Saturday, June 25, 2011

Despite the Cliché: "Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Empires" – History reveals they has been conquered and occupied by everyone even passing through!

The misquote most often attributed to Joseph Goebbles is: “if you tell a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it.” Regardless who actually said it, never has it been more true then when applied to Afghanistan being called "the graveyard of empires." In truth rather than the graveyard of empires, Afghanistan has historically been conquered and occupied by everyone that has even passed through it. Beginning with the Persian Empire in the 5th century BC, Afghanistan has always been part of somebody's empire.

For this recount of history, I have liberally borrowed from an article by Andrew Roberts which appeared in the 20 Sept 2010 National Review: Graveyard Of A Cliché - Afghanistan presents no impossible military challenge, its 'history' notwithstanding and on my exchanges with Retired US Army LTC Les Grau, an acknowledged Afghanistan expert and the author of two books on the Soviet experiences there: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" and "The Other Side of the Mountain." Both are a “must read” for anyone interested in doing a serious examination of Soviet performance there. His assessment was: “for a conscript army with a conscript NCO corps, the Soviets did a reasonable job while they were there. In some respects, they were far ahead of where we are--and we make many of the same mistakes that they made.”

So what is the real history of Afghanistan? Despite the myth that Afghans are a fearsome warrior people who have defeated every imperial power since Alexander the Great, including Persians, Mongols, Moghuls, Russians, British, or Soviets, a closer review of history reveals this to be a myth. They have NEVER driven any conqueror out. The reason Alexander stayed in Afghanistan so briefly was that there was nothing to plunder there so why stay; he merely needed to pass through there on his way into India. By then Afghanistan had already been conquered by the Median and Persian Empires, and afterwards it was conquered by the Seleucids, the Indo-Greeks, the Turks, and the Mongols. When Genghis Khan attacked in 1219, he exterminated every human being in Herat and Balkh and turned the country back to the Stone Age. Mongol conqueror Tamerlane followed suit and the Moghuls held Afghanistan peaceably for almost two centuries.

Although conquerors ruled the country, none imposed any centralized direct control so allowed a good deal of tribal provincial autonomy as geography demanded in a period before modern communications. It was not until 1747 that even a primitive Afghan sovereign state could be detected.

All these empires including the British ever wanted of Afghanistan was that it not be used as a base from which attacks could be mounted. Britain's only interest was keeping czarist Russia away from its Greater Indian colony during what was called "The Great Game."

Today, people wishing to perpetuate the “Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires” myth like to cite the more recent historical examples of the Afghan struggles with the British Empire. Granted, despite some early disasters during Britain's First Afghan War of 1839-42, the popular version of events is distorted. Although it is true that 16,500 people died in the horrific Retreat from Kabul, fewer than a quarter of them were soldiers, and only one brigade was British. The incompetent commander, Major General William George Keith Elphinstone, evacuated Kabul on 6 Jan 1842 in midwinter and the freezing weather destroyed his column more than the Afghans. Several hundred -- possibly over a thousand -- survived the retreat and were rescued by the punitive expedition that recaptured Kabul by September 1842. Early in 1843, the governor-general, Lord Ellenborough, sent General Sir Charles Napier to capture Sind. General Napier is best known for putting down several insurgencies in India during his reign as Commander-in-Chief there and he once succinctly stated his philosophy about suppressing rebellions as: “The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.” He also said: "the human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear." This may explain why once he finished Afghanistan stayed quiet for another 30 years.

Lieutenant General Sir Jasper Nicolls, another commander-in-chief of India, examined the “Retreat from Kabul” and listed the reasons for the defeat at the time as: "1. not having a safe base of operations, 2. the freezing climate, 3. the lack of cattle, and 4. placing our magazines and treasure in indefensible places." The only lesson to be learned from the Kabul catastrophe of 1842 is don’t appoint incompetent commanders.

