Rumsfeld's war against the military

  • News
  • Thread starter BobG
  • Start date
  • #26
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,051
18
Bystander said:
Sun Tzu and Clausewitz got no complaints with him.
Sun Tzu didn't ever have to worry about invading, deposing and then returning the land to the original owners!
 
  • #27
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,193
1,213
Gokul43201 said:
Sun Tzu didn't ever have to worry about invading, deposing and then returning the land to the original owners!
He most certainly did --- might depend on which translation you've read.
 
  • #28
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
185
80
Bystander said:
Maxwell Taylor was a proponent of an expanded standing army --- Ike fired him for just that reason; large standing army looks mighty aggressive to USSR, creates real problems during Cold War era.

Micromanagement? Couple missed opportunities early in Afghanistan when people kept bucking decisions to fire up the chain of command, but nothing like the McNamoron era.

Not enough troops? Organized opposition ended a month in --- that's more than adequate force applied.

Not enough occupation troops? Or not enough exercise of martial law? And who was in the road of applying martial law? And, who would have been screaming had "Marne" shot looters on sight in Baghdad?

Rummy's done fine: sent adequate forces; stayed out of their way; modified equipment as necessary; hasn't done a replay of Sherman's March to the Sea; and, kept the opposition guessing. Sun Tzu and Clausewitz got no complaints with him.
So you feel things are progressing towards a successful resolution?

Or do you agree with Boehner that it's military leadership that has failed in Iraq, not Rumsfeld?

Or do you feel there's so many other things preventing success that management by the Pentagon is irrelevant?
 
  • #29
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,193
1,213
BobG said:
So you feel things are progressing towards a successful resolution?
Tomorrow? No. The way I'd have proceeded? No. Along a perfectly reasonable path? Yes. When? Well toward the end of the century at the earliest. You've got a lot of "interesting times" ahead of you.

Or do you agree with Boehner that it's military leadership that has failed in Iraq, not Rumsfeld?
No.

Or do you feel there's so many other things preventing success that management by the Pentagon is irrelevant?
No. "Nothing prevents success." "Success" is defined differently by the two major political parties in this country, by the military, by contemporary historians, future historians, and by the people participating in discussions of "success." What is "successful" for one will be an abysmal failure for others. The "partisan" and individual definitions are the least significant, and not really worth discussion; military and historical definitions come a little closer to reflecting what's happening, and what effects are to be expected.
 
  • #30
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,051
18
Bystander said:
Tomorrow? No. The way I'd have proceeded? No. Along a perfectly reasonable path? Yes. When? Well toward the end of the century at the earliest. You've got a lot of "interesting times" ahead of you.
I agree with the probable timeline for noticeable change, but I didn't hear anyone in the Pentagon or Whitehouse express such a possibility.

A month before the invasion, Rumsfeld told airmen in Italy that the entire conflict could last http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/t02072003_t0207sdtownhall.html in response to a question about deployment time. The summer before, Perle told us in a PBS interview, that "Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder". (Three years later, the Sunni insurgency is strong, and al Maliki is proposing legislation to pacify Saddam supporters.)

I think Rummy is a brilliant thinker, but I think he (like the rest of the gang at the Whitehouse) let some kind of blind faith get in the way of reason.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #31
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,193
1,213
Gokul43201 said:
I agree with the probable timeline for noticeable change, but I didn't hear anyone in the Pentagon or Whitehouse express such a possibility.
Huh? That's the only noise they've ever made about this conflict.

A month before the invasion, Rumsfeld told airmen in Italy that the entire conflict could last http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/t02072003_t0207sdtownhall.html in response to a question about deployment time.
That's how long Saddam lasted. A single campaign is not an entire war.

The summer before, Perle told us in a PBS interview, that "Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder".
And, it did.

(Three years later, the Sunni insurgency is strong, and al Maliki is proposing legislation to pacify Saddam supporters.)
Three years after the end of the ACW, William Quantrill was dead, and the Dalton and James gangs had only begun to "terrorize" mid-America; ten years after WW I, Capone, Schultz, Lansky, Darrows, PB Floyd, MG Kelly, and a whole host of punks and hoodlums were "terrorizing" America; ten years after WW II, Hell's Angels, the Outlaws, Sons of Silence, and a whole boatload of scooter trash were "terrrorizing" America; ten years after Vietnam, Crips and Bloods were "terrorizing" LA. These were not "insurgents," they were punks, hoods, Halbstarke, and general "ne'er do wells."

I think Rummy is a brilliant thinker, but I think he (like the rest of the gang at the Whitehouse) let some kind of blind faith get in the way of reason.
"Some kind of blind faith?" In what? The assorted "straw men" the "arm chair" quarterbacks have been presenting? First principle of warfare, be it open or diplomatic, is "NEVER let the other guy know what's going on." Strategic goals of the U.S. in this conflict? You know what you think you'd like to see happen. Small children know they think they'd like to feel what's on the stove. As a nation, we're interested in reducing the frequency of "9-11" events; prior to 9-11 it was assumed that much as "certain" factions from "certain" areas of the world were inclined to attempt suicidal attacks, that they were incompetent to actually carry such efforts through successfully. That's changed. It's public record that not only are they "that" crazy, they are capable of doing it.

