Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Zim

Just watching right now, but there's trouble brewing in Zimbabwe. Samizdata is reporting that the MDC (the chief legal opposition group) or some part of it, is calling for a direct confrontation with Mugabe. The newspaper Zimbabwean cites this radio speech by Tendai Biti, an MDC member of parliament.

“I can’t tell you - and the hundreds of Central Intelligence Organisation officers who I know are listening to me right now – about who is going to provide the leadership, who is going to do what, and so forth – but what I can guarantee you is that the anger is overflowing in the veins of the average Zimbabweans. They will defend themselves. The time for smiling at fascism is over.”

There are persistent rumors of impending 'something' in the air. Zimbabwean Pundit has this report from a source in-country about something called 'Stay Away'.

“We had to go to FOUR different stores just to find bread today. Because of the displacements during Operation “Murambatsvina” (cleanup), hundreds of thousands of people have nowhere to stay or prepare their food, so they clamor for the bread when they can find it cause they don’t have cook it any further before they can eat it. Even those of us who lived through the war (of liberation) have never seen anything like this before. It is unbelievable I tell you.

Harare is cold, and people are suffering. You will not believe Mbare Musika (long distance bus terminus and popular informal market) if you went there now; it looks like they dropped a bomb over there. There’s congestion as people try desperately to leave the city and the debris from demolished stalls is all over the place.

I think this time the Stay Away will succeed it’s not like the other times. The war vets (chief culprits of violence and pandemonium during the government sanctioned farm invasions) are livid about the cleanup. They had their makeshift homes destroyed during the blitz too. People lost everything. That has made them frontliners in the calls for protests against the government.

People around the city (Harare) are well aware of the planned protest. The independent media and cell phone text messages have been the main way that the message has been passed on. There have also been a lot of fliers handed out in the city here. People are definitely aware. The Herald and ZBC—Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (both government propaganda) continue to belittle the stay away but I think anyone who had any doubts, now knows the reality that this government is cruel. How can anyone with a heart do this to their own people?”

I don’t think I’ll be able to get into town for work on Thursday and Friday. The combi (minibus—informal transporters) people have already told us that they will not be plying their routes during the stay away. Everyone seems set to be involved this time. I don’t know if I can get into town. I might go to work but if I have problems trying, it’s not worth it. What do you want us to do? This is too much man, we are suffering here.

What is this Stay Away thing? SW Radio Africa carries this announcement from its organizers.

Please note that the Stay Away on Thursday and Friday is official - it has the support of all major civic bodies in the country. They are calling for a solid two-day stay away from work to protest in a manner that will not expose people to the violence and intimidation of the Police and the Army. Just stay at home - do your buying on Wednesday and then take a 4-day break. Do not go out if you can avoid it as there may be trouble and the safest place for you is at home.

Please note that this is not the only action being taken - there are several initiatives being run at the same time. Further action is planned for next week and you will be informed of this as decisions are taken and the relevant information can be released to the public. We are not prepared to take this nonsense anymore. The country is collapsing and with it our companies and jobs are in serious jeopardy. The Police and the Army are just as fed up but they want to see what you feel about this situation. The Stay Away is your first shot at this. Lets act together as we did before.

My own simpleminded take on all this, without the benefit of special knowledge or experience in southern Africa is that the opposition to Mugabe will be nonviolent for now, but is unlikely to remain so for long. The reason: food. The Washington Post reports that Zimbabwe's granaries are empty and the only prospect of replenishment is international food aid. The UN is on the case: when Mugabe's in need, the UN will heed.

Zimbabwe, facing fears of widespread famine, has welcomed the resumption of international food donations that could feed up to 4 million people, U.N. officials reported Wednesday. President Robert Mugabe had curtailed such aid last year, saying the country could feed itself.

After meeting with Mugabe in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, U.N officials said the delivery of several hundred thousand metric tons of food would begin as soon as supplies were collected and routed to Zimbabwe. The food will be directed to schools, orphanages and work programs because Zimbabwean officials have objected to the creation of centers that would distribute food to the general population, the officials said.

Mugabe's ploy puts the West in the classic dilemma of either propping up a despot with taxpayer-funded food aid or withholding it, whereupon the Left will immediately yell "Bush is using food as a weapon!". For example, last year the Christian Science Monitor ran an opinion piece from a Mennonite Pastor denouncing malnutrition as a "weapon" in the context of Cuba. Why should it be different from Zimbabwe:

Ever since President Carter's discredited sanctions preventing grain sales to Russia, most US politicians have disavowed the use of hunger as a weapon. In 2000, George W. Bush said in a presidential debate, "We shouldn't be using food as a diplomatic weapon." For good reason: Food embargoes don't work. Aiming "weapons of malnutrition" at Cubans will only weaken America's moral standing in an era of great challenge to its foreign policy. The correct path for US-Cuba relations goes in a different direction.

Unfortunately for the Left, even if the evil Bush administration meekly handed Mugabe all the grain he could glom there's a good chance his despicable and corrupt regime would simply sell or hoard it. One way or the other, what is nearly certain is that conditions will continue to worsen. The second probability is that Mugabe will not react gently to Stay Away. He has gotten away with so much, so often from the spineless "International Community" -- you know the one that provides unparalleled "legitimacy" -- that he will odds-on overdo his response. What then? I think Professor Stanford Mukasa, a Zimbabwean teaching journalism at a US college had it right when he said that Zimbabweans could not expect the cavalry to ride over the hill, massacre or no.

“Zimbabwe is not sitting by the rivers of Babylon,” he said. “Many people outside the country cannot understand why there has been an absence of anger for so long. We know how ruthless and brutal the Mugabe fascist regime can be… they are terrorizing the population. But the international community is looking to the people of Zimbabwe … to stage a spontaneous uprising. The question is – can they do it on their own or do we look to civil leadership to play that role?”

Well, maybe not the US Cavalry but George Bush has been looking for a few good men. At a meeting with Thabo Mbeki recently, President Bush said:

the South African leader gave him a briefing on regional efforts to help end the political crisis in Zimbabwe, where Washington says April legislative elections were neither free nor fair. "Obviously, we are concerned about a leadership that does not adhere to democratic principles, and obviously concerned about a country that was able to, for example, feed itself and now has to import food as an example of the consequence of not adhering to democratic principles," he said.

President Mbeki says he told Mr. Bush that African leaders are working with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders to encourage them to look at changing the constitution and the legislature to create the political basis for a stable, democratic system. "What is really critically important is to see in what ways we can support the opposition party and the ruling party in Zimbabwe to overcome their problems," he said. "And clearly one of the critically important things to do is to make sure that you have the political arrangements that address matters of the rule of law."

This suggests that GWB is looking for a regional partner that can actually intervene in Zimbabwe if it falls to pieces, but that Mbeki isn't biting, for now. All the same, I wouldn't be surprised if the U.S. European Command, which has responsibility for Southern Africa, isn't drawing up some contingency plan on what it will take to support the RSA if it has to go into Zimbabwe. Bottom line: things are going to have to get a lot worse before Mbeki and the "International Community" get themselves in gear. But when they do success will depend on the groundwork that is even now being laid by the USA. Given Mugabe, it is just a question of when.

180 Comments:

Blogger Peter UK said...

Tony Blair is looking for a legacy now that the EU has gone pear shaped,he has chosen Africa.
With Gordon Brown weighing in and the forthcoming G8 Summit and Geldoff concerts there has never been a better time to put pressure on the Prime Minister of the former colonial power.
Here

6/08/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Blair should take point on this project. Zimbabwe and Mugabe are both British responsibilities. It was their Colony and they created the conditions that morphed Rhodesia into Zimbabwe and installed Mugabe as President for Life.
We should be happy to assist in any way we can. Just one more stop in the Global War on Terror.
Least we could do is fund an Insurgency in Zimbabwe. Around 25 million or so would go a long way to hiring covert professionals that could get the job done quickly.

6/08/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Assigning blame or responsibility doesn't get anything done. I believe that the reason we haven't done anything yet is because of the image issue. It just looks too imperialistic. We've been trying to give Africa the chance to clean its own house, but it's not working and it's just giving China opportunities in Africa. We should take the initiative in an aggressive way and just start bombing Mugabe's military assets. It would certainly make Sudan pay attention.

6/08/2005 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Desert Rat,
Various operators have flourished in the Zimbabwe region. Remnants of the SADF have provided private security for ex-colonial farmers and have saved countless lives. But private security companies, such as Executive Outcomes, have gone out of business, primarily through pressure by the British government. The farmers, and their private militias, have had to forego the use of their most effective military hardware, namely helicopters. At present, there are no safe ‘base of operations’ for them to deploy from.

The use of private security is the best kept secret of Southern Africa and must remain that way until the West comes to grip with the brutal nature of Marxism in the region.

6/08/2005 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

Agree with Desert Rat 100% that this is a British problem: their push for black rule forced the independence declaration in the '60s and their pressure against the Rhodesians and the Smith government was largely responsible for its ultimate surrender to the communists led by Mugabe.

Send the SAS in (with American air and logistical support) to get all the whites and coloureds (Asians) out, and then let just let it go....

6/08/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

A strange thing has happened to Africa over the years. British elites who once helped to preserve the old order abruptly changed sides and now cynically exploit the instability for the sole purpose of money. At least they have shed any pretense of civilization and empire. Brussels, the world beacon of incorruptibility and justice is stuffing its’ coffers with blood diamonds.

As long as there is instability in the region, the diamond market will prosper, the weapons will flow to the Marxist regimes, and the people of Africa will suffer.

The parallels to the Middle East are stunning. But if one can ostensibly make the case that oil=farming=life, one can only say that diamonds=$$$.

“Fourth, and perhaps most important of all, is the unmasking of the true powers behind Mugabe's mining operations for both uranium and diamonds and his military adventures in Congo and Angola. These ventures find connecting points with a group of powerful and wealthy white men who continue to wield tremendous influence in Africa behind the scenes. Without the support of these Englishmen -- who reside in the UK -- Mugabe's regime likely would have withered and died long ago.”
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=19102

6/08/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

What an excellent black-and-white situation: Mugabe is as black as can be, heart and mind and politics and action! Nations of goodwill and courage stand in contrast and opposition to Mugabe's enforced and oppressive famine and relocation.

What better time to take decisive steps and remove this crazed dictator!?

6/08/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Some Western political entity has to take the lead on the issue, none better than Blair and England.
Flush enough cash into the existing system and, believe me, they will be able to find a base of operation.
Private Security has flourished in Africa as long as I remember. Mike Hoare and company took control of the Congo, as I recall, in 1964 with a light force of 300 mercenaries and a lot of aggresive action. Granted they had the assistance of 1000 of Belgium's crack Régiment Para-Commando paratroopers, delivered by USAF C-130s to Stanleyville's airport.
Low cost and quick.
The Congo is still a mess today, though. Currently it is the home of the UN's Piecekeeper Kiddie Porn production facilities.

6/08/2005 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Why is it that the opfor get to use children in flip flops and we have to use the US Army?
Where are our kids in flip flops. Where is the symmetry?
Sir Ollie and R Reagan had it right, meet them on their ground with their techniques. Insurgency and sabotage. These tactics, while not nuclear, can still obtain a fourth conjecture. Well they should.

6/08/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Gotta agree with everyone else on this. Blair in conjunction with the rest of the Commonwealth (with American commo and logistical support) moves in via South Africa, whacks Mugabe, and restores order.

I doubt anyone would say peep about "sovereignty" in this particular case.