The Second Afghan War was actually won by Major General Sir Frederick Roberts at the battle of Kandahar in August 1880 and thereafter Afghan resistance was subdued and Afghanistan was reduced to being a British protectorate until it was given its independence in 1919. There was a short three month Third Afghan War in 1919 which the British also won that settled the political boundary with India. Having achieved all their objectives, the Brits withdrew from Afghanistan leaving a monarchy in place that survived until 1973 although there was a great deal of post-independence instability. It should also be noted that Islamic fundamentalism is not historically deep-seated in Afghanistan and it was King Amanullah who instituted Kemalist modernizations such as monogamy, Western clothing, and the abolition of the veil in 1928.

As for the Soviet involvement, it was the Afghan government that made repeated requests in 1978 and 79 for Soviet intervention but the Soviet government was in no hurry to help. It was not until the anti-communist rebel factions began receiving US aid that they stepped in. On 3 July 1979 President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order authorizing the CIA to conduct covert propaganda operations against the communist regime; six months before any Soviets deployed. Around Christmas 1979 the Red Army entered Afghanistan with about 120,000 troops; not the Soviet's best units but with soldiers from the Soviet republics adjacent to Afghanistan to make it appear to be a limited, local operation. These two-year conscripts were often drunk or on opium and the Soviets ultimately lost 15,000 men (about ten times the number of Americans over the same length of time). Their helicopter gunships devastated most of the villages between Ghazni and Kandahar in February 1980, and the Soviets showed utter disregard for civilian casualties. Their equipment, training, discipline, and morale were poor but as I quoted LTC Grau before: “for a conscript army with a conscript NCO corps, the Soviets did a reasonable job while they were there.” As far as the Soviets were concerned, their withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 was not a shameful escape accompanied by the hooting of the mujahedeen but rather the Soviet Army entered the country, accomplished its tasks and returned to the Motherland.

When the Soviets departed, they left in place a Communist puppet regime led by Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai or merely Najibullah. Though it failed to ever win popular support, it was able to remain in power until 1992. Much like South Vietnam fell when the US withdrew its support, the Najibullah communist government fell in April 1992 when the new Yeltsin government no longer wished to continue to support their former communist puppet. The Mujahideen replaced Najibullah with a new governing council and had the Taliban not hosted and protected al-Qaeda while it masterminded the 9/11 attacks, most Americans would still have never heard of Afghanistan.

Despite the revisionist history by those wishing to point to the past failures of Great Empires to be successful in Afghanistan, they have only succeeded in demonstrating their own ignorance of history. They have distorted and greatly misrepresented the successes every invader has had against Afghans, a vicious but historically very unimpressive foe. Hopefully the US and our NATO allies will be as successful as the British Empire was in subduing Afghanistan and we leave it in such a condition that they can endure by themselves for at least as long as the last time the Brits left – 60 years (1919-1979)!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

GEN Petraeus - CIA Director Confirmation Hearings Question on Leadership - 23 Jun 2011


I listened with utmost interest to the 23 Jun 11 Senate Hearings for GEN David Petraeus for his confirmation as the next CIA Director and I was especially disappointed at some questions that revealed a complete lack of understanding of Military leadership. The questions dealt with how the General would gain the trust and support of the CIA workforce because it was a relatively “flat” organization and he has been used to leading in the military which is a “top down hierarchical and structured environment.” Anyone with 15 minutes of experience leading troops in the field knows nothing could be further from the truth.

Although there are similarities in leadership among all the Military services, Army and Marine leadership is unique in regards to how close commanders are to their subordinates and how much they share their hardships and dangers. When a ship’s captain commands “Right Full Rudder,” everyone aboard turns right without question and when an Air Force Pilot pulls back on the stick, everyone on the plane goes up. But when an Infantry company commander who has been marching his troops through waist-deep mud in rice patties for three weeks straight commands after a 10 minute rest “saddle up we’re moving out,” it takes a special type of leadership to get them moving. It’s a “Follow Me!” leadership that is build on trust – trust of that leader’s competence, courage, integrity, commitment and caring for the welfare of his troops. A trust that although the mission comes first, troops know he will do everything within his power to bring them back safe and alive.

