Gen invokes infamous defeats in warning to HASC

Gen invokes infamous defeats in warning to HASC

Army Vice Chief Gen. Peter Chiarelli warned House lawmakers Thursday the U.S. could repeat some of its most ignominious defeats if it cuts defense spending too deeply. He spoke at a hearing at which the rhetoric ratcheted so high the committee chairman nearly broke down in tears.

Again and again, Chiarelli warned, the U.S. has cut back its land forces after major wars only to see them pay in blood when they’ve been called back into action later. The Army’s drawdown after World War I led to its defeat in the Battle of the Kasserine Pass early in World War II, he said, when the troops sent into battle were poorly organized and equipped. A hollowing of the service after World War II meant the Army had to send an under-strength and unprepared Task Force Smith into action in Korea in the Battle of Osan, where it was routed with heavy casualties.

The pattern is clear, Chiarelli said: “We will never fail you. We will always do it.” But if the Army doesn’t begin with the best equipment and the right force structure, “the results will not be good.”

“Quite frankly, it has cost us lives. It has cost us lives every single time,” he said.

The drama at Thursday’s hearing didn’t end there — as he has before, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, a California Republican, warned of dire national consequences if DoD’s budget is cut too deeply. The U.S. unemployment rate could go up to 10 percent or more, he said, because major cutbacks could result in a million or more jobs lost around the country. And when McKeon began to tell stories about service members who’ve contacted him asking about whether they’ll be able to count on their retirement and other benefits, he appeared almost overcome with emotion and unable to finish his sentence.

HASC Readiness subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia retook the floor, saying McKeon’s reaction showed how much he and the other committee members cared about the troops. After Forbes adjourned the session a few moments later, McKeon appeared to wipe his eyes. (UPDATE: See video of McKeon here.)

Besides the drama, Thursday’s hearing fell into a now-familiar pattern for the House committee: Lawmakers asked service witnesses whether it would be terrible if the Doomsday Device reduced DoD’s budget growth by nearly $1 trillion over the coming decade. Service witnesses responded that, yes, it would be terrible — simply terrible. There were the now-familiar buzzwords and codewords: The U.S. needs a “strategy” to drive its decisions; the services must make some “hard choices;” everything is on the “table;” DoD must “keep faith” with current service members and avoid a “hollow force” going forward. Overall the U.S. must maintain a “balanced” military posture because “we’ve got a perfect record of predicting our next conflict — 100 percent wrong.”

Pentagon leaders apparently hope to keep up this tap-dance routine until the end of the year: Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove said Thursday the Mother of All Reviews we’ve been waiting for won’t be finished until the end of December. But that could change again: DoD has gone back and forth on almost every detail about this document. The Pentagon seems to be torn about whether it wants to play with the Congressional “super committee” whose success or failure could have such dramatic consequences for DoD. At times officials have said the comprehensive review wouldn’t come out until next February, along with the fiscal 2013 budget, but they’ve also said it could be out this year in time to influence lawmakers’ deliberations. Bottom line: Breedlove did not make clear whether DoD will have a document in time to influence the “super committee” or the larger Congress as lawmakers debate.


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The fix is in, the traitor Obama has cut killed dozens of weapons modernizations programs.
Now Obama just cares about shoveling as much money as possible to his voters. Obama is a corrupt weasel of the highest order. Progressive trash ruling class.

This comment is blatantly wrong, even for DoD Buzz. Do we need to recite the litany of ACAT I programs this adminstration has terminated ? Facts. Matter. Here.

Juan — I think you need to get a grip on reality. President Obama hasn’t killed any major defense acquisitions other than possibly the Presidential helicopter replacement. The cancellations were done at either the SecDef level or by the derive chiefs.

I served just after the Vietnam war with the (Carter)reductions and it was impossible.Everything we had was either worn-out, broken,or cannibalized to a point of no repair​.No spare parts were available​.No unit can function with these handicaps.