6/08/2005 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Garrett Hardin used to use the term "promiscuous altruism" to describe the willy nilly sending of aid to failed states thereby dooming them to a cycle of failure.

http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/tributes/tr_lynn_2001.html

6/08/2005 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

We can't lay all the blame at the feet of the Brits. While we were stumbling through the "Losing Vietnam" fever, we badly neglected the larger Cold War. By 1979, we were losing one country per continent per year to the Communists. We pulled the plug on our South African allies while Cuba had 15,000 troops in Angola, which has suffered civil war ever since their "liberation."

The United States and Angola, 1974-88: a chronology

6/08/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

Sorry folks but I would completely oppose any sort of foreign adventure in Zimbabwe or anywhere else in Africa. If Tony Blair wants to go do it, then he can do it on his own. But I certainly don't think America owes him anything else after that disasterous nonsense with going to the UN over Iraq. As has been shown, this additional time just game Saddam the opportunity to plan for all sorts of deadly mischief, which American forces are paying for still.

No thank you. We went to the UN to cover Tony Blair's arse. That's more than enough payment right then and there. As for any aid or debt relief, no F-ING way!

Can I ask President Bush to wake up one day, just ONE F-ING DAY, without spending a billion dollars in some half-arsed scheme?

If the people of Zimbabwe want freedom, then they can damn well go fight for it.

6/08/2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

'ed' is right.

We should stay out of Africa, where nothing is more certain than that nothing will go right anytime soon.

It's time Africa took some responsibility for itself. Let the RSA either sort it out or be responsible for not doing so. Otherwise they will just carp on endlessly about the ways in which our intervention is less than perfect.

6/08/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yeah, that is the correct course of action in a Global War, cede half the Battlefield to the Opfor because you disapprove of some of the actions of one of our Allies.
Oh, it may cost some cash to spread some food around. Better to use that money buying Protective CBR suits for Firemen in Phoenix. That will secure our place in the World and the South African mineral deposits for posterity.

Get serious, if you cannot stand the Carping turn off the TV.

6/08/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger remoteman said...

Taking this guy down should not be an expensive effort, but we should leave it to the Brits to re-establish long term security. Actually, there is probably a lot of internal capability that could do that if they were allowed to, as long as there were someone from the outside keeping a lid on any Mugabe diehards.

6/08/2005 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Right--it must first be admitted that Africa is incapable of achieve a level of popular sovereignty that would satisfy our expectations for an intervention because Africa is probably about as raw as it was prior to European colonization--only now it has a patina of jeans, air conditioners, cars, banks and constitutions which most people with a petty sociological view of reality will take as a sufficient ground for republicanism. Wrong.

However, the question which arises in our reasonably generous hearts upon viewing this ancient and relatively mundane form of fratricide is How can we stop it? This strikes me as a necessary part of the overall civilizing mission, thrust upon us in our compassion, which drives the current democratic offensive around the world. Of course the offensive serves strategic concerns--democracies rarely go to war with one another and all that (although such ubiquitous democracy is an utterly novel thing and distracts from the much more persistent ancient drives compared to which democracy is, in almost every case, a very thin, translucent, though effective lid (look even at France)). But I think it is just basically difficult, and undermines our international pretensions, to watch child soldiers hopped up on handfuls of coke gunning down villages and raping grandmothers, funded by the well-meaning but stupid NGOs. And it has gone on for a little while now, with no possible end in sight. So, we could sit back, like Ed says, and just let them cannabalize eachother. That argument has obvious merits.

Alternatively, we could urge Blair to go in--but honestly what would that get us? Surely another guerilla war--and Blair is already beset enough as it is, despite his re-election.

I still favor the decapitation bombing. I understand the political drawbacks, but frankly who cares. We need to shocking people a little more into reality clearly; we've yielded the upper hand to that to the terrorists, who obviously, more than anything, IMPRESS PEOPLE, in a rather ancient visceral way, to respect them. Enough of this crap: it is time for a more Roman policy. I'm sure Rumsfeld is advocating one with his transformed forces--what else could such rapid-reaction forces backed by heavy fighter power intend? What easier way to shortcut China's current strategy of not-so-covertly funding dictators around the world to incubate trouble for the Anglosphere? What, they'd do more of it? Not likely if their clients are all getting assassinated with impunity by lightning raids with only cheap political consequences and obvious moral justification.

6/08/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger DaveK said...

The terrible dilemma of food aid... If you don't provide aid, people will die... If you do provide aid, the people actually responsible for their plight can divert their resources to other agenda, and pretend that it is the aid providers who are responsible for the welfare of the victims. When people die anyway they will blame the relief agencies and other governments for the horror.

And it's worse in war zones. When outside entities provide aid for refugees and other victims of the combat, for some reason it seems that the actual combatants are absolved of responsibility for the welfare of the victims. If people die because they don't receive enough outside help, it's the fault of the NGOs because they didn't throw enough money at the problem.

And NO, I am not advocating the end to aid for the helpless victims of cruel tyrants and savage, genocidal wars. But it is an issue that must be faced. I fear that it will require the wisdom of Solomon to reach a proper balance.

Just my $.02
DRK

6/08/2005 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

US Forces in Africa
3,000 US Special Forces are training troops in Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria.
---
Flintlock is the name of U.S.-led, joint military exercises conducted by EUCOM every two years — this time in northern Africa with about 1,000 U.S. troops, mostly special operations forces, training about 3,000 African soldiers.
"Wherever there's an area we need to pay attention to, that's where Flintlock evolves and in this case, Africa is of growing strategic importance," Silkman said.
U.S. commanders are concerned terrorists could take advantage of Africa's little-policed deserts and jungles to set up shop. The regions are so remote and vast that Africa's relatively small, under-equipped and underpaid security forces have difficulty controlling them.
http://usatoday.printthis.clickability.com/pt/cpt?action=cpt&title=USATODAY.com+-+U.S.+forces+begin+anti-terrorism+training+in+northern+Africa&expire=&urlID=14490191&fb=Y&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.usatoday.com%2Fnews%2Fworld%2F2005-06-08-africa-terrorism_x.htm%3Fcsp%3D34&partnerID=1660
---

6/08/2005 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

The only longterm solution is to introduce real capitalism. That will require open markets by the U.S. and Europe, a relative lack of corruption, and enough stability to allow capitalism to grow. Ending corruption would require stopping a number of the current governments. We are currently stretched too thin to handle the security part, or the actions against the governments, but that is certainly within Europe's capabilities. We could certainly help by opening up our markets. ANything else will just continue the cycle that Africa is currently in, which will inevitably cause more problems for us.

6/08/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

The major problem that the U.S. has in dealing with problems in Africa is our inability to get past the white/black issue. The liberals are completely unable to view Africa as anything but an overseas version of Louisiana. In the mid-1980's - with the USSR pointing thousands of nukes at us, arming tinpot dictators all over the planet, and vowing to take over the world, a surveys of American blacks consitently showed that they thought the No.1 international problem we had was the apartheid govt of South Africa. Conservatives are disinclined to become involved in unncessary foreign intanglements - but mostly fear that to do what is required in Africa would open them up to additional charges of racism.
So, we follow the same approach that we did for so long in this country: spread a lot of money around, talk about how concerned we are, and never, ever speak ill of a black leader.
Perhaps it is time we applied the same attitude towrd crime and the same kind of welfare reform to our dealings with Africa that has worked well over here.
But most of all we need to recognize that it really isn't the 1960's in the Deep South over there.

6/08/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

Of course, if we don't do something about this, the PRC might & cement the long-term goodwill of Mugabe's domestic foes...

6/08/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Chinese are cementing ties with Mugabe, they gave no need of his foes.
The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

Helo
With our Armed Forces supposedly ca;ab;e of fighting two major conflicts at a time and currently engaged in one non major conflict in Iraq why are you thinking we are streched thin?

6/08/2005 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Mbeki and the ANC have decided to sleep in the same bed with Mugabe for the time being. Other african leaders have apparently made the same choice. It is not a good thing for an outside government from the modern world to attempt to change an african government by force, when the regional governments are allied with the dictator in question. Nothing good would happen.

Africa does not possess the human capital to enter the modern world. Whether this is due to corruption, cultural primitivism, debilitating disease, or other factors is open to debate. You cannot build a house when the wood is rotten, when the wood seems to choose to stay rotten.

6/08/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

rwe:

I see your point on a political level but it begs the question: Why aren't all the Jesse Jacksons and Farrakhans in the US organizing aid for Africa? Where's the Million Man March on Zimbabwe (with each man carrying a loaf of bread under each arm)? Granted, I'm not on the mailing list, but I haven't heard of anything like that being talked about.


As for US aid, this may be a stupid question but...

Have we ever established a policy of in-kind aid for these third world dictatorships? By that I mean, we supply food and distribution, rather than money. Or did that whole concept go out with Somalia?

Seems like attaching a policy of "we bring the food, we distribute it, we provide the security for the distribution centers or you get nothing" would be logical.

Get a well guarded airstrip and refugee camp set up and running, then tell Mugabe "Either play ball or we pull up stakes and turn these people loose. After explaining to them why."

6/08/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

It is perfectly logical for the UK to take the lead in Southern Africa. But it was also logical to expect Europe to take the lead in Kosovo and the politics of that situation created an intervention by committee. The key to successfully helping Zimbabwe is ensuring the right leadership element takes charge. If the UK takes the lead, they should be given enough support so that they have a free hand under clear terms of reference, whose ultimate goal should be to create a viable democratic state in Zimbabwe. If the UK is forced to ally itself with the EU/UN/NGO clowncar we are looking at a rerun of Kosovo, or Rwanda, or Congo or the Sudan. Consider that 800K died in Rwanda, 3 million in the Congo, God knows how many in Sudan. We are still hearing "gee whiz, people actually died in Kosovo". But what do we hear from the humanitarians? Twelve K (most of these by the hands of insurgents) civilians have died in the American Gulag of Iraq. Put these guys in charge of Zim, someone.

The key move in Zim is to make sure that a competent leadership plans the transformation. Otherwise it'll drag out, hatreds will multiply, etc and, to paraphrase Churchill, it "will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted humanitarianism."

6/08/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Desert rat,
Are you serious with that question? We currently have one major operation going on (Iraq), one medium-sized (Afghanistan), "minor" ops in a whole bunch of places (Haiti, Bosnia, the Philippines, and a bunch of others I don't remember off the top of my head), we need to be on guard against Korea, so a large number of those troops are unavailable, and we are trying not to burn out our forces.

6/08/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

“Africa does not possess the human capital to enter the modern world. Whether this is due to corruption, cultural primitivism, debilitating disease, or other factors is open to debate. You cannot build a house when the wood is rotten, when the wood seems to choose to stay rotten.”
*****************
Sadly, I think that al fin has it right. During my time in Africa, I came to the conclusion that whoever has power will abuse it. Corruption is the principal industry. Kill Mugabe and the next guy will, in time, be almost like him. Possibly, he will achieve his ends without quite so much bloodshed but, don't bet on it. I usually think that I see solutions to situations. Africa just leaves me puzzled and depressed.

6/08/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Helo
USMC = 250,000 men under arms
US Army = 499,000 active duty
US Army NG & AResv = 700,000

We had in Jan '04
130,000 deployed in Iraq
9,000 in Afghanistan
3,000 in Bosnia
37,000 in Korea
179,000 Troops deployed in Combat or Serious conditions (Korea & Bosnia)
This does not include USAF or Navy people

That puts US with 179,000 deployed out of a force strength of 1,449,000. That is 12.35% of the force.
If that is streched thin we need major revisions to our force structure.

"...For his part, though, Rumsfeld has contended that it is a question of simple math: The United States still has 2.6 million active, Guard, and Reserve soldiers at its disposal, which should be adequate to maintain 150,000 troops in Iraq.

"...That suggests that the real problem is not the size of the force per se, but rather the way the force has been organized over the years and the mix of capabilities at our disposal," Rumsfeld told Congress during this same point in the process last year. "And it suggests that our challenge is considerably more complex than simply adding more troops."

