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"We're asking a great deal of them"

Colin Powell is someone who infuriated me during the 2008 Presidential campaign and I find it hard to look past that but I'm liking what he has to say in this CBS video about our troops and I suspect you will as well:


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Comments (16)

The burden the country is p... (Below threshold)
galoob:

The burden the country is putting on combat soldiers in the military is basically immoral.

Anyone who enlisted in the combat arms in 2002 - 2008 was basically guaranteed two tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. If you stayed in, you might have done seven tours by now. This is having a bad effect on troops and their families.

Even though Obama has started pulling out of Iraq, he needs to finish that and get out of Afghanistan, too.

Colin Powell knows the price the veteran pays, he's not like these chickenhawk warmongers from Heritage Foundation and AEI.

galoob - how can you say th... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

galoob - how can you say that? YOUR Obamassiah said that 'Afganistan was the war we must fight'. Are you saying YOUR Obamassiah is wrong?

Racist heretic!

Here's a news flash. When you sign up, you sign a blank check, payable to the American people. Circumstances and events fill in the amount. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Oh, and that stuff about 'grateful nation'. Not so much when I came home.

galoob - how can you say... (Below threshold)
galoob:

galoob - how can you say that? YOUR Obamassiah said that 'Afganistan was the war we must fight'. Are you saying YOUR Obamassiah is wrong?
Here's a news flash. When you sign up, you sign a blank check, payable to the American people. Circumstances and events fill in the amount. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Oh, and that stuff about 'grateful nation'. Not so much when I came home.

Yeah, I think he's wrong. When Karzai is taking cash from Iran and the heroin trade, WTF are we doing there?

As for the "blank check," that's what shows how fucked up the USA is now. As you say, the "grateful nation" BS.

If you had a larger army and USMC, you wouldn't have to send troops back again and again. The American people in their selfishness don't want to pay for that, though. They'd rather send the same volunteers back and stuff their faces. That might end up being more expensive in PTSD disability payments in the long run.

As for your service, I doubt it was anything as lengthy as the cumulative 36 - 60 months some NCOs and officers have in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They must be running out of room on their sleeves for combat tour hash marks.

Here's an even better propo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Here's an even better proposition. Don't go to war unless you intend to "win".

Novel concept. No 'sending messages'. No 'nation building'.

But then that would also require a commitment to the concept of "Don't fuck with us". Can't have that today.

Here's an even better pr... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Here's an even better proposition. Don't go to war unless you intend to "win".

Agreed, but you can't "win" on the cheap, with limited forces.

The models are Desert Storm vs. the invasion of Iraq. The initial force in the 2003 invasion was about half the size of the Desert Storm force, with a much bigger task to accomplish.

This was because of the dumbass theories of your hero Rumsfool, from which all of our current military problems flow.

"This was because of the du... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"This was because of the dumbass theories of your hero Rumsfool, from which all of our current military problems flow."

20-20 hindsight being what it is, I guess you are correct General. Although there is that nasty fact that a nation's military was defeated in two weeks.

Could the resultant disintegration of the Iraqi society have been foreseen? Maybe. (Just check out what happened in the Balkans after the Soviet fist was removed). We in the US may have our problems, but sectarian violence on the scale seen over there has not been part of our history.

As for Desert Storm. Yeah big force. And people started feeling guilty about using it. So Saddam got away to live another day. That 'Iraqi surrender' event in the desert was a farce. Sort of like the Peace Accords in Paris after WWI. And we all know what that led to, don't we.

20-20 hindsight being wh... (Below threshold)
galoob:

20-20 hindsight being what it is, I guess you are correct General. Although there is that nasty fact that a nation's military was defeated in two weeks.

It wouldn't be "hindsight" if I were General Shinseki. You recall he testified to Congress before the war that a Desert Storm size force was needed. Wolfiewitz tripped all over himself denying this, and Rumsfool quickly cut the legs out from under Shinseki and showed him the door.

Shinseki wasn't the only one - the histories now tell how Tommy Frank's warplan kept getting whittled down by Rumsfool, and Iraqi expats like Rend Rahim testified before Congress that the shit was likely to hit the fan once Saddam was out of power.

It was only a surprise to people whose news diet was pure Fox and other propagandistic bullshit.

Continuing on about Iraq. ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Continuing on about Iraq. Was talking to a 2nd Lt. when he got back. A lot of stories about being approached by Iraqi civilians - and being asked when they'd (the civilians) be supplied with food, water and electricity.

My thought at the time was that after 25 years, ol' Saddam definitely had the people trained to eat out of the palm of his hand.

Individual initiative? Forget it. In Saddam's world that would get you killed. Just one more of those things that the liberals at CNN failed to report, because they didn't want to lose 'access'. Just like that other liberal Pulitzer Prize winner of the NYT's not reporting on the excesses of one Joey Stalin.

As I said previously, the B... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

As I said previously, the BIG force of Desert Storm ended up doing a lot of good, didn't it? And the US force did take Iraq in two weeks.