AFRet05 — I think that Juan might be a little bit tightly wrapped, but.… last I checked the buck always stops on the desk in the Oval Office, whether the cancellation (or inception!) of a program was declared by the SecDef or JCS or even the lowliest program manager. ALL of these folk you mention are supposed to be TRYING to do what the boss wants, and unless Im all wrong about that “commander in chief” stuff, his desires are what shows up along the command chain (or quite frankly he should be exercising his “pleasure” to re-populate that command chain!)

I dont necessarily agree with all of the decisions made, but lets just make sure we understand who is ultimately responsible for those decisions.

The hollow Army was a real thing, I’m not disagreeing. Carter didn’t make things better, but actually Nixon is the one who cut the budget. That’s one of those myths that doesn’t die.

The irony is that terminating failingprograms enhances our national defense by freeing up resources to bolster other worthy programs that capitalize on promising emerging technologies, or go back to the drawing board to try to get it right the next time. Under Obama the top line has not gone down at all. There’s enough waste in DoD that we should be able to get better results out of a flat or slightly increasing budget. I do not agree with drastically cutting defense. Creates too many risks.

There is a big difference between a cancellation directed by the POTUS and one directed by the administration. Most of the ACAT I programs were cancelled at the SecDef level or lower. I’ve personally seen some of the programs that were canceled up close and can tell you they were NOT done as a result of actions of the POTUS.

Who of the GOP candidates has the best plan for keeping the armed services in good shape from 2013 to the end of the decade?

Perry and Romney are both being advised by some of the same idiots that got us into Iraq. They’re the front runners out of that bunch, right? How does that make you feel about the chances for the armed forces under one of them?

Agree with SID. No parts, no fuel, no nothing and that was on the DMZ. The joke was we ran 4 miles a day in Pro-Life because the tanks could not. The only thing you heard was the BS during alerts. You can expect to put troops in harms way, thats part of the job. But to do it without sufficient equipment and supplies is simply immoral.


I’m fairly certain the POTUS was in the loop on this one. If something in cancelled by the Sec of Def it is cancelled by the POTUS, the former serves at the latter’s whim.

Chiarelli is absolutely wrong. Generals refushing to stand up and tell a president NO (and thus endanger their own troops) is part of the problem. Generals having wet dreams about science fiction weapons and then buying whatever crap a defense contractor sells them is the problem, especially when those defense contractors are ex-generals. Incompetent generals “leading” brave men and women from some command post fifty miles back of the front lines is the problem. Generals making war impersonal to themselves (by using remotely piloted vehicles to kill whoever is considered “the enemy”) and thus relieving themselves of any moral consequence is the problem. Generals who put their own vanity and sense of greatness before that of their citizen soldiers is the problem. And politicians who waste the lives and treasure of their citizens is the problem. We should provide our military with what they need, but it is WE the CITIZENS who should decide how big that army and navy is relative to the risks. And today we could cut the army and navy in half and still be fully protected.

FEAR .… spread FEAR …

what about the numbers that show that the US being defeated in terms of enginners and R&D personnel for China and India. The US is educating less and less of high ranked engineers.
And what about the economical battle .…who is winning that? .… imagine that you let trash the US credit note to BBB or less. .… humm who will bail out the US in case of default? .…. Boing ?!! … LM ?!!! … Haliburton ??!!! Raytheon??!! .…. sure.

The most expensive army the world has ever seen has just lost a war to Iran and is in the process of losing to a bunch of Afghan farmers. Money just breeds a casualty shy military that doesn’t have the will to win and an officer core that see funneling money to their retirement jobs as their prime responsibility.

It’s notable that we win the wars that aren’t lavishly over-equipped.

Off your meds again? Because we didn’t fight a war with Iran, and your beloved Afghan drug farmers will find themselves killing each other for another 50 years if we decide to stop “nation-building” their shithole of a country. Yeah, that’s a big win for them all right…

But you’re just another anti-American troll who likes to pretend heroic “Afghan farmers” defeat hordes of American soldiers in combat.

Aren’t over-equipped? Yeah, switching to Sherman tanks and P-51s fix everything… in the meantime find a few million extra troops to make up the numbers difference between then and now.

