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

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  •  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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