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September 10, 2006

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"Yet the military chain of command never sent a formal request to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for additional troops."

What's "formal" doing in there?


"there is a possibility that U.S. Marines committed crimes"

There is a possibility that I'll win Nobel Prizes in Physics and Literature next year.

"Yet the military chain of command never sent a formal request to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for additional troops."

Look where asking for more troops got Gen. Shinseki. Given that Rumsfeld made it clear early on that he would fire anyone that said more troops would be required for Phase 4 operations, I'm not surprised that someone in the chain opted not to make (or pass on) a formal request. Given that the "top priority" troops we have there can't get the ammo and supplies they require:

Much of the Marines' gear was substandard. The doors of their dilapidated Humvees didn't close properly and had inch-wide gaps at the top of them -- potentially deadly in a sector rife with roadside bombs. At the beginning of my embedded tour I had noticed that all of the Marines at the public affairs office at Camp Fallujah had been outfitted with the latest fire-retardant combat uniforms -- but McCollough's Marines were all wearing less-protective cotton uniforms, despite an order from on high that all Marines in Iraq have the new ones.

In a document distributed to commanders after the MiTT program was launched, Lt. Gen. John Sattler, the head Marine general in Iraq, identified the advisor teams as "the main effort" -- an official designation that should have given them head-of-the-line privileges for supplies, ammunition, communication equipment and all the sundry items that a combat unit needs to function in the field. However, when the logistics officer assigned to MiTT 3/5 first submitted support requests, he told me, the response from Marine supply officers was, "Who are you? What unit are you with? What's a MiTT?" The disconnect between them and the larger American military apparatus drove the Marine advisors crazy -- "the main effort" was the punch line to many jokes told by McCollough's team while I was with them.

Given an unwillingness to listen to practical requirements at the top, top brass more loyal to those above them than those below, and massive logistical and supply problems, I'm not at all surprised that the troops are starting to crack, which is true whatever the circumstances at Haditha might be. Read Blood Stripes for a better idea of what they had already gone through at Fallujah, since, IIRC, it's about the same platoon implicated at Haditha.

There is a possibility that I'll win Nobel Prizes in Physics and Literature next year.

While I'd happily vote for you, rf, I think you've got your epsilon the wrong way round...

Look. If people did bad things, it was their fault. This whole blaming of other people for the horrific things they (allegedly) did is unseemly.

TAKE. FRICKIN'. RESPONSIBILITY.

The buck has to stop somewhere and apparently no one in the entire right wing of American politics thinks they have anything to do with that - it's always someone else's problem. Someone else's fault. It's the liberals sucking our purity of essence. It's the media who are sapping our will.

Stop your frickin' whining.

I have been playing with numbers in my head as to what a million addition active duty infantrymen would mean. I would consider that to be the bare minimum, meeting Shinseki's recommendation, allowing some additional forces in Afghanistan, doing decent rotations.

America has a population of 300 million, but how many available (with varying definitions of available) people between the ages of 20 and 40? Won't look it up, but lets say a possible pool of 50 million. 2 million active infantry and Marines at all times. 75 per cent leave after four years. With a draft, that number could go up to 90 percent every 2-3 years.

The numbers are awesome, and I expect Congress and the Pentagon have, the payscales, outsourcing many functions, redefining the missions and training requirements, have made it completely impossible to upscale the infantry. If China were to start moving thru Alaska toward Seattle, we have to blow the world up. Everyone would have to die.

We really have no defense. Just a suicide button.

Eating Soup with a Knife ...Brad Plumer discusses papers by Jeffrey Record of the Army War College and Andrew Bacevich. Basically the article says the military cannot and will not ever be able to effectively do counter-insurgency. Our enemies, real or potential, certainly will understand that and plan accordingly.

The concluding paragraph:

"Fortunately, as Bacevich rather sensibly points out, we don't have to impose our will on these countries. They don't pose existential threats. Iran, at the moment, is surrounded by American troops, rather than vice versa. Whatever problems are associated with its nuclear program can be handled by perfectly dovish means or, if worst comes to worst, deterrence. Ideally, the United States would just accept that it can no really longer use its military power to meddle in the Middle East. Regardless of whether we should or not, it's just not feasible. Somehow, I think we'll survive just fine."

I don't.

Bob mcmanus:

The CIA World Factbook suggests an answer to your questions about manpower.

Under "fit for military service, males age 18-49" the CIA says: 54,609,050.

