Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Problem Solvers

Death solves all problems - no man, no problem.

--Joseph Stalin

I was taught that if you have a problem you try to solve it. With this administration you re-define the problem to eliminate the existence of the problem itself. Global warming a problem? No global warming - no problem. Now look at what W and his posse are doing to the military.

First they have abandoned the Powell Doctrine (RIP). The Powell Doctrine is (or was):

1. that military action should be used only as a last resort
and only if there is a clear risk to national security by
the intended target;
2. the force, when used, should be overwhelming and
disproportionate to the force used by the enemy;
3. there must be strong support for the campaign by the
general public; and
4. there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict
in which the military is engaged.

Powell based this strategy for warfare largely on his own experience as a major in Vietnam. His fear was that a protracted military adventure was evidence of a war in which public support was weak, the military objectives not clear, overwhelming force was not used, and an exit strategy was ill defined.

Then Rumsfeld, looking more and more like Robert S. McNamara, came up with the policy of Transformation. A smaller military. Smaller more agile, stealthy and lethal units. More technology, more high-tech gizmos. Less heavy weapons. A move away from the so-called threat-based strategy that had dominated defense planning for nearly a half-century and adopt what Rumsfeld characterized as a capability-based strategy, one that focuses less on who might threaten the U.S. or where it might be threatened, and more on how the U.S. might be threatened and what we need to do to deter and defend against such threats.

In 1991 in Gulf War I we had over 500,000 troops dislodge the Iraqi army from Kuwait. In 2003, in Gulf War II we had around 140,000 troops invade the entire country of Iraq. It was a "catastrophic success" said W. Great. Maybe we should start teaching the "Catastrophic Success Doctrine" at the Army War College.

And then came all the stories about lack of forces to prevent against looting allowing a fundamental breakdown in society in Iraq, lack of force protection for our own troops and lack of armor even to this day. Then the stories about Army and Marine recruiting goals not being met came out. Solution? Lower the recruiting goals. No problem. Unfortunately even those lowered goals aren't being met month after month.

And then the big one. For decades the overall military strategy of the U.S. was to be able to fight two regional conflicts simultaneously, like two Gulf War I conflicts. But since our military has been "transformed" since 1991 the new policy being considered is being able "to mount one conventional campaign while devoting more resources to defending American territory and antiterrorism efforts." Problem fighting in two regional theaters at the same time? Change the policy. No problem.

W and crew do solve problems. I just though that meant finding a solution to the problem rather than defining away the problem itself. No problem? No problem!


Blogger Ellen Beth said...

Solving the problem by eliminating the military...corporate army of Halliburton and Blackwater. These is scary times.

10:22 AM  

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