agreement with them while they were in business probably didn't make any money on it.

The Iraqi government, naturally, is not required to abide by anything the CPA might have done.


Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler - insofar as getting the hell out is concerned, any intention to do that is belied by the ongoing construction of 16 very large bases, at enormous cost.
Unless those plans have been shelved and what already exists of those bases abandoned, I think it's unreasonable to assume we aren't planning on using them - a conclusion that the average Iraqi is probably able to reach as well.

If we intend to gift them to the Iraqi government, I haven't heard a single phoneme, much less an actual word, phrase or sentence indicating that's the reason tehy're being built.

All of which suggest that getting the hell out is in no way part of the plan.

Posted by: kenga on September 15, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, SA, this issue doesn't have any place in military planning, so I can't speak to it. Except to point out, of course, that the CPA isn't in business anymore and anyone who had an agreement with them while they were in business probably didn't make any money on it.

Well, except for those folks who got hold of the $9 BILLION in American taxpayer money that the CPA "lost." They probably made some money on it.

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius wrote:

If that's the plan in a nutshell, then there is no plan. It's like Steve Martin's old plan for how to become a millionaire: "first, get a million dollars...."
_________________

Well, Arminius, I guess you'd have to tell me what you consider to be the elements of a military plan. Not the goals, mind, just the generic elements that comprise a military plan.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I see Iraq as an opportunity that was too good to pass up. We were able to take out one potential threat,
Yep, "potential" being the key word there. A threat that many in the military (that notoriously gun-shy and pacificst leaning oragnization) thought was not a priority. Also the CIA weighing in that way too.

Also what was the "threat" exactly, since as Bush has said Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11?

while placing an army at the doorstep of another potential threat (Iran),
Yeah, boy howdy have they chagned their tune; practically falling over themselves to toe the line. Oh, wait. That was back in May 2003 when the administration didn't want to talk to them. Better to negotiate when the military has been slugging it out in Iraq for three years, and the operational tempo is straining it to the breaking point.


and placing yet a third potential threat (N. Korea) on notice.
That we don't have enough troops to fight Iraq and them at the same time. Yes, that was a clever move.


And it was all accomplished with the tacit approval of the world's major powers. Yes, I know, they have all voiced their disapproval, but they didn't raise a finger to stop us.
By all means, let's measure the success of a strategy by our allies lack of willingness to use force in stopping us. Since France hasn't tried to nuke us, this has got to be a good idea.

Making Bush's "strategies" look good is hard work. Randy, I gotta admire your moxie, even if I find your reasoning less than compelling.

Posted by: cyntax on September 15, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

kenga wrote:

"Trashhauler - insofar as getting the hell out is concerned, any intention to do that is belied by the ongoing construction of 16 very large bases, at enormous cost."
______________

kenga, this is one of the sillier conspiracy ideas floating around. Having something to do with support of our bases, I know a little about them. All of them are expeditionary bases, regardless of how permanent they might look. We are very adept and practiced at building bases and there is no reason for us to sleep in the mud or lose people for want of good facilities.

As far as giving bases away, we also have about sixty years experience in doing just that. Beautiful bases, very useful while we needed them, and excess when we didn't. Doubtless the Iraq military will use some of them, others won't be suitable for them. It'll be their decision when we move out.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

As far as giving bases away, we also have about sixty years experience in doing just that. Beautiful bases, very useful while we needed them, and excess when we didn't.

Yes, the Vietnamese have made lovely use of Cam Ranh Bay....

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Cyntax,

I don't expect to compel you. Just callin' it as I see it. I'm not a moralist. I admire those with the strategic vision to seize on an opportunity. Alexander in Persia, Caesar in Gaul, Cortez in Mexico, Jackson in Florida, Fremont in California. Fortune favors the bold.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

I admire those with the strategic vision to seize on an opportunity. Alexander in Persia, Caesar in Gaul, Cortez in Mexico, Jackson in Florida, Fremont in California. Fortune favors the bold.

You forgot Crassus in Parthia, Varrus in the Teotuburg Forest, Napoleon in Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm in WWI, Mussolini in Albania, Hitler in Russia, Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs, Johnson in Vietnam, Brezhnev in Afghanistan, Saddam in Kuwait...all quite bold men who seized an opportunity...and then watched it blow up their face.

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Synthetic substitutes for morphine are not as safe, especially methadone which has very irregular effects and causes lots of overdoses. The buying of poppies in Afghanistan makes sense and I don't care what we do with it. Some can be used in medical applications and other excess can be destroyed. It is cheaper to buy it than pay the cost of fighting a rejuvenated Taliban because we are destroying the cash crop of most Afghans. The Taliban, when in power, were anti-opium. Only now when we oppose its growth do they change.

Posted by: Mike K on September 15, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler,

Re; "All of them are expeditionary bases, regardless of how permanent they might look. We are very adept and practiced at building bases and there is no reason for us to sleep in the mud or lose people for want of good facilities."

Exactly. I am reminded of the Roman army which would build a fortified camp every night. To the locals, it would appear that they were building a city, but it was just standard operating procedure. It must have been intimidating - and perhaps that was part of the plan.

And also of the GLCM bases built in Europe specifically to counter the deployment of Medium Range Ballistic Missiles by the Soviets. They were all gone or turned over to the locals in 5 years.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius,

You're absolutely right. Winning is essential.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Winning is essential.

Yeah, what an insightful and counter-intuitive insight....

Fortune doesn't favor the "bold" -- fortune favors the prepared. Fortune favors those who plan, prepare, figure out contingencies, equip their troops, don't waste money, build alliances, etc. For every one "bold" man who's won there are ten more at the bottom of a ditch somewhere.

Posted by: Arminius on September 15, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius wrote:

"(Quoting me) 'As far as giving bases away, we also have about sixty years experience in doing just that. Beautiful bases, very useful while we needed them, and excess when we didn't.'

Yes, the Vietnamese have made lovely use of Cam Ranh Bay...."
________________

I imagine so, Arminius. The Russians, too.

It doesn't pay to get too attached to real estate in the US military. For an empire, we have a dreadful habit of giving back land. Wheelus AFB in Libya. Clark in the Philippines. Rhein Main in Germany. A hundred other places, scattered everywhere, and those are just the air bases. Makes a guy feel old, thinking of all the places he's been, places hot in their time, that are now vacant, abandoned, or turned over to other use.

I once landed at Canton Is. in the South Pacific, long after the airfield had been abandoned (it had been used for a short time during Vietnam). After flying a low pass to make sure the runway was clear, I landed and taxied in to the empty ramp. The wheeled fire extinguishers still stood at each parking spot, tilted over where the rubber on the wheels had rotted. Base ops was open and it looked almost ready to be used, except for the Going Home banner draped across the dispatch desk. It looked like everyone had just picked up their bags and left everything to rot. Gave one an eerie feeling, alright.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I admire those with the strategic vision to seize on an opportunity. Alexander in Persia, Caesar in Gaul, Cortez in Mexico, Jackson in Florida, Fremont in California. Fortune favors the bold.

Randy, some other thoughts:
Fortune favors the prepared.

Posted by: cyntax on September 15, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Randy,

As arminius and cyntax have already pointed out, boldness without preparation isn't a recipe for success, it's a childish route to disaster. As for your list, would you care to explain to all of us just what the "strategic vision" of Hernan Corts was?

I'm not a moralist. I admire those with the strategic vision to seize on an opportunity. Alexander in Persia, Caesar in Gaul, Cortez in Mexico, Jackson in Florida, Fremont in California. Fortune favors the bold.
Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM |

Posted by: keith on September 15, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Re; Fortune favors the prepared.

That too.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Keith,

He conquered Mexico with something like 600 men. His basic strategy was to build alliances with the enemies of the Aztecs, by the way.

Posted by: Randy on September 15, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Kevin -- and all you moonbats.

You all keep complaining about the way this war is fought -- and keep insisting that it's a disaster.

OK, tell us what war fought by these United States YOU think is an example of how YOU think wars SHOULD be fought. What you idiots don't get is that mistakes are made in ALL wars ("fog of war", etc). I shudder to think what you morons would have made of Okinawa or Tarawa or Iwo Jima.

So come on, Kevin and the rest of you military experts. Give us your example of a war better fought than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius wrote:

By Griff Witte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; Page A01

The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm's dominance of government contracting in Iraq.

The choice comes after several years of attacks from critics who saw the contract as a symbol of politically connected corporations profiteering on the war.