Maybe Ms Albright was right. How much of DoD's budget is just wasted. If when we need the force we are told that 88% of the Force needs to be in refit or training at all times there is no force. just money for nothing.
It is a matter of will, not manpower.
We are at War or not.

numbers source
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june04/army_1-13.html
Rummys quote
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0517/p01s01-usmi.html

6/08/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/08/2005 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Glad to have Desert Rat and a few others here to remind us that there are matters other than care for the poor and hungry involved here.
I appreciate Tony's comments "By 1979, we were losing one country per continent per year to the Communists."
We can't really afford more Carteresque Post Vietnam Malaise Syndrome to dictate our foreign policy.
One thing I've been thinking about recently is that because we collectively do not regard the PRC as the Evil Empire Incarnate, many other (false) assumptions follow.
Like it was a really bad thing, and people had to fry, when the Soviets were given Nukes, but because PRC may turn out to be really nice guys/trading partners in the end, it's not nearly as big a deal when we give Nukes to the Chicoms. Same for spying: We assumed Soviets had their employees burrowing wherever possible 24/7, but seem to like to act like there are not Chicom agents doing the same, even if there may in fact be more. etc etc.
Thus, given the Chicoms, WOT, Diamonds, New Age Asymmetry, and etc. more attention must be paid to Africa than "merely" whether food, clothing and etc. get where they belong.

6/08/2005 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

Wretchard,

I just reread your comment. While I agree with most, I cannot see where the "competent leadership to plan the transformation" will come from. Aside from Republic of South Africa, where has this ever happened in Africa.

This is not meant to be a cynical comment. Maybe I am too pessimistic but, this situation leaves me at a loss. Of course, "competent leadership" would make a huge difference. But, who do you see that will fit that description? Where will this leadership come from? I just don't see any African George Washingtons or Thomas Jeffersons. The plan is to get in, rob the place blind, and hold on as long as you can. What catalyst exists that will change this pattern?
Thanks for your excellent blog. I wouldn't miss it.

6/08/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Eat The Rich - An American Expat in Southeast Asia .
Sir Bob Geldof...
Don't expect to see any protesters with their placards in Edinburgh denouncing Marxist thugs like Mugabe, who's racist polices have driven Zimbabwe from being the breadbasket of Africa to the dustbowl or the sex crazed kleptocrats like the King of Swaziland who continues to deplete the small nation's treasury with luxury items for his 10 wives while his nation ravaged by poverty continues to struggle. Instead, we can most likely expect to see a plethora of anarchists and unemployed "human shields" blindly intent on blaming the G8 for Africa and world's woes and denouncing the warmongers Bush and Blair for their atrocities in Guantanamo and Iraq.
By engaging the fanatics of the extreme left and loons like Joe Trippi this time, Sir Bob Geldof is taking a big gamble. The prospects of riots or unlawfulness breaking out reminiscent of Seattle in 1999 will basically spell out Sir Bob Geldof's final swan song and deflect any attention from the crisis in Africa.
...Simon with Simon World has an open thread on how exactly Africa might learn from Asia here.
Kim Du Toit is also fellow blogger who has spent 30 years living in Africa and written a sobering assessment of the aid situation in Africa entitled "Let Africa Sink". I would urge you to read it.

6/08/2005 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Boston said...

Zimbabwe is landlocked. Long term intervention would require the construction of a port facility in Mozambique, and maybe hundreds of miles of paved roads into Zimbabwe along with whatever bridge work may be required, and that just to keep friendly troops supplied. The number of security forces needed to keep logistics moving would probably exceed combat troops by many factors. And that's assuming that the majority of locals were non-hostile. Add food-for-a-country to the mix and Zimbabwe would balloon into a massive operation.

Even a short term airlift operation would be problematic. All Europe doesn't have the heavy lift capacity to supply a boy scout jamboree so US capacity would be required at least through the early phase. That would mean diversions from Mideast operations.

All this begs the question of what would be achieved by DXing Mugabe. Unless there's some capable indigenous organization to come in immediately behind Mugabe's departure from this earth the good effort would dissipate almost immediately into another round of civil chaos with the intervention force as a most likely target.

Generations of internal and external effort may be required to bring security and prosperity to Africa. One democratic bastion at a time.

6/08/2005 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

husker met: It was known that back in the days of Idi Amin that American black leaders were curiously and notable silent in regards to his excesses. And it was known why, too. Part of the problem is that they do not want to speak ill of another black leader and part of it is because of what Idi Amin was doing - and no doubt Mugabe and his ilk are. Do you think that they put all of their looted money into Swiss bank accounts? No, just as in Oil For Food they buy friends with their ill gotten gains.
If a chorus of American Black leaders spoke out against Mugabe he would be gone in a month. That they are not speaks volumes.

6/08/2005 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

noprisoners,

Nor do I know whence the leadership will come. But I'm personally convinced it's the key. Bureaucracies such the State Department, but not just them, typically have a medicine chest full of standard "repertoires". With the best will they are looking for the combination of nostrums in that medicine chest which best suits the case. Now there's a bottle marked 'multilateral intervention by the international community" sitting right next to 'give more money through NGOs' and 'send Special Forces to train armed resistance cadre' and whatever. Each of these bottles may have a use in the right situations. I am not sure whether the medicine required is in the remedy cabinet, so what may wind up happening is that we give the patient a cocktail of whatever there is. It gagged Kosovo and pretty nearly has killed the Congo. But what's the alternative?

6/08/2005 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/ohanlon/20040604.htm

Has what seem to be more accurate or current numbers for our Military Strength, as of Jun 04.
I overstated the size of USMC, there are 175,000 not 250,000.
It does not change the basic premise though, just 13% of our Ground Pounding Force Structure is deployed at any given time. Not to high for a Nation involved in a Global War.

6/08/2005 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Diamonds are Forever .

. Diamonds are Forever - Freep

6/08/2005 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Army Headed to Recruiting Shortfall
.
'Rat:
Biggest Problem is Media War on Bush/Military.
Above headline would not be seen at this point, except for that.

6/08/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Doug
That is correct, but where is Bush and the boys? There is no counter campaign. No War Bond Drive, No Support the Troops Parades, Not even a national push for the USMC Toys for Tots. "Fighting Terror One Smile at a Time" drive.
There is no explanation of the Global War and no Call to Duty by the powers that be.
Reagan was the Great Communicator, George W., I'm afraid, is no Ronnie Reagan.

That is why the whole WoT will be finished in December, after Iraq has FREE ELECTIONS.
Lack of continued public support, due in part to poor advocacy by George W. and his helpers. The case could and should be made, but I see no indications of anyone even attempting to, beyond George's Grand Speaches. No work in the PR trenches, at home or abroad.

6/08/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

OT,
Continued silence and inaction on Iran are shameful and cowardly, unworthy of any serious nation, let alone the worlds lone superpower.
People are dying every day, above all in Iran and in Iraq, because we refuse to come to grips with Iran. Many of these are our own children. READ MORE.
The blogosphere needs to fill the gap the mainstream media is refusing to report. Faster fellow bloggers. Michael Ledeen, National Review Online

6/08/2005 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Desert Rat wrote: "There is no explanation of the Global War and no Call to Duty by the powers that be.
Reagan was the Great Communicator, George W., I'm afraid, is no Ronnie Reagan."

Tho we are drifting way off the topic of Zimbabwe, I just have to agree. I fear this same drift, that we might crumble back into the '79 phase.

I hope I won't have to eat my words, but I think this administration has established us in this war too deeply, and too successfully, for us to suffer such a retreat in the GWoT - no matter who is in office.

The American people know better now. It's after 9/11, right?

6/08/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger TopCat said...

After Somalia and Haiti, it should have been apparent to our policy makers that the US needed a strategy to deal with thugs using famine as a weapon. Even Kofi Annan has recognised that the UN has to change it's standoffish attitude on these issues. We need to work out new tactics and command structures, possibly getting teams of helocopters (drones, maybe?) to deliver small packages of food to areas where the dictators do not want it.

6/08/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tony
We will have achieved Victory in Iraq as soon as the elections have been held. All of the Stated Goals will have been met. Victory in Iraq will morph into Victory in the WoT with the help of the MSM and we will be done.
The mission that we all know that we are on, intuitively, will be finished but not complete.

6/08/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

So we are talking regime change?

Someone mentioned decapitation-sounds good to me.

Shock and Awe seemed to work beginning in Kosovo and for Afghanistan...

And as for boots on the ground think we are stretched on that.

The AF was showing signs of strain after years of enforcing the no-fly zone and it would make sense to rotate to air power now.

But the signs of fatigue are there..

One I particularly dislike is the regular commissions for "everyone" not just Academy grads....ugh-why go to the Academy anymore?

But for some reason I think the sound of jets roaring overhead has a lot more fear value than the tank rattle that you can't hear for awhile.

As for Zimbabwe-somehow I am more worried strategically about instability in areas of Africa closer to the M.E. and then the center.

It would be nice to see anyone else take the lead in this for a change and for African countries to get involved but -boy o boy- Eritrea, The North and South Sudan even -Djoubuti is having problems...

Kosovo-shock and awe wise-went well even if Wesley Clark made every decision for his own self-agrandizement and we had to run to the French for targeting approval while they did what exactly?

And that leads to a question about the UN- subtract out the US and Britain and the Ausssies and exactly what would they be worth?

Aren't there covert and less obviuos ways to get rid of Mugabe?

Oh somebody call the Hague and fight for good ole Mugabe....ya-the UN probably would...

6/08/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

desert rat-

No War Bond Drive, No Support the Troops Parades, Not even a national push for the USMC Toys for Tots. "Fighting Terror One Smile at a Time" drive.

I think this is more of a function of and the difference between the Gulf War and the War on Terror. for that war the MSM approved[actually made media darlings out of Powell and stormin' Norman-they'll never do that again] and the liberals could understand it better because Saddam invaded a sovreign country and the Euros that the MSM are overly impressed with were grudgingly accomadating on the Gulf War...

At that time they were not co-opted by Saddam and Kofi's appeasement for oil deal.

6/08/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When the MSM see the chance to end the fight prematurely, they will jump on it.
They will have a good case. George W. has said time and again that Iraq is central to the WoT. He has articulated no further SPECIFIC goal for the WoT.
UBL dead or alive will become a Criminal Matter, as Kerry and the MSM have wanted for a while now.
Victory in Iraq will be the end of the Military Operations and I do not think that application of Soft Power will be enough to finish the fight successfully against the litany of Opfor that remain.
What Politician will argue that we have not achieved Victory when it is so obvious that we have? CBS will announce it, and it will be true.

6/08/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"...and we had to run to the French for targeting approval while they did what exactly?"
---
Didn't they facilitate the first real war test of the F-117 ejection system?

6/08/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

I agree with Wretchard that only an indigenous leadership can find a way to move beyond the purgatory in Zimbabwe finds itself. However, the perfect mid-wife for a revolution would be a battalion of airborne troops should such a leadership manifest itself and Mugabe go on a bloody rampage. While I recognize that this would be a thankless task (the Left would go ape and there is a good chance that we would trade one bastard for another), I would err on the side deposing a Democide and curtailing a bloodbath.

6/08/2005 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Right on, Ray

6/08/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

Doug-

Oh ya...

Who helped us bomb the Chinese embassy?

I can't remember who mapped that out seriously...was that all us?

Love to blame that on them...

6/08/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

madawaskan

That was all US
Either our map reading and Photo recon skills at the CIA really suck
or
We sent them a "message"
You decide

6/08/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Way OT but maybe not:
The Guardian reports

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1502378,00.html

"...A senior official said several sets of blueprints for uranium centrifuges - the so-called P-1 and more advanced P-2 systems which were peddled by the Khan network - have gone missing.