GEN Petraeus has had a career full of these kinds of leadership experiences beginning as a young platoon leader and company commander. He has been a battalion operations officer and commander; a Brigade Commander; a Division operations officer, Assistant Division Commander and Division Commander; and the Commander in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also the CENTCOM COCOM Commander!

Although this is a kind of leadership is foreign to most Senators, it’s the leadership exhibited by all successful troops leaders; it’s “flat” and definitely not hierarchical. If GEN Petraeus continues to practice the same leadership style that has served him well for his 37 years in the Army, I’m confident he will be a superb CIA Director. If only more politicians could have had that much “leadership experience” maybe we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today and he certainly wouldn’t have gotten some of those inane questions.

One final observation, every article on the Petraeus confirmation hearings fails to report one important caveat the General made to his acceptance of the President’s “more aggressive withdrawal schedule than he would have liked.” The General emphasized that if conditions changed on the ground and he felt a delay or halt of the withdrawals was warranted, he would go to the President with his unvarnished assessment to stop the pullouts, either as the Commander in Afghanistan, his present position, or as the CIA Director, if confirmed. Why is this never included?

Bagram is an Army Airfield and NOT an Air Base!

During the CNN analysis of the President’s speech last night (22 Jun 11)I noticed that the CNN correspondent on Bagram and the screen caption both identified his location as Bagram Air Base. As someone who has been there I can tell you that Bagram is NOT an Air Base or an Air Force Base. BAF, the official abbreviation, stands for Bagram Airfield. It is designated that because the base is run by the US ARMY and is currently occupied and maintained by the Combined Joint Task Force 1st Cavalry Division (CJTF-1), an Army division commanded by an ARMY major general and the base is managed by an ARMY Regional Support Command. The 1st Cav took the base over from the ARMY’s 101st Airborne Division in the first half of 2011. Granted, the flight line is managed by the USAF 455th Air Expeditionary Wing but the Air Force mission exists to support the ARMY there. (Even Wikipedia has their BAF entry correct)

This prompted me to look at some other websites to see how prevalent this error is and not to my surprise, it is not all that unusual. MSNBC, the Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, Salon and a host of other “News organizations” all refer to BAF as either an Air Base or even an Air Force Base in all their coverage. Only FoxNews.com gets it correct most of the time although they even slip up on occasion.

Bottom line: If these guys don’t even know the basics like what BAF is, why should I trust anything else they have to say?

Just FYI – in the States AF bases are called Air Force Base (e.g. Andrews Air Force Base, Langley Air Force Base, etc.) while most overseas bases are just Air Base because they are normally shared with the host country (e.g. Misawa, Yakota & Kadena Air Base in Japan, Ramstein Air Base in Germany or Aviano Air Base in Italy). In the UK we are hosted on Royal Air Force Stations (e.g. RAF Mildenhall or RAF Lakenheath).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NBC Isn't "Under God" but "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke 23:24

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
Napoleon Bonaparte

NBC editing out “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance twice during their 19 Jun telecast of the U.S. Open is one of those instances where it must have been just a stupid edit by a young low level production assistant because the backlash NBC was going to receive was so obvious Ray Charles could have seen it! Also, I’m not one to automatically attribute sinister motives when there is also a more innocent explanation and I believe Napoleon said it best. Regardless, a public company has a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders not to retain employees this incompetent because of future financial implications resulting from their lack of judgment. Hence, incompetents need to be let go!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How Many Jobs Did Obama Really Lose as President?

When the Washington Post awards a Liberal like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, a Pinocchio award – she must have told a World Class lie!

You can't make this stuff up! Here unedited is what the Washington Post had to say (Published: 18 June 2011):

The Fact Checker
By by glenn kessler

“When President Obama took office, the month before he was inaugurated, the economy was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month, David. . . . You fast-forward 2 1 / 2 years later now, and the economy has created 2.1 million private-sector jobs.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” June 12, 2011

“The Chairwoman is living in Fantasyland. . . . We have lost 2.5 million jobs since Barack Obama has been president.”
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, moments later on the same program

A reader who watched NBC’s “Meet The Press” one week ago found his head spinning as the DNC and RNC chiefs battled with dueling factoids about the employment record under President Obama. He was particularly amused that Wasserman Schultz said there were 2 million more jobs and Priebus asserted there were 2.5 million fewer jobs.