Under the deal, Halliburton had exclusive rights to provide the military with a wide range of work that included keeping soldiers around the world fed, sheltered and in communication with friends and family back home. Government audits turned up more than $1 billion in questionable costs. Whistle-blowers told how the company charged $45 per case of soda, double-billed on meals and allowed troops to bathe in contaminated water.
________________

Well, not quite, Arminius. The LOGCAP contracts have never been non-competitive. They are one winner contracts for five years. The last one was competed in 2001, so it's time to do it again. Halliburton could win it again, too, though their subsidiary, Kellog, Brown and Root, didn't make all that much profit in Iraq. In fact, I believe Halliburton is trying to sell part of KBR.

Overall, Halliburton and KBR have done a pretty good job for the military in a lot of crappy places all over the world. A heck of a lot cheaper and easier than doing it ourselves. Most of the KBR employees in Iraq are Iraqi, of course. They make quite a bit more than comparable jobs on the economy. Halliburton employees have the rep within the military of being pretty gungho, pretty dedicated to the mission.

By the way, for large service contracts it is standard government procurement procedure to pay the initial charges presented by the contractor and then revisiting each one to reconcile the actual costs. Halliburton and KBR work under that concept, which is inteneded to keep the contractor operating while the auditors have their say. As one of our JAG lawyers explained it to me, Halliburton and KBR are very cooperative with the auditors, often pointing out errors not in their favor. So, all those "according to auditors" reports in the papers are nothing more than normal procedure. All quite open and above board.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Should never have been anything EXCEPT Special Forces in Iraq, if it wasn't for Dubya's unresolved Oedipal complex.

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on September 15, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

We're down 56-0 in the 4th quarter and you guys are arguing over which play to call?

Posted by: m on September 15, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

So come on, Kevin and the rest of you military experts. Give us your example of a war better fought than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Although I suspect this will be lost on you, the criticism I and most others have of Iraq is not aimed at our fighters. So your request for a list of wars that are "better fought" is nothing but a straw man whether you mean it to be or not. The problem is not the fighters, Norman, it's the planners and the politicians. Anyone who has been around the military for even a short time (As you seem to be in that you are deriding others here as "military experts") knows that privates don't make mistakes. Colonels and generals make mistakes. Privates do what they are told. So, in return, I would say to you, I know of no war "better fought" by our brave troops. Since I answered you, do me the same courtesy when I ask you: Show me a U.S. war where the war planning and reaction of planners and politicians has been worse or marked by more of a refusal to face up to reality. Just one.

Posted by: Pat on September 15, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, oh that's an easy one. By far, the worst planned US war was the Spanish American war. Just a friggin' mess, not much publicized because, thank God, the Spanish were even worse.

But I agree with you that Norman should give folks here a chance. This ain't Daily Kos.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 15, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers:

All things considered, the Gulf War was pretty well-managed and successful, despite some atrocious excesses (picking off retreating Iraqi troops from the air) and failures of will (not supporting the Shia and Kurds in their uprising) here and there. Bush I listened to his advisors and coalition partners (yeah!) and didn't invade Baghdad.

Oh, and Japan paid for the vast bulk of the operation.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 15, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

The US Armed Forces, overall, are the best funded, best equipped and best trained, despite the shortfalls that have shown up.

You can only expect the troops, commissioned and not, to perform in the way that they have been trained.

The British Army has been both contracting and underfunded for 50 years. And in the '30s, too. So, in WWII, irregular or special forces were formed to give a punch they did not have. The Commandos, SAS/LRDG, Chindits, resistance formations; paras, also. Fortunately, this flexibility has been maintained through Kenya/Mau mau, Yemen, Malaysia, N. Ireland, Belize, etc. And not all operations honorable or successful.

The US Army has had a more confused mandate. Being massive, it has been expected to fight a world war, of any type, on 2 fronts; firepower and immediate dominance has been paramount. At the same time, and seperately, the US has had the luxury of training special forces in a more flexible way, with the best that she has.

Read the British press and you will find a revolving criticism from the British military of the US Forces interdiction in Iraq and S. Afghanistan. At the same time they are aware that their own weakness leads to use of force without follow through or maintenance of local security.

In short, the US has bitten of more than it can chew. It could have done Afghanistan well but hasn't. It cannot do both Afghanistan and Iraq well at the same time and is in imminent danger of doing neither. This, George Bush is right, will have repercussions for years -- but it was his mistake, right now, that needs to find the best solution (or least bad) to an impossible problem.

The US Army is under pressure it cannot resist, and an effort it cannot sustain.

This administration ignored any difficukties that might arise. They planned for no contingencies. If they are so bright, then the result of Middle East turmoil -- a direct result of all their actions, Iraq and beyond -- is a conscious result. If not, then let's have an admission.

Posted by: notthere on September 15, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know of any old military theory that says "attack them over there even though they would never have attacked you over here."

That's better known as the Bush Doctrine.

Posted by: Disputo on September 15, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, you really are a moron. But, we'll give you another chance. Give us your best example of a war waged by these United States that YOU think was better managed (that work better for you, you twit?)

Show us all what a great military historian you are, moron.

And poor RMuck -- thinks the Gulf War was better fought. So how come we were still fighting it twelve years later, you idiot? The lack of a conclusion to the Gulf war was the proximate cause of Iraqi Freedom. We were spending $4B/annum enforcing the no-fly zone in a losing effort to contain Saddam. This is your best example of a better fought war? You are an idiot.

But please try again. Tell us all what qualifies idiots like you to criticize your betters. Come on sport, you can do it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers --

$4 billion per year, minimal casualties, minimal wear and tear on the army, active training for the the airforce. Whatever your spin, Iraq totally contained.

3 1/2 years of war, 2700 casualties, disproportionate NCO casualties, huge wear and tear on all forces involved. Massive expansion of numbers of people acting as terrorists and insurgents. Cost ?? $400 billion and counting. Outcome totally uncertain. Final cost unknown. Hiden costs of Middle Eastern disruption uncountable; atleast another 2-3 billion in Lebanon.

Yeah, moron. Good choice of how to fight terrorism.

From a strategic point of view, WWII went almost completely to plan, and the aftermath was somewhat planned, too. And the outcome is now well known and never suffered the doubts after "mission accomplished" that this war does.

You are the amazingly ignorant person.

Posted by: notthere on September 15, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers:

4 Bil per annum to enforce the No Fly Zones?

Isn't that what we're spending in Iraq per month now?

"a losing effort to contain Saddam."

Right. You know those novice romance novelists, once they publish their first one it's all downhill from there :)

Idiot.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 15, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers --

Idiot.

Afghanistan or Iraq? 2 completely different campaigns fought with differnt forces on different terrain against different central and local politics. One against an authority that had sheltered the organization that attacked the US; the other a war of choice against a dictator GW didn't like. Neither war won and each situation degrading 4 and 3 years later.

I believe the US has won some of its wars.

And in less time.

Historian!?

I think you've got a GW poster on your bedroom ceiling.

Posted by: notthere on September 15, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that smallpox decimated the Aztecs didn't hurt either. In fact Cortez would have been wiped out but for it.

There is nothing bold about using vastly superior forces to conquer an enfeebled enemy, and then totally screw up the aftermath.

Posted by: Wombat on September 15, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Rmuck and NotAllThere -- Poor puppies. You'd just like to opine about how much smarter you are than our President and gee what an awful job he's done. And then I come along and demand that you make your criticisms relative -- rather than absolute -- and you are completely flummoxed.

WWII went according to plan? According to Plan??

Did McArthur plan to leave his planes on the ground in the Philipines 24 hours after Pearl Harbor? Was that on purpose? Was it part of our plan to surrender Corrigidor and have 95% of the garrison murdered by the Japs on the Bataan death march? Did we plan to watch France fall in nineteen days? How many troops did we plan to lose on Okinawa?

You really are a moron. You know no history (and don't want to learn). You don't know what you don't know -- what an idiot!

You can't substantiate your criticisims because you know nothing of history. Kind of like Kevin.

One more time, clowns. You're SOOO much smarter than GWB and Rummy. Tell us what they've done wrong and what you'd have done right -- and then contrast it with a war fought by these United States that you think was better run.

Are you having fun?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers -- what a spin orientated idiot!

So, if you didn't notice, you never mentioned anything beyond the first year of the US war. Only the surprise portion.

WWII began over 2 years earlier.

Both Germany and Japan planned for war; had already been fighting in Spain and Manchuria. The Western democracies -- none more so than the US -- had avoided the reality of the coming conflict and left rearming late. FDR did his best in the face of determined isolationists, many Republican.

France didn't plan on surrendering, and Dunkirk was an ad lib operation. Britain didn't foresee Singapore's fall and the US didn't predict Pearl Harbor, and the carriers were on exercise by chance.

The Allies came together and decided. despite heavy Russian pressure, for a Europe first via N. Africa (not direct to France), and Pacific second strategy.

