Friday, November 10, 2006

In the sober light of day......

Before I jump into politics, I would just like to point out a couple of things.................

1) Looking up at the sky from this little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is simply amazing. Its just like being at sea because you see so many stars. I still have not found the Southern Cross though I spent a lot of time looking for it on my way home from the bar. I would have thought that one and a half degrees below the equator I would see it.

2) Seeing the lights of ships in the lagoon is equally enchanting.

3) The girl who sold me my T- shirts had a nice ass.


Has GWB had an epiphany? I've now watched him in two different press conferences and he sounded very different, than he has sounded in recent weeks. It means either one of two things:
a) He truly realizes that he should sent Donald Rumsfeld packing earlier-and that the now former SECDEF mislead him about what limited land power could accomplish. Or b) he is playing a very cynical game in that he wants to suck the opposition in by throwing them a bone.

What is clear is that Bush had decided to do this before the election. So why not, as some conservative bloggers have argued, do it back in August so you could then go through the campaign showing willingness to change. Lying at the 11th hour makes very little sense. Either he really thought he could pull a rabbit out of is hat or he had to bludgeoned into realizing reality. Either one is not a good reflection on Bush's Presidency.

Now many of you may be wondering why I have been down on Rumsfeld for so long and why I am so estactic that he finally go out and apply for Social Security. I've disliked Rummy since 2001 for one reason. He said one thing, and always did another. And what he did was never in the interest of the working Soldier or Sailor.

Deny it if you wish, but it is true. Consider if you will what would have happened if 9-11 had not happened. The reliable data has it that the Army and the Navy and the Air Force would have been raped in the QDR. The fact that Rummy would even consider such cuts, when his boss had promised to restore American military resources is troubling.

Second, when it came to pay and benefits, he never ever stepped up to the plate. In fact he did just the opposite, while he said he supported the troops his personnel chief, Dr Chu, went out of his way to screw them over.Look at this years defense budget. Senior flag officers get a 8.9% pay raise, the working Soldier got 2.2%. And he endorsed proposals that decided that since the Army was strained, he felt it was more important to sacrifice personnel from other services , while simeltaneoously pushing plans to cut their numbers-exacerbating the burden.

Rummy was in love with a stupid idea called transformation:

In his classic study of the Korean Conflict, "This Kind of War," T.R.
Fehrenbach expressed the conventional wisdom on land power's importance: "You
can fly over a land forever; you may bomb it and wipe it clean of life . . . but
if you desire to defend it; protect it; and keep it for civilization, you must
do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did . . . by putting your young
men into the mud."

But that view came into question in 1991, after the U.S.-led coalition
crushed Saddam Hussein's forces in Desert Storm with what seemed a combination
of air power and information technology. Influential observers argued that this
proved that a "revolution in military affairs" was underway, with information
technology diminishing the importance of land power.

Some went so far as to suggest that traditional ground combat had become a thing of the past, that future U.S. military power would be based on precision strikes delivered by air or space assets, perhaps coordinated and directed by a handful of special operations soldiers.

There was no question that the Army needed to undergo a substantial transformation to remain strategically relevant.(However as will be seen they already knew that.....) Then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki pushed hard to replace difficult-to-deploy heavy forces with medium-weight, wheel-mobile combat brigades supported by an advanced gunsystem.

As Donald Rumsfeld became secretary of defense in 2001, the Pentagon
embraced a more radical understanding of this "transformation," aiming at an
"information-age military force" that "will be less platform-centric and more
network-centric." Unfortunately, as military historian Fred Kagan has observed,
Rumsfeld's understanding of transformation is vague and confused. It is based on
false premises and lies at the heart of our problems in Iraq.
Rumsfeld'sattitude toward land power illustrates this. Early on, the secretary actuallysought to go far beyond the Army's plan and reduce the Army's force structure
from a mix of 10 heavy and light active-duty divisions to eight or fewer light
divisions. He wanted to move all the Army's heavy forces - armored and
mechanized infantry - to the National Guard. As thinly stretched as our forces
are today in Iraq and Afghanistan, imagine how things would be if the Army were
20 percent smaller and lacking in regular heavy forces.

He could have been a hero. All he had to do was embrace the end strength numbers that were in Colin Powell's "Base force": 14 Army Divisions, 33 Wings, 12 CVBG's and a 3 Division Marine Corps. Imagine how much better off the Army would be if it had more troops to rotate sooner, a year in country is ridiculous.

Rummy thought like a CEO. Except there was no stock in the company being sold to enhance shareholder value. Like a good corporate CEO, he felt if he could lay off enough employees, he could reap profit. Problem is public and military service is not about profit. It is about readiness to respond.

Then, when it came to easy things like supporting cancellation of the USPFSPA. adequae body armor, better support for the troops he lashed out.

Add all of these together......he should have been on a differnt A/C longt ago.........


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