Reality check: America has achieved victory on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But these victories occurred under the auspices of a Republican president, which is why the Democrats have since the 2004 presidential race decried them as being, in reality, disasterous defeats. They weren’t then, and they aren’t now (at least, not yet), but the Obama administration came into being on the premise that we had early on effectually lost both wars, and that we must cease all combat operations in the Middle East as soon as possible in order to prevent further disaster. “What about the succesful Pakistan operation?,” you retort. Had the Obama administration not acted, and had the information on OBL’s vulnerability become public, the further stigma of gutlessness would have frustrated Obama’s efforts to abandon the battlefield in total. As it is, the President can presently claim hawkish characteristics for public consumption while he retreats from the Middle East stage in the face of its seemingly intractable contempt (made pliable and compliant only by means of an omnipresent American power).

The GOP candidates are in the primaries not the general election. So the only details they need to offer is that they are for a strong national defense and primary voters can check that off. Honestly the #1 issue is teh economy so the only details you’ll hear talked about are in regards to that. We are wrapping up Iraq and will be on our way to doing that in Stan by the election, so I wouldn’t expect any kind of specific talk on defense unless the super committee deadlocks and the auto cuts go into effect. That would spur some defense budgetary discussion, but not specifics.

The other half of the myth is it was Reagan who started the US military road to recovery, it actually started under Carter and accelerated under Reagan.

Carter was an awful President but in National Security area he has taken the blame for the actions of Nixon and Ford and not received the credit that he should share with Reagan.

Although my initial comment was intended to do nothing more than correct a misstatement of fact, I contest the notion that terminating programs has anything to do with efficient allocation of resources. How much does the R&D budget amount to in the first place. Quiz time — how much of the overall defense budget does to 6.1 through 6.3 ? Hint — it is way less than ten percent. So — what money are you saving by cancelling a program before it hits Milestone C ? What you end up doing is refuse to jump the fence into production — in this environment, the money goes off the budget, and will not come back. Period. Think about how ridiculous this is — you whack program after program before you really understand the strengths and limitations of the technology. You shrink the baseline — you really are not just slowing down the train, you are stopping it altogether. You stand up a new program — and as long as you keep kicking the can down the road, the same thing happens. So, please save me the schoolhouse sermons, willya ?

In all fairness to General Chiarelli, he is defending OMA dollars more than he is defending RDT&E. There are folks out there who think we should trade off Army end strength for high tech. Pete Chiarelli ain’t one of ‘em. Look at the record of what he actually did before spouting off.

This is correct. One thing the Army has to thank Jimmy Carter for doing is making Shy Meyer its Chief of Staff. And the defense budget started going back up in 1978. That said, one reason things got better under Reagan is that the economy was so bad from 1980–82, we started getting much higher quality volunteers into the force. I guess in a way, you can blame that one on the ole’ peanut farmer, after all. :)

not going to do it. this is a discussion where we are going to see and respect eachother’s views, ok. Now just because DoD often does not reinvest the dollars wisely does not mean that it is impossible to do so. They have only themselves to blame if they start more foolish developments. I work on the O&M side of things, where in fact, a lot of ‘development’ work to address fielded deficiencies, takes place. A wiser strategy for DoD to pursue would be to, lower risk in ACAT programs by using mature technologies (which can be matured through lab work and ACTDs), actually satisfy ACAT stakeholders (keep people happy — its not that hard of a concept if you actually embrace it).

We need less failed high risk ACAT programs, more high risk technology development, and more successful lower risk ACAT programs to field replacement systems for our antiquated systems. We need to engineer for greater reliability, operational suitability, and competetive procurements, as opposed to immature technology. The industry development profit friendly strategy you pursue gives us more failed programs, higher costs, failed missions, and increased risk to national security. Keep promoting your views, but reality will keep on breaking these programs, industry, and the DoD. We always end up having to come back to reality and designing systems properly.. with the life cycle, and with operational reality, as the drivers. Too bad we have to waste so many billions and decades relearning lessons over and over again.

You mean like the fact that “administrations” don’t cancel programs? The services cancel programs; Congress cancels programs. OSD very occasionally manages to (de facto) cancel a program.

