Copyright 2011 by John T. Reed
In September of last year, I wrote a web article that said career military were liberals. How so?
They want to be judged by their good intentions, not results, and tiny examples here and there of “progress.”
Yesterday, Barack Obama said he would win in 2012 if the American people look at how hard he is fighting for them and the progress he has made.
Aha! There you go. Further evidence that liberals only want to be judged by their good intentions and that the only results they need produce are occasional smiley-face anecdotes suggesting progress.
Mind you, they do not need net progess or overall progress. They only need pass an occasional bill or build an occasional school.
‘The Five O’Clock Follies’
The liberal lifers in the military held a briefing every evening at 5 PM in Vietnam. It was called the “Five O’Clock Follies” by the media. The long-term theme of it was that the military leaders were telling the media and the world that they could “see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
It turned out that light was the headlight of a train that ran over the U.S. military.
We lost the Vietnam war. I did a tour there as an Army officer. 58,000 Americans were killed there including 20 of my West Point classmates. I could not find a good number on its dollar cost. But it was the second longest war in U.S. history and there were 553,000 of us over there at the peak, compared to 98,000 in Afghanistan in 2011. It costs $1,000,000 to have a single soldier in Afghanistan for one year. Vietnam must have cost a whole lot of money.
The U.S. military failed in Vietnam because of incompetence. They deny it. Somebody else’s fault. They never lost a battle. Body counts. Yadda Yadda.
Politicians never admit they made a mistake and career military officers are politicians, not “warriors,” as they are recently fond of calling themselves.
I’ll tell you what’s real about Vietnam. Those 58,000 guys are still dead. The Communists they were fighting to prevent them from taking over South Vietnam took over South Vietnam.
Subjectively, that war severely damaged the country both within the U.S. and around the world. We still have not recovered.
What is the longest war is U.S. history? Afghanistan.
And the military career officers are still doing the exact same thing: touting their good intentions (manifest most often by their “great training”—if it’s so great, why haven’t you won?) and pointing at the occasional sign of progress like killing Osama Bin Laden or the building of a school in some village. Obama also likes to point to the killing of Osama.
‘E’ for effort
They, and Obama want an “E” for effort, a grading system otherwise used only in kindergarten.
The military and Obama want no grades for overall results, winning or losing, destroying the enemy, nation building (school building, yes; nation building, no), GDP growth, total private sector employment, deficits.
Their position is that if they are trying to succeed and can occasionally have a small success, we should leave them alone. Re-elect them. Promote them. Send them trillions of dollars to spend. Praise them lavishly. Build statues to them. And so on.
Results matter. When people are in charge of running the government responsibly, and they do not run the government responsibly, they need to be fired, at the very least.
The same applies to military officers in charge of winning wars.
There is no substitute for victory. General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur
Good intentions are no substitute for victory.
Excuses are no substitute for victory.
Occasionally winning in the Operation Enduring Freedom lottery is no substitute for victory.
Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name of the Afghanistan war. Enduring employment for incompetent military officers and enduring death for more and more grunts is more like it.
Ultimately, Obama and the four-star generals are not the leaders of America. This is a democracy. The voters are the leaders.
Our leaders put these people in their jobs. Our leaders let them stay in their jobs in spite of lack of results
Our leaders suck.
John T. Reed