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Republican candidate fondness for boots on the ground

Posted by John Reed on

In the 9/16/15 debates, Graham, Fiorina, and maybe Rubio said specifically that we need a whole lot more infantry. That is nonsense. You hear about people “fighting the last war.” Advocating infantry is fighting World War II in Europe.

We would have won world war II in the Pacific if the only weapons we had used were submarines, planes, and aircraft carriers. We could have simply killed the enemy on the islands we needed by preventing each from being resupplied with water and food. It would have taken weeks for each.

Was there infantry in the Pacific in World War II? Sure. Army and marines. Tens of thousands of them died trying to shoot enemy soldiers whom we could have starved to death. Some of the islands we captured, especially the last, Okinawa, had its own fresh water and food supply. So don’t capture those. Let the enemy soldiers there die of boredom.

The final, war-winning bomb was dropped on Nagasaki by a plane that took off from Tinian island which is 1,567 miles away from Nagasaki. A radius of 1,567 miles around Nagasaki shows we could have done all we needed to do from locations like Manila; Attu, an Aleutian island in Alaska; half of China. What I need to discuss this is a list of atolls and islands big enough to building airstrips for U.S. B-29 bombers but islands that have no fresh water. I could not find such a list but certainly the U.S. military had such lists in World War II.

But we only needed the one airbase at Tinian. All the amphibious landings which are so famous and repeatedly told like the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima—that was all unnecessary, massive military incompetence.

Now consider the Korean War. Different terrain. It’s a peninsula attached to China which was their active ally. We needed to nuke the North Koreans and their Chinese volunteers. I’m sorry but that was the only way. If we were unwilling to do that, which we were, we should have stayed out of it. We saved South Korea at a loss of 41,000 Americans, you say? Not cheap enough. Nuke ’em.

In Vietnam, we needed to invade the North with conventional infantry and supporting artillery and air. That was a massive infantry situation, but we refused to deprive the enemy of sanctuaries except briefly late in the war. I was there. Depriving them of the Cambodian sanctuary even briefly, when I was there, had a profound effect. If we had deprived them of not only Laos and Cambodia and North Vietnam itself, they would have had to fight us from China. I think the Chinese would have been opposed to that for fear of getting into a nuclear war with the U.S. And we would have won the VIetnam war with far less loss of life than we suffered to lose it.

Iraq could have had their oil, gas, and military taken away by us solely by air attack—which would have completely taken care of them. No infantry needed. No occupation.

Afghanistan is an utterly non-strategic piece of land and population. It is a nothing country at a high altitude and landlocked. It has no strategic significance. So not only do we not need to spend a million dollars per year per soldier to be there with boots, we did not need to go there at all ever. We could have launched the CIA/SEAL assassination raid on Afghanistan easier than in Pakistan. The only target worth hitting in that country was bin Laden and we could have done that sooner and easier than we did had we just made our only interest in Afghanistan finding him without our otherwise attacking that country.

What we need today militarily depends on the country or non-state group that might be our enemy. But the notion of Graham and Fiorina that we need massive infantry is based on war movies they saw as kids, not on any thoughtful analysis.

What we need against Iran are aircraft—preferably unmanned—that cannot be shot down by their Russian anti-aircraft weapons. At present, that would be drones and ICBMs—maybe ground-hugging cruise missiles. I doubt we have enough. That is what we need, not more infantry.

Against Syria or IS, we could probably destroy them and their sources of big bucks income with conventional bombs dropped out the back of C-130 prop cargo planes.

Who else you wanna fight? North Korea? Still a nukes-only target—ICBMs fired from North Dakota or a submarine off the coast of Hawaii.

Graham and Fiorina, and maybe Rubio are only about 75 years behind the times, and shame on the brass 73 years ago for wasting all those American lives and tax dollars landing on South Pacific islands occupied by enemy soldiers who had not yet died of thirst.

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