Which particular recent cancellations are you attributing to the White House?

Lives have always been cheaper and that’s a sad, sad, fact. Used to be you could draft people and depend on the “citizen” soldier mentality of being under served, and under paid because you’re doing it for your country, it’s expected, it’s your duty. Lives are still cheap but at least the one’s who won’t serve, won’t fight, are paying more for it and soldiers are finally get what they deserve, good pay and benefits, the best equipment. One thing more needs to be done — non-service related families and individuals should pay more. Why should military connected families pay the same taxes as nons? It’s really troubling when you look at the cost in lives, there always seems to be a higher up arrogance involved — like from the ones who don’t do the bleeding and dying.

Needing it and making it happen are two very different things, but we have discussed that ad naseum. Talk is cheap, where is that peer-reviewed “how to” article? :-)

lol which one was that anyway? doesm”t this qualify as a ‘peer reviewed’ forum? this is probably the most i will do. Change happens per direction that the political winds blow and unfortunately my breath, however accurate in the right direction it may be, won’t stand up to the hurricane force winds of Washington politics. then again, the butterfly effect shows that the beating of wings could cause a hurricane. so maybe sounding off in public forums can possibly effect change. i might do a PC presentation at some conference or something but i’m starting to think that even that would be a waste of my time. i got a full time job to keep.…

Is itfunk a total idiot? I don’t think we should be in Afghanistan for the Afghani’s, but we should be there to keep the lid on and drain al’ qaeda’s resources. We’ve found’em, fixed ‘em, now all we have to do is keep hittin them. We only lose wars when people like itfunk get listened to. Fortunately, even the media restrains itself because the country has regained it’s sense and the slimey, distorted, hack job done on us by people like Cronkite in ’68 just isn’t popular anymore. But give Occupy Wall Street enough time and they will turn their focus back on us, back to lies and an enemy supportive media that cost us lives and a war. The left is sick and tired of being exposed for what they are and now it’s time for them to try a comeback.

As much as I enjoy some of the reparte here, this is HARDLY a peer-reviewed journal of program management. Its a soap box for pontification and bluster, as are most blogs, in which opinions and outright lies might get challenged but rarely need meaningful support.

If you have insight, true insight, you should publish! You owe it to the rest of us who are a bit more certain as to what we dont know! In the area of program management, the peer-review standards are much relaxed compared to physics or mathematics.… so… have at it!

Do you have the answers or just the words…. :-) Otherwise, perhaps you might want to join the rest of us, at least understanding and tolerating our own ignorance. :-)

Is taxpayer nuts? We choose, most of us, our monikers wisely — what is “taxpayer” saying with his label?

But I don’t disagree that generals should speak up more and even refuse the most ridiculous orders by the CiC. If Hitler’s generals had we might all be speaking German. But that leads to a problem, an officer corp that argues too much and does too little. It is a blade that cuts both ways and usually deeper in the opposite.
I too am concerned about all the high tech. How will soldiers lob their shells if GPS is taken out? If you were a super power and we were your enemy how would you defeat us? What would be in your strategic planning against a technology dependant military?
But as to the military contractors the real problem in Washington are the politicians and associates who become lobbyist and send taxpayer dollars down the tubes. Surprisingly, military contractors despite their former connections have a very difficult time getting just anything through.

lol I have published. look up Cost Overruns on Amazon. I don’t market though cause there’s no business case for me to invest resources there vs quitting my full time gig. Doing both at the same time is not necessarily the most career advancing prospect, either. Plus the theory is pretty much already out there. I may synthesize things a bit differently and put some of my own unique ideas & some innovation in there. But the basic elements are public knowledge and many people have been fighting this fight for decades now. The implementation problem is political. DoDBuzz is a good forum that is shaping the political debate, so that’s good enough for me for now!!

The only wars we one where we weren’t lavishly over equipped was our very, very, first one and our second, the War of 1812. The rest, we outproduced and made better weapons and fielded a military that had the time and money to train.

You need to crawl back under your rock.

