Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Donald pushes back... 
...against the Krepinovich study, and argues that with a "total force" of more than 2 million, there shouldn't be any reason why we can't sustain a 138,000 strong force in Iraq.

My own view is closer to Rumsfeld's than Krepinovich's. But the acid test is in the spare parts budgets and ammo budgets stateside and the availability of NCOES schools that qualify NCOs for promotion. The divorce rate seems to be an important, though indirect indicator, too. I'm curious to see if it's leveled off over the past year or so. Rumsfeld doesn't seem to be addressing that.

What ticks me off is the same harebrains who are saying the Army is stretched to the breaking point now were the first people to screech about how we didn't send enough troops. The obvious question, of course is if the Army is stretched to the breaking point as it is, then where were the troops going to come from?

You can't have it both ways. You can't criticize the Administration for not committing enough troops and at the same time harp on them for committing more than our force structure will allow.

It's not possible for these people to accept that anything will ever be done right, so you just have to tune them out as unserious thinkers.

Splash, out


It seems to me that some of those who "criticize the Administration for not committing enough troops and at the same time harp on them for committing more than our force structure will allow" are being consistent. It depends on whether or not they advocated a force build-up, e.g. beginning in late 2001.

I did want expanded recruiting back then; actually I wanted several kinds of expansion, which I won't bore you with. President Bush wanted to cut my taxes instead, and I appreciate that -- it expands my ability to give to Spirit of America, in particular -- but I disapprove. That doesn't mean I disapprove of everything; I predicted a long-term bloody mess as the outcome of our Iraq invasion, and I still approved of it as the least-worst option, and I voted for him in 2004, but I still criticize the Admin for not trying harder to have more troops. Am I wrong? Well, usually.
Was there anyone who advocated adding tens of thousands of regular troops to the Army after 9/11? I'd like to know who. As I recall, there was a push for more Special Forces and Intel types, but not for more ordinary grunts. This was especially true after OEF - most commentators said, "see, all we need are Green Berets and lots of airpower".

Another type of inconsistency is that many of the same people who argued that we didn't have enough troops also argued that sending more troops would just alienate the population and provide more targets for bad guys.

There is a good discussion of the "not enough troops" critique here:

Well, gee, anonymous. As your "Revisions in Need of Revising" (RiNoR) reference says on page 8, the 1990s Zinni plan had twice as many men in the Iraq invasion, and I assume (wrongly?) that it was talking mainly about ordinary grunts. RiNoR explains, as also seen on the post to which our comments appear, that this would not have worked out with "existing force constraints" (p.9). That I didn't know for sure in 2001, but I did expect our manpower estimates would rise; that's why I expected a significant effort to increase the size of the military, in ordinary-grunts terms.

In 2001 I just assumed that we would need a larger army for a generation to come, and worried about the speed with which that could be achieved, and had various complicated thoughts about creating a separate part of the Army, perhaps used mainly for nation-building and policing, which would accept volunteers from all over the world, who would after a certain number of years be allowed to retire as U.S. citizens...well, never mind. I still think something like that could be a good idea, but it isn't my point now. (Gee, I also expected a serious oil tax.) I was not a blogger then, not personally advocating anything much in 2001-2003 (I was working on web services books at the time, which you can download as free non-print PDFs from Apress because my co-author asked for their release for use at the U of Kabul and such-like places where he's been consulting on the comp sci curriculum.) I'm just saying: I don't see the inconsistency between "we needed (and still may need, for the next thirty years) more troops" and "our Administration committed more troops than our force structure would allow." I guess my own blogspot blog is well-named as mistakesByTJM, and I'm prepared to be educated about my mistakes, but I don't see the inconsistency--the conflict just leads me to a confirmation of my pre-existing belief that more recruits were needed.
You miss the point of the criticism Jason. If the Army is at the breaking point, and we didn't send enough troops to begin with, the answer is obviously that we never should have gone in the first place.

The vast majority of people making these arguments aren't looking for solutions to either a worn military or problems in Iraq. They merely want to attack the entire enterprise.


2005 military divorces way down.
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