Under "reaching military age annually," the CIA says: 2,143,873.

My HTML skills are not top-flight. Here's the CIA link:

https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html#Military

Huh, I thought this posted already. Apparently not. Forthwith...

To the post in question, I don't have much time but I thought I'd address this:

“Universally,” he said, “they tell me, ‘We hope our brothers get a fair shake.’”

Since when have members of the US military, under allegations of war crimes, ever received less than a "fair shake"? In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find more than a few such people who were, under most objective measures of such things, given less than "far more of a shake than they ought to have" if not "shaken like a can of paint during an earthquake". A "fair shake" doesn't mean a sympathetic ear, it means that justice should be served; and in that venue, at least, we have an appalling poor track record.

Kudos to Charles for cross-posting this atRedstate -- especially this one sentence: "there is a possibility that U.S. Marines committed crimes." I've seen people get banned there for a lot less.

Some of the small number of prisoners who remained in the jail after the Americans left said they had pleaded to go with their departing captors, rather than be left in the hands of Iraqi guards.

"The Americans were better than the Iraqis. They treated us better," said Khalid Alaani, who was held on suspicion of involvement in Sunni terrorism.

Hmm and Iraq takes military command. Can't wait!

And TiO is open for business. Knock yerselves out.

The "fair shake" comment makes me wonder if the killing of civilians by Americans is a common occurrence. I mean collateral damage, not deliberate killing. The defense given by the accused Marines is that they went into this house shooting, only to find out that they had killed civilians. My impression is that if they can prove that to be the case, they'd be off the hook. If a large number of American troops have accidentally killed civilians then it would be natural for the troops to wonder if Haditha is just another example of this, with the prosecution for war crimes occurring to keep the Iraqis happy.

I assume that deliberate killings of civilians by American troops are fairly rare occurrences, but the collateral damage sort of thing you expect in a guerilla war (though the number can be reduced), and the chief responsibility for those deaths lies with the guy who sent the troops in for no good reason.

Ya know, when I ask even professional military men about scalability, and there are a lot I respect, I am told, before "We can't" "We don't need a big army. Wars aren't like that anymore."

Looking at Afghanistan and Iraq, I say "Right. Sure."

During the cold war we had a dozen options before going nuclear. Deterrence requires a ladder of escalation. If your opponent knows it is all or nothing, he can use that against you.

Most would agree that coalition forces were too light after May 1st, 2003, allowing an insurgency to grow.

If this includes you, CB, when did you have your epiphany? Because like the rest of the right wing, you certainly did not have this opinion in 2003-2004 when it mattered to get this right. You were busy defending the incompetents.

Repeat after me. The Democrats and lefties were right....

Anarch: "I think you've got your epsilon the wrong way round..."

Well, that was on purpose. I complained the other day about someone I thought was sort of kidding on the square against CB; the sentence you're reacting to was intended to do the opposite.

If this includes you, CB, when did you have your epiphany?

At the time, dm, I didn't know what the right troop levels should have been. In retrospect, another 100,000 would've been good.

Thanks for the response CB, although you dodged the basic question of when.

Think about the significance of the deliberate 2003 decision to send too few troops -- one anecdotal observation: Situation Called Dire in West Iraq:
Anbar Is Lost Politically, Marine Analyst Says
.

The 2003 force level was a deliberate decision of Rumsfeld and Bush, and it was a decision driven by political expediency. Planning for a larger troop commitment would have required actual sacrafice and endangered political support for the Iraq adventure. So do it on the cheap.

If an inadequate number of troops underlies the problems in Haditha, then connect the dots as to who is responsible. Moreover, we are talking about deliberately repeating the force level mistake for years after the invasion (Haditha occurs 30 months after the invasion), and for the same political reasons.

That is why the question of "when" is so significant. Even if you still cut slack for the slackers for opting to invade on the cheap, at some point even you seem to acknowledge that a greater force commitment was necessary. Surely you would hold leadership accountable for not also realizing it at least at the same time you did.

Conservatives love to blather about the lack of "will" to see the fight through. Well, the lack of "will" to do what was needed started in 2002-2003 by Bush et al., when they decided to do the war on the cheap, and continued thereafter when they decided to stick with that loser strategy purely for reasons of political expediency.

Is it too much to ask for conservatives to be accountable for loser ideas and supporting loser leadership?

It's too soon to judge the troops for one reason and one reason only.

