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Posts Tagged ‘President Eisenhower’

I have received comments from some wishing I would write more “original” material on my own blog.  The following is a reply I wrote to a posting on a blog I follow.
The blog is: http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com
The specific post I was replying to is: http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/whats-with-the-super-hate-towards-gen-petraeus-that-cuny-video/
Please go to the original site to read the full context of what (the post and the video) I am responding to…
General Petraeus spent the majority of his adult life in service to his country.  For this he is to be thanked.  The protesters are louts and are fortunate they have people willing to defend this country so they can have the freedom to be so boorish and rude.  If they honestly believed the General is a war criminal and can prove it, they should be raising the issue in the courts instead of verbally assaulting him on the street.
Like the Italian student, the average civilian does not understand that to progress in today’s military requires not just a willingness to engage and destroy the enemy, but also that you continue your personal education.  Petraeus, may have sought his particular degrees for his personal growth, but he also fully understood that in today’s military, to get to the top, you must punch your ticket at every possible level, in command positions, in staff positions and in education.  Education includes branch staff colleges and “normal” university education.  Petraeus may be the exception for going to the PhD level, but he is by no means the exception for advanced degrees within the modern military.  This is all just a part of the MBA’ing of the U.S. Military.
Franks, Petraeus, Schwarzkopf, Powell and many others are politicians (within the Pentagon and Congress) as much as they are military men.  It remains to be seen whether this is good for the country (and the military) or not.
As for the UK student, being half right can also make you completely wrong.  Yes, the German high command was extremely well educated – and not just in terms of warfare.  But that is not the same as being Nazis.  Unfortunately, they (the German military – disregarding the SS) were too observant of the rule of the lawful government and then could not change their mindset when their government became unlawful.  I can still hear the castigation of General Shinseki after his cautionary testimony prior to the invasion of Iraq.  I wonder if world history might have been changed if some of the German high command had had some small amount of Shinseki’s courage.
Of course, the SS were a different kettle of fish, but then fanatics usually are.  The SS were the true “Nazis” the average person thinks of when the term is thrown about loosely.  And no, I am not forgiving the “average” German or the “average” German soldier for their acquiescence AND participation in the butchery of the period.
We are facing perilous times for our military because we now have a full generation of senior commanders who have never known hard times.  Money, honors and fame have been there for the taking for the last 20 plus years, and they have done so – during and after their careers.  They are almost precisely where the German professional military was in the late 1920′s and early 1930′s – comfortable and elite.  As I stated above, it remains to be seen whether this is good for the country or not.
As for me, I keep hearing General (then President) Eisenhower’s cautionary speech about the dangers of the military / industrial complex…  For a transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (1961), see:
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=90&page=transcript
And just in case nobody has said it to you lately: “Thank you for your service, Lieutenant.” (And forgive me if you are now a Captain…)
[For the record, in my reply on the original site, I inadvertently misspelled General Petraeus’ name several times and I have corrected these errors above.     —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 The Victor
2011 Forging Away At My Deadlines
2010 Try This With Your Shoes…

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The Republican Party, which had presided over America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence, has acquiesced in the deindustrialization of the nation to gratify transnational corporations whose oligarchs are the party financiers.  U.S. corporations are shutting factories here, opening them in China, “outsourcing” back-office work to India, importing Asians to take white-collar jobs from Americans, and hiring illegal aliens for their service jobs.  The Republican Party has signed off on economic treason.
  —  Patrick J. Buchanan
From his book: “Where The Right Went Wrong
[While I agree with Pat that the Republican party has committed the equivalent of economic treason, I must disagree with the statement Republicans “presided over America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence“.
America rose to manufacturing preeminence during and because of World War II while FDR was President and the Democrats controlled both houses in Congress.  The economy stalled under Eisenhower and was revived by the Kennedy / Johnson period.  We started to falter at the end of Johnson and began our descent under Nixon, mostly because of the gas crisis (72-73) and the long term effects of government spending from Vietnam (Johnson and Nixon).  Both Reagan and Bush (the first) had recessions and it was Clinton’s Administration which brought growth.  Reagan, a “true” conservative, proposed there was no damage to the economy by going into debt (mostly to increase government spending on big ticket military purchases “star-wars” and new aircraft carriers) and then signed off on the largest tax increases in history (actually mostly closing business loopholes) to reduce the debt he had sponsored – although he was NEVER able to come up with a balanced budget let alone get Congress to pass one.  Bush II practically drove the whole planet into bankruptcy and global depression with a combination of deregulation and unpaid for wars.  Granted not all of the deregulation was actually passed into law during “W’s” administration.  His administration merely encouraged the abuses inherent in an unregulated market.
No, Pat.  Sorry.  The Republican Party has not presided over an America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence since the Civil War, and again, the manufacturing increase was because a war effort stimulated the economy and government spending – not because Republican political or economic theories are correct.
