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Archive for October, 2009

My friend and September leader of the month Winslow Wheeler is now writing for Huffington Post. He points out in this article, while most Senators have no care for supporting Pork at the cost to our troops, a few Senators are showing character and leadership. One of them is Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma. Read on and as I do, pray we start to see some leadership regardless of short gain, for the long term health of our military and country.

Don

Tuesday, the Senate passed its version of the DOD Appropriations bill. Bereft of a debate on Afghanistan, the Senators busied themselves exercising their default activity: porking up defense spending and slapping down those with the ethics to oppose them.

This year, the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Senators Inouye and Cochran, sank to a new low. But also, some events in this year’s debate (actually, there was not much of that) offer a ray of hope that we may be witnessing the high tide of the Pork Uber Alles era. I provide details below. I have been asked by the Huffington Post to join them as one of their blogger/commentators. My new piece on the Senate porkers is my inaugural piece for the Huffington Post, which they are now running at their politics home page. Find it at

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/winslow-t-wheeler/support-our-troops-the-se_b_314393.html, and below.

Please feel free to leave a comment there or to send it to me directly. There is more to come on what Congress is doing to our defenses this year. I look forward to writing about this in the coming weeks.

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Ron Paul was my favorite for President.  He raised more money than any other candidate in the Republican primary, the highest of active duty military contributions. He won every debate. But why was he not selected to represent the Republican party?

Why, because the Washington Establishment, big money, lobbyists and special interest, does not want a man that is smart, has strength of character, and most of all understands the Constitution better than anyone in Congress, for that matter in Washington.

So, the media, backed and funded by big money, made sure that they isolated and kept Ron Paul out of the public’s eye. I first noticed it when Ron Paul debated successfully all the other Republican candidates in early 2008, and was given little time by the sponsors.

So, we don’t own our country anymore, unless, you have a lot of money, so you can buy the policies and politicans you want. Instead of measuring success as being a good citizen today, we measure success by how much money and things you own.

I agree with Ron Paul’s recommendation for foreign policy.  As they said, what brought down the Soviet Union was two things, it over spent on its defense, and blue jeans and rock and roll. 

I am for a strong defense, but one not modelled on the one we have today. My military is tough, equipped with rugged, well tested and as- simple as can be equipment; its an expeditionary force with little overhead with the centerpiece of personnel policies being unit cohesion and leaders selected through a tough accessions process (my ratio of officers to the force is 5%). A military that can go in, punish the threat, leave a calling card, then pull out, while handing it over to those who own the country (Read my 2002 book Path to Victory for the details).

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Two opinions on Afghanistan which I recommend everybody read:

Reform or go home, by David Kilcullen in yesterday’s New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/opinion/04afghanistan.html

Pretty much sums it up — it’s the Afghans’ problem. Although I think his emphasis on early elections is misplaced (in IWCKI, I quote Lee Kuan Yew as observing that elections may be the end point of an evolution to democracy, but the are not the beginning), his point that it’s all about governance is hard to dispute. Of course, “governance” is the one thing that outsiders cannot provide. Draw your own conclusions.

Theories about 4GW are not yet like the laws of thermodynamics, by Fabius Maximus, a reprint from March 2008.

http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/internal-6/

Fab reminds us that what we’re involved in in Afghanistan is not 4GW for the most part but “counterinsurgency,” that is, interfering in somebody else’s civil war, and occupation (a losing game, at least since the end of WW II).

The 4GW part — attacking the remnants of al-Qa’ida in Pakistan — is a very small part of it, requiring at most a few hundred troops. If this seems low, ask yourself: How many al-Qa’ida, that is, fighters under the command of OBL and his staff, are there? How are they organized and equipped?

So why would we need more than a battalion of US special operations forces, marines, or armored cav to defeat them? Finding and eliminating them might require an awful lot of other types of people, but relatively few combat forces.

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Please tell me why the historian’s report on this needs to be reviewed and “revised” and then redone by Petraeus.

Oh, never mind; now I understand; a senator (Webb) is involved. Webb may have the background to understand all this, but I will bet any of you lunch that the only person who testifies on this to the esteemed Senate Armed Services Committee has eagles or better on his shoulders and certainly will not be the original historian author. To permit otherwise would impede the SASC staff from groveling for jobs in the Pentagon.

The key questions of who we are really fighting and why we are fighting them are simply ignored. Similar questions were not asked in Iraq either with the result that we made war on the Sunni Arab population until we and they found it advantageous to stop it. AQ in Iraq did not turn out to be the monolithic powerhouse the generals insisted they were. The Sunni’s had good reason to cooperate. We had stupidly established an Iranian-backed government in Baghdad the Sunni Arabs wanted to survive and potentially destroy in our eventual absence. Without Sunni Arab support, AQ became irrelevant. We could not take the casualties and stay in Iraq. Hence, the cash for cooperation strategy, not COIN, worked.

In Afghanistan, we are once again killing lots of people who are not the enemies of the United States . They are simply killing us because we are there. Meanwhile, AQ is not there nor is AQ in Waziristan the powerful force claimed. But we cannot buy off the Pashtun Tribes the way we bought off the Sunni Arabs. The Iraqi conditions don’t exist in Afghanistan . The whole business is depressing.

U.S. Review Of Battle Disaster Sways Strategy On Afghanistan

New York Times October 3, 2009

U.S. Review Of Battle Disaster Sways Strategy On Afghanistan By Thom Shanker WASHINGTON

— The paratroopers of Chosen Company had plenty to worry about as they began digging in at their new outpost on the fringe of a hostile frontier village in eastern Afghanistan. Intelligence reports were warning of militants massing in the area. As the paratroopers looked around, the only villagers they could see were men of fighting age idling in the bazaar. There were no women and children, and some houses looked abandoned. Through their night scopes they could see furtive figures on the surrounding mountainsides.

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