Kasserine was not foreseen either. It was a learning process. The Battle of the Bulge was a surprise, too. And much inbetween.

Russia absorbed the main weight, and human cost, of the land campaign.

Both wars ended roughly on time, the UK was running out of manpower. The Allies had foreseen the end and planned for the UN and World Bank. When things in W. Europe were not turning out as expected, they adjusted rapidly and brought in the Marshal Plan.

This joker, George, he's playing a game. Stand up; stand down. March them up to the top of the hill, . . . He hasn't got a clue and doesn't know how to adjust.

You? You're ignorant. You put up the facade and then mention nothing about the actual prosecution of the war. You confuse early action and tactical suprise with planning and strategy.

Confusion is something you have in common with George.

In fact, you've got the credibility of the present administration. Zero. Well done.

Posted by: notthere on September 15, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers --

You know, you must be right. I don't know enough history because I can't think of a twentieth-twenty-first century war that has been worse fought by the US.

I'll just take Iraq. Afghanistan is a completely different issue.

Iraq: illadvised. misplanned, under-strength, politically naive from a US point of view and, more particularly, from the Iraqi point of view. No strategy to follow winning the land battle, no exit strategy. No stated goals, nothing achieved. Just blood and death, more for the Iraqis than the US, and billions of mis-applied US taxpayer dollars, much going to unchecked fraud and waste.

Mmm. What did George achieve?

Posted by: notthere on September 15, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Uh oh, now you've done it. Normie's gonna tell you how you have no business questioning him because his math skills are better.

Wait for it, wait for it....

Posted by: trex on September 15, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

WWII, blahdiblah. The wars relevant to this experience are Vietnam and the Philippines.

On that note, I recently read an interesting and slightly weird reminiscence from early 1969, when Creighton Abrams took over as CINC in Vietnam and supposedly switched the strategy from Westmoreland's failed "search and destroy" attrition model to a "clear and hold" counterinsurgency model. The interesting thing was that this was accompanied by a big DE-EMPHASIS on Green Beret special forces work. Abrams decided to pack up a lot of the firebases out in the mountains which the Berets had been holding, with local Montagnard troops, since the early '60s, and he sent a lot of Green Berets home. The Berets were hopping mad.

I surmise this may have had to do with the fact that the GB and Yard-staffed firebases were out in mountainous jungle territory that Abrams figured the US could never effectively hold, and were just a big waste of resources (massive helicopter resupply and emergency air defense and so forth). Which would be very different from Iraq, where special forces are working in the same areas as main force troops, but with a different approach. Still, interesting how even these military strategy issues never line up quite the same way twice.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 15, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

billions of mis-applied US taxpayer dollars, much going to unchecked fraud and waste

Please remember to make that "hundreds of billions", rather than "billions". It's important to keep our frame of reference clear here. After all, a billion or two in military waste is peanuts to these assholes. Once you get over a hundred billion, it starts to actually mean something.

Always interesting, of course, how waste of ten million dollars on a humanitarian aid program is a major scandal, while wasting a thousand times as much on a military program barely even makes the papers.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 15, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Um notallthere? Is WWII your example of a war better fought than Iraqi freedom? In all of our history? And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

But wait, let's review your history of WWII

WWII began over 2 years earlier [than the US entry]

1. Germany invaded the Sudentland in 1938.
2. Japan invaded China in 1937.

France didn't plan on surrendering, and Dunkirk was an ad lib operation. Britain didn't foresee Singapore's fall and the US didn't predict Pearl Harbor, and the carriers were on exercise by chance.

Singapore's garrison force 0f 88,000 men surrendered to a force of 30,000 Japanese on Februay 17th, 1942. Another example of a war better fought?

The Allies came together and decided. despite heavy Russian pressure, for a Europe first via N. Africa (not direct to France), and Pacific second strategy.

Russia pressed the allies to win the war in the Pacific first???? You really are a moron. Stalin wanted the allies to open a second front in Europe. The main battles were to the east. And, yes, the best army of WWII was the Red Army, transported by American 6x6's (the Germans moved by horse drawn wagon away from railheads).

On December 11th, 1941 Hitler declared war on the US. FDR was elated -- he had wanted to enter the war for two years. The US assumed the war in the Pacific would be much less troublesome than it was and committed the US to a Europe first strategy. Had it not been for Hitler's blunder, the US might never have entered the war in Europe.

Kasserine Pass (several battles, actually) is a good example of the US military learning from their mistakes. Two weeks later, the fortunes were reversed.

Both wars ended roughly on time Huh? was there a script? I guess I missed that in my history reading.

And WWII is your nominee for a war better managed by these United States?

you never mentioned anything beyond the first year of the US war

Okinawa was the last battle of WWII. Okinawa had a large indigenous civilian population, and the civilian losses in the battle were at least 150,000. American losses were over 72,000 casualties, of whom 12,500 were killed or missing, over twice the number killed at Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal combined. Several thousand soldiers who died indirectly (from wounds and other causes), at a later date, are not included. About a third of the civilian population of the island were killed in the Spring of 1945. There were about 100,000 Japanese soldiers killed and 7,000 captured.You really are a moron.

And your comparison with Iraqi freedom? We won the war in three weeks at a cost of less than a thousand men.

And gee, we haven't seen a successful attack within these United States since 9/11. I guess carrying the fight to enemy really works.

Good thing morons like yourself are kept far from the reigns of power.


Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe --
Phillipines and Vietnam have some relevance, but, unfortunately, the closest comparison might be Israel in Palestine. There is the religious separation, occupier to occupied. The violence is cranked higher because the internecine competition is hotter, and the US faces better armed and more organized insurgency. The problems faced and to be won include establishing an effective government and services, police and security forces, and courts, along with a functioning economy.

The US may have thought that was the idea going in. I can't say these have proved to be the objectives any more than it seems Israel (or the US) wishes that good will on the Palestinians or seeks those ends.

Posted by: notthere on September 15, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Folks, you really shouldn't kick the ass of anencephalitics like Norman; it's just not sporting.

Posted by: Disputo on September 16, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

And your comparison with Iraqi freedom? We won the war in three weeks at a cost of less than a thousand men.

Uh, Norm, if you think the war in Iraq is over you might want to give the White House a call. I don't know what exactly you're calling the "effort" that we keep spending billions on in Mesopotamia, but the Bush administration is pretty adamant about referring to it as the "war in Iraq."

And dammit, they're not gonna pull out until they've achieved the "victory" you said took place some three years ago.

So unfortunately the White House is disputing your characterization of the war as having been won in weeks, as well as the casualty figure you threw out there. In fact over the past few months the Pentagon has been rotating a few thousand more troops into theater to try and quell the increasing violence. Last week Col. Pete Devlin provided his assessment that we've "lost" Anbar Province to Al Qaeda. And American troops are being killed and wounded daily.

These don't sound like things that happen after you've "won" in three weeks.

So to me, it sounds like either the White House is fibbing and this is actually an occupation not a war -- in which case all this misleading talk of war should cease from campaign speeches and the floor of Congress -- or, you're defining the term in a very narrow way to suit a pedantic argument and try and score points on a message board.

Either way, both of you are ignoring the scores of retired officers, diplomats, and intelligence experts who've come forward and said what notthere was asserting -- wait for it -- that our strategy in Iraq has been a "failure" and a "disaster."

Huh, retired generals who've served in uniform and in combat calling it a "failure."

And you wonder why they would think you were a moron if your if they ever had the misfortune to run across your loony rantings.

Posted by: trex on September 16, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Norman, boreman --

Sudetenland was reoccupied. It was German territory. Japan invaded Manchuria and China. Neither started WWII, so I'm not sure what your point is. What is it?

If you knew enough about the debate to open the second front, you would not have misinterpreted me. Stalin heavily resisted all but an immediate invasion of the continental mainland. N. Africa he considered some diversion at best, avoidance of war more so. There was a US faction that wanted to deal with Japan first.

The US armed forces went from under 250,000 in 1939 to what?, over 6 million by the end. Some learning curve. They fought a war on two fronts against major militarized nations over thousands of miles of ocean, desert, mountain and fields. They fought a real air war in Europe, an air-powered sea campaign across the Pacific coordinated with sizable amphibious forces, submarine wars both with and against such, six major amphibious landings from Africa to Normandy in Europe, and did all to a successful conclusion. Look at Europe or Japan even 10 years after the armistices.

Let's see. All that in 3 years 8 months. That's counting from Pearl Harbor. So that would be July '04 from 11th September, or November '06 from March '03. Time's atickin'

I recommend you read about the meetings between Churchill and Roosevelt (and Stalin) concerning strategy. Read Marshall or Dill or Churchill, or any number of historians about planning out the war and timelines.