It just so happens I DO believe in small government which stays out of the way of the people and in capitalism.  But government must be big enough to defend us from modern day threats: foreign and domestic, terrorist and corporate.  At the moment, the U.S. has more to fear from multinational and “too big to fail” domestic corporations than it does from 200 to 500 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It used to be said the two biggest threats to democracy are an overly efficient tax system and an overly efficient military.  It seems we should now recognize the BIGGEST threat to democracy is an unregulated capitalist economy.  And on this, at least, we can agree – the Republican Party are economic traitors!     —    KMAB]
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In the wake of Desert Storm, the Pentagon became convinced that that kind of warfare would soon be an anachronism: no one would be foolish enough to challenge the United States head-to-head in pure military combat.  Conflict in the future would be diffuse.  It would take place in cities as often as on battlefields, be fueled by ideas as much as by weapons, and engage cultures and economies as much as armies.  As one JFCOM analyst puts it: “The next war is not just going to be military on military.  The deciding factor is not going to be how many tanks you kill, how many ships you sink, and how many planes you shoot down.  The decisive factor is how you take apart your adversary’s system.  Instead of going after war-fighting capability, we have to go after war-making capability.  The military is connected to the economic system, which is connected to their cultural system, to their personal relationships.  We have to understand the links between all those systems.”
 [And later…]
Van Riper didn’t believe you could lift the fog of war.  His library on the second floor of his house in Virginia is lined with rows upon rows of works on complexity theory and military strategy.  From his own experience in Vietnam and his reading of the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, Van Riper became convinced that war was inherently unpredictable and messy and non-linear.
    —      Malcom Gladwell
From his book: “Blink“, describing modern warfare and Paul Van Riper
[You cannot predict the course of a war based on economics or superior firepower.  Rober McNamarra couldn’t do it for President Johnson and a much lesser man (Donald Rumsfeld) couldn’t do it for “W”.
Ultimately, this is why America’s policy pre-emptive attacks and over-throwing (“replacing”) governments in most parts of the world (particularly Muslim countries) and trying to do nation-building “in our own image” will NEVER work.
When (if) you fight an enemy who is willing to fight on your terms, you may defeat them if you are a superior force.  If you are not superior, it can go either way – even when you are fighting on your terms.  If you are unable to fight on your terms, you must be vastly superior to ensure even modest victory.
If you ultimately are intending to form a new government, the populace must be one which historically is willing to bend to the will of their own government / “superiors” (either through cultural tradition, divine right or extreme force, Germany and Japan after WWII, for example) and not tribal and culturally / economically independent (like Iraq and Afghanistan, for example).
Saddam was in power over twenty years and slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people and still many tribes resisted his rule.  Why would any but the most naïve amongst us believe ALL of his people would welcome us with flowers and kisses, instead of treat us as an invading power – which we were.  The same is true with Afghanistan.  They were not so much governed by the Taliban as loosely confederated under a set of religious beliefs.
Think about this: the United States is spending about $1 BILLION dollars EACH day to keep our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have over 120,000 of the best trained and equipped soldiers in the world in Afghanistan to fight what is probably an Al Qaeda force of not more than 500 in an area the size of Texas.
That we have killed Bin Laden only means he will not live to see his ultimate economic and cultural victory over us.  Not a military victory, which was never possible, but a victory over us as a world economic super-power because he was able to kick our political system into hyper-militarism – individually spending more as a single country than all of the other countries in the world.  This is the warning President Eisenhower gave us in his famous “military-industrial complex” speech.
To defeat western-civilization (quasi-benign capitalism) at it’s core, Bin Laden only had to accelerate “corporate” capitalism.  With the help of a willing Republican “neo-conservative” government in the White House, controlling both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, who were all willing to wage a war off budget (read that as “with no public debate over the actual costs or the real lost opportunity costs“) and without raising taxes to pay for the war, the Bush Administration virtually guaranteed an eventual collapse of the American economy.   The miracle is that we have not already had a complete collapse.  We narrowly avoided complete economic collapse in Nov ’08 to Mar ’09.
Bin Laden truly learned the primary lesson of Afghanistan in defeating the Russians:  you need not defeat a superior force in battle; you can bleed the home country to death by fighting their force with fewer (120,000 to 500) and less expensive (does anyone believe it costs a million dollars a year to keep a single Al Qaeda foot-soldier in battle?) ground forces.  (Before anyone starts thinking this was an incredibly brilliant discovery by Bin Laden, please recall this is EXACTLY the same tactic used by General George Washington against the British monarchy in the American Revolutionary War.)
To see if I have any idea what I’m talking about, please refer to my two earlier posts:  “Obama’s Wars” and “View From Under The Bus“.
Please Mr. President – Give Peace A Chance!!!  Get out of these pointless, hopeless and impossible to win wars now!!!  Not in 2012, 2014 or 20-whatever…  NOW!!!  (Yes, I know it will take six months to draw down if we begin withdrawing tomorrow…  So start tomorrow!!!)
It is still NOT too late to save America and Western Civilization…
Signed,
A Democrat (Still Under The Bus)
    —    KMAB]
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