The military is stretching out it's investigation like Ken Starr. Only I doubt with the same furor.

Six months into the investigation we still don't know if the incident warrants judicial punishment.

I'm guessing it will take a convenient 9 months for them to "get to the bottom" of this one.

Thanks for the response CB, although you dodged the basic question of when.

No, I ignored your presumption that I had an "epiphany". As for when I came to realize that we were under-manned, I really don't recall.

At some point (some time in '04), I came to the conclusion that, had we had 100,000 more troops right after May 1st, then it was likely that we would have had much lower manpower requirements down the road because the country would've been fairly secure and a Sunni paramilitancy wouldn't have grown to what it became. But we also made mistakes along the way that precluded troop reductions, one being how we handled Fallujah after the contractors were murdered and, two, our mishandling of al-Sadr.

I take exception that we fought "on the cheap" in Iraq or that it was for "purely political reasons", but you have your opinion and I have mine. The price tag alone speaks to your "on the cheap" comment. Rumsfeld's philosophy of fewer and more maneuverable forces worked well for removing a dictator, but has proved costly (to put it mildly) for post-war operations. He hasn't been maneuverable enough in seeing new problems and changing the strategy when changes were sorely needed.

CB: 'The price tag alone speaks to your "on the cheap" comment.'

I think the claim is we were penny-wise and pound-foolish.


'Rumsfeld's philosophy of fewer and more maneuverable forces worked well for removing a dictator'

I can't speak to this myself, but I've seen claims that the invasion was a much closer thing than popularly thought, in which case your statement is post hoc.

Charles:

"On the cheap" does not mean without significant expense -- it means doing it with less than was truly necessary in order to do it right. You know that -- why play this dodge?

The Bush administration was advised in detail before the war as to what it would take to do it right -- "it" being the much more expensive task of securing the country post-invasion. For purely political reasons, they opted to reject that advice (even though no one said they could do it with the small force actually sent).

The "purely political reasons" were that they did not want to admit publicly how much it would really cost nor the sacrafices necessary to field a large enough army to do it right. After all, they had a war to sell -- can't let facts discourage people from opting for war! No one advocated that the post-war could be handled with the same small force used for the invasion. What is your explanantion, if not political, for undermanning the occupation?

Finally, think again about the seriousness of the decision from at least 2004 onward to continue to muddle along with inadequate force. Think of the thousands of Americans maimed or killed needlessly because the Republicans were unwilling to fight this war properly by fielding the proper force with proper equipment.

Today, American forces have more combat aircraft than infantry squads, and more combat pilots than squad leaders. Fully 75 percent of our Army and Marine infantry leave the military after their four-year tour.

This is frustratingly hard to confirm. Why doesn't Wikipedia or someone just have a table of the number of combat aircraft in our armed forces? A squad is about 8 people, so if there are 120,000 troops in Iraq there need to be 15,000 planes and combat leaders. Does that make sense? Looks to me from links on this page like we have 500 combat aircraft in Iraq.

Noumenon,

A squad is eleven people by doctrine. But only a very few Army units are actually organized into squads; infantry and military police are the only ones I can think of offhand. Armor units only go down to the platoon level (four tanks per platoon, four men per tank, sometimes operating as two-tank sections). So that cite may be true, but it needs a great deal more context to make clear why it is true.

Ok I had all this typed out the other night and lost it, I am certain there are better sites but searching thru DoD is work:

Military Personnel ...Wikipedia, as of 2004

I was looking for historical manpower levels(Order of Battle? ...you can tell a real geek here) and found the CMH:

Center for Military History ...a browse makes me wonder about all my Ospreys

Manpower Drawdowns ...1950-80, roughly. Looks to me like the Army and Marines got seriously shafted during the 70s, and the Air Force is just way too big. For reference I think the WWII army peaked at roughly 4 million (Korea 1.5, Vietnam 1.5)

Basically, I was looking, and still am, for the percentage of population, and percentage of eligibles, that had served say 1940-75, so I could try to explain the feeling of growing up during the 50s and 60s. "Everybody served" is wrong, but that is how it felt.

The 54 million eligibles cited above, and a figure of currently 134 eligibles on a Wiki page is very probably wrong, cause I doubt they have checked who has only one leg or is blind.

This is frustratingly hard to confirm. Why doesn't Wikipedia or someone just have a table of the number of combat aircraft in our armed forces? A squad is about 8 people, so if there are 120,000 troops in Iraq there need to be 15,000 planes and combat leaders. Does that make sense? Looks to me from links on this page like we have 500 combat aircraft in Iraq.