"Oh, I think we'll land in Normandy the week after next." Hardly. Moron.

You even dare to compare all that to the worlds greatest superpower going to war against an already damaged crack-pot dictator and failing to win the war?

I think I'm beginning to understand your drift. You think a war fought without error of battle lost is the best war fought. Unfortunately this war has been fought from the start with the biggest possible error. Underestimating the task at hand.

Except for the removal of Saddam and the destruction of the Iraqi national military forces, none of the proclaimed objectives have been achieved, the war has not yet been won; noone has yet stepped forward with a plan to bring this campaign to a successful conclusion. The Army sees no way out.

And that's your idea of the most successful war EVER!

Get real.

Oh, and Okinawa. Maybe just part of the reason Trumam dropped the big ones. You think?

Posted by: notthere on September 16, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Whoops. Just forgot to mention the tens of thousands of innocents who gotin the way of this best ever war.

Surely, by your measure, Grenada and Panama were more successful campaigns.

Posted by: notthere on September 16, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

I see lords of wisdom are still relying on platitudes and generalities instead of the firsthand accounts we have. You guys haven't read Fiasco yet have you? There are enough excerpts floating around the web if you don't want to spend your own cash. These are from the Washington Post's July 23 article "In Iraq, Military Forgot the Lessons of Vietnam"

"What you are seeing here is an unconventional war fought conventionally," a Special Forces lieutenant colonel remarked gloomily one day in Baghdad as the violence intensified. The tactics that the regular troops used, he added, sometimes subverted American goals."

Posted by: Required Reading on September 16, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK


trashauler: Pat, oh that's an easy one. By far, the worst planned US war was the Spanish American war. Just a friggin' mess, not much publicized because, thank God, the Spanish were even worse.


chalabi was a plan?

but there are other yardsticks...

the current death toll in iraq far surpasses the Spanish American War, in which 2,446 were killed.

and in the s-a-w...they didnt have the kind of top medical care like the u-s has today...

and

then there's the monitary cost of the iraq "war" at over 300-billion..

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 16, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I think Norman ought to read Rick's "Fiasco".

He'd come to many of these same conclusions oh, what, a couple of years ago.

No matter what anybody says, we've lost "Operation Iraqi Freedom." All that's going on now is pre-election posturing.

Posted by: Richard on September 16, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Makes you wonder... looks like we need a Lawrence of Arabia. Some background on him; before becoming connected with British military he was an archeologist historian quite familiar with Middle Eastern history from ancient to modern. Spoke various dialects of the region and not adverse to wearing local attire of the region when meeting with dignitaries from sheiks down to local tribal leaders. Just a thought.

Posted by: Karen on September 16, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize. Norman's thoughtful and forceful arguments convinced me. Iraq is actually going great. Never better. Good job W! Good job Rummie!

Posted by: Pat on September 16, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with kenga! Draft the contractors, AND their bosses, and use eminent domaine to take their equipment.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 16, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I just love people who have a solution, like Thomas.

Whatever it takes!

Yeah, that's right.

What's the population of Iraq? 22 million?

Let's just send 66 million troops. One soldier per Iraqi, 3 shifts a day. That ought to do it.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 16, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, BrooksToe -- I missed your silliness. You write: WWII, blahdiblah. The wars relevant to this experience are Vietnam and the Philippines.

Interesting, you think Vietnam and the Philipines (which war -- the Spanish American one?) were better fought than Operation Iraqi Freedom. And you wonder why I think you're an idiot?

And trex offers, I don't know what exactly you're calling the "effort" that we keep spending billions on in Mesopotamia -- I call it the war on terror. It's the same war we're fighting in Afghanistan. And our clever President devised the "flypaper" strategy to draw the bad guys in to fight us on our field of choice -- kind of over your head, I guess.

As for your reliance on Rolling Stone to form your opinions -- you should read a little history. Specifically, the presidential contest of 1864 between Lincoln and McClellan. But the articly you cite exemplifies my criticisim of you morons -- it's nonsensical to call the war efforts "a failure" without context. And none of you mornons can point to a war that you can demonstrate was better fought. You're all a bunch of idiots with an agenda. OBTW, if you really want to learn something -- look up when each of your RS cites became a general officer (under whose administration). You might get a hint about their political leanings. And if you actually read the article you cited, see if you can figure out what criteria each retiree uses to measure success But you can't -- none are provided. Just as you morons cannot do any better.

And Notallthere -- Are you arguing that WWII was better prosecuted than the war on terror? Oh, you want to focus on the battle for Baghdad? OK, compare the costs in blook and treasure. How many civilians were collateral damage in WWII? How many in Iraq? OOOOHHH, that's not what you meant? And you wonder why I think you're an idiot?

You morons (specifically Kevin) like to go around claiming, "GWB is a miserable failure ... repeat" (that was Gephardt -- but you get the idea). But none of you have a clue as to how to evaluate the man's success.

Except for the removal of Saddam and the destruction of the Iraqi national military forces, none of the proclaimed objectives have been achieved, the war has not yet been won In point of fact the war in Iraq was a brilliant campaign that took all of about three weeks to victory. And now Iraq is just one theater in the war on terror. And we haven't had a successful attack on our soil since 9/11.

Pretty good track record, don't you think?


Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 16, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Contractors and special forces do not make life easier for soldiers. My son spent a year there . He was a gunner on a humvee escorting convoys. One day in the middle of the market in town a truck broke down and his humvee had to stay with it while it was fixed while the rest of the convoy went on. Soon after a SUV came flying around the curve which dead ended in his position. The windows were down, full of bearded men inside. He signaled to the approaching vehicle it did not slow down.He trained his machine gun on it squeezing, when they threw up a glow square, signifying they were friendlies. turns out they were special forces hurrying to the convoy that had been ambushed ahead. Lack of communication can be a bitch. A field of battle full of unidentified Iragis, foreign nationals contractors and special forces all running around with no clear ID makes life not fun to say the least. Don't rag on the army because the average soldier has to make these decisions in a split second and the war is a disaster.

Posted by: k on September 16, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

norman: And we haven't had a successful attack on our soil since 9/11.


.

there wasn't a successful attack on our soil in the 5-years before 9/11....

either...

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 17, 2006 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

Jason writes How can we question an administration that has conducted the war in Iraq so admirably?. We should always ask questions, Jason. One of the very best things about our military is their after action analyses -- they call it "Lessons Learned". Even the most successful operations like Iraqi Freedom can teach us how to do better -- if we want to learn.

Jason writes the troops are still short of the proper vehicles, body armor and IED-protection devices all these years later. The Stryker is the only vehicle which has proved itself capable of operating in Iraq. Um Jason, do you have any idea how many Strykers are in theater vs ALL OTHER VEHICLES? My guess is there's a THREE ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE difference. Why do you suppose we operate these other vehicles if, as you say, "they are not capable?"

As the great Donald Rumsfeld said, "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you'd like to have". And if there are shortfalls in equipment, you adjust -- which we've done admirably.

OBTW, if you'd like to blame anyone for a lack of men and equipment in 2003, try the eight years of William Jefferson Clinton -- he sure "reaped the peace dividend" of Reagan's defeat of the Soviet Union. Check out the cuts to the defense budget taken by your side.

Jason writes And in WWII, when the Grant, Stuart and Lee tanks were proven to be duds, we got rid of them quickly and built more Shermans. We built so many that the British were using them in large quantities by the middle of 1943.

Ah, we're finally getting on point -- Jason thinks WWII was better fought and managed than Iraqi Freedom or the war on terror -- and Jason cites the "Sherman Candle" -- or "Tommy Cookers, as the Germans called them -- as his best demonstration of the superior smarts of the WWII-era War Department vs. our modern day Dept of Defense.

Jason, how many revisions did the M4 go through? How long did it take before they put a decent cannon on it? How many men were burned alive in it?

All this is not to criticize our planners then -- they did the best they could and they adapted -- just as our planners do now. And our military today is qualatatively better than it was in WWII by every measure. But certainly, that war was no better fought.

Jason writes ...they came up with a brilliant plan straight out of the 9th century when they came up with the idea to dig a moat around Baghdad to prevent car bombings..

Um, Jason -- I'm not sure what your issue is. Is it that our military has learned lessons from prior wars? Is it that you're worried that this tactic might be too effective, and that you moonbats will lose yet another of your talking points (all you idiots do, is talk)?

If you knew more about our military colleges you wouid have learned that they study past campaings as a very important part of their education. But you were obviously over-educated in what passes for one of our institutions of higher learning, so you know nothing -- save that the world undercompensates you sages and that the government should take money out of the pockets of us productive folks and pass it back to you all as "benefits".

Too bad, Jason -- the gravy train has stopped. You're going to have to make your way in this world without government handouts. Perhaps if you had learned a trade instead of majoring in women's studies ...


Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 17, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: cc on September 17, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Jason, demanding more punishment, writes: I've taken part in dozens of them [after action analyses] I'm sorry, Jason -- I don't find you credible. See below.

and Jason writes, We have sent the army we have because the Pentagon has not moved fast enough to equip the units in theater with the one vehicle that saves lives--the Stryker--and has left them to use the vehicles that were designed for ground war in Europe. I would call that 'incompetence.'

And I would call this stupidity on your part, Jason. The Stryker is the renamed, "Interim Armored Vehicle", and was rushed to Iraq after major combat had ended. Our military had NONE of these vehicles before Iraqi Freedom and, OBTW, the Stryker has not been an unqualified success - Wapo - Study faults Army Vehicle This is the kind of idiocy on your part, Jason that gives the lie to your claim to be a military expert.

And Jason writes, [Donald Rumsfeld] has actually killed soldiers--unless you think sending someone into a fight with the wrong gear [no Strykers] is admirable.

Jason, as I've explained, the army didn't have ANY deployable Strykers in 2003 (and the units had and still have problems). But blowhards like you are wont to flaunt their ignorance ... and you wonder why I think you're a moron?

And Jason writes, The so-called peace dividend was the handiwork of one Defense Secretary Cheney, who scrapped four of our active duty divisions and cut massive amounts from the defense budgets that carried well into the Clinton adminsitration. Certainly, cuts were needed. Reagan had defeated the Soviets. But Clinton cut the defense budget by fifteen percent from the projections of Bush 41. And Clinton also destroyed the morale of the military.

Jason, asked if he thought WWII was better managed than Iraqi Freedom or the War on Terror given the abysmal combat record of the early Mark 4 battle tank, responds, Absolutely. If you read any of the books about El Alamein, the British preferred the Sherman, despite the fact that the turret was somewhat vulnerable, to any of the tanks they had access to. The Sherman's 75 mm cannon, which was equipped with High Explosive, phosphorous and armor piercing rounds, made it a match for the German Mark IV, outclassed the German Mark III, and was superior to all of the Italian tanks in the theater. The Sherman had its problems, but in the year that I cited, it was more than adequate.

Well, Jason -- According to Belton Y. Cooper's memoir of his 3rd Armored Division service, the Shermans were "death traps"; the overall combat losses of the division were extremely high. The unit was nominally assigned by table of organization 232 medium tanks (including 10 M26 Pershing tanks that made it into combat). 648 tanks were totally destroyed in combat, and a further 1,100 needed repair, of which nearly 700 were as a result of combat. According to Cooper, the 3rd Armored therefore lost 1,348 medium tanks in combat, a loss rate of over 580%. Cooper was the junior officer placed in charge of retrieving damaged and destroyed tanks. As such, he had an intimate knowledge of the actual numbers of tanks damaged and destroyed, the types of damage they sustained, and the kinds of repairs that were made. His figures are comparable to those given in the Operational History of 12th U.S. Army Group: Ordnance Section Annex.

The disparity in quality is not only highlighted in statistics taken over entire campaigns; in a single battle, The British Columbia Regiment had nearly 100 percent vehicle casualties at Point 195 in Normandy during August 1944. Operating in darkness, the regiment navigated to the wrong hill and found itself surrounded by German armoured units on adjacent hilltops and subsequently wiped out during the next morning's fighting.[1]

The only other Second World War tank produced in comparable numbers to the Sherman was the Soviet T-34 series, which many critics consider as a contender for best tank of World War II, although it too had high losses during the war. Compared to the M4 Sherman, the T-34 had lower ground pressure and sloped side armor while the M4's advantages included much better ergonomics and (on late models) fire-resistant "wet" ammunition stowage.

OBTW, Jason -- The T34 was derived [stolen] from a design by an American name Christie. Our war department didn't see fit to buy these tanks and the T34 turned out to be the best tank of WWII. Do you think this means our War Department was derelict? Oh-- that war was run by the Democrats, right?

What else does Jason offer to prove his thesis that WWII was better run than Iraqi Freedom? And there was accountability in WWII--generals and admirals were relieved on a regular basis. Incompetence was not tolerated. A prancing queen like yourself probably fancies himself a stilletto heel wearing version of Patton--go look it up.

Um Jason -- why wasn't McArthur relieved after leaving his planes on the ground in the Philipines to be destroyed by the Japanese on the eighth of December, 1941?

MacArthur's inaction and failure to follow war orders causes the loss of American air power in the Philippines

Within minutes of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which occurred at about 2.30 a.m. on 8 December 1941 (Manila time), the news was received at the headquarters of the United States Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines. Admiral Hart was informed at about 3.00 a.m. The news was not passed on to the army. Shortly after 3.00 a.m. on that morning, General MacArthur was informed of the Japanese attack by his Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Richard K. Sutherland. An army signalman had picked up the news while listening to a Californian radio station. At 3.40 a.m., Brigadier Leonard T. Gerow, Chief of the Army's War Plans Division, telephoned MacArthur from Washington to confirm that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese. He told MacArthur that he "wouldn't be surprised if you get an attack there in the near future". [1]

The commander of MacArthur's Far East Air Force, Major General Lewis Brereton, heard the news about Pearl Harbor from Brigadier General Sutherland shortly before 4.00 a.m. Brereton immediately placed MacArthur's only powerful offensive weapon on war alert. Many of his fliers had only just returned to their airbases from the lavish party at MacArthur's hotel. It is at this point, that MacArthur's headquarters at Manila takes on the characteristics of a chapter from Alice in Wonderland. History records that the Japanese launched devastating attacks on MacArthur's airbases at about 12.20 p.m. on 8 December 1941. Instead of acting decisively to prepare for a likely Japanese attack on the Philippines, MacArthur took no significant action between 3.00 a.m. and 12.20 p.m. to bring his command to a proper state of readiness to resist an attack and to preserve his air force. Whether MacArthur's paralysis during these critical nine hours was due to indecision or the restraining influence of President Quezon, or perhaps a combination of both, has never been satisfactorily explained by historians.

From 5.00 a.m. on the morning of 8 December 1941, Major General Brereton tried to speak to MacArthur about a Far East Air Force response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but he was repeatedly denied access to MacArthur by Brigadier General Sutherland. At 5.30 a.m. on this morning, MacArthur received a cable from Washington directing him to execute the Rainbow -5 war plan at once. [2] It will be recalled from the preceding chapter, that Washington had amended the Rainbow -5 war plan on 19 November 1941 to include orders for the planes of the Far East Air Force stationed in the Philippines to attack any Japanese forces and installations within range at the outbreak of hostilities. The Japanese airbases and harbour installations on Formosa were within range of MacArthur's B-17s.

Two of the most extraordinary aspects of this morning were (a) the failure by MacArthur to contact and confer with the commander of his Far East Air Force between 5.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m., and (b) MacArthur's failure to obey both the amended Rainbow 5 war plan and the war order transmitted from Washington at 5.30 a.m.

Major General Brereton was aware of the Japanese propensity to launch surprise attacks at dawn, and he wanted to persuade MacArthur to mount a bombing attack on the Japanese airbases on Formosa. While waiting to see MacArthur on this morning, Brereton was informed by Admiral Hart that Japanese carrier aircraft had bombed the American seaplane tender William B. Preston in Davao Bay on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. This was clearly a hostile "first overt act" by Japan of the kind referred to in General Marshall's war warning of 27 November 1941. In response to this direct hostile act against an American warship in Philippine waters, Brereton again asked Sutherland to permit him to see MacArthur or approve bombing of the Japanese airbases on Formosa himself. Sutherland refused both requests.

Fearing that his aircraft would be caught on the ground by the Japanese and destroyed, Brereton finally ordered them aloft to circle their airfields. Shortly after 9.00 a.m., Brereton was told that Japanese aircraft had attacked southern Luzon, and he pressed Sutherland again for permission to attack the Japanese airbases on Formosa. Again Sutherland refused. It was not until 11.00 a.m. that MacArthur finally approved a bombing attack on the Japanese airbases. Brereton ordered all of his aircraft to land so that they could be refuelled and the bombers armed.

