Archive for July, 2010
Posted in Adaptability, Learning Organizations, MICC, Strategy, tagged Afghanistan, COL John Boyd, Defensive/offensive strategy by William S. Lind, Doctrine of 3-3-3, Franklin C Spinney, Path to Victory Americas Army and the Revolution in Hum, Reformers, Revolution in Military Affairs, Robert Coram on July 26, 2010| 1 Comment »
I admire Senator’s Webb’s writing skills very much. Below is a recent article / OpEd, and I think he’s really onto something here. It certainly helps explain the very real and very sharp resentment of many Veterans who fought the war in Vietnam. He also cites some figures that are eye-opening, such as 91% of Vietnam Veterans are glad they served their country, 78% enjoyed their time in service, and 73% of those killed were volunteers, not draftees.
Have a nice day, Don
Heroes of the Vietnam Generation
By James Webb
The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of “The Greatest Generation” that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.
Like it did in Bosnia and Kosovo?
Bosnian Lessons by Gordon N. Bardos, The National Interest, 16 July 2010 http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=23704
To understand the limits of what can be achieved militarily and politically in Iraq and Afghanistan, a good starting point is looking at what we have done in Bosnia and Kosovo over the past 10-15 years. The comparison is not encouraging.
Consider the following: Bosnia & Herzegovina (population approximately 4.6 million) has received more international aid per capita than any country in Europe under the Marshall Plan. Kosovo (population approximately 2 million) has exceeded even that figure; according to one estimate, by 2005 Kosovo had received 25 times more aid per capita than Afghanistan. Postwar Bosnia in 1996 and postwar Kosovo in 1999 were militarily secured through the deployment of 60,000 and 30,000 international troops, respectively. In addition to the troops, in 1996 over 10,000 international civilian personnel were dispatched to Bosnia alone. Extrapolating from these figures, a Rand Corporation study by James Dobbins estimated that a Kosovo-level force in Iraq should have numbered some 526,000 troops.
Mr. Obama’s presidency is now being defined by four intractable problems:
(1) Persistent High Unemployment due to the intractable Great Recession
(2) a Financial Giveaway that protected rich Wall Street bankers at the expense of the masses who are suffering economically from the Great Recession the bankers triggered
(2) A BP Environmental Disaster that reveals the feckless incompetence of the Federal Gov’t — i.e., Obama’s Katrina Moment
(4) His enthusiastic embrace and expansion of the Afghan War into the AFPAK Quagmire.
Ahmed Rashid, one of the most knowledgeable observers of the AFPAK scene (and, ironically, a proponent of the AFPAK intervention) paints a thoroughly depressing picture the nature of the AFPAK quagmire in the attached blog carried by the New York Review of Books.
Petraeus’s Baby Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books (Blogs), July 14, 2010 11:15 a.m.
The surprising and speedy crash of General Stanley McCrystal has been seen in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the wider region as just one more sign of the mess that the US and its NATO allies face in what is looking increasingly like an unwinnable conflict.
Against counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
BY HUGH GUSTERSON, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1 JULY 2010 http://thebulletin.org/print/web-edition/columnists/hugh-gusterson/against-counterinsurgency-afghanistan
It says something about American politics that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was not fired because U.S. casualties in Afghanistan are running at record levels, because the much vaunted Marja initiative has failed, or because the Kandahar offensive is already in trouble during its preliminary rollout. No, he was fired because he and his team embarrassed the White House with carelessly frank talk to a journalist. “This is a change in personnel, but not a change in policy,” said President Barack Obama in announcing General McChrystal’s dismissal. Or, in the words of Rep. James McGovern, we have the “same menu, different waiter.”
I hope everyone in our country that has worked hard, means well, and is a good citizen has a great holiday today. Go have a good time with family and friends! I pray that our leaders put service before self. Pray for those in the Gulf who have suffered at the hands of greed, pray for our Soldiers deployed, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but all over the globe. I am spending the day with my son and grandson riding bikes, after having washed my six dogs and a cat. I spent a great day with my good friend Allen Gill at Ely’s Ford Virginia, and at Chancellorsville battlefield hiking.
If you positively impact one person a day, then that is enough.