"We know there were several sets of them prepared," said the official. "So who got those electronic drawings? We have only actually got to the one full set from Libya. So who got the rest, the copies?

"We have no evidence they were destroyed. One possibility is another client. We just don't know where they are."

6/08/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger afhand said...

It seems to me armed intervention -- even a surgical strike -- in Harare would only gain us enemies. We have all those B52s in Diego Garcia, though. How about filling them with thousands of 20 lb bags of flour and parachuting the lot over the city? Mugabe would doubtless denounce it as a violation of Zim's national sovereignty, and there would be newspaper articles about the 18 or 20 deaths attributed to flour bags hitting people, but it would be a cool display of US airpower and a classic insult to Mugabe himself. Oh, and if a large pallet of flour had a defective 'chute and went through the roof of the Chinese embassy, wouldn't that be cool too? And a nice reminder to the Chinese that our map reading is sometimes flawed? Finally, I wouldn't worry much about the Chinese making friends in Africa. In my 20 years on the continent I never saw a single example of them succeeding in that. F

6/08/2005 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We dropped alot of rations into Afghanistan at the beginning of that operation. Pallets of Yellow packets the open and deployed individually.
We have the tech, we have the means, do we have the Will?

6/08/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger dan from cos said...

Been away for awhile. This is a good test to see if the American Public can see through the MSM and the lies of the Democratic Party. The Democrats will lie about anything ..just listen to the lies they have told about the Bush nominated judges and Mr. Bolton. It is time to do the right thing in Zimbabwe, however, regardless of what the MSM and the Democrats think. If some male, head of family, on your street is beating the feathers out of his family, sexually abusing them, starving them and taking what little they may acquire to buy booze and drugs for himself, would you step in? If you didn't, then I don't even want to know you.

WE KNOW what is right, we have the capability (Although the numbers cited earlier are inflated by at least 2) and we cannot let more of God's innocent children be killed by the great Satan of Islam and greed.

6/08/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

desert rat-

Damn it-wasn't the military-CIA ya-that's the ticket....

6/08/2005 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug, desert rat,

Do you know what the current deployment schedule is for major combat and support units? It's one year out/one year back. Do you know what it's *supposed* to be? One year out/two years back (or six months out/one year back). Half the time back needs to be spent in recovery and half the time in preparation to deploy again. Recovery and prep time have been cut in half on the present schedule, while deployment length is unchanged. Don't tell me we have all the force we need - if we did, we wouldn't be sending 'em out like we are - in violation of what we know is necessary in order to maintain morale behind the wire and effectiveness in the field.

So it's good to remember that "currently undeployed" does NOT mean "currently uncommitted and available at this moment for deployment" - for ops on-going, proposed, or imagined.

The Army is in trouble - and there are functional areas critical to a range of operations, large and small, that are presently red-lighting - Special Forces and MI, for instance. Positions go unfilled, things go undone (or done poorly) because there just aren't enough resources to meet the demand.

People get burned out, and I dare say that if Ronald Reagan himself rose from the grave and hit the circuit to fire up the homefront, it doesn't make any more attractive the prospect of an indefinite cycle of year-on/year- off tours - for those who have to do it, anyway. It doesn't magically increase the number of trained, experienced personnel available for the operations underway.

desert rat,

You think, come 2006, that OIF will begin its drawdown. I don't see it. I don't know how they'll keep it going 'til 2008, but I'll be damned if they don't. Because they have to.

6/08/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

afhand said...
"Oh, and if a large pallet of flour had a defective 'chute and went through the roof of the Chinese embassy, wouldn't that be cool too?"

Finely Ground White Flour, with proper attention given to dispersal and ignition, and we could have the first accidental demolition of an embassy by a Fuel Air Flour Bomb.
---
" In my 20 years on the continent I never saw a single example of them succeeding in that."
Some sort of cultural disconnect, perhaps?

6/08/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish said...
" - in violation of what we know is necessary in order to maintain morale behind the wire and effectiveness in the field."
---
So?
We'll just send Rummy over to give a rousing pep talk.
And fire up the Army guys by touting how many ships we're cutting from the Navy.
And fire up the Navy guys by how much we'll cut air support to the Army.
And, etc...
---
Meanwhile back at home, W will give a rousing speech about how all the money the Genius Rummy has saved will be "re-invested" in whatever Teddy's latest and greatest Domestic Panacea is.
(In hopes that Ted will never say a nasty word about the Bush's forevermore.)

6/08/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish,
And you thought right after 911 that things would never be the same again.
Looks like we may not have long to wait, sure is getting mellow here.
Have a good day.

6/08/2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Billmil said...

Zimbabwe (AKA Rhodesia) went down the tubes when the left of the western world put unrelenting pressure on the Smith Government, which ended up throwing in the towel.
The breadbasket of southern Africa is now like all the rest of the former colonies (SA, Congo, ect) nothing but a sewer.
The left is also guilty of doing away with Executive Outcomes. This highly successful group made up primarily of black former SADF commando forces was disbanded after pressure was applied by the UN with the consent of the Clinton administration to the South African government to pass a law that ended their activity.
If someone doesn’t fill the void in a hurry like the Brits or us, the Chinese will make a move and end up controlling the vast mineral wealth in Southern Africa. If we fail to act the future of our own economy and industrial base could be in jeopardy.
We need to immediately set up a group like Executive Outcomes, fund and train clandestinely with SF troops if need be and go in an topple the current regime of Mugabe.
It has always amazed me that the left of the western world have never seen a dictator that they didn’t love.

6/08/2005 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Doug, do you have any links to what you consider to be fair and good evaluations of the present "recruitment crisis" in the Army and Marines that the MSM is promoting? How real is it?

6/08/2005 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

billmill:
(from previous thread)
foxenburg said...
i was a young rhodesian infantry officer at the time of the bush war of the seventies. mugabe was a terrorist then just as he is now. the rest of the world wasn't that interested. the west had the cold war on its plate. south africa had its own problems. mugabe murdered his way into power in almost precisely the same way the sunnis might conceivably murder their way into power in iraq. the rhodesian whites had run out of money after over ten years of un sanctions. they mistakenly thought that they could remain productively in rhodesia post black majority rule because who would be stupid enough to kick them out and kill the goose that laid the golden egg. (we are too valuable an asset! wrong!) the rhodesian african population's attitude was "anything for a quiet life". so they voted in mugabe - who has become progressively more despotic and is now obviously mad.

6/08/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truepeers,
Did you miss my link Army Headed to Recruiting Shortfall from above?
Or don't you trust the Washington Post?
That would be mighty cynical of you.

6/08/2005 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The gap would have been even wider but for the fact that the target was lowered by 1,350.

The Army said it lowered the May target to "adjust for changing market conditions," knowing that the difference will have to be made up in the months ahead.

The Army also missed its monthly targets in April, March and February _ each month worse than the one before. In February it fell 27 percent short; in March the gap was 31 percent, and in April it was 42 percent."
---
Remember Trish:
"Don't Worry: Be Happy :-)"

6/08/2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The Navy is actually trying to shed thousands from its ranks."
---
Just teach them marathon swimming, and they won't need ships.
Verc will approve:
Lighter faster - Just airlift them, drop them in the drink, and wish them Bon Voyage.

6/08/2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Doug, it's just that I thought you were saying that the army isn't over-stretched and in trouble. Maybe if America is going to save the world it will have to do what the French did when they were wannabe saviors: foreign legion. THere are plenty of kids around the world who would sign up for half of what they offer Americans. And maybe some of them would have a good idea of what they were fighting for, not that I mean any disrespect to young American soldiers many of whom, in what I've seen, impress the hell out of me.

6/09/2005 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Don't Worry, Be Happy.

Better than Army of One, maybe. Funnier, anyway.

A week or so after Iraq invaded Kuwait we gave a party for the lieutenants of two armor battallions in Germany. On a lark I made a sign-up sheet for the "liberation of Kuwait" and stuck it on the front door. Everyone signed it; about half of those who did ended up, well, liberating Kuwait some six months later. They went off, kicked ass, came home - a roaring good time for a tanker (months spent waiting in the desert notwithstanding). It was the same going in to OIF. An enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm - the impatience just to get going, just to cross the ready line.

Once you stop moving, things change. "Crap through a goose" (in Patton's immortal words) is something Americans instinctively understand. To be in motion, to be progressing, to be driving forward: these are things we like. To be stuck, to be motionless, to be without something to get at, to go after with all possible speed: these are things we don't.

In Kosovo the biggest downer was the prison-like existence of most US troops. It's the same in Afghanistan, the same in Iraq. You can't pen people - mostly young people - up like that for six, twelve months at a time, give 'em a year off and bring 'em back for more, and expect that they're going to reenlist in impressive numbers, or say "no thanks" to early retirement when early retirement means a helluva lot more money as a private contractor. You can't expect people to risk marriage and family (not to mention life and limb) for that third or fourth tour in some deadening outpost in South or Southwest Asia or East Africa.

That's another part of the problem.

I have no ready solution, though there very well may be one.

6/09/2005 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger Davefa said...

A couple of points. Wouldbe donors of food aid have the dilemma that Mugabe uses it for political leverage. You cannot get a bag of aid maize without a party card from the ruling Zanu-PF.
Supporters of the MDC opposition umbrella group (predominantly from Harare, the capital, and Matabeleland) are starved into submission this way -- and by other means such as beatings, murder, etc.

I know the US last year considered actually delivering the food by air drop or getting it directly to the starving and bypassing Mugabe's commissars.

As to a military option. South Africa will not consider this because it may very well fresult in a bloody nose and unacceptable casualties. Little Lesotho, encircled by the republic, proved no cakewalk when SA forces went in to put down a coup.

Mugabe's security forces, long a staple of UN peacekeeping forces valuable source of foreign exchange, are mostly well trained and well-armed. It is not a banana republic army. In addition, Comrade Bob has a formidable Central Intelligence Organisation (inherited from the Smith regime).

The one thing that may tip Mugabe's nest over is failure to pay the armed forces. Given the collapse of the Zim $ and the drying up of foreign exchange, this is a possibility in the medium term. Revolution? No capability in the opposition whatever.

6/09/2005 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger 5050noline said...

All

Forget Blair taking on any sort of military action in Zimbabwe, his own gubbermint won't stand for it and the UK Forces don't have the resources for that sort of sustained intervention any more.

How would it look, having stiff-armed the Rhodesians and handed the place into the tender care of Mugabe, to now have to (effectively) reverse the process? Would not say a lot for BritGov vision or judgement. But would, quite correctly, say plenty about disastrous 'PC' diplomacy. I ask you, handing that country over to a bl**dy Marxist? What insanity was that?

Don't expect any support from other African leaders in support of any 'white' intervention, particularly from M'beki.

Al fin summed up the situation in Zimbabwe, and in Africe in general, very concisely. I will note that post and borrow a quote or two, if I may, in future.

Tribalism and the intrinsic corruption associated with it will ensure that Africa remains a basket case for the forseeable future.

Older Africans will often tell you that they were better of under the impartiality of colonialism.

Don't hold your breath over Blair's (ot Geldhof's) efforts to cure Africa by throwing money at it.

6/09/2005 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

re:
"THere are plenty of kids around the world who would sign up for half of what they offer Americans. And maybe some of them would have a good idea of what they were fighting for..."
---
Truepeers,
You no doubt saw this, but for those that didn't:
"Charles Moskos, a sociology professor and expert on military personnel issues at Northwestern University, has said the Army's recruiting woes are likely to persist until the children of upper-class America begin to enlist more readily. He also sees a possibility of the services relying more on non-Americans to sign up.

