Posts Tagged ‘victory’

Career U.S. military behave like radical leftists

‘Family values,’ yes; results, no

The U.S. military is very conservative with regard to religion, “family values,” patriotism, the defense budget, veterans benefits, and all that. But when it comes to how they live their lives and do their jobs, they are radical leftist liberals.

How so?

They work for the government.

They live in government housing the size of which is determined by their rank and family size. They and their dependents get 100% bottomless pit, no co-pay medical care from cradle to grave. In many assignments, they also get all their food free.

They get paid a lot for doing nothing when they retire which they can do as soon as 20 years—sooner if they have a service-connected disability. The U.S. military’s payroll for its retirees surpassed its payroll for active duty personnel decades ago. In my area, Vallejo, CA went bankrupt recently. Municipal bankruptcies are almost unheard of in the U.S. When asked why, the mayor said,

We have three police forces: one on duty and two retired.

How many Armies, Navies, Air Forces, and Marine Corps are the U.S. taxpayers now paying for?

Defend freedom? yes; Exercise it? no

They have no freedom of speech and they’re fine with that. Although they are quick to tell you they will die to protect freedom of speech. I guess they will, but I wish they would exercise that freedom more.

But here’s the biggest problem.

Good intentions = results

Career military people think good intentions are a complete substitute for results.

Liberals enact all sorts of do-gooder programs like the War on Poverty, The Great Society, Medicare, Department Education, and so on. Invariably, those programs spend enormous amounts and accomplish very little. Poverty marches on undented by the War on Poverty. We have a Not So Great Society in spite of hundreds of billions being spent to create the Great one. If we just gave the poor the per capita amount spent “helping” them, they would all be millionaires, yadda yadda.

Look! Progress!

When criticized, the liberals point to their good intentions and occasionally—progress.

Just like the U.S. military. We lost the Vietnam war and got 58,000 killed in the process. Who was punished? No one. What was changed? Nothing. To this day, the U.S. military says they had good intentions in Vietnam and they did a great job and it was somebody else’s fault we lost.

No excuse

The first words spoken to me when I entered West Point were,

Mister, From now on you have three answers: “Yes, Sir.” “No, Sir.” and “No excuse, Sir.”

That was a great lesson, but, in fact, the U.S. military has millions of excuses. Just ask them why they lost in Vietnam or Somalia or Lebanon.

Iraq is now seen as a victory. We’ll see. Afghanistan seems to be getting worse in spite of more U.S. troops there than ever before.

I am not sure the U.S. military has the resources and rules of engagement to let them win in Afghanistan, but if that’s the case, they need to tell their civilian superiors that and get out. They do not.

They endlessly point to their good intentions and occasional progress (not necessarily net progress, just bits and pieces of apparent good news). Remember the daily “Five O’Clock Follies” briefings about “the light at the end of the tunnel” for ten years in Vietnam?

No substitute for victory

In his farewell address to the Corps of Cadets at West Point, General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur said,

There is no substitute for victory.

I agree. But the radical leftists who make up the career U.S. military personnel are quite willing to substitute their War-on-Poverty-like good intentions for results for as many decades as the U.S. public will let them get away with it. There is no end in sight to the proclamations of good intentions, lack of hard results, and happy-face briefings on “progress.”

Career military figure all they have to do is look the part and talk a good game and they’ll be praised as heroes. Intentions are enough. No results required.

For the last 40 years, they have gotten away with that completely and there appears no prospect that the American people or Congress are going to hold them to account for lack of results any time soon. We have become a nation of draft dodgers and draft dodgers are afraid to criticize military personnel. The longer the U.S. military are immune from criticism and not held accountable for lack of results, the worse the condition of the national defense will become.

I expect to think of additional examples that show that career U.S. military personnel are as radical as the most die-hard leftists when it comes to the elevation of good intentions over results and other behavior patterns. I hope readers will also remind me of others they recall seeing when they were in the military. I will add them to this aricle. See also my article Process orientation versus results orientation.

FYI: I am a registered Libertarian and voted for their candidate Bob Barr in 2008. I have never been a Republican or Democrat or conservative or liberal. I believe most people are actually Libertarians but they either do not realize it or do not admit to it because they fear it will result in their being ostracized from polite society.

RAND Corp.: ‘How Terrorist Groups End…’

On 7/29/08, RAND Corp. released a 200-page study titled How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al-Qaida. It says the “War on Terror” should be ended because it is not even close to the right approach.

Military has a minor role

It says much the same as I do, namely that reducing terrorism requires a combination of police, intelligence, finance, diplomacy, politics, and military force. Furthermore, it agrees with me that military force probably plays a minor role akin to that of civilian police SWAT teams. That is, when the terrorists behave militarily—massive into significant size groups using heavy weapons or simply where we have located them—the military is needed to attack them.

Modern history of terrorism

The RAND study looks at the history of terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006. Those that went out of business did so mainly because of police and intelligence work, not military action. In one of my Web articles, I said that terrorism is a publicity stunt. Sending the military after them and declaring “war” on them gives them more publicity.

Politics is also a factor that I have mentioned but not emphasized. RAND found that terrorist groups with narrow political goals often switched to normal political means to achieve their goals. Terrorist groups that want to take over the world, like al-Qaida, cannot be satisfied by any political accommodation. Religious terrorists take longer to defeat than secular.

10% of terrorist groups took over a country. 7% were defeated primarily by military force. The rest generally splintered, fell apart, were defeated by normal anti-criminal police and undercover work, or still exist.

As I have said in my articles, terrorism is rarely a military problem therefore the military is only rarely the solution. Using the military to solve a non-military problem costs zillions of dollars, alienates friend and neutral alike, and exposes our troops to death and injury by hit-and-run or accident in ways that they would not be exposed if they stayed out of areas where terrorism is prevalent.

Credit and blame

Our military deserves great credit for trying to accomplish these missions in spite of inadequate personnel, training, equipment, and resources, but our military leaders, including the civilian ones, should be punished for their failure to recognize and admit the problem is beyond the military’s ability to solve.

Progress, without regard to speed, is not enough

Progress is not victory. Neither the patience nor the pocketbook of the American people is infinite. Obama’s position, to withdraw from Iraq, is probably correct, but for the wrong reasons. His policy of sending more troops to Afghanistan is essentially the same as Bush’s policy, which is probably just as wrong in Iraq as it is in Afghanistan. Both wars fall under the RAND study’s scope and relevance. All three major political figures—Bush, McCain, and Obama—are wrong on the wars. They treat them as a symbol of various political postures. In fact, they should be treated as dirty jobs and addressed with the most cost-effective means, not with means that work well in a political speech and allow the politicians to wrap themselves in the flag.