Guest blogger, guest blogger … guess who? ME! Good ol‘ Mr. Hooah! (Oh no! Not again Mr.Bill! Of course if you get the reference then your older than dirt, like me.)
The lady of the house let me back in here just to drop a quick line or two. She’s nice like that.
She’s so nice that she even bought me the last issue of Newsweek just because it was the issue marking five years in Iraq. Her hope was for me to blog on a particular story. Too bad I’m not doing that. I found another story I wanted to comment on first. Just like a man isn’t it? You ask him to do one thing and he does another.
Here is the story that caught my eye:
The Fight Over How to Fight
Should we prepare for big wars or small ones? After Afghanistan and Iraq, the answer might seem obvious, but the truth is harder and more expensive: both.
By Evan Thomas and John Barry | NEWSWEEK Mar 24, 2008 Issue
Oh, yes. That one really caught my eye.
The authors of this … piece … are both just wonderful media darlings who have neither one ever “toed the line” or stood “at ease” even once in their life. Yet they are apparently military experts. The first guy appears to be a straight up socialist while the second is a drop out from a prestigious university. Huh. I guess that makes them experts. Pundits. Gurus. You know. Liberals.
But strangely enough they do get a few things right in this article. Enough so that after a little “Googling” of my own I’ve decided that they put the article together from easily found info. Much of that info is valid. Therefore much of their story makes sense. Too bad their conclusion was wrong. Let me cut to the end of the article and give you my comments as well. After all, the sooner I’m done the sooner Mrs. Hooah! can get back to her regularly scheduled program.
Here is the end of the article with my own comments added along, and my conclusion at the end. My comments are embedded and in parentheses:
“Yet if the U.S. Army needs to prepare for both Big War and Small War and nation-building postwar, how can it juggle the competing demands of each? (Here is fallacy number one: It is now assumed by EVERYBODY that our Army must be in the business of “nation building.” Strange thing, that. Does “nation building” ever, ever, ever appear in our Constitution as a function of our armed forces? How about a resounding “NO”. It is not even implied. I’m sure some bright bulb will make an argument around the ideas “necessary for the National defense” or “in our best interests” or the like, but no. The logic won’t hold. Our Army was not and should not be in the business of nation building. Period. Given that then juggling the demands of Big War and Small War becomes very doable. I’ll get to that in a moment.)
Counterinsurgency and nation-building in particular are labor-intensive (notice the automatic linking here? The result is to say counterinsurgency must go hand in hand with nation-building. Can‘t have one without the other. As you might guess from my previous comment I whole heartedly disagree.) ; there is no substitute for boots on the ground (I do agree with this). The current U.S. Army is stretched to the limit (No, they‘re not. The Army is doing a fantastic job with both hands tied behind the back. The truth is the Army could do even more, but it is often hindered by civilian leadership, bad “rules of engagement”, and a Democratic Congress that would rather fund Berkeley than the Military. Those are a few major limiting factors.); after their third or fourth tours in Iraq, young officers are fretting about their stressed families (No, they were stressing about that from the very beginning). Partly because the Army has been decentralized to be able to fight in smaller, more-mobile units, there is a serious shortage of captains and majors (The weasel word “partly” almost makes this one believable but, no, lets not forget that the number one reason for our current shortage is the decimation of our ranks by President Clinton. Someone will say that there has been plenty of time to make up the difference in the ranks resulting from the Clintonian scorched earth/military policy but honestly it takes a long time to undo that kind of damage. Fewer available positions, low pay, zero officer recruiting, and so forth will take its toll. How long do you think it takes to make a good Major anyway?). The minimum requirements for enlisting are dropping, allowing in more and more teenagers who never finished high school. (Oh? As in, instead of less than one percent it’s now less than five percent which is still much lower than the recently reported fifty percent drop out rate for our major public school systems. Schools that, by the way, are funded at the highest rates in our nations history but that, shockingly, are performing at the lowest levels in our nations history. You know if our Army budget grew at the rate the education budget grows we could afford gold plated M16′s. Then again I suppose if our Army performed inversely to its funding the way public schools do we would be going to battle with sticks and stones. )
The entire paragraph above is a laundry list of “woes” that appears to serve only to allow the authors to belly ache about how bad our Military stinks. Pitiful stuff.
Some experts think that the active Army needs to nearly double to 800,000 or more troops (Yes, and experts believed the sun revolves around the earth, too, now didn‘t they? Both sets are wrong. The Tommy Franks model works very well for conventional warfare. It was no accident that we rolled through Iraq in three days seeking whom we may devour. Our Army kicks Big War butt.). But where will the money come from? (From our taxes. Of course. Or you could check Murtha‘s pocket. Just a thought.) Every soldier now costs, on average, roughly $125,000 a year (You know, that‘s the sort of silly number you get when you average a skewed bell curve. Did these guys ever take statistics in college? Ah, never mind.) At the same time, the centerpiece of the Army’s current plans for the big war out there sometime is the high-tech “Future Combat System,” a $300 billion family of vehicles networked into an all-seeing whole by sensors, UAVs and satellites (Uh, no. We already do that. We had to put that together ad hoc thanks to Congress’ money shenanigans. Besides, Congress killed most of the “Future Combat System” development years ago. It‘s old news. We have a much better idea in mind for the future. Can‘t tell ya. Would have to kill ya.). It will be up to the nation’s political leaders to decide whether to make some hard choices or try to convince the voters that they need to pay for it all (Our political leaders wouldn’t have to make those decisions if they would just listen to the Generals. Moreover, the public willingly pays for our military but it’s our Congress that then robs the budget blind, fills it with pork, and then punishes the military for not performing up to par. What gall.). Too bad this is a topic that is rarely discussed during the Presidential campaign (Oh? Well then mister mainstream media guy … why don‘t you ask those questions. What a hypocrite, “if only I had the guts to ask this question!” seems to be what the authors are really saying. To which I reply,”The important questions are rarely asked because you and your ilk rarely ask them”. Give me a break.)
You want to know Mr. Hooah’s! answer to this article? It’s easy. Watch.
- Congress should stop playing games with the military budget. That one’s a big ‘duh’, right?
- Don’t double the size of the Army. Double the size of the Soldier’s paycheck. As in 2X across the board at all pay grades, ranks, and positions. That would probably take care of recruiting standards. P.S., kill the recruiting bonuses at the same time. Retention bonuses as well. That money’s only going to men who would join or stay so why pay them for what they are going to do anyway?
- Stop trying to force our Army into a humanist “nation building” role. It is unconstitutional. Let’s face it, the men in this Country who had the guts and ability to build a nation did so. Now they are dead. No one inherited their grit. Give it up.
- Purchase and outfit our Army for Big War (conventional war) but continue to train and retain our ability for Small Wars. After all, Big War is easy. Small War is hard. Any number of leaders can learn Big War but it takes a special kind of leader to make Small War happen. It is intense and time consuming. Don’t let that knowledge walk out the door.
- Continue to decentralize our Army. Notice how much better we perform when the Pentagon bureaucracy is removed? Keep that trend going. Push decision making down to the lowest levels possible in keeping with the new FM-3.0.
Remember: Don’t double the number of Soldiers. Double the Soldier’s paycheck. And let the Army worry about how to fight the Army’s wars. The rest will fall out naturally.
Roger? Roger. Mr Hooah!, out.