Moskos said in an interview Wednesday that of the 750 males in his graduating class at Princeton University in 1956, more than 400 went on to serve in the military. Of the 1,100 males and females in last year's Princeton class, eight joined.
"That's the difference," he said.

6/09/2005 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

al fin said,
"Africa does not possess the human capital to enter the modern world. Whether this is due to corruption, cultural primitivism, debilitating disease, or other factors is open to debate."
---
VDH said,
"For example, how did the Ptolemies create an even more dynamic civilization than that of the earlier dynastic pharaohs, when they inherited from them a supposedly exhausted and increasingly salinized landscape?
Or why did the palatial culture of Mycenae prove to be a dead-end society, and yet the radically different Greek city-state centuries later blossomed in the exact same environment?

More immediately, are we to suppose that there are underappreciated micro-climates that separate Tijuana from San Diego, strangely different soils on the two immediate sides of the Korean DMZ, and something about those ever-changing lagoons of Venice that made it irrelevant in late Roman times, a world power in 1500, and once again a backwater by 1850? Did the environment of Britain improve from A.D. 400 to 1700 while Rome’s declined, thus explaining why the former outpost of the Western world became its new center and vice versa?"

6/09/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Okay, one more unhappy post and then I'm done.

We attended the senior awards ceremony at our daughter's high school yesterday. A few military representatives were there to give recognition and reward to some of the graduates.

A Marine LTC introduced a lieutenant who spoke for a couple minutes to the large audience, saying a few words about the Marine Corps and about the student he and his commander were there to recognize. In all of my years in and around the military (and that is, quite literally, all of my years) I have never heard such an awful delivery from a young officer. We were shocked. It was painfully embarassing to listen to. The poor man sounded like a not-very-bright fourteen-year-old. What program did he issue from - and how? (And who knows. Maybe he's exceptional in other ways and just a frighteningly bad speaker. I hope so.)

Later my daughter revealed to me that another award given, also by the Marine Corps, to a student - a co-valedictorian - on her way to a prestigious university, was received with utter contempt and revulsion. The student considered for an instant not going to the stage and accepting the award but as quickly decided this was too embarassing for all concerned. Some of her friends suggested that she should at the very least, upon accepting it, have yelled, "No blood for oil!" This, in military-thick, still somewhat conservative northern Virginia.

It was really very sad to hear. Personally sad, if you know what I mean.

6/09/2005 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

I've come to this post a bit late. I've only had time to read the opening comments.

Apparently it's over to Tony.

Like Macbeth's dagger, the comments "marshall'st me the way that I was going" since I was born.

I like the Anglosphere. I like the West, from Salamis to now.

But we can't do everything. There may be a time to let actions HAVE their consequences.

Is this facist? The following poem, written by Britain's imperial poet, was a response to the American take over of the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War.

"Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace-- "

You know the rest.

Are we back to this again, or did it never really go away? Was Leftism a diversion, a false God? I don't know.

ADE

6/09/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

A little scary, also, Trish.
---

. _____Truepeers Blast from the Past_____.

Some nations have to fight long and hard to come into being, and this entails not simply a capacity for violence but showing the internal discipline and teamwork to justify their recognition by outsiders as a legitimate and functioning nation. But then there are "nations" that exist largely because they have been given such a priori status thanks to the white guilt of westerners keen for such nation status to be recognized by the "international community", so as to redeem the sin of colonialism. Thus we have the bloody and irresponsible history of modern Africa where many local elites have held themselves in power thanks to their importation of the victimary rhetoric of the smug and all too smart western intellectuals. Mugabe!

6/09/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Maybe you don't know the rest. It is relevant:

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

6/09/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/09/2005 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Trish
I do not think we will have WON the WoT after the elections but I can assure you that the MSM and the "Left" will proclaim it to be so.
Bush has done such a poor job of outlining an Action Plan for the Global War that most of the Public will believe we have won the Military part of the War and all that will left of the fight will be mop up Criminal Investigations. Perhaps the SEALS would be called on to 'snatch' UBL or some other high value target. But the conventional military phase will be done.

If our Armed Force is so disorganized that keeping just 13% deployed wears it out, we will have to come home. That will be one of the MSM arguments. You and exhelo will agree at some level. Others, less informed then you guys, will agree whole heartedly.

If, as USMC posted weeks ago, the Admirals in the Navy see this not as a Global War or a Clash of Civilizations but as a local action, then many military officers will agree as well.

My son volunteered to go back to Iraq after being Stateside for about 2 months now. That is how long it took him to 'burn out' on Camp LeJuene. The Corps is and has been Americas shock troops, if we attempt to morph them into being an Iraqis police force many more people will want them home.

When we had MOMENTUM we could have kept going and rolled up the entire Baathist network, in Iraq and more importantly, now, Syria. Instead we halted the assault and went into a Defensive mode against the Insurgents. Leaving both the Baathists and the Jihadists sanctuary. If you want an analogy to Nam, look at the Parrots Beak in Cambodia. A Club Med for the NVA, a wonderful R&R locale, just like Syria is for today's Opfor.

The Kurds could well be our Montagnards, I hope we are utilizing them in that manner, in both Syria and Iran, like Seymour Hirsh wrote about in the NY Times some months ago.

6/09/2005 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"If our Armed Force is so disorganized that keeping just 13% deployed wears it out, we will have to come home."

I am telling you, desert rat, that that percentage cannot be right, because if it were, our major ground units would NOT be on the rotation schedule that they are. For every year out, there'd be two back here. For every six months out, there'd be, at a minimum, twelve back at home. I don't know about the Marine Corps, but that's certainly not the way it's working now in the Army. That's not even something that the foreseeable future promises; that future promises at least a few more years of the present optempo.

The MSM can declare Victory and cry Bring 'Em Home if it wants. If we come home, we lose Iraq. Completely. And I haven't seen any indication - none - that we are in the process of preparing to give it up.

6/09/2005 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those are the numbers Trish, that is why Rummy has been calling for reorganization and base closings.
Ms Albright was more right than I ever thought.

It comes down to Will.

The way the Force is structured, now, the Reserves and NG would have to be called up. Rather than do that, as per the original proposals, we overload the Active component.
The majority of the NG and Reservists are not actively involved, feather bedded by politics, just like Belgium.

6/09/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Such pessimism about the capabilities of our Iraqi allies.
With the inclusion of the Badr Corps and the Kurdish Militia, as well as organic growth, the Iraqi Security Force will number around 250,000 men come December/ January.
Some of the Sunnis WILL BE involved in the Elections and the major part of the Baathist Insurrection will have winded down.
What will be left, Jihadists and Criminals will not require the skill sets of the 4th ID or the 1st Cav.
If their quarter of a million man indigenous force, combined with US air support, could not handle the mission as well as our 130,000 man occupation force we have no hope of Global Victory

6/09/2005 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Rat,
You can't count the Reserves as full-time assets; if we continue to do that there will be a very large shortfall in recruits for that branch. And the majority of the active duty troops also want to have at least a semblance of a family life; if they are constantly deployed, we are going to lose a lot of them as well. The only long-term solutions are to have a larger military or to get more allied support. I think a combination of the two would be the best. I think that figure you have for the USMC is high (I believe they are more in the 180K range); I don't know about the other stats.

6/09/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Helo
175,000 is the correct number. I posted the correction @ 4:55pm, but it was in the middle.

Brookings Institute provides the most accurate accounting I could find

http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/ohanlon/20040604.htm

I both agree and don't.
When Clinton and his gang down sized the Active Component from 750,000 to the current 500,000, that is when the Corps went from 250,000 to 175,000. The Reserves are depended upon under our current doctrine. According to Rummy the are, for the most part, in the wrong skill sets.
The current force structure was designed to make going to War difficult. They thought there would less chance of "Adventures" if you had to call up the Reserves to go on one.
Seems to be working.

We can't save the Zims or the Dafurians because we don't have enough guys. I don't believe it.
They are just miss managed for the current conflict.
The old 193rd Inf Bde from the Canal Zone was like a Marine Expeditionary Force. A self contained mini army.
A Unit structured in that manner could take Harare in a long day.
Hand power over to the organizers of the Stay Away. Quickly find Managers to handle the farms so they are ready for planting in September.
Import food stuffs as required

6/09/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

There is nothing to really replace him with except a different version of the same old tyrant. The African boil simply can't be lanced.

6/09/2005 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Rat,
When the current doctrine/force structure was put into place, incorporating a greater dependence on the Reserves, it did not take into account the long-term large scale deployments that we have today. The military was already stretched thin during the Clinton years, it is worse now. Yes, we could knock off Mugabe very easily and quickly, with minimal long-term impact on the forces. But then what? Just leave that nation in chaos? That is the problem here; not the initial action, but the long-term drain on our military. And while the reenlistments from the troops that have been in Iraq/Afghanistan have actually been higher than the goals, that is not going to be the case if this goes on for ten years. And that will not bring in the brand-new recruits that are needed.

6/09/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/4076462.stm

Posted two hours ago it is an interesting series of comments concerning the sitrep from Zim land

6/09/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

ADE - It's not over for Tony, I was just trying to point out that just because today's countries were once colonies of England, France, Belgium - that doesn't mean we can expect any of them to relieve us of our role in the world today, and it doesn't forgive us for our tying our hands with the Clark Amendment.
----------

Wrt to numbers in the field:
"CENTCOM AOR

As of early March 2004 over 114,000 US personnel and over 23,000 coalition personnel from 35 nations were deployed in Iraq. Over 26,000 US and Coalition personnel were deployed in Kuwait, providing logistical support to Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of mid-April 2004 the number of troops in the Central Command Area of Responsibility was officially estimated at between 200,00 and 225,000 total. Inside the Horn of Africa there were around 1,200 that dedicate or focus themselves on the Horn of Africa. In Afghanistan there were around 20,000.

An additional 30,000 soldiers are estimated to be operating in Kuwait and other areas of the region supporting operations in Iraq. Thus, the total number of soldiers in Southwest Asia is believed to be about 170,000."

US Forces Order of Battle 4 March 2005

6/09/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That has been my reason for calling for aggresive action NOW and Earlier. You are quite correct that we cannot maintain long term occupations. Quicker development of Indig Forces.
In Zimbabwe perhaps use of independent Gurka or for hire troops for internal security until the Indigs are ready. A 'Colonial' force of 10 - 15,000 men should be able to secure a place like Zimbabwe, I think. Perhaps I'm wrong, I hope the ex young Lt, foxenburg, may edify us

6/09/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tony has found regional numbers. 170,000 Soldiers in Region

The chart shows that Reserve units are making up a steadily increasing share of the Force as the rotations continued. I would assume that will be a future trend, as the Reserves are retrained to the needed skill sets.

You guys will convince me soon. Your arguments for withdrawal to save our Troops are becoming persuasive.

6/09/2005 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

RE: US Forces Order of Battle

That number for CENTCOM, give or take some thousand, is roughly the number deployed or PCSed per year. In other words, we're not talking about a single, static contingent, but well over 200K troops being rotated in and out of CENTCOM's AOR every twelve months or so. That means an equal number recovering from the last rotation and getting ready to take the place of the current one.

I think it was Hack who pointed out (to me anyway) last year that this is the first major military operation in which Reserves and NG are actually more than a third of the personnel in theater. If they weren't deploying, their numbers wouldn't be down like they are. Hack also pointed out what's been known for a long time: the Army has, at any given time and for a great variety of reasons, a lot of people who are essentially undeployable.

6/09/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Trish/Rat;
The U.S. military has, for a long time, had a relatively high percentage of its force in non-deploying support roles; that goes back at least as far as WWII. I believe that Rumsfeld, as part of his restructuring, has been trying to change that. (High number of staff personnel, etc.)

6/09/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger NemoDatQuod said...