First strategic question is then, how do we handle terrorists? Scrape them out of the sky with buildings? Kill ratio is lousy. Hunt them down with normal law enforcement techniques like Ted Kaczinsky at several thousand man-years per head? Veerrryyyy expensive. Declare war at 1-10 man years per head? They aren't gonna come out from under their rocks and fight. Declare war and hunt 'em down a la the "ten men per ankle biter for ten years" (100 man years per head) of Robert Thompson and the Malay Emergency? How about we declare war and set up appropriately baited traps? (O,U)BL in Afghanistan, and the idea that people can question leaders, vote for and against them in Iraq, and see if we can cut Thompson's 100 man years per kill down to something a little closer to that of conventional warfare? "Okay, let's try it." NATO's got a kill ratio 30:1 to 100:1 in Afghanistan, and near's I can tell, we're running between 10:1 and 30:1 in Iraq. "Marne" flattened Saddam while "Ivy" was floating around in the Med; message? We don't have to use the "best equipped" divisions to depose governments. Was it understood? Oh, yeah. Are there a number of governments of Islamic nations taking steps to control extremists? Yup. More than used to be? Yup. Are there governments actively fomenting terrorism? Yup. Fewer than there used to be? If we count Libya, yes --- if we add Lebanon, no. Are our "allies" a little more careful laundering money for terrorists? Yes. Are they laundering less money? Hard telling --- NYT has too much trouble keeping their mouths shut. Did he sh*tcan that worthless, godd&mned 5.56? No. Is it still getting troops killed? Yes. All in all, the man ain't done a bad job on one of the uglier situations anyone's ever faced. Too rough, the libs scream; too easy, the libs scream; too much force, the libs scream; too little force, the libs scream. He knew it when he took the job. Six years of listening to libs scream --- his ears are going to be ringing for a long time.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #32
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,051
18
Bystander said:
Huh? That's the only noise they've ever made about this conflict.
Nothing I ever heard during the run-up to the invasion. Maybe I missed it. One argument is that you can't sell a war to the people unless you "convince" them it's going to be a really short one - I don't know how you tackle that one! The question however, is whether or not the military planners in the Pentagon themselves expected the largescale deployment of troops to last a significant time.

That's how long Saddam lasted. A single campaign is not an entire war.
I may be misunderstanding the context, but it seems the airman was asking Rumsfeld how long the Guard and Reserves would be deployed.

And, it did.
Are you saying there's little or no support for Saddam today?

Isn't the presence of Saddam-loyal Sunni militias is a big part of the problem today? And to have calculated their demise at the onset of the invasion; isn't that clearly erroneous?

Three years after the end of the ACW, William Quantrill was dead, and the Dalton and James gangs had only begun to "terrorize" mid-America; ten years after WW I, Capone, Schultz, Lansky, Darrows, PB Floyd, MG Kelly, and a whole host of punks and hoodlums were "terrorizing" America; ten years after WW II, Hell's Angels, the Outlaws, Sons of Silence, and a whole boatload of scooter trash were "terrrorizing" America; ten years after Vietnam, Crips and Bloods were "terrorizing" LA. These were not "insurgents," they were punks, hoods, Halbstarke, and general "ne'er do wells."
America had to take care of America. It was conveyed to the people that Iraq would be able to take care of Iraq. Do you recall the projections for the completion of enlisting, outfitting and training Iraqi defense and police forces? The complaint I'm making is not what history has taught us about the reality of a post-war period, but how the administration painted it in stark contrast to what has been learned. But my bigger concern was whether what should have been learned really was. That extensive studies and planning (for Iraq) was close to ignored is staggering.

"Some kind of blind faith?" In what?
I wish I knew. I think some of it stems from some kind of religious conviction.

Did he sh*tcan that worthless, godd&mned 5.56? No. Is it still getting troops killed? Yes.
I thought they switched to bigger rounds after the news reports came out. Still, this isn't something that comes all the way up to Rummy, is it?

All in all, the man ain't done a bad job on one of the uglier situations anyone's ever faced. Too rough, the libs scream; too easy, the libs scream; too much force, the libs scream; too little force, the libs scream. He knew it when he took the job. Six years of listening to libs scream --- his ears are going to be ringing for a long time.
The libs aren't the only ones screaming, though. Every congressman and senator from the right that got booted yesterday is mad that the Rove stuck with an unpopular Sec Def till after the elections. These are not folks that count on winning elections with votes from liberals. Are people like Zinni and Trainor "screaming libs"?
 
