State of the War

Steve Gilliard:
We do not have an army which can actually prevent mass killing and restore order. We have an army which is trained to kill the Group of Soviet Forces Germany. They are now lost to the mists of history, but our Army remains the same.

Yet, there is no plan to actually make an Army which can fight guerrillas, aid and protect NGO's and mobilize quickly. Instead, we're converting artillery and engineers into ad hoc infantry and MP's and sending people out to die in hillbilly armored vehicles.

Right. I've written about this some, long ago, but it bears repeating that for all of Rumsfeld's talk of "re-structuring" the army, this is a fighting force constructed for a purpose which no longer exists. Plenty of countries - most notably Sweden, Italy and several other NATO nations - have entire branches of their armed services that are dedicated to peace-keeping and development work. And they're actually, y'know, trained to do those things. Rather than just shoot stuff.

So, food for thought. In addition to everything else - a career in a branch of the military where you learn how to do humanitarian work, and then actually do it (even laying your life on the line for it, at times) would be much, much more appealing for a lot of people than the current military.

I heard an interview this morning with a retired Army Col. who now teaches at the Army War College and he said that what they (military trainers) have been trying to teach are essentially the lessons learned (the hard way) in Vietnam about counter-insurgency action. What he said they realized in Vietnam is that instead of engaging them, we had to avoid them at all costs; an action with a large amount of force is returned in a chaotic, dispersed series of actions by the insurgency. No matter what Rummy or even the military top brass say about training, etc...they aren't the ones making the decisions on the ground during urban combat in Iraq...the idea is to train those that are to effectively "deal."
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