Two thoughts:
One thing to watch for will be attacks on, or the desertion of police officers. Mugabe can likely presently rely upon the loyalty and strength of the army, at least certain units, but if the now displaced vets and/or the MDC) commence a campaign of individual attacks on police officers and/or their families at home, Mugabe will eventually have no choice but to use the army....

Two: How pitiful it is that the US did not continue with exploring Project Thor (aka Rods from God). Forget B-52's from Diego Garcia dropping flour, although that is a great idea. Dropping a weight from the top of the gravity well onto Mugabe's house just might send a message! Especially if he is home at the time!

Back of the envelope: a steel rod 1' diameter by 3.25' =~ 33 kg from orbit 25,000 fps equals roughly the same energy as 250kg of TNT...

6/09/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

You're right, exhelodrvr.

It's just that major change takes a long time, sometimes longer than you have - to make a significant impact on the conflict at hand, anyway. That's nothing new.

"You go to war with what you have." He was certainly right about that.

OEF in its early stages, I think, better represents future ops than Iraq. But it isn't applicable everywhere.

6/09/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Trish,
Do you think it is it appicable in Zimbabwe?, If not what solution is?

6/09/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/09/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/09/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

Rumsfeld has tried to fill support positions with civilian contractors-and it's a good idea but he gets beat up for that.

They say it strips guys from the active-duty which is a bunch of malarchy.

Not to many young mid-grade officers go for it.

It is mostly the newly retired.

They are extra dedicated and know what the active-duty are going through. They stay hours extra off the clock.

Once we run out of the newly retired guys who are loyal and willing to do things like that- I don't know what will happen.

6/09/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

exhelodrvr,

There is only so much (and it cannot be much at all) to "give" right now, and I don't think, however terrible the situation in Zimbabwe, that the takedown of Mugabe ranks. Simple altruism isn't enough to draw off already scant resources from one area and put them to another.

Priorities, priorities. You can shift them, but you've gotta make them.

As I've said, you can't do everything everywhere.

Is there another short-term fix available? That's the question.

6/09/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Droid armies?

It's not impossible.

6/09/2005 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How about funding an Insurgency that was both well armed and supplied, distributing food stuffs to the needy.
About the price of two F-22 jets the whole deal would be over and the nuns could be put in charge of feeding the needy.

6/09/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

... from a technical standpoint, predicated on the existence of a willing customer, virtually unrestricted availability of money, and an equal army of engineers unbothered by the potential moral implications of the final product.

6/09/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

DR's proposal is much more realistic.

6/09/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Rat,
All you would be doing would be creating another Mugabe.

6/09/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

I am more optimistic about the possibility of change in Africa. Have any of you read "Under the Red Sea Sky" by Edward Ellsberg?

He is a lone U.S. Navy officer, (an expert in salvage), sent to the port City of Massawa in what is now Eritrea, in 1942. He tells of trying to get native Eritreans to scrape the bottom of a ship. With the proper use of incentives, he is able to get them to work twice as fast as anyone imagined. He ends the chapter with this comment.

"The worst labor in the world? I often wondered how true that was as month after month in the Massawa heat I watched those puny Eriteans slashing away with scrapers, fiercely swinging paint brushes while all the time they danced and swayed to their barbaric chants. There is no worse labor in the world. Touch the proper chords- pride, incentive to produce, whatever fits the situation- and men will be found men, whatever their color, whatever their physique." (p177).

This says to me that we with our prejudice that Africa can't ignore that it can. We have just been doing it the wrong way.

If anyone is looking for a book to read, I can recommend this one. It tells the tale of a place where one man willing to take risks may have changed the course of world history. If Hollywood was still interested in making movies with heroes, this would be one.

For a web site devoted to Commander Ellsberg, go here.
http://www.edwardellsberg.com/bio.htm

6/09/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What gripes me about the later stages of this discussion is that it reflects the current political landscape so well.
Namely, every trade off is in the context of the military, Rumsfeld, the reserves, etc.
Not word one about what trade offs should have been made starting on 912, and continuing to today here at home.
Just heard Austin Bay say that his mother put it in a nutshell w/her anecdote about remembering as a 14 year old putting aluminum in a passing truck collecting for the war effort.
She knew it would not in of itself win the war, but she felt like she was doing something, and indeed, most everybody was.
Today, it's how can we make the Army act like the Marines, or have people sign up for the reserves knowing they'll be deployed almost immediatedly, or how could Rummy cut this MILITARY program to enable that one, etc.
All in the context of providing free Medical Care and College for illegals, and "conservatives" squealing like skinned pigs at the mere MENTION of maybe possibly cutting down our use of Oil or anything else AT ALL.
("It's my God given right to spend $300/per fill up if I can afford it... and why the hell are those sissies in reserves or RA complaining about ANYTHING?")

Just my uninformed 2 cents worth of opinion based on things long ago and far away, but still true.
...Guns and Butter, eh, LBJ?
You just watch this!
Guns Butter, Free Socialism for all, and as many luxuries as every conservative, illegal, and welfare recipient has time to spend money on.
(all while calling for more trade offs in the military.)
As Austin's mother and a lot of other old foggies know, if a little more had been demanded of those of us at home from the start, or even now, we'd all be better off, and better citizens to boot.)

And no, Rat, few here are calling for retreat, and I would wager most would agree a more offensive stance would go a long way to fixing many problems.
...that, and just a TEENSY bit of "sacrifice" here at home.
(I hereby volunteer 1 illegal in Oregon to give up his reduced college admission fees, and one single mom her week's shopping in in her 7,000lb econoSUV)

6/09/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bring back Shinseki:
He can redo the whole uniform this time, and the entire military will become special forces commandos.
OVERNIGHT.

6/09/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tony said...
Desert Rat wrote:
"There is no explanation of the Global War and no Call to Duty by the powers that be.
Reagan was the Great Communicator, George W., I'm afraid, is no Ronnie Reagan.
"
---
I hope I won't have to eat my words, but I think this administration has established us in this war too deeply, and too successfully, for us to suffer such a retreat in the GWoT - no matter who is in office.

The American people know better now. It's after 9/11, right?
---
And something more than explanation is called for:
By all of us.

6/09/2005 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Doug, you have an impressive memory. If only this were more widely shared perhaps more people would be aware of the need to make sacrifices. Starting with energy policy.

I probably was thinking about Mugabe, among others, when I wrote that. Not only is he the quintessential post-colonial victimizer, Mugabe is also antisemitic which probably buys him more friends on the loony left, since judeophobia is a mark of some kind of victimary status nowadays.

6/09/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

In an address to Parliament, Mugabe called the three-week blitz "a vigorous cleanup campaign to restore sanity" in urban areas.

"The current chaotic state of affairs where (small and medium enterprises) operated ... in undesignated and crime-ridden areas could not be countenanced for much longer," Mugabe said at the opening of Parliament.

Sounding confused at times and stumbling over his words, the 81-year-old leader also promised tough new laws to fight corruption and electronic crime, including the "dissemination of offensive material." He did not elaborate.

FINALLY! Someone gets tough on SPAM! If knocking down a few thousand shanty towns is what it takes, then it is Okay by me.

Or maybe he was talking about the Belmont Club?

6/09/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well exhelo, when those nuns and their Gurka body guards start starving the people of Zimbabwe we'll call on the new Pope to Straighten them out.
You and Trish are pessimistic as can be. Your right of course, we should just cede all of Africa to the Opfor because it is just to hard and expensive for US to carry the ball.
But we have to stay in Iraq for years, even after all the Mission Goals are met because maybe ?.
Let the natives die in Dafur and the children starve in Zimbabwe, US troops need to be home with mama or they won't reup. How about deployed for the Duration. In the last Global War, WWII, that was the ticket, now it's one year or seven months and rotate.
Hire Angolans and Gurkas, they fight on the cheap, and the Gurkas leave their wives in Nepal.
The Opfor utilize indig insurgents, wy don't we.

6/09/2005 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Doug,
My point exactly
How about a USMC toys for Tots Drive that delivers millions of Toys to the kids of Iraq, Dafur and Zimbabwe. Millions of Toys flooding the War Zones. Talk about your hearts and minds.
No imagination, No Articulation, No Support. The War will be over and Trish and Exhelo have told us why, just to tough for our Force to handle. To far from home for to long.
Let's declare Victory and come home. Then we maybe we can stop the Genocides.

6/09/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yeah Exhelo and in Iraq all we can do is create another Saddam.

6/09/2005 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Let's declare Victory and come home. Then we maybe we can stop the Genocides."
---
Hey, if it gets a few more moderates in for Rove and W, that's got my vote.
Vukovich for Poet Laureate, I say.
(when I'm not so overcome with emotion that I can't speak)
...and maybe we'll pick up another percent or two of that fast growing illegal vote.

6/09/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The Opfor utilize indig insurgents, wy don't we."
---
You should have learned that during Clinton/Gorelick.
...there's some things we don't do and some people we don't associate with.
And if you're in the FBI, I heard that STILL includes CIA.
(although unless and until Porter Goss cleans out that stable, that may not be such a bad idea.)

6/09/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When we saved El Salvador and turned out the Noriega Brothers there were VERY few Americans involved. Locals and cash turned the tide, call Sir Ollie and ask.
There are more options then GIs in uniform. Learn from success

6/09/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Toys to the kids of Iraq, Dafur and Zimbabwe."
---
And a corps of Rich White Christian (GOP) funded reporters w/good Digital Cam/Satellite Setups to send pics of all those smiling pickaninnies with the friendly friendly GIs.
...for the Print and Digital versions of "The Patriot's Paper."

6/09/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

More ot except part of W ot.
On to Damascus!
---
While mice were busy pretending they were lions in Damascus, Arabs and Kurds were at each other’s throats in Qamishly, and kidnappings of businessmen continued in Aleppo, where Islamists have made sure that alcohol is effectively banned.

Is there any doubt left that something is indeed boiling in the country?
For while some Baath varieties have gone with a bang, others seem destined to go with a shy and incredulous whimper. Fortune’s fools flourish briefly then they die - a minor flash in a rotted pan.
. Adieu comrades and good riddance.

6/09/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Use of the word "pickaninnies" got an Arizona Governor, Ev Mecham, impeached. Watch your language doug, you could lose your posting rights, McCain & Fiengold are always watching.

6/09/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Meaning of the End!
There is a story in the Qur’an about King Solomon. He is said to have died while standing on a hill leaning on his wooden staff. Watching from afar, the Djinn continued to do his bidding thinking that he was still alive. The Djinn only knew that Solomon was dead when earthworms ate through his staff and his body collapsed.

The Syrian regime is Solomon, the Baath is the staff, the Syrian people are the Djinn.
The mediocrity of the Baath Party Congress has just demonstrated to one and all that the Syrian Regime is defunct...
How long will it take for the Syrian people to accept and acknowledge the collapse of the Baath Party and the death of the regime?

Well, it all depends on how many people there are that are still willing to think like our Minister of Expatriate Affairs, Bouthaina Shaaban, when she said: "if the there were no Baath we will invent it."

. A Heretic's Blog

6/09/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, he'll send those Rappers after me.
McCain Woos MTV Crowd; Clinton Honored for 'Values'
Washington (CNSNews.com) - Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reached out to MTV's Rock the Vote Wednesday night, accepting the group's "Rock the Nation" award while former president Bill Clinton was honored for his "values."
"I'm most proud that an old geezer like me would have some attraction for young people.
It's pretty flattering," McCain told reporters on the red carpet before entering the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
(That's ALL we need: McCain to feel more flattered.)
.McCain Woes MTV Crowd

Rock the Vote also awarded former President Clinton its "Lifetime Achievement" award, meant to "honor an individual who has always made reaching out to people and appealing to their "values" a primary part of his efforts to make the world a better place."
Reaching out to primary parts, that's our Bill.

