President Obama has released his new plan for the military which I agree with but not for his stated reasons for developing a new strategy.
First allow me to present ten years of NATO in Afghanistan in three pictures:
There it is; Afghanistan is toast, and what the last 10 years has taught us is we cannot afford to deploy American ground forces. Two billion dollars a week (that’s billion with a B) has bought what? Every year we stay to “bring security to the people,” the security situation for the people gets worse – deteriorating by orders of magnitude. Now we have a new strategy that is identical to the “strategy” that resulted in a hollow ground force getting its ass kicked by North Korea in 1950; a mere five years after we had ascended to the most dominant military the world had ever known. Here are the main points:
The strategy announced Thursday foresees a smaller Army and Marine Corps, far less appetite for wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, greater emphasis on special operations forces and intelligence-gathering, and shifting focus to China and the Pacific.
The new strategy was necessitated by the need to cut military spending by at least $480 billion over the next decade and the winding down of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The only effective weapon we have ever deployed to Afghanistan is cash money but, in typical Washington fashion, that money has disappeared and nobody seems to know how that happened or where it went. The Afghan government is operating under the assumption we are going to continue throwing cash at them forever and thus will have troops in the country indefinitely. The Taliban think we’ll stay forever to harvest all the rare minerals buried in the desert, as if we could possibly mine 2 billion a week worth of rare minerals to cover our burn rate. The Iraqis now know that, no matter what we have said in the past, we are more than willing to declare victory and leave it to them to clean up the mess we created.
Was Iraq worth the blood and treasure spent by the United States? If it was, I’m not seeing it. Will the end state in Afghanistan be worth the blood and treasure we have spent and continue to spend? I’d like to think so – I love Afghans and hate to see them getting constantly screwed over – but in the end what will we have accomplished? Not much. The only lesson to be learned from the past ten years of constant war is that we cannot afford to go to war. At least not in the way we do it now which is what I’ve been pointing out in this blog for years.
The fact that Obama has slashed ground forces and fallen under the spell of high tech ninjas from the United States Air Force is, believe it or not, good news. This is going to force the Army to do a little creative thinking about their roles/missions/force structure and that’s a good thing. It’s also going to force the Marine Corps into a fight for survival because when Big Army starts to do creative thinking the first option (historically) they come up with is to do away with the Marine Corps.
Obama is right about the obsolescence of the Two-War Strategy but not for the reasons he’s outlined. He’s right because we have never had the lift ability to move ground forces into two distinctly different theaters of operations simultaneously which that was the basis for our force structure. We had the troops to do it stationed in places like Okinawa where they were “forward deployed” but the naval shipping to lift them is based in the US.
The Pentagon never dealt with this issue honestly, just as they are not dealing with their impending evisceration honestly. Witness this bit of complete nonsense: Pentagon Says Two-War Strategy Not likely To Be Scrapped. Talk about living in denial.
The media, our two party system where the Republicans are the New Jersey Generals to the Democrats Globe Trotters, the statest and politically correct mandarins in the Pentagon – all of them are going to swept into the dust bin of history. They cannot sustain their current mode of operation, they cannot change because change is all they have talked about for decades while simultaneously maintaining the same force structure and carrarest mind set regardless of multiple Quadrennial Defense Review recommendations recommending change.
Richard Fernandez explains the inevitable here:
Developments like this, when juxtaposed against the tally of failing institutions suggest that the future may be one in which the balance of power will shift from the spenders using deficit financing, and the rent-takers (the Middle East) and the blackmailers (North Korea) to one where the producers are relatively more influential. The next few decades, provided the world doesn’t blow itself up getting there, may belong to those who make and design new things rather than those who appropriate them and hand things around.
It is already making the shift and the crisis is how it is doing it.
The growth industries of the future might be in trade, industry, science and engineering. By contrast, the day of the ambulance chaser, financial Master of the Universe, SEIU organizer and journalistic hack may be coming to a close. What the current crisis is doing is burning out the latter to clear the way for the former. It is a process of creative destruction that has almost no input from the Republican Party.
Change is coming and no matter how vigorous the rear guard action by big government and their allies in Hollywood and Academia. You can kick the can down the road only so far. Our political class has failed us and for that they will pay at the ballot box. Bet on it.