It is CONGRESS that is casualty shy and who forces the military to bend over backwards to not lose a single member. If you think that the Army wants to have the typical infantry soldiers load be over 100LBs then you are very very wrong. Army was happy with flak jackets but Congressional hearings forced them to adopt heavy body armor which, while it does save lives, it also reduces moblity which is a key asset to an infantryman

Now your making a distinction between a citizen and a soldier just like the old European aristocats. This is how dictatorships start. You serve your country because it is your country. The idea that our military servicemembers are “entitled” to a retirement and unlimited health care for life is today’s norm but is, sadly, NOT what the Founding Fathers intended. They believed in a militia style force that went home after the war, with no claims for pensions. Today’s costly professional military — and its propensity to get itself into wars — is EXACTLY why the Founding Fathers authorized an army and navy but refused to fund them. We need a much smaller, well-equipped, well-trained military. About 600,000 total — Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force , Guard and Reserves — is about right.

I am a fan of Ronald Reagan’s, but today’s GOP is not Ronald Reagan’s party. It is willing to sacrifice defense on the altar of no new taxes. My Republican Congressman voted for the balanced budget amendment which would require to cut 1.4 trillion dollar per from the budget, but he refuses to say what he would cut except that taxes absolutely cannot be raised. And Michelle Bachmann rails against socialized medicine, but wants to protect Medicare the most socialized unsustainable program we have.
The GOP supported Start II in December 2010, but does not want to talk about the gigantic Chinese nuclear weapons program
If taxes were raised I would feel some pain, but it is nothing compared to the sacrifice our soldiers are willing to make.
Folks, maybe we deserve to be swept away as we demonstrate to the world that we have become a cannot do anything nation with cannot do anytihing leaders and defense contractors and citizens who understand themselves as consumers looking for a free lunch. There never was free lunch and once the dollar looses it world reserve currency status we will notice paying 10 dollars for a gallon of gas.

How’s blaming the media and those evil leftists for all our ails working out for you? Ever read the Pentagon Papers? It turned out it wasn’t Walter Cronkite who lost the war, surprise! But partisan idiocy is so much better than thinking for oneself, look at how much time you have to slag off the opposition when you can’t be bothered to formulate a nuanced worldview that acknowledges complexity. Keep slamming the left, maybe we can get another Bush in office to lead us with his enlightened foreign policy and more land wars in Asia, great idea. And he can fix the economy, too!

You’re claiming that the Bush administration’s disbanding of the Baathists and outlawing former military officials to serve in the new Iraqi military was anything but a disaster? And that Iraq and Afghanistan were largely “won” only to be subsequently lost by Obama? And I assume OBL’s death can rightly be attributed to Bush, as well? Can I please sample what you’re smoking, it sounds fantastic!

You sound like a very old and out of touch man.

They should pay the same because there is a line in a little document called the Constitution that says enhance the general welfare, which means whatever service the government does offer it offers regardless of station in society. It also says some thing about all men are created equal. So those would be a couple principle reasons why.

The cancellations were done by order of/at the direction of the President.

But they don’t shoulder the burden equally do they? In terms of your process then shouldn’t we pay the same taxes no matter how much we make? This equality thing sounds great on paper but running to that paper to conveniently support an argument when others are running the other way just doesn’t square. Raising the playing field brings one group up to be as equal — compensation equal to the sacrifice. I know so many people who say they would not let their kids go in the military and in one sense who can fault them, no parent wants their child to die or worse on some god forsaken battlefield a world away — however it is okay for others. There are parents who have lived their lives having lost a son long ago in Vietnam for 100 bucks a month and then have lived with the pain of having this sacrifice spit on. It’s an inconvenient truth but it is the truth that we’ve grown apart in this society. One half of our nation has become incredibly spoiled and nasty in the bargain.

You sound incredibly young and out of touch — except with yourself, otherwise you would have had something to say. Some ideas and values have stood the test of time, if you’re like 20 and making it up as the situation fits good luck, by the time you reach 30 it will all, hopefully, start to change. Be careful, you could end up looking like those 60 year olds from ’68 that still ain’t got a freakin’ clue.