6/09/2005 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Boy, what an insult to the late (Indy '55)Great, Bobby Vukovich.
---
George V. Voinovich.
Order Your Tissues Online.
. Console George dot Com

6/09/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

This latest turn in the discussion regarding sacrifice, what we should be doing vs. what we can do, etc. is way more pessimistic than what I'm used to seeing up here.

I agree with Rat. We have a moral obligation (as do all other humans) to step in when necessary to stop humanitarian disasters.

But Trish asserts that we lack the manpower to get it done, which I kind of agree with as well. Right now, we're strapped for manpower, at least apparently.

Which then leads me to Doug and Truepeers thoughts on sacrifice.

I can only conclude that what I have always suspected is true: As Americans the question is less about what we can do, but rather what are we committed to doing. There is no limit to the amount of good we can do as a country, when we set our minds to it.

We could wage the GWOT and execute as many humanitarian missions as we wanted, if people properly understood the big picture mission. Recruitment and motivation aren't problems when people really understand the stakes of the game.

This is where GWB & Co, have completely dropped the ball, IMO.

6/09/2005 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

husker,
Sometimes the ball is still in play even though W. and company have not done much about it:
There's some poll out that shows a lot (60 some percent I think) of the people are for keeping the patriot act.
Yet to hear the Dems and the MSM Jihadis tell it, it's time to let Chirac, Brussels and Brother Kofi decide.

6/09/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

husker, given the widespread nihilism of our culture, it's hard to say wheter GWB & Co. have achieved a lot or a little. In any case, the battle goes on. Let's learn our lessons and move on in realization that a new chapter here in cyberia is just being written. There is, in this day and age, a limit to how much the center, any center, can lead; to some considerable extent it has to follow the lead of self-organizing opinions. SO let's get going.

6/09/2005 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Why not run a MEF in for take down and hold until relieved by a couple of Indian divisions? If we guaranteed the Indians airlift to get their troops back quickly if things became "difficult" with the Chinese or Pakis they might be willing. It's not as if India doesn't have interests in Zim or SA. They've been wanting to be taken seriously, let them cough up the troops.

Indig leadership that's worth a damn will probably have to come from within the Zim black Christian community. There are some very good people who would do an excellent job if provided good security forces.

6/09/2005 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Zim black Christian community"
---
Dean immediately charges:
"Same old GOP tricks:
They're all the same, poor, black, and Christian.
(Not that there's anything wrong with that: I'm a Christian - rich, white: I'm just sayin.)
"

6/10/2005 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Updates:
Imagine
According to George's colleague Sen. Patrick (Leaky) Leahy, "It is hard to think of a world without the U.N."
As John Lennon said, it's easy if you try.
Jun 08 2005 by Calvin Coolidge
. Console George dot Com .

Sen. Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, like other leading Democrats, predicted the Senate would approve Bolton, a strong critic of the United Nations, this week or next but said no previous American ambassador to the world body was approved by a small margin.
Makes sense to me: An American Ambassordor "confirmed by the "tiniest" of margins" for and illigitimate American President chosen by a tiny electoral margin on a mere 4 million votes cast largely in states w/much smaller populations than the states electing true Blue Senators.

6/10/2005 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The most pathetic GOP VP Debater Ever:
"I am doing a dinner. I am supporting Barack Obama and John McCain and youth voting, and I think we should be involved in the battle of ideas," Jack Kemp told Cybercast News Service on his way into the event.
"I'm a progressive conservative. I'm a Democratic Republican. I want everyone to vote in this country," Kemp explained.
"I think the Republican Party should be reaching out to every single voter in America, so that is who Jack Kemp is," he added.
---
Why doesn't he become a transvestite while he's at it?

6/10/2005 01:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mallard Filmore Rocks .
. Rock the Hypocrisy.com

6/10/2005 02:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

______National Review______ .
This sorry behavior was on full display Wednesday evening at Rock the Vote’s 15th-anniversary gala. Senators John McCain, Barack Obama, and Norm Coleman as well as ex-Democratic National Committee chief Terry McAuliffe and ex-Republican vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp all turned out so they could be seen with such celebs as the hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas and Amber Tamblyn, star of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

6/10/2005 02:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peter's link was missing an e in "href" so Here didn't work, but it does there.
---
Peter UK said...
Tony Blair is looking for a legacy now that the EU has gone pear shaped,he has chosen Africa.
With Gordon Brown weighing in and the forthcoming G8 Summit and Geldoff concerts there has never been a better time to put pressure on the Prime Minister of the former colonial power.

Here

6/10/2005 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Husker_met:

The only way that will ever work is if the Democrats and the MSM stop playing their partisan games and actually do what is best for the country. Of course, if they did that and gave the appropriate amount of support to the President, there would very likely be a significant Pat Buchanan-led group that would oppose further involvement, but I think that they could be dealt with. But first the Demos and the MSM need to get their act together.

6/10/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Rat,
I don't think the troops would appreciate the tone of that post. If you want an all-volunteer force, you have to face the reality of what will keep troops in. And being deployed 50% of the time, with the other 50% of the time spent getting ready for the next deployment, and recovering from the previous one, will not keep an all-volunteer force manned properly. Especially when the Democrats and the MSM handle the WOT the way they have been. And that same 500-700K group of people are supposed to do all the work for a nation of 300M?

6/10/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" And that same 500-700K group of people are supposed to do all the work for a nation of 300M?
"
---
Rather sad commentary on the character of the Entitled Citizens of the Country, isn't it?
...and the constant quest is to find ways to cut the military in order to have more money to spend on
MORE ENTITLEMENTS.

6/10/2005 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"There is no limit to the amount of good we can do as a country, when we set our minds to it."

husker_met

There IS a limit to the amount of good we can do, if that good is understood (and I wish it weren't) as something that can come about only, or primarily, through physical intervention. We are limited in the concrete resources we have to devote, and the recipient is limited in the non-material resources required to render intervention fruitful.

If the extent of good that can be done were reliant upon only or chiefly the depth of our desire, at any given moment, to see it done, the universe would be a very different place.

6/11/2005 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But Trish,
The difference between what this country could accomplish with our present power/status if the citizens had the courage/attitude/patriotism of the folks in WWII, and what we presently deem the limits of our ability, approaches infinity.

6/11/2005 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I wonder if 'Rat might just be a little "inspired" by his dad?
...could happen to his son also, and then there's...

6/11/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Doug,

"Rather sad commentary on the character of the Entitled Citizens of the Country, isn't it?"

Absolutely. Relatively few people appreciate what they have, and relatively few people have a real "sense of community/country." I think the only real solution to that is to go to a universal service for everyone; options could include the military, environemental cleanup, teacher aids, etc.

6/11/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"I think the only real solution to that is to go to a universal service for everyone; options could include the military, environemental cleanup, teacher aids, etc."

Trust me, exhelodrvr...

You don't want that. You really, really don't.

6/11/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Trish,
How else are you going to get the populace as a whole interested in the community? I realize that there is an obvious downside in the bureaucracy that would be needed, but there is a huge upside.

6/11/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"How else are you going to get the populace as a whole interested in the community?"

Fantastic amounts of (unfortunately taxable) income for the guys and gals who've gotta do what we need to be done. I prefer that to corraling the unwilling.

6/11/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

And I am speaking only about the deployed - not anyone else.

6/11/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

That would help the recruiting issues, but that is only a short-term fix to what I see as arguably the biggest weakness in our society. We would end up with the same size military, that a relatively high number of people want to join for the monetary benefits. But the great majority of the populace would have no community/national service, which is a huge detriment for our nation.

6/11/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

I know, exhelo, that there are people on both sides of the political divide angling for universal service. I do not agree with them. I believe it a fundamental violation of freedom.

Leave our young people alone to choose their own immediate future. Let us grant them that.

6/11/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Kind of funny that I say that, exhelo, coming from a family that has exactly one individual who has not served in uniform - the mother of a young son who would, if he could, join the Marines right now, at the tender age of fourteen, and who cannot wait to tattoo S.P.Q.R. (the Roman Legionaries' motto) on his arm.

But there you have it. I am eternally against the idea of universal service. We - and by that I mean all of my extended family - are against it. It is one of the few things we agree on.

6/11/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Would you have been against the draft during WWII?

6/11/2005 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I wish they had fundamentally violated my freedom for the 3 more years I wasted in College on the GI Bill.
I was a lot wiser when I came back from Korea than when I left the Univ. of Calif.

6/11/2005 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"options could include the military, environemental cleanup, teacher aids, etc" if this went on and on, and included computer hacking, game design, solar implementation, and etc, what fundamental freedom would be violated other than the right to refuse to serve your country in any way?

...and they could still have another option or two:
The same ones we had in the old days - Jail, Canada, etc.
---
The fundamental right to watch MTV or practice Barry Lind's version of religion just doesn't impress me much.
The real world does not run on absolutes.

6/11/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Overage Vets could re-up to Oversee the Young uns on the home front.

6/11/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman has warned repeatedly of the growing gap between "the elites and the rest of us," noting that the Yale Flying Club was key to naval aviation in world wars. Care to guess how many Yale graduates have entered the service since 1986? A measly dozen.
---
I just linked to a WaPo story that gave the number of Yalies in 56 that joined the military, last nite, I think but haven't found yet: The number was very high though, esp compared to that disappointing dozen of late.

---
The country's leading military sociologist, Northwestern University's Charles Moskos, observes that while we continue calling up reservists who work as cops, firefighters and emergency medical responders at home, we're "being drained of precisely the people we will need when the terrorists return."

Every year, fewer power brokers have any tie whatsoever to military service.

This discussion has to stop being political one-upmanship. It ought to be about exactly what the words "shared sacrifice" mean.
. Who Will Fight?

6/11/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Those bearing the greatest burden of military service are Southerners -- they're twice as likely to enlist as Westerners and do so at a rate three times that of Northeasterners."
---
Gee, that's where the "Moderate" GOP Johnnie Lovers live...
...and the most disgusting democrats, save Calif.

6/11/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Army Headed to Recruiting Shortfall .

Charles Moskos, a sociology professor and expert on military personnel issues at Northwestern University, has said the Army's recruiting woes are likely to persist until the children of upper-class America begin to enlist more readily. He also sees a possibility of the services relying more on non-Americans to sign up.

Moskos said in an interview Wednesday that of the 750 males in his graduating class at Princeton University in 1956, more than 400 went on to serve in the military. Of the 1,100 males and females in last year's Princeton class, eight joined.

6/11/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Exhelo - very good posts.

The apparent inability of America to maintain a volunteer during this sustained war concerns me more than any aspect of this war so far.

The recruiting shortfalls are there, it isn't a NYT plot. In simpler times, this wouldn't be such a problem. Even during WWII, the "good war" we conscripted most of our manpower. Nevertheless, President Bush has painted himself into a corner so far as the draft is concerned...with much help from the "me, me, me, only me" strain of American political discourse.

The fact that the American news media and liberal elites have done everything it can to undermine the effort, both motives and successes, has exaggerated our problems. I think this is most evident in the rapid decline in African American enlistments.

If the current shortfalls continue, we've got a dangerous decision to make in the future. Is the volunteer Army viable during extended war?

The alternative seems a deadend in the current environment. Protests on campuses and from each parent who thinks someone else's kid should do the dirty work. Problems either way. Institute a draft which will undermine support for the mission? Or watch the Army that must undertake the mission whither?

In retrospect, President Bush should have taken the initiative here immediately after 9-11, when the threat was clear and strong. If not immediately instituted national service, he should have at least made it clear that the future may demand it. Instead, he allowed himself to be politically pushed into saying the exact opposite.

Re: Universal service

In principle, I have nothing against universal service or conscription. I see it as another tax and sacrifice necessary for the well-being of the state.