Whew, that’s a swing of nearly 5 million jobs in just a few seconds! They can’t both be right, can they?

Amazingly, they are. Priebus is on more solid ground, rhetorically, but both are cherry-picking the statistics to make the best possible case for their side.

The Facts
The recession that greeted Obama when he took office was one of the worst recessions since the end of World War II. It started in December 2007, but the bottom fell out in late 2008, after the investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed.

The common source of statistics for U.S. employment is the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics current employment survey, which is where Wasserman Schultz and Priebus derived their statistics.

Priebus crafts his figure by starting with employment when Obama took office, which he signals with the phrase “since Barack Obama has been president.” There were 133.56 million people with non-farm (private sector and government) jobs in January 2009; there are 131.04 million people with jobs today. Subtract one from the other and that shows 2.5 million fewer jobs.

So, yes, it is accurate, but is that fair? After all, it took weeks for many of Obama’s polices to be passed by Congress — and months to take effect, while about 2.5 million jobs were lost in the first four months of Obama’s presidency.

Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile, starts from a different point — when employment hit rock bottom in February 2010. That was 13 months after Obama became president. It is also eight months after the recession officially ended in June 2009, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

That would yield an increase of 1.8 million jobs, but then Wasserman Schultz greases the skids by slipping in the phrase “private-sector jobs.” When government jobs are removed from the statistic, suddenly the job growth is 2.1 million since February 2010.

Wasserman Schultz is taking a page from the other team’s playbook. Republicans have used this kind of job accounting in the past, such as President George W. Bush in his 2006 State of the Union address.

DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said that looking at the growth of jobs in the past 15 months is the best reflection of the impact of the stimulus package, which he said took months to work its way through the economy. He added that private-sector jobs are the “most accurate reflection of where the economy is going,” especially because government employment was artificially boosted in 2010 because of census hiring.

RNC spokesman Joe Pounder, not surprisingly, disagrees and defends starting the job count from the beginning of the president’s term. “The president’s major economic policy — the stimulus — was signed into law on February 17, 2009,” Pounder said. “The president and his administration were cited far and wide saying it would have an immediate impact. If the stimulus had worked as the administration intended, I’m sure they would have no problem counting jobs over the course of his entire term.”

We actually think a more logical place to measure job growth would be from the end of the recession — June 2009. That would give the new president time to take ownership of the economic situation, and yet remove some of the job losses that clearly did not happen as a result of his policies.

Counting from June 2009, job growth over two years is 600,000, which is still fairly grim. No wonder the DNC does not use it as a talking point.

Priebus is on more solid ground rhetorically because, like it or not, presidents often are measured by job growth during their entire term. For instance, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), when he was running for president in 2004, frequently charged that Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs in his term.

The Pinocchio Test
Both figures are technically accurate, but they don’t tell the whole story. We will give Priebus a pass because he used a relatively common measure of job growth during a presidency. Wasserman Schultz, by contrast, picked the data set that gave the most positive picture possible, thus distorting the record. It may be a snapshot in time, but it is not a full picture of the economy during Obama’s presidency since the recession ended.

UPDATE:
According to the 22 Sep 2011 Washington Post Fact Checker: "....the number of overall jobs has declined by 1.9 million since Obama’s stimulus bill was passed into law more than two years ago. Moreover, Obama is on track to have the worst job record of any U.S. president since World War II. He may even become the first president in the modern era with no net jobs created during his first term — which, by any stretch of the imagination, is a stunning statistic.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Potential GOP Candidates' Commander-in-Chief Qualifications

Here is a Republican Candidate riddle for you; what do Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum (+ Rudy Giuliani, if he were to run) ALL have in common? The only uniform any of them might have donned is for the Scouts! Of the GOP likelies, only Texas Gov Rick Perry and Texas Congressman Ron Paul have ever served, both were in the Air Force.