As for the rest - yeah others had their point of view. And that's exactly what it was at the time. Their point of view.

History is littered with "what if's".

One thing I will say about ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

One thing I will say about the mid-east. It's a place we should stay out of. The sectarian feuds have been going on for centuries. Let them wallow in their 16th century misery. But then that means we'd have to drill for oil at home. But the same libs who'll scream when their lights and air conditioners go out say that we can't do that.

It like going to war with China. Not a good idea. Why? Because there are too damned many of them! Just ask the Japanese.

How would CNN reporting tha... (Below threshold)
galoob:

How would CNN reporting that Iraqis were used to being dependent on the state cause them to "lose access?"

The only ones who shut off any access was the US government, and that was for reporting bad news.

Reporting any bad news meant you were part of the liberal biased MSM, while the Bushies and now Obama peddles happy horseshit about how we're training all these great Iraqi/Afghan police/military, electricity is increasing, a new Iraq/Afghanistan is being born, etc.

The USA had no clue as to how much of the Iraqi economy was state-run, they thought there was this big private sector that would rebuild the country once released from their chains. There was no adequate banking system, though. They had to reform the currency and the Central Bank. And most of the business class fled to Amman.

One irony is how the Bush administration ending up pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the Iraqi state-owned enterprises at the same time right wingers were bitching about the GM bailout.

The idea was that you needed to refloat the state owned enterprises to provide employment, promote social peace, prosperity and to fight the insurgency.

Actually, the Iraqis did end up taking the initiative and setting up their own electricity through neighborhood diesel generators, but that's another story.

As I said previously, th... (Below threshold)
galoob:

As I said previously, the BIG force of Desert Storm ended up doing a lot of good, didn't it? And the US force did take Iraq in two weeks.

Hard to say what would have happened with a smaller Desert Storm force, but why chance it?

And "taking" Iraq was not the same as occupying Iraq - the US had huge and well trained occupation forces in Japan and Germany after WWII. You have to assume that you will be the only force maintaining public order.

One thing I will say about the mid-east. It's a place we should stay out of.

Agreed, unless we're invited like in places like Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. But those sheikhs want us there to save their corrupt asses. We protect them, and the regular people hate us.

"...the US had huge and wel... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"...the US had huge and well trained occupation forces in Japan and Germany after WWII."

No, they didn't. They did have 'civilian affairs officers' but it was US Combat forces that ENFORCED the occupation. All the Germans did not 'give up'. There was what we'd now call 'a terrorist group' called 'the werewolves'. Responsible for numerous attacks on GI's found out alone and instances of "sabotage" of equipment. These attacks continued sporadically through, IIRC, 1949.

When caught, they were put up against a wall and shot on the spot then buried in isolated places. (The ACLU would scream today!). Not only that, the media was under ORDERS that they would not publicize any attacks - don't know what would have happened to any "independent reporter" who decided to publish a report - as none was. While it was the werewolves intent to ultimately foment a civilian revolt - they had no way to publicize their efforts. Therefore the exploits of the werewolves was mostly considered rumor and myth by the civilian population.

"How would CNN reporting th... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"How would CNN reporting that Iraqis were used to being dependent on the state cause them to "lose access?""

This was before the first Gulf War. CNN wanted to keep a 'news bureau' open in Baghdad. Why? They sure as hell weren't reporting what was going on there.

See Eason Jordan's comments, mid-page:

"The news we kept to ourselves"
http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/000260.html

Guess there are times when 'speaking truth to power' is inconvenient.

Guess there are times wh... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Guess there are times when 'speaking truth to power' is inconvenient.

Show me a time when any big media outlet spoke truth to power. Reporters suck up to Washington the same way they did to Baghdad.

In the wars then and now, and the financial crisis, the media backs government and moneyed interests most of the time. Sure, not totally, but if they sounded like North Koreans everyone would know it was propaganda.

I don't think the Werwolves in Germany were as big a factor as you say - there were a few attacks.

The civil administration was being planned as early as 1943, they recruited German speaking immigrants and refugees in the US armed forces to train for it. The point is, the civil administration had enough troops to back them up and keep order. You did not have that in Iraq, the troops were too thin on the ground to keep order.

"the troops were too thin o... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"the troops were too thin on the ground to keep order."

No. Given what the Iraqi's were used to under Saddam - and given our own propensities for magnanimity - we had "enough" troops.

We just did not use them as they were used in Germany post-WWII. There is a scene in one of the final chapters of "Band of Brothers", were troops are sent out to pick up a former SS officer. They ended up shooting him as he tried to "escape". That was not an anomaly at that time.

While stationed in Europe in the late 60's I was assigned to a unit that you won't find on any organizational chart. I got a chance to talk to some of 'the old hands' and look into the archives. The Civilian Affairs Officers were faced with a conundrum. They had to rebuild a country totally devastated by war. Rebuild a society, purposely purged of opposition leaders. So how do you encourage people 'to think for themselves' - at the same time keeping them on a short leash? They obviously did a good job. Germany hasn't started any wars since 1945. Of course Bernake and the Greeks may change that.




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