Pragmatically, however, conscripted forces of any kind are incredibly expensive, in training and equipment. Furthermore, unless said service is universal, it causes resentment. Even the Israelis have problems because Orthodox Jews are excepted.

Those two factors put together, I believe you'd find universal service is simply too expensive to be considered. Too many youth to be practical.

6/11/2005 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

For anyone interested, I talked a bit about relevant topics here.

6/11/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Open question:

Has ANYBODY ever fought a long war with a fully professional army?

Or are we in twilight zone territory?

6/11/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

One simple answer is to develop a foreign legion. Offer American Citizenship to those who complete service. It serves two purposes. First provides fighters, second, helps provide a fresh flow of warriors to American society.

I suspect that when the first A bomb goes off in America, the phony war will end.

6/12/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Imagine fighting this war, wherever and however long, with conscripts. Then imagine the agitation value the American Left would get out of it.

We've been there before. And that's why we're not going there again. At least during this administration. God bless 'em, they do understand that.

Universal service, a draft, what-have-you, would be the death of our military and any and all war effort. I guarantee you that.

6/12/2005 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Please (Please, Please, Please) Do Not Feed The Left!

6/12/2005 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

I have an enormous amount of respect for the people who voluntarily assume the responsibility of defending this country. Too much respect to burden them with those who don't.

Congress COULD have raised the personnel cap, increased the size of the military, anytime after 9-11. (Hell, it could have done that 10 or 15 years ago when we first started sucking wind.) Congress chose not to.

6/12/2005 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Jihadis are not conscripted.

Let us not fight them with those who are.

6/12/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger PLWCPA said...

Take a few hundred thousand AK-47s and several million rounds of ammo from Saddam's stockpiles and air drop them into the countryside.

6/12/2005 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I believe you didn't answer exhelo's question about World War II, Trish?

If you cannot get enough volunteers to support the current base, how do you expect to attract an even larger professional army?

Increased benefits can only do so much.

6/12/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Re: Foreign Legion

Strenuously high standards, with no exceptions regardless of origin country [although I could see the multiculturalist left having a field day with this social experiment]. Longer enlistment terms, say 8 years, leading to strong consideration for citizenship. At the same time, close the borders so that free and easy illegal immigration isn't available.

It’s at least an option worthy of further investigation. However, it can only cover so much lost ground. An iron clad ceiling would be required (we do not want to follow the Roman example, where barbarian volunteers gradually destabilized the army and entire state). In the end, we'd still have the problem that such a large portion of the population is naive and ignorant towards military matters and national sacrifice, especially in the face of a threat so nebulous and poorly defined by President Bush.

6/12/2005 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

You're right, cutler, I didn't answer the question. I don't support conscription in any war, of any kind, at any time. I think it's completely inappropriate to a free country. It is a profound violation of conscience and will, regardless of what or who is being fought. I also think it leads to extravagent waste on the battlefield.

I don't dismiss the idea of a foreign legion out of hand; I don't imagine it would be politically feasible.

The Army will have to keep doing what it's doing now - that is, making enlistment and reenlistment more financially attractive. I don't see any other solution for the fix we're in.

6/12/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Based on my experience, the "negatives" are not the pay and benefits. No one goes into the military expecting lots of money, and benefits don't sound very interesting when you are young - witness the lack of interest in Social Security reform among the young. And it is a fact giving people more money does not make people like a job better.
The negatives as I see it are:
1. Gays in the military and women in combat. A main reason anyone wants to go into the military is that it is a "he-man" job that sets him far apart from the rest of the populace. We will never have anything other than utterly trivial numbers of gays who want to be in the military and women who want to go into combat - and they will drive off many, many times their number of young males who want to prove their manhood.
2. Public popularity. The military is very popular among the vast majority of the public, but it takes only a few "How many babies did you kill today?" to be a strong negative. I first put on a uniform in 1970 - and y'all can imagine what it was like then - but I was shocked to hear that our troops in combat in Iraq were genuinely concerned that they would be subject to public abuse when they got home. In fact, I felt like crying to hear that was even on their minds. You could fix this to a large extent by passing a law enabling military members to beat the crap out of anyone who is abusive to them. Or you could let anyone beat the crap out of any of those anti-war types - and do it, often.
3. Legal prosecution. This business about abusing POWs by shooting guns near them or shooting an enemy combatant and the whole Koran flushing stupidity and all the ways we make it tougher on our military than we do on the enemy probably is the biggest killer of recruiting. How many people are going to join with the knowledge of the possibility of being prosecuted for stupid stuff like that?
4. The B.S. Always a factor in the military, it normally goes on the back burner during wartime. I can recall not being to help get 6 F-111D's in the air to support an emergency deployment to Korea because I was informed that investigating the loss of a $27 flight jacket was more important. I get the feeling that the B.S. is not on the back burner now. See item 3 above.
The attitude displayed by the Marine General who said "It's fun to shoot those guys." is far more common in the military than not. And look what happened when he said that. Who wants to join when the most popular attitude - and the one that shows you have some fire in your guts - is found to be unacceptable by society? See item 2 above.
Conclusion: The biggest problems relative to both recruiting and retention are things that the military can't fix because they pretty much don't have control of them.

6/12/2005 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/12/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Trish: Better an inappropriate draft than dead or defeated [as would have been the case in World War II].

Principles mean nothing without survival.

6/12/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I'll also add that without the extension of selective service in 1940, that passed by one vote, the US Army would have been pretty much nonexistent as a force by Pearl Harbor.

6/12/2005 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

RWE said...
"1. Gays in the military and women in combat. A main reason anyone wants to go into the military is that it is a "he-man" job that sets him far apart from the rest of the populace. We will never have anything other than utterly trivial numbers of gays who want to be in the military and women who want to go into combat - and they will drive off many, many times their number of young males who want to prove their manhood."

.Inside the military's special father-son bond.

Military sons tend to spout worthy bromides about duty when asked why they followed their fathers to war. But their more personal motivations are not hard to divine. Combat has been a test (in some cultures the test) of manhood for millennia. There is no better way to win a father's respect than to defy death just the way he did. Indeed, the effort to surpass one's father's or brother's bravery has gotten more than a few men killed. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., a Navy pilot, cried himself to sleep when younger brother Jack became a hero for his PT boat exploits in World War II. Then Joe Jr. went out and volunteered for what was basically a suicide mission.
---
---
But it also underscores the isolation of the military from the rest of society. Increasingly, it seems, America is divided between the vast majority who do not serve and the tiny minority who do. The shared sacrifice of World War II is but a distant memory. During World War II, 6 percent of Americans were in uniform; today, the Pentagon says, the figure is four tenths of 1 percent.
Soldiers are widely honored, not scorned as they were during Vietnam. But mothers, horrified by grisly TV images, do not want their children to join up. Since February, the Army—Regular, Reserves and National Guard—has been missing its monthly recruiting goals by as much as 42 percent. On the other hand, re-enlistment rates are up, especially for those serving in combat arms in Iraq. Incongruous as it may seem for the millions whose closest brush with battle is on cable, soldiers and Marines on the front line are proud to be there and willing to serve again.

Many schools still ban military recruiters from coming on campus on the ground that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy discriminates against gays.

6/12/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish,
I can understand and respect your position on the draft, but I don't see how you can ignore the WWII example unless we rewrite history
...in Japanese.

6/12/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bad News Express - Kos

6/13/2005 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Re: The Isolation of the Military from the Larger Society

I do worry about this on occasion -the extent to which the military is an alien entity, an expensive bit of exotica, a living artefact, an object of morbid fascination or hostile regard, a strange and perhaps always incomprehensible institution to so many Americans.

But I love it the way it is, comprised of those who've freely chosen to be in it. And how many of those who've chosen it would want to share their important work - their grave responsibility -with those who haven't chosen it, with those who've been pressed into it under penalty of criminal prosecution?

The process of self-selection makes an institution stronger. I daresay if we had double the number of troops in Iraq today, a quarter or more of them draftees, the operation would be far harder and with less satisfactory, more troublesome result. The eighteen-year-olds of today are not the eighteen-year-olds of 60 years ago - furthermore today's military campaigns are not those of WW2 or Korea or even VietNam.

When my son joins the military, as I've no doubt he will (hoping in the meantime, without a trace of apology or self-consciousness, that there's a halfway decent war on somewhere when that day arrives) I want him to share that experience with other young men like him, who want for themselves the challenge and danger - and yes, the violence - of soldiering. Let those who will, he says, be "desk monkeys in some dull suburb," missing out on "the good stuff."

I agree.

6/13/2005 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug,

I'm not ignoring the example of WW2. I did say that I would have been against the draft then, just as I am against the idea of one now.

Could it have been won without the draft? Would the absence of a draft have exerted greater discipline on our strategy and tactics?

I DO know that it's not 1941, that a draft won't bring it back, and more: that the angry Left knows how much its antiwar movement has suffered from the absence of a draft. Good thing, I say.

6/13/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Trish,
Answering you from a few posts back:

This isn't a free society, either in the sense I think you meant (freedom of choice) or in the sense of the cost/potential cost for us to survive as a society. There are many, many ways in which are society is not "free"; from taxes to traffic laws. Taxes are every bit as much compulsory service as a draft into the military. And we do need a larger military than we have today, or at least the potential for a more rapid cycling of people through the military. And a lack of shared service/sacrifice is a major problem with our current society. Compulsory service would solve both those problems. The difficulties would be in the administration and the necessity to make it equitable.

6/13/2005 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, the assertion that Doug found from some kind of an expert to the effect that military recruiting will suffer until the children of the rich elites start signing up is totally wrong.
The military wants to see itself as special and apart from society. So, the fact that the elites are not signing up in large numbers is not a factor of any kind. Indeed, the fact is that the average member of the military delights in looking at the rich kids and saying "Yeah, they have the cars and the boats and the clothes and the $50 haircuts but they are not in uniform and are not "real" men."
Pat Tillman is a real inspiration and an example. One of the Kennedys joining up would not be.

6/13/2005 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

exhelo,

There are indeed many, many ways in which freedom is curtailed - and, lest we forget, fundamental rights abrogated.

Putting a young man into a combat zone against his will, to have his legs blown off for a cause he doesn't believe in, in a war he doesn't support or give a hoot about, is just plain wrong. I mean absolutely, screamingly wrong.

If a citizen can't even claim the right NOT to die in a war he doesn't want to fight, whether the bloody business just isn't his cup of tea or he has other immediate plans and ambitions or he opposes it for some reason, what in the hell right CAN he claim?

6/13/2005 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"3. Legal prosecution. This business about abusing POWs by shooting guns near them or shooting an enemy combatant and the whole Koran flushing stupidity and all the ways we make it tougher on our military than we do on the enemy probably is the biggest killer of recruiting. How many people are going to join with the knowledge of the possibility of being prosecuted for stupid stuff like that?"

rwe

I've thought about the effects of this before, but not upon recruitment specifically. My husband absolutely agrees it has a negative influence on those who might consider joining; that it's been an issue for many years; that it's a result of "chickenshit leadership." Ouch.

Who wants to run the very real risk of being hung out to dry by those who are supposed to be looking out for you?

6/13/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" Would the absence of a draft have exerted greater discipline on our strategy and tactics?
"
Hmmm,
Yeah, even back then some PC tradeoffs (what was the nearest thing to PC called back then?) were made at the expense of draftee's lives.
Less compassion/pc/whatever earlier on could well have saved more lives on all sides.

6/14/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Trish,
Then I can assume you feel the same way about people who don't feel like paying their taxes, right? There are duties and obligations to the nation; those should include serving in the military when necessary, even if one does not wish to.

6/14/2005 04:42:00 PM  

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