I'd guess this was a reference to assets in all of armed service, not just in Iraq. But as Andrew says, it needs some 'splainin'. For reference, we have roughly 5000 combat aircraft in inventory, last I checked.


As most who attended the rally know, I was there. After the dust had cleared created by some moonbat among the bootmurtha crowd who called in a fake police report that a fight had broken out, Larry Bailey came out to speak with me.

I complimented him from the bottom of my heart for the contributions he has made to our country's national security while he was serving active duty in the US Navy.

He made it clear my request to speak would not happen. He then proceeded to suggest he has no memory of the email he wrote me on 8/20/2006 2:59:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time stating that our current Commander in Chief made stupid mistakes in Iraq.

Larry then proceeded to illustrate stupid mistakes made in passed wars. After he mentioned 3 or 4 examples I interjected that there is a difference between those wars and this one.

In the past it took weeks, months, sometimes years for mistakes to be discovered and reported. Today is the information age where mistakes are reported within hours of their occurrence. I reminded him this war was still going on. I also reminded him of the glaring mistakes he had acknowledged President Bush had made in Iraq, and our respective use of the Internet to support our respective views and that is where our conversation ended.

I waited outside the Arena with a Johnstown police officer who had stayed behind after the bootmurtha hysterics caused 3 squad cars and a sergeant to arrive with sirens blaring. I was debating Steeler football with him when a motorcycle officer stopped by, who had been inside. When I asked how many were inside he said, "not many at all" When I asked "500?", he responded, "na ... well maybe 500, at most."

At the end of the event when Larry Bailey came out for a photo op next to the bootmurtha.com sign on the sidewalk outside the War Memorial Arena. I handed Larry the speech I had waited to deliver. He put it in his outside left coat pocket.

This is my speech Larry Bailey has in his coat pocket ... the words he was not man enough to let me say:

"Please join me in Prayer.

Heavily father we pray today for you to continue to protect the men and women of the armed forces of the United States and other countries who are in harms way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries throughout the world. We thank them and their families for their sacrifices.

We pray for the souls of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all wars. We pray for strength and courage for the POWs and MIAs and those held hostage.

We pray for protection and safety of relief workers helping those in need.

We pray for the protection of children and innocent civilians. Lord we especially pray for our nation and our leaders."


.
Below you will find the press release that went out on October 29th of this year.
.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
.
LARRY BAILEY (BOOTMURTHA.COM) OCTOBER 1ST RALLY IN JOHNSTOWN, PA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Cliff Hancuff
September 29, 2006 (202) 247-1418
[email protected]

"American troops could be home now, except for critical mistakes made by our current Commander in Chief," charges Cliff Hancuff, Director of The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too.

"Media and right-wing bloggers are ignoring this fact. For weeks I have been challenging political activists and journalists to act with a minimum of ethical standards," continued Hancuff.

"I became involved when the Sun-Sentinel in Florida reported that Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said the U.S. poses the top threat to world peace. I watched in dismay as the media and bloggers worldwide reported on this misquote."

"My involvement continued when I discovered Diana Irey, John Murtha's political opponent, had attacked Murtha using a fictional quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln."

"Larry Bailey of bootmurtha.com is continuing his three year blind support of our current Commander in Chief's incompetence in war. President Bush declared war in Iraq without the 4th Infantry, our most lethal, modern, and deployable heavy division in the world," added Hancuff.

This mistake lead to the atrocity of Al Qaqaa. Iraqi insurgents stole hundreds of tons of high explosives to be used as weaponry.

"These are the explosives being used by Iraqi insurgents and al Qaeda to perpetuate the war in Iraq."

"I am distressed that the same issues ignored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004 are being ignored again in 2006," said Hancuff adding, "Americans, American soldiers, and their families deserve better."

"Without these critical mistakes made by our current Commander in Chief, our American troops would be home with their loved ones, with honor, right now."

On October 1, 2006 Hancuff be at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena located in Johnstown Pennsylvania for Larry Bailey's Swiftboating of John Murtha rally. It is there Hancuff will continue his wait for Mr. Bailey to recall the values of honor and integrity taught him by our US Navy.

There is a youtube.com video online at:

YouTube - Rovian Architecture Unplugged

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5jcyHokFyE


The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too
(202) 247-1418

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