Perry was commissioned in 1972 out of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets ROTC program and after completing pilot training, flew C-130 tactical airlift in the States, Middle East, and Europe. He left the Air Force in 1977as a captain.

Ron Paul, a medical doctor, was an Air Force flight surgeon from 1963 to 65 and fulfilled the rest of his military obligation in the Air National Guard until 1968. He served during but not in Vietnam.

Romney, Gingrich, and Cain (+ Giuliani, if he runs) are all in a special category because they were all of prime draft age during the Vietnam War but each piled deferment upon deferment to avoid any brush with danger. I would point out that draft quotas were assigned by draft board so when one man evaded, someone else, often less educated or advantaged and always less eligible, served in his place. Additionally, because many of the more capable natural leaders avoided service, we often had to settle for the LT Cally’s of the world for leadership. Think of how many American lives could have been saved if leaders of these folks’ potential had done their duty. Isn’t it ironic how correct President Clinton was when he used to say that “it’s the little guy who plays by the rules that always ends up taking it in the neck.”

As the Vietnam War raged, Romney (Born: 12 March 1947) received a draft deferment for 2 ½ years from July 1966 until February 1969 as a Mormon missionary in France and before and after his missionary deferment he received 3 years of college deferments. When his deferments finally ran out in December 1970 and he became draft eligible, he drew a high number in the newly instituted lottery system which ensured he would never have to serve. Mormon missionary deferments were very controversial in the late 1960s because the substantial number of them made the likelihood of non-Mormons going to Vietnam much greater. Romney has said he would have served if he had been drafted but in an interview had the gall to state: "I was supportive of my country. I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam." There was an easy cure to alleviate his frustration -- sign up! It should be noted that avoiding Military service has been something of a Romney family tradition. Of prime age for WWII, his father skillfully avoided service (although a big VN War supporter) and his grandfather did the same for WWI. None of Romney’s five sons have ever served and when recently asked about his sons’ lack of service he responded: “they show their patriotism by helping me get elected!” How’s that for an answer?

Although the stepson of a career military officer, Gingrich (Born 17 June 1943) went through extraordinary machinations to avoid his service obligation. At age 19, Newt married his 26 year old high school geometry teacher who he had secretly dated while in high school and quickly had two daughters. His fatherhood and stay in college through a PhD kept him safely out the military during the entire Vietnam War. Newt hit the jackpot here because he not only had a “meal ticket” in college but a guaranteed perpetual deferment.

Cain (Born: 13 December 1945) took a little different route to his deferments. After losing his student deferments when he graduated from college in 1967, he immediately went to work as a Department of the Navy civilian employee so received occupational deferments until the draft ended. He was never in uniform nor in any danger of being shipped out to Vietnam.

Giuliani (Born: 28 May 1944) is another one that skillfully strung deferment upon deferment to ensure he never had to serve. He had student deferments through college and law school and when he finally graduated from NYU Law in 1968, so ran out of deferments, he went to work as a law clerk for a Federal Judge who used his influence to get his draft board to grant him a civilian occupation deferment. Giuliani safely sat out the Vietnam War hunkered down in the New York Federal Courthouse in Manhattan. Sure beat dodging VC bullets in a rice paddy!

As for the rest of the field: Pawlenty (Born 27 Nov 1960), Bachmann (Born: 6 April 1956) and Santorum (Born: 10 May 1958), none were subject to the draft nor have any first hand military or defense related experience. All could have served if motivated to by patriotism but none bothered. With the exception of Santorum who (with Ted Kennedy) tried to screw disabled and disadvantaged retired enlisted by hiding an amendment in an unrelated bill to require the Old Soldiers' Home in Washington, DC to almost give away property to Catholic University (see below for a full explanation of this fiasco), none have shown any overt hostility to the military but all would require extensive OJT on defense matters if elected. Then again, all have as much defense knowledge as President Obama had when he assumed the Commander-in-Chief Mantle.

