A confederacy of doofuses
From the cretins at Powerline
Those griping ex-generals Gleen Greenwald has a post up on this
Dafydd ab Hugh has an excellent post about the retired generals who have lambasted Defense Secretary Rumsfeld recently. Dafydd notes that the generals in question are (1) mostly, in effect, Clinton appointees and (2) "old school" generals who object to Rumsfeld's pet theories of pushing towards smaller units, more unit independence, much greater reliance on Special Forces, and a reorganization of units to be self-sufficient rather than specialized. As to the second point, Dafydd compares the griping generals to "vice presidents at General Motors or IBM who furiously denounce splitting those companies into self-reliant business units instead of the normal corporate divisions they've had for twenty years." He also notes that "the fact that an old general dislikes the new style of warfare is not a refutation of that style. It just [the general] is 'Old School.' But Old School is not necessary the best school." You should definitely read the whole thing.
Griping ex-generals are always with us. President Clinton certainly had his detractors among the military brass, and not just retired brass. If I recall correctly, the MSM tended to attirbute this phenomenon to the neanderthalism within the military. In any case, the existence of griping generals, without more, means little. The "more" is a close analysis of the substance of the griping. This seems largely lacking in the MSM accounts.
SCOTT adds: See also Victor Davis Hanson's NRO column "Dead-end debates." JOHN adds: Before September 11, Rumsfeld thought that his tenure would be defined by his determination to shake up the Pentagon, of all organizations in the world one of the most resistant to change. He knew that many generals would bitterly resist his innovations. It is hardly a surprise that there are many officers--still serving and, especially, those who are now retired, in some cases because they didn't fit with the new program--who bitterly resent the changes that Rumsfeld brought to the armed forces. One of the ironies is that September 11 and the ensuing war on terror have verified the correctness of Rumsfeld's approach. The kind of army that was appropriate for defending Europe against land attack would be close to useless in the current conflict. It is, therefore, one more in a long series of sins on the part of the mainstream media that this context is almost completely absent from the media's gleeful coverage of these disgruntled generals
I have my own opinion
Really now, expert in military affairs?
Swannack took over the 82nd in 2002, so how in the fuck is he a Clinton appointee?
No matter when dealing with a Confederacy of Doofuses. Dear Leader is always right. Even when he is wrong.
Rumsfeld the genius's theories have gotten us in trouble in Iraq. Why? Because there aren't enough men to do the job. Special Forces have their limits, as in when they get in trouble, infantry have to save their asses. They'r great for pushing the boundaries, but sometimes that fails and they can get into real trouble.
These guys simply don't know what the fuck they're talking about. And Asshat Hanson? The fourth-rate classics professor at a third rate school is only known because of the right-wing echo chamber. He's not a military historian, you know like Gerhard Weinberg, Williamson Murray, Russell Weighley, John Keegan. Nope. he's a hack classics professor who doesn't know dick about the modern military.
The Revolution in Military Affairs, RMA, is this bullshit fantasy cooked up by Rummy and the dumbest man on the planet, Doug Feith, which was all about robot planes and special operators bringing worthy oriental gentlemen to heel.
Only problem, this doesn't work. Those robot planes aren't doing dick in Iraq, because people live in cities. SF teams haven't stopped the resistance. The fact was that RMA is a contractor and idelogue driven way to reform the Army, and has little to do with reality. It doesn't address the lack of language skills, reforming infantry tactics and lighter armor and artillery.
One of the major problems in Iraq was the lack of modern tactics. Swannack's 82nd shot up Fallujah and started our problems there. Why? Because they were trained to stop the Group of Soviet Forces Germany, not partrol an urbanized country. In the past, we've relied on allies to do the daily patrolling and people stuff. Nigerians, Pakistanis, they had the foot infantry in Somalia, the Germans and the Brits in the Balkans, there was always a buffer between the asskickers of Uncle Sam's Infantry and the locals.
Not in Iraq.
Despite a noble effort to train the Iraqis, it's pretty much been a failure. Because they have no government to be loyal to, in fact there is no government, period.
US troops were unable to deal with the daily contact they needed to make to control Iraq. They alienated people with their shoot first and home raiding tactics. Abu Gharib just made it worse.
All these right wing asshats who spout about things they don't have the courtesy to read about, make themselves look foolish. They don't know dick about RMA or why it's a shitty idea. They don't care about the collapse of the Army in Iraq, or that Rummy's ideas have led to failure in Afghanistan, and disaster in Iraq, because there aren't enough trained infantrymen.
RMA wants even less troops and more machines in environment which are brutal to Toytota trucks. Fragile, expensive, contractor friendly machines which are the heart of RMA. Sure, they sound great, but we're not fighting the Russians. It isn't needed.
Also, I love the right denigrates people who are experts in their field. They do it to teachers, doctors and now generals.
As I mentioned before, Swannack was being groomed for a high position in the Army. He retired for a reason, and like many of his peers, I think he didn't want to deal with Rummy any more.
These guys, and especially Hanson, wouldn't know how to lead recruits to a shower. Yet, they know more than the generals. Gotta love it.
posted by Steve @ 3:29:00 PM