Last edited:
  • #33
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,193
1,213
Gokul43201 said:
Nothing I ever heard during the run-up to the invasion. Maybe I missed it. One argument is that you can't sell a war to the people unless you "convince" them it's going to be a really short one - I don't know how you tackle that one! The question however, is whether or not the military planners in the Pentagon themselves expected the largescale deployment of troops to last a significant time.
Bush said it was going to take a long time when he was standing on the WTC rubble heap. Never changed the tune. "Planners?" They've read Lawrence --- of course they knew. The "arm-chair" crowd corrupted the meaning of silence on the question --- don't go confusing "interpretations" with what was said or not said by decision makers. SW Asian cultures have no tradition of central government or of rule by law --- that they are mature enough to establish such traditions "overnight" is one of the "interpretations" that has been applied to the assumptions that went into the planning.

I may be misunderstanding the context, but it seems the airman was asking Rumsfeld how long the Guard and Reserves would be deployed.
Servicemen are always asking "How long?" And the answer has always been "As long as it takes." It's one of the boring litanies of warfare. He tried a "change-up," tells the guy how long SH will last, it's taken out of context, and ain't worth haggling about.

Are you saying there's little or no support for Saddam today?

Isn't the presence of Saddam-loyal Sunni militias is a big part of the problem today?
Sunni loyal Sunni gangs, and Shiite loyal Shiite gangs (Bloods and Crips) playing their own version of Hutu-Tutsi, and not even for political power, just for the bloodthirsty fun of it.

And to have calculated their demise at the onset of the invasion; isn't that clearly erroneous?
Iraqi army and Saddam's "Palace Guard" are two different things. The army lasted as long as it took their weapons to hit the ground when dropped. The Republican Guards as long as it took their bodies to hit the ground after the JDAMs and JSOWs hit. Saddam's personal gang of masked thugs for the most part evaporated --- there were what? Ten thousand of them goosestepping their way during parades? They never did show up. SH heads for a hole in the ground, they steal the plumbing and light bulbs from the barracks and disappear.

America had to take care of America. It was conveyed to the people that Iraq would be able to take care of Iraq.
By "the interpreters." Remember, 'tain't PC to "dis" third world ethnic and cultural groups. Everyone in the planning phase understood perfectly that they were facing the same mess Lawrence faced, complete chaos. No one trusts anyone, and every man for himself in SW Asia. One way to impress upon the public that SW Asia is SW Asia, and is always going to be SW Asia is to go in light, save the MPs' lives, and concede to the libs the notion that these are mature people, capable of self-government. Everyone knows democracy hasn't got a snowball's chance, and no one really expects it to work, but it will, in the long run, shut the libs mouths.

Do you recall the projections for the completion of enlisting, outfitting and training Iraqi defense and police forces?
I recall "interpretations."

The complaint I'm making is not what history has taught us about the reality of a post-war period, but how the administration painted it in stark contrast to what has been learned.
"It's going to take as long as it takes?" Something along those lines?

[
But my bigger concern was whether what should have been learned really was. That extensive studies and planning (for Iraq) was close to ignored is staggering.
Kick SH out. Couple months. Round him up from whatever hole in the ground. Year. Set up a government (not so much mandated by Geneva and Hague as it is good form). However long it takes. You got a gripe with the Iraqis for being trapped in however many thousand years of cultural traditions? Take it up with them.

I wish I knew. I think some of it stems from some kind of religious conviction.
You're the guy who brought up "blind faith." And, now, you "wish you knew" in what. He does not have "blind faith" in any of the "interpretations" of strategic goals. He knows exactly what the strategic goals are. He also knows what I emphasized with bold and underlining, that he is not going to publish a white paper under the great seal on strategic goals to be communicated to the opposition. That leaves you, me, and everyone else on the forum in the dark. Too bad. You may live long enough for the strategic planning for this war to be declassified, and you may not. That's the advantage governments give you, they can act in your interests without giving away your interests.

I thought they switched to bigger rounds after the news reports came out. Still, this isn't something that comes all the way up to Rummy, is it?
There isn't a .22 in the world that's legal for anything larger than woodchucks (and you'd best be better trained than the average GI for clean kills there), 5.56 ain't a terribly hot .22, longer slugs require more spin (faster twist) for stabilization, and you can't make the slug long enough to make it as effective as the 7.xx from an AK-47. It's junk. It was palmed off on the troops by McNamoron, and Rummy's perfectly within his job description if he ditches it.

The libs aren't the only ones screaming, though. Every congressman and senator from the right that got booted yesterday is mad that the Rove stuck with an unpopular Sec Def till after the elections.
That's the true test of a good job --- everybody's b!tching. Libs all the time about everything, conservatives for not using "the bomb," retired generals for not expanding "the line" to accommodate their levels of incompetence.

These are not folks that count on winning elections with votes from liberals. Are people like Zinni and Trainor "screaming libs"?
Wouldn't know 'em from "Adam's 'off' ox."
 

Related Threads on Rumsfeld's war against the military

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
56
Views
7K
Replies
89
Views
11K
Replies
26
Views
3K
Replies
43
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
46
Views
5K
Replies
1
Views
1K
Top