CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Good news: Rummy Will Survive! (Bad news: US power is in its twilight . . .)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Good news: Rummy Will Survive! (Bad news: US power is in its twilight . . .)

Despite the furor of some Senators who wish to run for President in 2008, despite a hostile media that plants questions to the Secretary of Defense, then manipulates the coverage of his answer, despite whatever recent USA Today polls say, The Adventures of Chester wholeheartedly agrees with John Podhoretz, who wrote yesterday in the New York Post:
Who knows? Maybe the president would have gently edged Rumsfeld aside after the Iraqi elections at the end of January. But not now. Oh, no. Bush isn't giving you Rumsfeld's scalp. He doesn't play the game your way.
Moreover, we agree with many commentators that an under-examined interpretation of Rumsfeld's "Army you have" statement was that the Army that we have is a direct result of 10 years of cuts in the 1990s -- cuts that were approved by the Clinton Administration, and voted for by the same Senators who now bash Rummy -- and who may have served in the military, but who've never run a Defense Department of 3 million. Read more about the holiday Rummy-bashing in today's Washington Times. Is Rummy to blame for not increasing the size of the military? Certainly so. But what fate will befall any politician who calls for increases? Rummy (and the President's) forbearance in asking us to fund a larger force is a reflection of the political vagaries that will deem it suicide for them to do so . . . It will be very interesting to watch the contortions of the media if and when the Bush administration realizes that the US military does in fact need to grow larger. For months and months, the drumbeat of media coverage of the war has accused the US of fielding too few troops in Iraq -- and accused the Iraq campaign of breaking our military, particularly the Army. This may be the case. But the goal of the press is to discredit the entire campaign and in that they fail. Instead, they miss the true story underlying the size of our forces in Iraq: we cannot increase it because we have no more to give. The US military is running at full capacity. 140,000 or so troops in one place for an indefinite period of time is the most we can field. This should give us pause. Is 140,000, with periodic surges to higher numbers, enough troops to stabilize a collapsed Saudi Arabia, a collapsed North Korea, or to deter China from any of its own adventures? or to do any two of these at once? If you believe in free trade, as do we, you must still ask yourself if our industrial base is large enough to manufacture the physical forces large enough to defeat China -- whose own industrial capabilities increase daily. Eventually the US will be right that "transformation" -- a word with many meanings and a varied historiography -- will in fact transform the US military into an even more lethal force than it is now. The problem is that it will still be too small to guarantee the freedoms we cherish against the many wolves who would curtail them by influence, attack, or less ostensiblly frittering our forces away on a number of causes . . . What will the press say when those in power take their reports to heart and ask for a huge military spending increase that will threaten the entitlements that are the currency of our discredited, paleolithic welfare state? We don't claim clairvoyance, but can guess the answer to that question . . . The truth of the matter is that America's oft-mentioned status as the world's only superpower, or the world's only "hyperpower," as many would have it, is a myth. Our influence, while great at the moment, is fleeting, and will soon be worn down by more declared nuclear states, the proliferation of advanced weaponry, and richer would-be adversaries, who fear not our arms, because they know the will behind them is lagging. While they itch for the euphemism of "multi-polarity," meaning agenda-setting power to them and not the world's oldest and first democracy, we unwittingly aid them, by virtue of the smallishness of our military. Were it the 800 pound gorilla it was in the 80s or even early 90s -- and with the networked lethality our technology has bought us -- our future fights would be fewer, clearer, and more one-sided. But this is not to be the case without drastic change, as even now, the would-be multi-poles gather against us. Consider this opinion piece by a former CIA analyst, who argues that our military adventures in Iraq -- failing in his estimation, the fault for which lies with "the ineptitude of senior American civilian-defense officials and by careerism among the generals, many of whom know better but lack the spine to tell their superiors that the war in Iraq cannot be 'won'" -- is a direct cause for the rise in cooperation among China and Russia, pointing to our purported hubris as the reason. Could the reason not be that China and Russia desire a return to a more glorious past of Middle Kingdoms and Soviet imperialism, and that they see an opportunity to unbalance US dominance because -- gasp! -- our military is too small to deter them, and our national will is hollow? Our power is fleeting and an enormous shift is required to maintain our dominance. And our dominance is just -- based on two centuries of enlarging human freedom. While the British may have been glad to look across the Atlantic and see an ally in the new defender of freedom that the US had become after World War II, we don't find ourselves in the same situation, no matter which ocean we glance across. Our security will not come from abroad, but from home.

8 Comments:

Blogger Brodie said...

Semper Fi, sir! Secretary Rumsfeldt may have quietly signaled such a willingness to bolster the military. I think it was this weekend that he suggested we need to take a new look at "the mix" (we've all heard that one before), citing how the Infantry (for example) actually represents a remarkably small portion of the military. He's been a general supporter of "big ticket items" in the past but his basic philosophy for transformation has never been "more Cold War." He's now suggesting we need to very seriously reconsider which military programs should live and which should die. I suppose time will tell.

December 22, 2004 at 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chester, I couldn't agree with you more. I am a retired Naval Aviator, and it pains me to think my grandchildren are going to grow up into who knows what kind of world.

Ross Perot was right. The giant sucking sound of the American manufacturing industry moving offshore sowed the seeds of the destruction of this nation. Oh, well, most empires only last for a fleeting period, unless they are willing to be totally ruthless.

Pine Knot

December 22, 2004 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Unfortunately, I find myself, for the moment at least, in agreement with this post and with Pine Knot. The US is certainly, on paper, capable of doing what is necessary to preserve our power position, but we are hampered by, on the one hand the 15-20 percent of our own people who for, whatever reason, actively despise American military power; and on the other, the growing transnational business and professional class who care only about their ability to move money and who view national attachments as provincial and archaic. I think both groups reside in a fools paradise, but I have no clue how the situation can be altered.

The fact that, as a country, we have decided not to pay for our just struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq out of budget reductions or tax increases, and to finance it by borrowing ought to disturb everyone. Again, I think this is a fools paradise that cannot last.

December 22, 2004 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger coop said...

Is Rummy to blame for not increasing the size of the military? Certainly not.

Congress, and Congress alone, can do this. Perhaps these Senators should stop complaining and start working on the necessary legislation.

December 22, 2004 at 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a reason why the war is still going on in Iraq, and why American and coalition forces are dying. That reason is there are too many political decisions interfering with the battle plans.

You do not go into a war to win friends. You go into a war to win the war. It is time for America to get ruthless on the battlefield. There was a reason why Dresdan was bombed to the ground and two very big bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It seems that America has forgotten these lessons. Those city's namesakes in Iraq are the hot beds for most of the violence against troops and citizens today. Those cities should be rubble.

We need a strong America today more than at any time in my memory. America needs to make everyone tremble at the mere thought of going up against them on the battlefield.

A word on Syria. America should give Syria one week to seal the border with Iraq and hand over every Iraqi scientist and army official now hiding in Syria. If they do not do this America should immediately bomb every communications headquarters of their armed forces.

A word on Iran. America should immediately bomb every known target associated with nuclear bomb research in Iran and every communications headquarters of the armed forces. The Iranian people finish the job.

A word on state-sponsored terrorism. America should bring back MAD. It worked during the Cold War. It will work today. America needs to make a statement to the world that any state who is shown to have supported any major act of terrorism against America will simply cease to exist. This will be the end of state-sponsored terrorism.

The Canadian

December 22, 2004 at 9:53 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 28, 2005 at 5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

October 30, 2005 at 11:03 PM  

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