Bottom line, Rick Perry and Ron Paul are the only ones that wouldn’t have to learn how to salute upon becoming Commander-in-Chief!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A WaPo Headline so Misleading Weiner must have Written it: 70 percent of arms seized, traced in Mexico came from US

This morning (14 Jun 11) the Washington Post published an article entitled: US report: 70 percent of arms seized, traced in Mexico came from US -- a piece so misleading that it must have been written by Anthony Weiner! (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/us-report-70-percent-of-arms-seized-traced-in-mexico-came-from-us/2011/06/13/AGR2TlTH_story.html ) I would suggest that it should be a candidate for a WaPo Fact Checker column where it would certainly merit four Pinocchios! The first paragraph of the story states:

MEXICO CITY — About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico and submitted to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States, according to a report released by three U.S. senators Monday.

Note the crafty (and misleading) wording of the first sentence that even contradicts the headline, or at least qualifies it: “About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico AND SUBMITTED to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States…” At least this article reduces the allegation to 70%; in the past the Obama administration’s ATF has maintained “over 90% of these firearms originated in the US” but have had to back-peddle on this since U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) made the ATF admit “the 90% figure cited to Congress was misleading because it applied only to the small fraction of Mexican crime guns that are traced and Mexico only attempts to trace guns that most likely can be traced to the US.” A Nov 10 OIG analysis of ATF data suggest a much lower percentage really come from the US and a recent Feb 11 STRATFOR (a widely respected global intelligence company) analysis calculated almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico are NOT from the US.

In 2009, Mexico reported that they held 305,424 confiscated firearms, but only submitted 69,808 to the ATF for tracing. The gap between seizures and traces and the fact they only submit those likely to come from the US puts in serious question whether any significant number of illegal guns in Mexico really come from here.

It should also be noted that the most commonly recovered firearm is the old Soviet AK-47 type rifles which is NOT manufactured in the US and that most US military grade weapons are acquired by the cartels through the huge supply of arms left over from the wars in Central America and Asia. It has also been reported that there have been 150,000 desertions 2003-09 from the Mexican army (about 1/8th desert annually) and many of them take their issued automatic rifles with them.

Given all this, maybe we’re talking SIX Pinocchios!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weiner Proves Lame-Stream Press is Gullible!

My question is why did it take the “Lame-stream” Press 10 days to figure out Weiner was lying when it was so obvious even Ray Charles could see it was this Sicko’s incredibly inept attempt to cover-up his obvious stab at “hooking-up” with women?

The dead give-away was when he refused to contacted authorities to launch an investigation after he swore to every TV camera he could find that his Twitter account had been hacked and “someone” was using it to send out lewd pictures which he couldn’t say with “certitude” was not of him. Even the “Right Wing Wacko’s” laughed when Weiner said “The police had more important things to worry about so he was conducting his own investigation …” They knew what Weiner knew, it’s no crime to lie to the press… it’s no crime to lie to the public… it’s even no crime to lie to your wife, BUT if you lie to the FEDs (even if you’re not under oath) you face 3 to 5 years in the big house as Bubba’s date to the annual Sadie Hawkins Day Dances – and from the looks of Weiner, he could be the Slammer Homecoming Queen.

And if that wasn’t enough, consider the fact Weiner had 54,000+ “Twitter followers.” -- BUT Weiner himself ONLY followed 198 Twitter users, most of them young, attractive women including stripper and porn actress Ginger Lee.

I hope the “Lame-stream” press learned a lesson from Weiner-gate. They’re gullible!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dispelling any Myths about Marines Uniqueness!

Not withstanding the Marine Corps PR machine’s great job (with a lot of help from the news media) of brainwashing the American public, any objective study of US military excursions since World War II will confirm that the Maine Corps has become just another, abet smaller, ground army and their performance has been identical to that of regular Army Infantry units in every conflict. In his definitive account of the Korean War, The Forgotten War, the author Clay Blair proves this beyond any doubt for Korea and for all the hype, the 8th Air Force alone in WWII sustained more killed (27,000) than the entire Marine Corps (24,500).

