Blog Entries: 1

Gates Makes Sense

"“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here." - Source

About dang time. Thanks for being among the first to have the guts to spit it out.

 PhysOrg.com science news on PhysOrg.com >> Hong Kong launches first electric taxis>> Morocco to harness the wind in energy hunt>> Galaxy's Ring of Fire

 Quote by mugaliens "“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here." - Source About dang time. Thanks for being among the first to have the guts to spit it out.
Works for me!... although my favorite is:

 Quote by The Princess Bride You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...
I'll be ready for a war in asia when we finish the one in Korea. Seriously, we should look at North Africa and remember that this is the result of EU colonialization... we're no more immune to blowback, so lets minimize it.

 Recognitions: Gold Member Homework Help Science Advisor Given military reductions since the end of the cold war, Gates' comments certainly do make sense. The entire direction of US foreign policy has been to have enough military power to respond to short term crises and rely on international efforts for post crisis stability and clean up. One President can't change that overnight and it was ludicrous of the Bush administration to believe they could change reality based on nothing more than desires, ideology, or God's will. In survival terms, the Bush administration was guilty of bending the map. Bending the map, imagining the landmarks around you match your desired location on the map (that huge rock must have finally rolled away, that stream must have dried up, etc), is how even experienced people wind up getting lost in the wilderness. Any cabinet officer, including the Secretary of Defense, owes it to a President and to the American people to be honest in their advice to the President. Disregarding the estimates of military generals (Gen Shinsecki's estimates on the troop strength necessary for Iraq) usually doesn't qualify as honest advice. Interesting to look back on independent estimates of the cost of invading Iraq and the actual costs. Disregarding the impact to oil prices, the estimated costs (table 7, page 31, of estimated cost) were about $156 billion (everything goes well) to$755 billion (things go poorly) for the first decade of an effort that could be expected to take 20 years or more. Cost estimates, including this one, are notoriously low for all wars. The revised Bush pre-war estimate (supplied by then OMB director Mitch Daniels) was $50 billion to$60 billion; an estimate revised downward from the $100 billion to$200 billion estimate provided by chief economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey earlier that year (an estimate that was in line with the most optimistic independent estimates). Actual cost (disregarding oil prices) has been about \$802 billion for the first 9 years (table 1, page 7, of actual cost). I'd note that the estimates for oil prices in the Nordhaus estimate were ridiculously low, but that oil prices were affected by much more than just the Iraq war.

Gates Makes Sense

 Quote by mugaliens "“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here." - Source About dang time. Thanks for being among the first to have the guts to spit it out.
Inane. I've always more or less liked Gates, but this is the kind of statement people make fun of later.

The united states does not choose the size and place of its wars. Before 9/11, Rumsfeld announced the end of big conventional wars. So did the Clinton admin after the end of the Cold War and the Bush admin after the success of '91.

All foolish. Assumes we have any say in the matter, which almost by definition is not the case when going to war.

 Quote by talk2glenn Inane. I've always more or less liked Gates, but this is the kind of statement people make fun of later. The united states does not choose the size and place of its wars. Before 9/11, Rumsfeld announced the end of big conventional wars. So did the Clinton admin after the end of the Cold War and the Bush admin after the success of '91. All foolish. Assumes we have any say in the matter, which almost by definition is not the case when going to war.
We always have a choice, including the paralysis of not making an active choice. I think you need to study military history in more depth than this recent post-cold war era.

 Errr... what? You've succeeded in being patronizing, but failed at saying anything useful. As to "choice", if you can find me a single instance in the modern era (say, 1800 onwards) of a western country believing - as evidenced by the proclamations of its leaders and/or government - it chose to go to war rather than being forced to it after the exhaustion of "diplomacy by all other means", I'll concede the point. Save yourself the bother, though; you won't. My "study" of military history is sufficient to the purpose, thank you very much. As to the "paralysis of not making a choice", if you're suggesting that the United States could respond to another 9/11 or another Gulf War or another Korean War by doing nothing, haha. Not in this universe. Even the British - an emaciated post-colonial power with barely a blue water navy and even less of an army - responded to an attack on a virtually unoccupied island with basically 0 contribution to GNP aggressively and with an invasion, and we are a far cry from Britain. As long as the US remains an internationally interesting state player, nobody - Gates included - can declare an end to conventional war and expect to be historically vindicated. All of human history preceding suggests otherwise. Indeed, if anything the lesson is that a reduction in a stabilizing states' conventional military capacity makes war more likely, not less. See post-WW1 Europe, post-WW2 and decolonization, and post-Cold War and the end of the Soviet Era.

 Quote by talk2glenn Errr... what? You've succeeded in being patronizing, but failed at saying anything useful. As to "choice", if you can find me a single instance in the modern era (say, 1800 onwards) of a western country believing - as evidenced by the proclamations of its leaders and/or government - it chose to go to war rather than being forced to it after the exhaustion of "diplomacy by all other means", I'll concede the point. Save yourself the bother, though; you won't. My "study" of military history is sufficient to the purpose, thank you very much.
So, you're familiar with our stance on WWI, and WWII, until our interests were directly threatened, or our homeland attacked. Another fine example would be Iraq, and frankly I'm a little surprised that you think your's is a tenable position. It's unfortunate that you feel patronized, but I can do nothing about how you choose to take what I've said.