You have no idea how dictatorships start. Worse, you equate the notion of “aristocrat” with certain things and fail to see those things in others. Study the French revolution, the rise of the Nazis, Bolsheviks, and you will see paralells to our country today. The mob — OWS for example, becomes by turns, the tool of unethical, power hungry people. The press follows and becomes a tool themselves having failed to live up to their own mantra. They support attacks on other media outlets. What you can say, think, and hear becomes controlled. Most importantly, disarm the people. It started here when the British went to Lexington — gun control. Like criminals, the government loves unarmed citizens. Class warfare is agitated for by corrupt and violent unions and even el presidente himself. Your leaders become divisive and actively agitate against the other side. Sound familiar? The totalitarian state the left spent all their bumper stickers warning on is here; they’ve brought it themselves. Don’t bother being surprised, the German people did that for you long ago when they woke up one day to find all that hope and change they’d supported was an evil nightmare in disguise.

Maybe we deserve to be swept away as we demonstrate on Wall Street we are divided and clueless and falling for the glamor of marxism. It all sounds so good when your 20, and you get to wear your red starred Mao hats and Che t-shirts. We all have a bone to pick but they’re all just bones and everyone is carrying their own. Right now, in this country today, we are proving that democracy doesn’t work. Maybe we should secede from this “union” and start over. Me on this side, you and that. Oh, you’re in the middle? Sorry, try Canada. The federal government is a failure on a massive scale.

It’s working great because it is the truth. I read them and would never say there was no value in it. But in the end I lost respect for Daniel Ellsberg because I saw him as nothing more than an “outer” and then outing was in vogue. At a certain point being a squealer becomes somehow heroic and patriotic and distinctions of right and wrong are lost; it’s always right and nothing is always right. I really, really, hate to disappoint you but I’m not a Bush admirer. I never thought he should’ve returned the surplus — I’m kind of conservative in that respect, and the Iraq war wrong for all reasons. As ex-military I was very vocal as to how stupid it was. You should use your complex and nuanced way of seeing to see the current administration for what it is — I do. Quoting Bush, Bush, Bush, only gets you so far and that is all the way to dupe.

Yeah, defense cuts to stupid programs we never use anyway. Portable rc jet that’s supposed to be reconnaissance for over a million dollars? RC cars that are supposed to detect threats? What’s going on? These are the contracts that need to be cut.

The overall problem is two fold in my opinion. First and foremost is this maniacal pursuit of leading edge technology demonstrators for every procurement need we have. The second part is that each service is allowed to look at its own needs in a bubble. Someone over everyone needs to look at things in the context of a whole campaign or strategy and sort of assign what actually needs to push the tech envelope and what can just be a good OTS option. Until then we’ve got 4 service branches trying to convince everyone that their pet project has to be a stealth flying sub tank model.

You may have a leg to stand on over the Baathists but Obama would have never touched OBL without the growth of special ops, refocus of the CIA, enhanced interrogation and seizing Afghanistan (all Bush accomplishments & policies). Obama deserves the credit for the green light but he didn’t get there by himself.

BTW, while folks beat up on Bush’s imperfect wageing of war the libs give Clinton a pass on Bin Laden. Thrust has a point. Bush doesn’t get credit because of his party. We are leaving Iraq because of a SOFA HE negotiated. We are in Afghanistan because of Bush while Obama gets a pass for “doubling down” using a copied Bush surge. I have no problem giving honest credit for Obama’s good decisions. Libs can’t be honest.

I think those systems are used so that our troops first indication of enemy contact isnt getting one of their own shot or blown up. Why does that capability need to be cut?

When in doubt, invoke Vietnam/Korea for all your troubles. Never mind the complex geo-politics and crappy prima dona Generals. Sounds alot like OIF and OEF under Tommy Franks and his CiNCs watch.

Pax Roma didn’t bankrupt itself overnight /(sarcasm!).

Even though OBL was killed under “Nobama’s” watch (which was the whole intention of the invasion of Afghanistan), “Hussein” Obama is not responsible for killing OBL because of the policies that Bush put in place? I guess OBL and Hussein would not have formed their Taliban alliance if it was not for Reagan’s (and his subordinates Bush Sr., Cheney, & Rumsfeld) involvement in Soviet-Afghan War and Iran-Iraq War.

