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View Diary: Tom Clancy's Dark Legacy (205 comments)

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  •  disagree with conclusions and analysis of (6+ / 0-)

    The power of advanced military technology. The following is just plain wrong. Iraq is a very poor example of your conclusions.

    Donald Rumsfeld took things to their nth degree with the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  This US army, unlike the conscripted Vietnam era horde, was to be a lean volunteer force equipped with technology that would enable fewer to do more.  In a strict military sense, this wasn't even true, as US military dissenters at the time such as General Shinseki made evident.  But faith in superior technology and training - a faith at the heart of the Tom Clancy story-telling - was sold to the American people as a way to overcome misgivings as to the wisdom and purpose of fighting the war in the first place.  We know the rest.  It didn't quite work out that way.
    Iraq didn't work out for many different reasons but NOT because our military tech superiority was not enough. We mowed through the Iraqi army in record time with barely any problems at all. All due to the superiority of our technology and training of our troops. But it was the lack of strategy for what to do after and the need to fight an ever growing guerrilla uprising across a large area that mired US in the neverending disaster.

    In fact our military superiority had had stellar showing since the first Gulf war. We can do amazing things in very short periods of time precisely due to the huge gulf in technological advance. Tom Clancy is right about that. Nothing you said disproved it.

    It's the misguided wars with no long term strategy that cause the failures. High Technology can help with the initial strike and short term advance, but it can't help with an occupation of a country that doesn't want us. High Technology can compensate for stupidity for only so long.

    •  If that won wars... (8+ / 0-)

      The point I was making on Iraq - which is one paragraph in the diary and certainly warrants more discussion - is that the force multiplier argument was central not just to Rumsfeld's initial invasion strategy, it was one of the foundations of the "Shock and Awe" political strategy that accompanied it.  Shock and Awe, as you'll recall, would be the impact of US superiority causing a rapid collapse of enemy morale.

      This has a long history.  You can go back to the US strategic bombing campaigns in WW2 and also Vietnam and the body count.

      I never said the US military was not good at doing what it did, which was find, engage and destroy the enemy.  In most of our wars, the kill ratios have been in our favor, sometimes absurdly so.  In Vietnam we hardly lost a battle in the conventional sense.

      What I hoped to highlight - and perhaps wasn't as clear about as I would have liked - was how overreliance on "taking out bad guys" meant short-shrift for things that made as much if not more difference.   The lack of a follow-up plan for Iraq was no accident.  It flowed from a mistaken appreciation of what the fighting would achieve.  When the enemy did not just fade away, we had little in the way of Plan B.

      The other point of course was priorities.  Our war machine costs quite a lot and this money has to come from somewhere.  It would take more diaries for that.

      A recent example of skewed mindsets is the M1 Abrams tank.  The US Army has said it has enough M1 Abrams.  It has not asked for more.  But Congress put more money into the defense budget for more M1 Abrams.  The reason?  Pressure for jobs and contracts for factories in their home districts.  So in the next war, the Army will go into battle with less of something they wanted more of, and a bunch of M1's parked somewhere unused.

      "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

      by FDRDemocrat on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 10:39:08 AM PDT

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    •  Misuse of capability as well as no post strategy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shotput8, PhilK, Farugia

      the myth of tech winning the day is not entirely a myth...
      but it really is like rope a dope... defeating the adversary with overpowering punch and training is effective in the first round and even in subsequent... but then as time goes on wearing down an opponent only gets harder...  when you have a lighting war machine and no after plan besides magic: "and they occupied happily ever after"... the long term result is always going to be not so good.

      Better to resist the urge to prove just how awesome the capacity is... That is the downfall of superior capability and no actual target... targets are invented to justify and prove the need for it in the first place...

      No existential threat means no need for the MIC and the military as it is presently. And in the end the MIC greatest strength is not all the whiz bang hardware and those trained to use them, it is instead defending its own existence, power and influence above all, even at the expense of the nation's overall well being.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 11:09:28 AM PDT

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