As a direct result of MacArthur's inexcusable failure to bring his command to a proper state of readiness to resist a likely Japanese attack, most of Brereton's aircraft were sitting on their airstrips when Japanese bombers and fighters arrived overhead at about 12.20 p.m. on 8 December and took them by surprise. Reflecting the slackness of MacArthur's command structure, radar and other warnings of the approach of unidentified aircraft formations had not been passed on to flight commanders at American airbases. At the Clark Field airbase, located about 50 miles (80 km) north of Manila, the American bombers and fighters were caught on the ground and most were destroyed. Other Japanese aircraft attacked the American fighter airbase at Iba on the west coast of the main northern island of Luzon and destroyed all but two of the American P-40 fighters based there. Half of the aircraft of MacArthur's Far East Air Force were destroyed on the ground on the first day of the Japanese attack. In the following week, continuing Japanese air attacks reduced Brereton's remaining aircraft to a handful of P-40 fighters and a handful of B-17 bombers. Realising that there were not enough fighters left to protect the B-17 bombers, MacArthur ordered Brereton and his staff to take the B-17s to the safety of Australia.

It has been difficult for historians to establish the reason for MacArthur's fatal inaction during the crucial nine hours that elapsed in Manila following news of the Pearl Harbor attack. There was no American government inquiry into MacArthur's behaviour of the kind that addressed alleged failures of command at Pearl Harbor. When informally questioned after the war, the chief actors in the Philippines disaster appeared to be concerned to protect their own reputations by shifting blame to others.

Gee Jason, was this one of the after action reports you "studied"? You are such a liar! You know nothing of the military and are just a poser! What a moron!

What I love is how little you morons know about warfare and the protection of these United States. All's you can do is to proclaim disaster -- without anything to back it up.

Indeed, Afghanistan and Iraq have been brilliant campaigns. But in all wars, mistakes are made and lessons learned. Except you morons never learn anything.

And you wonder why I object to my tax dollars subsidizing idiots like yourself, Jason? It's not my fault the world values you less than your self image demands. Time to get real and try to compete with the skills you have.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 17, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Jason -- absolutely squashed and still fuming.

Jason, when was the Stryker first fielded? When was Iraqi freedom launched? In what way was our military at fault for not fielding a weapon it didn't have? And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

And the best tank of WWII? T-34 Simply the best tank in World War 2

Hasso Manteuffel, commander of the 7th Panzer Division, was interviewed by Basil Liddell Hart after the war for his book The Other Side of the Hill (1948)

Tanks must be fast. That, I would say, is the most important lesson of the war in regard to tank design. The Panther was on the right lines, as a prototype. We used to call the Tiger a 'furniture van' - though it was a good machine in the initial breakthrough. Its slowness was a worse handicap in Russia than in France, because the distances were greater.

The Stalin tank is the heaviest in the world; it has robust tracks and good armour. A further advantage is its low build - it is 51 cm lower than our Panzer V, the Panther. As a 'breakthrough' tank it is undoubtedly good, but too slow.

It was at Targul Frumos that I first met the Stalin tanks. It was a shock to find that, although my Tigers began to hit them at a range of 3,000 metres, our shells bounced off, and did not penetrate them until we had closed to half that distance. But I was able to counter the Russians' superiority by manoeuvre and mobility, in making the best use of ground cover.

Fire-power, armour protection, speed and cross-country performance are the essentials, and the best type of tank is that which combines these conflicting requirements with most success. In my opinion the German Panzer V, the 'Panther', was the most satisfactory of all, and would have been dose to the ideal had it been possible to design with a lower silhouette. A main lesson I learned from all my experience was that much more importance should be placed on the speed of the tank on the battlefield than was generally believed before the war, and even during, the war. It is a matter of life or death for the tank to avoid the deadly effect of enemy fire by being able to move quickly from one fire-position to another. Manoeuvrability develops into a 'weapon' and often ranks equal to firepower and armour- protection.

And doesn't doesn't your touting of the Mark V beg the question of your touting the Sherman? But you morons never we're known for common sense.

And what of your claim that commanders were relieved for incompetance in WWII? Your response? McArthur was a Republican? And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

Poor Jason, complelely squelched and left fulminating. What of your claims to be a military expert? BWAHAHAHAHA You're just another pathetic liar, angry because those of us with more talent and a taste for hard work are better rewarded by our society.

Are we having fun, Jason? Come on, give us another example of a war better fought (in your deluded mind). The problem is that you know nothing and aren't interested in learning. Come on, do a few more Google lookups and try to present what little you can glean from them to make your case that the brilliant Donald Rumsfeld is incompetent. And you wonder why you're a loser?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 17, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jason, how many keyboards do you go through a month? All that spittle plays havoc with electronics you know.

Let's see what you wrote in response ...

You now claim that the Panzer Mark V was the best tank of WWII (along side the T34). What an idiot you are! Where's your claim for the Sherman? Wasn't that your original argument? All's I was doing was poking gentle fun at your pretense towards ANY military expertise. (I hope you're enjoying this as much as I am).

What happened to your idiotic claim that the war on terror was poorly managed because our Defense Department didn't deploy the Stryker (A Weapon it didn't have) in 2003? Oh never mind, right? And you wonder why I brand you as a moron and a pretender?

And your pathetic attempts to glean some military history off the internet and to pass yourself off as an expert (tell us again how many Lessons Learned you participated in again, you faker) -- just too funny. But you are typical of the Lefty Losers -- the world doesn't appreciate you and you wallow in jealousy of folks like me who have made it in this world (and you want me to support you).

OBTW, here's a little more military history for you. The Russians had the benefit of American 6x6's while the Germans moved by horse drawn conveyances away from railheads. The single biggest contributor to the success of the Red Army was General Motors.

OBTW, you wrote But why was the Russian armored formation usually outclassed? The lack of coordinated fire and combined arms tactics--the German Mark V was better because of the units that it was attached to and because of its superior ability to coordinate fire with infantry and anti-tank units. By the time the limited production German Mark 5 made it to the Eastern Front (the battle of Kursk), the Red Army was unstoppable. No, the Mark 5 did not aquit itself well because the German army was thoroughly out generaled and basically destroyed at Kursk. You really are pathetic, Jason -- you're a complete moron and a poser. You know nothing and aren't interested in learning anything.

Hey, you admit that McArthur wasn't cashiered for his failings in the Philipines (see, you can learn a little -- it's not so hard). And I guess you've given up trying to prove WWII was better run than Iraqi Freedom?

OBTW, wartime ALWAYS results in the advance of science and engineering and WWII was certainly no exception -- it's just that you know nothing about it.

Jason writes, However, Roosevelt's mastery of war and men was complete What a hoot! Roosevelt has been described as a second class intellect -- but a first class personality. But, unlike your hero Bill Clinton (and like your enemy, GWB) FDR didn't fear not being the sharpest tack in the box and was happy to surround himself with brilliant people. It might be instructive for you to read the bios of FDR's cabinet and compare them to Clinton's and Bush's.

What you don't understand, Jason, is that LOTS of mistakes are made in all wars. WWII is not an example of a war better fought than Iraqi freedom. Tens of thousands of good men died because of command mistakes. It happens. And we try to learn our lessons and do better the next time.

FDR did NOT assume command of the war effort -- that was George Marshal's job. All in, a job well done.

Jason wrote What you fear is being humiliated by a liberal who has served in the military

Um Jason -- I've exposed you as a liar and a poser (hence your frustration and angst). You've never been in the military -- you're just that phony braggart who pretends to have served and I've exposed you.

Jason writes, Let's hear you bleat about Tal Afar and the strategy of building a moat around Baghdad. Let's here you actually refute the words of Rumsfeld's own man--General Schoomaker--and let's see a little better effort from you. The standard drivel isn't cutting it anymore.

Um, Jason? Schoomaker was Rummy's pick and if there's daylight between them, I haven's seen it. And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

And please tell us why a brilliant tactician like yourself would have done differently in Tal Afar (which was a complete success) and why you would eschew earthworks. You really are a moron.

And Jason writes, The first Gulf War - a brilliant campaign won by Bush 41, Powell and Schwarzkopf. Really must commend them for destroying the Iraqi Army in a matter of hours. It's going on three and a half years and Bush 43 can't beat 20,000 ragtag deadenders with the full weight of our military--more men and women have now fought in Iraq than in Gulf War I.

And you wonder why I think you're a moron? The Gulf war NEVER ENDED! We spent twelve years enforcing the cease fire that Saddam repeatedly violated, at a cost of $4B/year. This was the proximate cause of Iraqi Freedom, you moron!

But Tommy Franks conquered Afghanistan in a month and Iraq in three weeks -- and you think this was a failed effort? And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

Today, Afghanistan and Iraq are fronts in the war on terror. This is GWB's flypaper strategy, and it's working brilliantly. The Islamicists can't afford to see democracy work in these places because it undercuts their ideal of the restoration of the Caliphate.

This is a brilliant strategy by GWB and it's working to perfection. There's a reason there hasn't been a successful attack on these United States since 9/11 -- and it ain't because of the efforts of you cowardly bastards.

Jason writes, You must be so proud of the results--which are, a country in civil war and not one Iraqi battalion ready to fight on its own.

