Thursday, October 14, 2004

Notes on The Passing Parade

Rather than write my usual long discussion of various topics, I thought some shorter comments on a variety of subjects might be in order today. For example it seems the Log Cabin Republicans – which is an organization for Gay Republicans as opposed I guess to gay republicans – is petitioning the Pentagon to rescind the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy implemented by the Clinton Administration. In its place they want the Pentagon to allow homosexuals into the military as long as they don’t divulge their sexuality or participate in homosexual acts. Well excuuuse me!! But this is the just the way it was before the Clinton administration changed things by pandering to a small group of activists, proving once again that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

The paper also brings us to the dire warnings and concerns of the US Geological Survey regarding the 13 volcanoes up and down the Pacific Coast. There is a real possibility that Mount Hood or Mount Rainer might erupt. The problem is the millions of people who have elected to live near a volcano. It seems if Rainer were to erupt it would create massive flows that would sweep everything before it right into Puget Sound. Unfortunately that seems to include a large part of Seattle. If Mount Hood erupts it would probably destroy the water supply for the city of Portland. So there it is. We have people who move to Florida and build flimsy houses on the beach ignoring the fact that there is a HURRICANE SEASON. Wake up folks – this happens every year so why should the government pick up the pieces every year? The same is true for those people who decide to live ‘near the water” meaning next to a lake or river prone to flooding. Now we have volcanoes to worry about. Hey folks – if you decide to live near a known natural danger then you ought to get insurance because I can’t see why the government should be responsible for your bad judgement.

I recently received an article written by Lt, Col David Hackworth. He is a retired soldier who has turned political activist. Of course he uses his military record as a basis to carp and criticize SecDef Rumsfeld over the War in Iraq. but nothing that I see qualifies him as a military strategist, any more than John Kerry's military experience qualifies him to be President. Lt. Col Hackworth falls into the same category of most of the pundits (on both sides) who are quick to offer their opinions without any real knowledge of facts and certainly without offering any solutions of their own. He states that the Military needs to be remade into a lighter fighting force. He also states that the "mighty sword" that Rumsfeld inherited is now "dull and chipped". Well -- I would like to point out that the "mighty sword" he describes was built by Shinseki, Powell, along classical military lines. Trained and prepared to fight a classical war -- i.e. a war between nation states. The Gulf War was probably the last war of this type that will be fought. Instead wars will be more like the current war on terror where there are no boundaries and no frontlines. Even though the Viet Nam War is seen as a “guerilla” war it still was between Nations. Recognizing that the classical approach won’t work Rumsfeld has completely revamped the military and reshaped it in to a force trained and equipped to fight an invisible enemy. The critics like Hackworth state that Shinseki was fired because he disagreed with Rumsfeld. Perhaps Shinseki didn’t understand that new tactics were required and he insisted in fighting the old way. But Hackworth doesn’t see it that way because he is like most critics -- quick to point out problems but not so quick to offer specific solutions -- just like John Kerry. He sees Shinseki as being a victim of a headstrong SecDef rather than considering the possibility that he was reactionary and unable to see the need for new thinking.

Relative to the sword being chipped and dulled well any soldier knows that once the enemy is engaged equipment fails, is used up, proves useless, or is insufficient for the purpose. Soldiers get tired and exhausted -- that is true of any Army at any time so for Hackworth to use this as a criticism simply demonstrates his partisanship and has nothing whatsoever to do with any failure by Rumsfeld or Myers. In fact a careful reading of Hackworth's article shows that he is a political activist not a military strategist. He points out that Shinseki stated that 200,000 soldiers were needed in Iraq. It seems to me that Iraq fell to a lot fewer than that. Of course the current criticism is what was meant was that it was the aftermath where the troops were needed. A convenient correction which is now appended to there was no "plan for the peace". How does he know that? How does anyone know that there was no plan? Furthermore, any officer knows that once the enemy is engaged the plan, no matter how good it was, goes right out the window. This criticism rather than showing an incisive military mind vividly demonstrates a lack of understanding or a simple attempt to attack the administration. LTC Hackworth is a political activist not a military strategist. If Franks needed more troops he would have asked for them. Hackworth and Shinseki are not credible sources nor is that Pentagon General Wesley Clark.

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