 Quote by talk2glenn As to the "paralysis of not making a choice", if you're suggesting that the United States could respond to another 9/11 or another Gulf War or another Korean War by doing nothing, haha. Not in this universe. Even the British - an emaciated post-colonial power with barely a blue water navy and even less of an army - responded to an attack on a virtually unoccupied island with basically 0 contribution to GNP aggressively and with an invasion, and we are a far cry from Britain.
Wow... what are you talking about? You think the only options that are violent are invasion? I don't believe your claim of historic knowledge; you're demonstrating a lack of just that. I'm not impressed by bluster and patriotic jingoism, I'm impressed by history. WWI, btw, was what I was thinking about, and Europe's appeasement of Hitler in WWII.

 Quote by talk2glenn As long as the US remains an internationally interesting state player, nobody - Gates included - can declare an end to conventional war and expect to be historically vindicated.
True, but he didn't say that; only that sending a "big army" into specific regions with a rich history of kicking our (West's) butt back out again is unwise. Somalia springs to mind...
...anyway, if you want to change this into your own personal argument and response, that's fine, but do realize that everyone is able to read the totality of the thread.

 Quote by talk2glenn All of human history preceding suggests otherwise. Indeed, if anything the lesson is that a reduction in a stabilizing states' conventional military capacity makes war more likely, not less. See post-WW1 Europe, post-WW2 and decolonization, and post-Cold War and the end of the Soviet Era.
Uh huh... see previous.

Mentor
 Quote by mugaliens "“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here." - Source About dang time. Thanks for being among the first to have the guts to spit it out.
I've had the sense that Americans are simply sick and tired of sending troops anywhere to settle conflicts -- even if there are American interests involved. I should add, this isn't based on any one thing in particular. Rather, it's based on my reading opinion pieces, editorials, talking to friends, etc. This feels like a new American Zeitgeist...we don't want to get involved.

I was listening to a Libyan being interviewed on NPR the other day. He said, "We need help - we need the US to help us." I thought, I'm so sorry, buddy, but that's not going to happen...you have our sympathy, but there is *no* public support to send our troops anywhere, as far as I can tell. We're tapped out.

 Quote by lisab I've had the sense that Americans are simply sick and tired of sending troops anywhere to settle conflicts -- even if there are American interests involved. I should add, this isn't based on any one thing in particular. Rather, it's based on my reading opinion pieces, editorials, talking to friends, etc. This feels like a new American Zeitgeist...we don't want to get involved. I was listening to a Libyan being interviewed on NPR the other day. He said, "We need help - we need the US to help us." I thought, I'm so sorry, buddy, but that's not going to happen...you have our sympathy, but there is *no* public support to send our troops anywhere, as far as I can tell. We're tapped out.
True... and now we get to see just how ineffective and venal the EU is... just like US. *pun*

 Well now that "we've" made it clear that we wont try to stop them I guess it would be a good time for Russia or China to do their thing... What a stupid thing for a military leader to say imo. I guess it's slightly better then saying we are going to invade if only by a little.

 Quote by Containment Well now that "we've" made it clear that we wont try to stop them I guess it would be a good time for Russia or China to do their thing... What a stupid thing for a military leader to say imo. I guess it's slightly better then saying we are going to invade if only by a little.

1.) China doesn't have the naval assets.
2.) You think other nations aren't aware of our position?
3.) What the hell kind of war are you looking to see happen, because if you think the world stands by while Russia, China, OR the USA appears to annex Libya, you're mistaken.

This is up to the EU parties who've kept this monster in power, and tore Africa apart to begin with... I'm looking at Italy... again.

edit: Much as Saddam was our monster to kill... although invasion was foolish.

 Do you know what china has for naval assets? Isn't it one thing to have a weak position and another to broadcast it? Not that I even think we have a weak position in all honesty and that probably only makes it worse. I'm not hoping to see any war happen and I think just the opposite that saying stuff like we are weak and wont defend is more likely to give them ideas... Obviously we wouldn't just stand by and so I guess what the guy said won't have much effect in the long run. However I still think it's stupid to say that we aren't going to engage if needed.

 Quote by Containment Do you know what china has for naval assets?
Yes, and so can you... it's hardly a secret... more like an advertisement. A couple of new carriers on the way, what!

 Quote by Containment Isn't it one thing to have a weak position and another to broadcast it? Not that I even think we have a weak position in all honesty and that probably only makes it worse.
I think no massive forces in proven death-traps isn't weakness, it's wisdom.

 Quote by Containment I'm not hoping to see any war happen and I think just the opposite that saying stuff like we are weak and wont defend is more likely to give them ideas... Obviously we wouldn't just stand by and so I guess what the guy said won't have much effect in the long run. However I still think it's stupid to say that we aren't going to engage if needed.
I understand your position, but respectfully disagree.

 Ok I'm having problems understanding what you disagree with exactly? My point is that I think it's stupid to make the statement to your possible enemy's that you wont defend your self. So what about that do you not agree with?

 Quote by Containment Ok I'm having problems understanding what you disagree with exactly? My point is that I think it's stupid to make the statement to your possible enemy's that you wont defend your self. So what about that do you not agree with?
We're not saying that we won't defend ourselves, and we're not saying that we wouldn't annihilate an enemy. The statement was specific to large armies deployed in specific regions as poor strategic and tactical doctrine.

 Oh well I really don't think it's a big deal hes going to be leaving soon anyhow and who knows what the guy after him will say about the issue.

 Quote by Containment Oh well I really don't think it's a big deal hes going to be leaving soon anyhow and who knows what the guy after him will say about the issue.
You mean Gates?... Frankly I think it's a pity that the voices of reason are margenalized... Colin Powell, Gates, etc...