Once again, you flaunt your ignorance, Jason. You can't have a civil war without an alternate government. Where is it, Jason? And do yourself a favor and look up the order of battle for Iraq and learn how many divisions of Iraqis are now combat ready. You really are a moron.

Jason writes, your boy Rumsfeld is going to do, come December 2006. He's going to declare victory and 'cut and run' on Iraq and then resign.

What a hoot! What is it about you idiots that engenders this primal need to imagine you all are smarter than our President? Compare your lack of a career to GWB's. Here's a man who was graduated by both Harvard and Yale, who was a successful businessmand and who was twice elected Governor of Texas and President of these United States. And what have you done? You're still living with your parents and you can't find a decent job!

The best predictor of what GWB will do is what he says. There is no way he will accept the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, nor would Rummy resign unless asked.

What you idiots can't stand is that there is NO ONE in this world who can stand up in a debate with Rummy. He regularly mops up the floor with the Dimocrats on Capital Hill -- and they hate him for it. And so do all of you.

Why does Rummy do this? Because he speaks the truth and is inciteful and modest and very intelligent, and most of the opposition is as dumb as you, Jason.

Of course you pray for him to leave, Jason -- he underscores just what morons you all are.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 17, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

ooh Jason -- I've got you so steamed you didn't even wait for my reply to add to your stupidity.

Unfortunately for you, you've once again demonstrated your stupidity and yourself as a fraud. You know nothing of military matters and you're a poser.

Jason wrote, MacArthur wasn't in charge of all US forces in the Pacific. He wasn't put in charge until March 18, 1942, which is when he was named the commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater by President Roosevelt. In the Pacific, responsibilities were split between a Navy Admiral and a US Army general--Normie, you did know that we fought on the water in big, iron ships? Or was it in 24 gun frigates made of kindling? So, your assertion that he should have been relieved is laughable--he was NOT in charge of the Pacific when the war started. After he was evacuated to Australia, MacArthur was appointed CINC of all land and air forces in the Southwest Pacific, but not the Naval forces. Is that how you treat a man who won the Medal of Honor? You denigrate his service?

Jason, what a complete idiot you are -- and how pathetic are your attempts to quickly learn a little history of WWII to attempt to refute someone who has read widely and deeply on the conflict.

1. In July of 1941 Roosevelt recalled McArther to active duty and made him commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). It was in this command that McArthur left his planes on the ground to be destroyed by the Japanese on the eighth of December, 1941.

2. Following this debacle, McArthur would never again be appointed to overall command in the Pacific. Instead, he was forced to share command with the Navy. McArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). Admiral Nimitz was Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.

3. The advance towards Japan was conducted separately by these two commands. McArthur came up from the south and waged a brilliant command of "island hopping" -- bypassing islands garrisoned by the Japanese that could be cut off and would not threaten supply lines. Nimitz came west through the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and the Marianas.

McArthur's luster was restored (he really did do a terrific job) and the US needed heros. So his lapse in the Phlipines was allowed to be forgotten -- except to historians.

Would you like to tell us again how much military history you know, Jason? And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 17, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Poor sad Jason. Exposed as a poser and wannabee, now reduced to sputtering and ranting.

Jason, you have amply demonstrated how little you know of military history -- indeed history of any kind. And you have shown yourself to be the poster boy of rabid lefty bloggers (when you're exposed as a liar -- change the subject, quick).

Perhaps you'll learn something from this exchange (likely not, but still ...) There's a reason you've not yet achieved the success in life you feel is your due. And the reason is NOT that the Republicans treat you unfairly. The reason is that you are unwilling to look at yourself in the mirror and to admit that there are many people in this world who are smarter and better looking than you.

The only hope you have for success is to work harder than the next guy -- the is the story of America. But you cannot achieve anything by lying to yourself and blaming your failures on others.

Look, even Kevin Drum has achieved some success -- not by dint of talent or education -- but because he finally kept at something long enough to get lucky (luck is the derivative of preperation and hard work). He found a patron, Markos Kounalakis, and Kevin is now widely read (if often derided).

Look, Jason, you're attempts to offer yourself as an expert at anything are pitiful. I gave you a simple challenge: If you claim Donald Rumsfeld is a failure and the Iraqi war mismanaged, put it in context (give us your best example of a war better fought by these United States). And what did you do? You demonstrated how little you know and how little you'd like to learn.

Let's examine your most recent spittles:
You claim that I can't admit he didn't know the difference between the T-34 and the T-34/85.

When did THAT come up in this exchange? And where does it apply to your pathetic attempts to claim WWII was better managed than Iraqi Freedom?

And it's painfully obvious, Jason, that you have no technical training or ability -- and no knowledge of history save what you've gleaned from comic books and the internet.

Please tell us, Jason, what do the differences between T34 models tell us about the relative merits of the War Department 1938-1945 and today's Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld?

-won't bring up the Tiger tank, which outfought opponents in virtually every battle. Fails to see that the Mark V was the better all-around vehicle thanks to armor, armaments, radio communication and training of its crews.

Huh? Why do you think that a few minutes of Googling make you an expert? Oh, I forgot -- this is all you are capable of doing and is the principal reasons for your failures in life -- you don't know what you don't know and have no interest in learning.

Let me help you out: The Tiger (and later Tiger II) were initiated because the T34 was qualatatively better than the Mark 5's). The T34 was by far the best tank of WWII. And the Tigers had some successes, but they were a work in progress (less than 2,000 were built) and very expensive in labor, material costs, and build-times. They broke down excessively and were most successful when used defensively.

-denigrates the service of the Sherman tank, failing to comprehend its value as an infantry support vehicle and failing to see that it did, in fact, turn the tide at el Alamein and save the British Army.

Huh? Turned the tide at El Alamein? Have you never read ANY history, Here's an article from Wikipedia -- even a moron like you should have been able to find it. Rommel was defeated by a General who was willing to fight and who enjoyed command of the seas and the air. Amateurs argue tactics -- Professionals understand logistics.

And you're complaining about the conduct of the war on terror? And you wonder why I think you're an idiot?

-wrong about the Stryker

Huh, it's your claim that our military is derelict because we sent them into battle in 2003 without the Stryker -- but (as I've amply demonstrated -- and you have failed to refute the Stryker wasn't yet operational -- it was still being tested.

This was your main argument in your rediculous attempts to demonstrate the deficiencies of our modern military -- and I've wiped your nose with it. We didn't have Strykers to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom And all you can do is to copy and paste articles about the Stryker (and how good it really may be -- but nothing to demonstrate that they were held back from our troops -- Because they weren't And you wonder why I have so easily branded you a fool?

-wrong about MacArthur

Um Jason, didn't you claim that MacArthur wasn't in charge of all US forces in the Pacific [when he unaccountably left his airplanes on the ground to be destroyed by the Japanese on the eighth of December, 1941 -- Therefore Roosevelt couldn't have releived him for cause because he wasn't in charge]. He wasn't put in charge until March 18, 1942, which is when he was named the commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater by President Roosevelt.

As I've explained above, McArthur was the supreme commander in the Far East and absolutely was derelict in his early conduct of the war. I was refuting your claim that WWII was better fought because bad commanders were relieved. Of course, more bad generalship is likely to emerge in a three year war than a three week war, and so your claim was silly on the face of it -- but I enjoy so much exposing posers like yourself.

So what have we learned, Jason?

1. You are a poser -- you know nothing of our military and our history.

2. You are an idiot -- you think you can google a few facts and compete with the experts.

3. You are a very unhappy man who truly believes you are entitled to the fruits of the labor of others and are unwilling to admit that your failings in life are your own fault. A typical lefty.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 18, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Back for more punishment, Jason. OK, glad to oblige. I'm just doing my bit for humanity (morons like you really need your noses bloodied).

Jason writes, The Stryker was developed in the late 90s, fielded in 2002, but not deployed to Iraq because Rumsfeld's war plan didn't take an insurgency into account--despite the fact that there were warnings going all the way back to the first Gulf War that the main reason NOT to invade Iraq was the possibility of a Sunni resistance. Failure to take that into account and provide our troops with the proper vehicles--gross incompetence.

What's really funny, Jason, is how morons like you try to seize bits of information on subjects they know nothing about and try to pass themselves off as experts. I take great pleasure in skewering you and your fellow travelers.

But let's focus on your current stupidity.

1. The Stryker was not ready for deployment when the ships were being loaded for Iraqi Freedom. The Army in fact planned in 2003 to speed up the program so they could have the vehicle for peace keeping duties in Post War Iraq. Army Puts the Stryker on a Fast Track - National Defense Magazine, July 2003 -- and the money quote: In anticipation of extended peacekeeping duties in Iraq and future contingencies in urban areas, the Army is stepping up efforts to field its first Stryker light-armored vehicle brigade.