And Clinton is responsible for 9/11 because he didn’t declare war on Afghanistan or authorize a snatch and grab earlier? Yes, the 90s were a good time. We actually had a budget surplus, not had our national credit rating downgraded, the world actually liked the US…many different things, hindsight is 20/20, maybe Clinton should have authorized an assasination. File this under “novel, assymetric threats.” Too bad Bush didn’t emplace resources to capture/kill OBL since Afghanistan was always the “secondary” theater and “rebuilding” Iraq and making Iran stronger was the “main effort.”

LOL! You, sir, are a hard (and I strongly suspect honest!) judge. Too bad that more dont have your acumen or honesty! But then both of those attributes tend to confuse and restrict the political venue, at least in its current form, far beyond its breaking point! :-)

At the end of the Vietnam conflict, during the Paris peace talks, an American colonel (I had heard it was a general, but cant find the quote!) apparently confronted his North Vietnamese counterpart and told him that the U.S. had won every battle in the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese officer nodded, “Yes, that is true, but also irrelevant.”

History will tell, and from the perspective of 25–50 years it might be very hard to spin any of the currently attractive propositions on Iraq or Afghanistan, no matter which side of the arguement you might champion. As it is, perhaps we did the best we could with the information that was on the table at the time and will just get to live with the results until the final outcome is actually known.

Agree with your basic precept except in one or two places. First, “Better” certainly does not describe the Sherman tank in a one on on versus a Tiger or even one of the later model medium German tanks.… . unless you consider that there was barely 1000 of the Porche Tigers produced and there were 50,000 GM, Ford and Chrysler Shermans! We outproduced our opposition lavishly, sometimes with mediocre or downright substandard (think Liberty ships!) equipment, but with quantities that stagger the mind.

We also had the time to build up those production lines and train up those fighting forces.… . Today… we have neither the production capacity that can be refocused into building weapon systems, nor in modern warfare, the time to do the refocusing!

Perhaps we dont even disagree on those points….…

Chiarelli told Congress that the FCS program was on track and would deliver. Congress need to listen to those who are experts and have already givin suggestions on how the proposes Defense increases are bing rolled back down to reality. Both Republicans and Democrats have presented great proposals on how DOD should be reconfigured. Generals should be kept on the battlefields.

Last time a General spoke up he was fired. Petraus was a soldiers general who spoke openly and maybe a little to openly for some. He wasn’t a b.s. kind of guy and spoke the truth. The military has always had a handle on the generals via the white house. All fun and games until somebody feels there toes are stepped on.

Oh no, you are correct on those points. It took at least 4 shermans to bring down a Tiger — 3 to distract it, one to get around, get close and hit the sweet spot; the tiger had a couple. Six Shermans was better and 8 a an advantage. But the Sherman was designed to fight earlier Panzer models. Odd — we knew what they thinking most of the time but we didn’t prepare for the Tiger, afterall, they had been encountered — in limited numbers — in North Africa so I do not know why they were such a surpise. Perhaps the dirty little secret was that, and you made this point another way, man-power was cheap, just build the equipment “good enough” and glom on?
I agree especially on the last points — we could not do any of that again, all our skills and capacity got sold off over seas. The more I think on it, perhaps we need another war, here and against “them”. Who’s them? The traitors that have sold us lock stock and barrel to the Chinese is a good start.

The real point is that the Tiger tank would be what we would have had back in 1944 IF, and this is a very big IF, the same logic was applied to the arms procurement process then as now. The Tiger was BIG, heavily armored to the point of ALMOST invulnerable, high maintenance, very expensive, very complicated (in the standards of the day) and as lethal as a heart attack. If the Germans had produced 50,000 Tigers, we would be sprechen zie deutch today, but even under Hitler’s wartime-desperation, slave labor economy, they could only make about 1000. And very importantly, they spent the time, material, and labor required to produce the Tiger instead of the several, almost as lethal (and in many ways, more effective) Panthers that could have been had for the same cost.