In the over 8 years we’ve been in Iraq, losses (Mar 03-1 Jun 11 from all causes there and in the surrounding region) has totaled 4446: 3263 Soldiers, 1022 Marines, 103 Sailors, 57 Airmen and 1 Coast Guardsmen. In the almost 10 years we’ve been in Afghanistan, we’ve had 1583 military killed (Oct 2001-31 Ju1 11 from all causes there and in the surrounding region): 1162 Soldiers, 348 Marines, 84 Airmen and 70 Sailors.

There are 33 combat battalions in Afghanistan, 25 are Army Battalions while 8 are Marine Corps. If you do the math you will notice that the losses are proportional to the engaged combat forces and the performance of Army and Marine units has been almost identical.

With the emphasis on “jointness,” Marines routinely attend Army schools and all Marine officers get their Artillery and Armor (as well as several other specialties) training from the Army. Marine ground units for the most part even use major equipment developed by the Army (e.g. M1A1 Abrams Tanks, SP 155 and 8” Howitzers, etc.). The major difference is Marines do have their own integrated “Air Force” but even there the lines have become blurred with Navy, Marine and Air Force air support pooled and responding where needed, not just dedicated to a particular unit or service.

In Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Desert Shield/Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as several other minor incursions, Marine and Army units have been totally integrated as a ground force with no distinction in deployment, tactics or missions and under a unified command structure.

Politically I recognize there is no combining the Army and Marine Corps into a single service nor am I advocating it but I do believe there could be a lot more integration and savings. In these times of diminishing Defense budgets we need to be looking for ways to economize and a greater integration of the Army and Marine Corps into a “Joint Ground Force” needs to be explored.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dep Sec Def Lynn Says Future Wars Deadlier - I (and History) Disagree!

It was reported in an article in the 9 Jun 2011, Washington Times (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/8/future-wars-seen-as-longer-deadlier/?page=all#pagebreak ) that Speaking on 8 Jun 2011 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III identified what he called “three strategic trends” that are shaping “our future national security environment: lethality, duration and asymmetry.” He opined that “the wars of the future will be longer, deadlier and waged against a more diverse variety of enemies than ever before …. “

I would contend that only a guy who has never spent a single solitary day in Uniform could come to his conclusion that future conflicts will be deadlier. While I might tend to agree future enemies may be more diverse and conflicts longer, there is absolutely no rationale for concluding they will be deadlier! As a matter of fact, recent experience indicates otherwise and regardless, I doubt the American public has the stomach anymore for combat losses of even the magnitude of Vietnam so it may be a moot point.

Understand as a Vietnam combat Vet who spent 30 years in the Army (and was in Afghanistan as a civilian last year), I consider every service member’s life precious and I don’t wish to diminish the death of a single one but I wanted to put our present US Military Operations into a little perspective and refute our Deputy Secretary’s contention that future conflicts will be deadlier! I base my conclusions on my following analysis of the major US deployments since 1941.

Although theoretically the Vietnam War lasted10 years, 51,585 of the total 58,220 killed occurred during the real 5 years (1966-70) of the war when we were heavily engaged. At the height of the war in 1968 we were losing 50 a day killed!

The Korean War lasted 3 years and one month (Jun 1950 – Jul 53) and total US Killed was 36,516. That averages ~32+ killed a day

By comparison, in the almost 10 years we’ve been in Afghanistan (Oct 2001-present), as of the beginning of this month (Jun) we’ve had 1583 military killed from all causes in country and the surrounding regions (1106 Soldiers, 325 Marines, 83 Airmen and 69 Sailors). That averages less than ½ person lost per day but this year is shaping up to be the deadliest of the conflict. So far in 2011 we’ve lost 167 killed in 189 days or less than one per day.