This was July of 2003, Jason. And when did Baghdad fall, Jason? And you wonder why I loudly proclaim, You're a moron, Jason? And you keep falling into it. What an idiot.

Come on, Jason, come up with some cites to substantiate your claims that the military withheld the Stryker from Iraq. Who made the decision, moron? When? Did you write to your congressman to complain (you have such love for our troops, right?) (Hint: it never happened -- you're an idiot!)

Jason writes, 2. Poor Normie can't get out of the whole T-34 vs T-34/85 blunder. The original model T-34 was NOT the best tank of the war, by a long shot, but he continues to backtrack. Just write that the T-34/85 was as good as the Mark V and be done with it. Admit defeat. Be a man.

Um Jason, as it happens I know a great deal about WWII armor, but I haven't written one word in this exchange about the different models of the T34 (save that the earlies ones were ripped off from the American, Christie). When you tried to pretend to be an expert, extolling the virtues of the Sherman Mark 4, I explained that the best tank of WWII was the T34. I suggest you read over your rants -- perhaps you can make sense of them. If you can find ANYTHING by me differentiating between early and late model T34's, I will humbly appologize -- but you can't. It is you who is a liar and a poser. You know nothing of science or engineering or military matters. You're just a poser who's been caught out.

Indeed, when I called you on your Sherman nonsense it was you who tried to claim the German Mark V was the best tank of the war -- because you'd never heard of the T34 and just picked up the first factoid you Googled. You're an idiot, Jason, and I've had great fun exposing you.

And Jason writes, 3. Poor Normie has a woody for General MacArthur. He'd like to see the man villified. Well, I for one won't tolerate the villification of a man who returned to active duty after retiring to serve his nation and who won the Medal of Honor. How crass and classless for an intellectual lightweight and a rank amateur buffoon like Norman Rogers to question the service of someone like MacArthur.

Wow, this is REALLY funny, Jason. You absolutely don't give a shit about any of our soldiers -- you think of them as pigs -- and here you pretend to take great umbrage at the mere thought that Douglas McArthur might ever have blundered. What blatant hypocrisy, I LOVE IT.

Hey moron, how is it that you feel free to hurl insults at Donald Rumsfeld (a man whose socks you couldn't wash), but you pretend to be upset about a critical look at what appears to have been a blunder by a man you never heard of, Douglas McArthur? As you have amply demonstrated above, Jason, you know nothing of World War 2 (and little of anything else, by the way).

Do you really think you can escape by claiming high dudgeon? Tell us, Jason, what history you've read and why you think yourself qualified to discuss WWII and Douglas McArther -- and tell us why you think his leaving a hundred brand new P-40's and thirtyfive B-17's on the ground to be destroyed by the Japanese a day after Pearl Harbor was a good thing. Not to mention two divisions of American troops who eventually suffered 90% death from combat and torture.

Would you like to read some real criticism of McArthur, try this -- you might learn something. Then again, probably not.

And let's revisit how we came to discuss your newfound hero, Jason -- you were attempting to demonstrate that WWII was better fought than Iraqi Freedom (or Afghanistan) to justify your credentials to criticize Donald Rumsfeld. And your main criteron for judgement? Your claimed fact that bad Generals were fired in WWII. And I asked you why McArthur wasn't sacked after his blunder in the Philipines. Well it took you a few searches to find out who McArthur was (I think you still really don't know). And it is absolutely hysterical that you're trying to posture yourself out of your stupidity by pretending you value McArthur as a hero and won't countenance ANY criticism of the great man (kinda like you feel about Big Bill Clinton, right?).

So please, Jason, tell us more about how much better fought WWII was and why losing the Philipines and Clarke air force base was a piffle, compared to the awful defeat we've suffered in Iraq -- or was it Afghanistan? What a moron you are, Jason.

And Jason writes, 4. Poor Normie thinks the metric is a three week war; sadly, those three weeks stretched into three years, and this is the truth--the Iraq war is now the albatross which will hang around the necks of the Republican party for the next ten election cycles. Better to hang it all on Rumseld so that the dedication of the George W Bush Presidential Library in Leavenworth, Kansas does not have to dwell on the Iraq War as much as it probably should. This is a library which will hold one, slim book, called 'My Pet Goat' and there will be a number carved into marble--that number will be the number of Americans who had to die for his lies...

Well, Jason. I expect history will break down the conflict into a three week war to conquer Iraq and a decade or two as a front in the war on terror. But that's just my opinion (of course, it helps that I know more than a little history).

And of coure, all you morons care about is winning the next election because all you morons care about is picking the pockets of the those who produce in this country. You can't get over how unkind life is to you and you won't take that long look into the mirror to find out why.

History will be very kind to George W. Bush as it is to Ronald Reagan. History will not be kind to Bill Clinton as it is not to Jimmy the Cracker Carter.

And I expect we have passed the apex of the Democrat party. You morons stopped making little Democrats (see -- you have made a contribution to the world) and we will never again see a Democrat majority. (And if the Republican party started to act as the party of Lincoln, I'd be a happy man. -- but as bad as they may ever be they at least care for their country).

And you Jason, need to get out of your mother's house and get on with your life. You're never going to be rewarded for being a whiny cunt, Jason. Get a job and make the best of it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 18, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

OOH Jason just loves getting beat up and I just love beating him up.

Jason, challenged to demonstrate ANYTHING to prove his claim that the military withheld the Stryker from Iraq comes up with a citation that Rumsfeld saved the program! What a moron! Way to Go, Jason! Rumsfeld saved the program you claimed he withheld from Iraq! Rumsfeld SAVED THE STRYKER -- and you found a citation to prove it! Way to go moron!

And did I miss a demonstration that the Stryker was deployable before Iraqi freedom? I thought not -- you can't provide one because it ain't true. What a moron you are. No refutation of the article cite I gave you? BWAHAHAHA

And let's see, no rejoinder on the smashmouth I gave you on your ignorance of WWII (and your pretense of expertise)? BWAHAHAHAHA

No more spirited and defense and faux horror at criticisms of Douglas McArthur -- a man you'd never heard of? BWAHAHAHAHA

Oh, the setbacks in the Pacific theatre were only temporary? I guess so. What's a couple of hundred thousand casualties to American troops, right? You really, really hate our military, Jason. And you wonder why I have such disdain for you?

But a couple of thousand deaths suffered in the war on terror and you're horrified? Why do I think if there was a Democrat in the White House you'd be his biggest cheerleader? And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

And Jason wrote, in Bush's own words--Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror.

You really are a moron, Jason. Bush told us that we would carry the fight to the enemy -- terrorists and those nation states that harbored terrorists and he specifically branded Iraq, Iran and North Korea, the axis of evil

From his 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush said

But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.

Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. (Applause.) And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

Anyone else you'd like to misquote, Jason? And you wonder why I think you're a moron? BWHAHAHAHA

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 18, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

OHNO, have we finally shut Jason's mouth? And we were having sooooo much fun!

Yes, Jason, I quoted GWB from his 2002 State of the Union address, exactly as I stated above. I was demonstrating what a moron you are. You claimed that GWB had said, in Bush's own words--Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror.. So I quoted to you what GWB ACTUALLY said about Iraq and her support for terrorists.

I guess you're unused to arguing with folks who know something of what they speak and are prepared to back themselves with citations.

Well, Jason, perhaps you've learned a sharp lesson. But I expect you'll continue lying to yourself, insistent on believing that your failures in this world aren't your own damned fault.

Well, you'll be less likely to contribute your genes to our pool and the world will be better off. You could never settle for the woman who would have you and no woman with something to trade would settle for a loser like you.

It was no great achievement to squelch you with fact and reason -- you have none. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Good night and good fight!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 18, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

No, Jason, you didn't drew [draw]the distinction that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11--Bush finally admitted this fact. You wrote (see above),in Bush's own words--Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror.

And GWB didn't "finally admit this fact [that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 He never claimed that she did. Others have and there is a lot of fairly recently uncovered evidence that suggests that she did, but GWB never made that claim.

And of course you don't believe that Iraq is now the central front on the war on terror -- you're an idiot!

Come on Jason, you want to continue to mix it up? But all's you're doing is denying the things you yourself wrote above.

Jason, I beat you lke a drum! Don't you want to act like a man and admit it? BWAHAHAHA

Jason, you've amply demonstrated that you're a no nothing and a poser. You can't win an argument over facts when you've never read a book. When's the last time you visited your local library? Do you even know where it is? Do some reading. Learn some facts. Then come back for more. You make things too easy.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 18, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Good night, Jason -- I hope you've learned something. I'm done with this thread.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 18, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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