The Tiger was a loosing strategy for Nazi Germany, and high tech, nominally (supposedly!)invulnerable super weapons are a loosing strategy for us today.

Some of our capability DID get sold overseas, but most just plain rotted in place thanks to complacency, poor planning, and bad management practices.

“Besides the drama”…
HOW PATENTLY OFFENSIVE to equate DEATH of ANY service member with ACTING!!! All those U.S. service members who have DIED because of the cut backs are NOT acting DEAD!!! They did NOT die to provide “DRAMA” for future references.

I suggest that if cuts are made and it proves out that MORE military personnel die because of those cuts, that EVERY member of the legislature that voted for those cuts be prosecuted for treason.

Some of you guys really should take a Miliyary history class. The General is right, after every war or conflict or whatever you want to call it, we always do a drawdown of forces and it it has always cost us. But every time we finish one conflicts, the next republican president always start another one. After VN we did a draw down, Ragan went into Genada, the first Gulf conflict. the next we know we were Cosovo(that was Clinton), and then came Bush with Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan was justified, as far as we were told, Iraq was totally unnecessary, we know that now, so no need to argue the point. It’s the teabaggers that pushing this cut, but times have changed, we cannot afford a military cut(but they will cut it anyway), there is too much at steake. I’ll bet within five years we will be stuck in some god forsaken place, for some insane reason, doing something we should not be doing. I’ll also bet the next republican President we have will put us there, but only time will tell.

Can we do a correction on this format? I was trying to spell Military.

OOOOPS! Did you say the next REPUBLICAN president starts another? Hmmm. .. . lets see, my military history says that in spite of Eisenhower’s deployment of “MAAG” to SVN in 1955, the first US soldiers were not killed until 1959 and the first combat formations of any note were the 400 SF’s sent in by Kennedy in 61 or so. In his short and tragic administration, Kennedy raised the stakes from a total of 900 US boots on the ground to around 16,000. And IF I remember my history lessons correctly Eisenhower was staunchly opposed to US combat troops on the ground in SVN in spite of pressure from within his own party. Must have something to do with the fact that he WAS a combat troop or something…. Hmmmm. .. . Then we have Carter and Clinton that we COULD discuss, but.…. . why bother! :-)

As for that “5 years”, perhaps you missed the part about our SF troops being sent to Central Africa?

OOOOPS! And if you had read and understood what you read, you’d note, I said after VN, not before.

OK, I did mis-understand. Toss out Vietnam. But… Iran stirred up under Carter and hasnt been the same since. Probably do have to call Desert Storm I, Bush’s war, but that is probably the ONE case that was totally thrust upon the US unannounced…. OBL was “tomahawked” multiple times by Clinton (a Tomahawk “Alpha Strike” is probably considered an act of war, and it is NOT saying that it was not well deserved!) and I would contend that 9/11 and all of the events from there on in Afghanistan are traceable in one way or another to initially (and unsuccessfully!) trading punches with OBL. Now with the central African deployment (for which we certainly do not know the last chapters) we have more fighting troops (without even the guise of really being “advisors”) in another cesspool environment. So… Carter, Clinton, and now Obama.… with Bush II (OIF) tossed into the mix.

And you said ” the next republican president always start another one”. Hmmm…. . is my history really all that wrong? :-)

You can’t piecemeal history by politics. In the 20th Century, WWI — Wilson, Democrat; WWII — FDR, Democrat; Korea — Truman, Democrat; Vietnam — JFK/LBJ — Democrat. If you compare those conflicts with “clubbing baby seals” like Grenada and Libya, or one-sided combat operations like Gulf War I & II (and no, I don’t want a trilogy), or Afghanistan, where we screwed up the peace not the war, Republican presidents fought winnable wars but were bad at picking up the pieces…while Democratic presidents brought us into wars where we were woefully unprepared and had much higher casualties. I don’t count things like Uganda either, as we have done that for decades (Philippines, China (both Boxer and 1930s), Domenican Rep, etc). Don’t take segments and consider them to be history in its entirety — take off your blinders and look at the big picture.


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