In Iraq and the surrounding region we’ve been there for over 8 years (Mar 03-Present) and lost 4446 total to all causes (3263 Soldiers, 1022 Marines, 103 Sailors, 57 Airmen and 1 Coast Guardsmen). That’s less then 1½ lost a day. In the 210 day First Gulf War (1990-91) US losses were 148 Combat and 145 Non-combat for a total of 293 killed.

Now if you want to talk about deadly, the US lost almost half a million men in World War II. The Battle of the Bulge alone lasted 40 days (16 Dec 44 – 25 Jan 45) with almost 90,000 U.S. casualties; 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded, and 23,000 captured or missing. The 36-day Iwo Jima assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead while the 82-day Battle for Okinawa lasted from early April until mid-June 1945 and U.S. (5 Army and 2 Marine Corps Divisions) casualties were over 62,000 with over 12,000 killed.

Like I said earlier, every service member’s life is precious and I don’t wish to diminish the death of a single one but I want to put our present US Military Operations into a little perspective and challenge our Deputy Secretary’s contention that future conflicts will be deadlier! Hopefully, the trend will continue to be just to opposite, each conflict will be less deadly than the one before.

Santorun Is NOT a Friend of Soldiers!

Below I wrote a rather lengthy piece on why I feel of the 2012 Presidential contenders, Rick Santorum is the most dangerous for the military. Here is a short synopsis of why I feel that way but scroll down a few articles to see a fuller explanation of what Rick did to earn my ire.

In 1998 he (and Ted Kennedy) tried to screw disabled and disadvantaged retired enlisted by hiding an amendment in an unrelated bill requiring the Old Soldiers' Home to almost give away some property to Catholic University (CU). True Kennedy was the senior partner and member of the Armed Services Committee so was "leader" of the "screwing team" but Santorum was his enthusiastic partner in crime.  The Home is where enlisted members with no other options can retire and get care. Funded by a small pay deduction that Congress refused to raise although demand remained steady, the Home had a large budget deficit. They had some undeveloped DC land so it decided to sell some to the highest bidder to raise funds to continue its worthy work. CU wanted the property but didn’t feel like paying market price so got Santorum and Kennedy to sneak in the amendment forcing them to sell to CU for one-third its value. Outraged retired soldiers “outted” Santorum and Kennedy who quickly changed their tactics and gave CU the right of first refusal on any "high" bid which seriously depressed the bidding. In the end, Rick, Ted and CU still screwed the Old Soldiers – just not as bad!

If Rick were elected President, I expect the Military could look forward to routinely getting screwed. This is one Old Soldier that wouldn't look forward to that!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Congressman Anthony Weiner - "The Rest of the Story"


Even Ray Charles could see what Weiner is doing here. It’s his incredibly inept attempt to cover-up his obvious stab at “hooking-up” with women.

The picture was addressed to a 21-year-old Seattle area female student who is one of Weiner’s 54,000+ “Twitter followers.” -- BUT Weiner himself ONLY follows 198 Twitter users, most of them young, attractive women including stripper and porn actress Ginger Lee. The Co-ed, Gennette Cordova, speculated that "Her name is Ginger, he (Weiner) might have mixed us up." A plausible explanation but raises the question, why is Weiner “following” Porn Stars?

When asked if he had contacted authorities to launch an investigation into the hacking of his Twitter account, Weiner said that he had not because “The police had more important things to worry about so he was conducting his own investigation …” It’s should be noted that it might also prove perilous for Weiner to call in the FEDs! It’s no crime to lie to the press… it’s no crime to lie to the public… it’s even no crime to lie to your wife, BUT if you lie to the FEDs (even if you’re not under oath) you face 3 to 5 years in the big house as Bubba’s date to the annual Sadie Hawkins Day Dances – and from the looks of Weiner, he could be the Slammer Homecoming Queen. Title 18, U.S.C. 1001, states: “whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully — (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than five years.”

At least Congressman Chris Lee (also from New York) had the decency to immediately “fess-up” and resign when he got caught. How long will it take for Weiner to do the same?

This ain’t going away Anthony!