Wednesday :: Nov 1, 2006

Pentagon Quagmire Tactic Fails

by paradox

One of the saddest chapters of US military history is about to be written: the General Officer Corps of the US Army and Marines, along with the professional defense establishment at the Pentagon, allowed another Vietnam-like quagmire on their watch with the Iraq war. Lessons unlearned were not even recent history, these officers served through the horrors of Vietnam, yet they still blew it.

We’re horribly screwed if we stay or go, consequences for inaction growing more desperate for any option every day. Our soldiers give up their lives for objectives only to walk away and then one day give up more lives for precisely the same goal yet again. Morale and readiness has been blown to utter shit in a relentless four year grind of futility. Idiotic political allegiance has inevitably morphed into rank lying to cover for failure. Searing political attacks are about to come in that will really hurt as the bill comes in politically for screwing up so badly.

Most Americans are unaware, however, that in the 1970’s the Pentagon took a massive hedge against the nightmare scenario outlined above. The Army and Marines bet the American people would pull their ass out of the fire if a quagmire loomed again. They lost that bet.

Play of the hand is shown in the US deployment structure in the event of a full-scale war theatre: the reserves are immediately, not possibly, sent into combat.

Why? Reserves are far older and possess possibly a quarter of combat readiness versus regular troops with inadequate equipment and training. It’s child’s play to structure and deploy US forces for five years without ever using the reserve. Tactically the Army takes on the risk with 120 days of intense pre-deployment training for very good political reasons: the American people would never stand for their reserves being sacrificed in a futile quagmire.

So the thinking went. Reserves are fathers, sometimes even grandfathers, well-known and often possessing significant social status in their communities. The reserve is primarily expected to be an extremely important civil defense force (New Orleans)—deployment should have forced the country to face how serious war and reserve deployment really is.

The DOD counted on a firestorm of political pressure from the public to end a quagmire with reserve deployment and failed. Second tours for full combat reserve brigades are ramping up right now—many reserves units like MP’s have been deployed constantly.

So now more reserves in their fifties are going to die or be horribly wounded and maimed, soldiers who should be serving their families and communities with the honor they earned. For nothing but lies and failure.

Some would argue that the bet has not yet failed, it might pay off in the form of a Democratic Congress in the 2006 elections. If that’s true it doesn’t matter, the response was far, far too slow and inadequate. The bet had to work in the 2004 election and it simply didn’t.

What doomed the bet to failure? 31% of the populace that would sacrifice anything (yes, even the Bill of Rights) so that Republicans win, plus a corporate media aligned with the GOP determined to hide and distract the true effects of war on our people.

Typical is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today, discussing the effects of deployment: “The multiple deployments over a short period of time and the toll they take on soldiers and families are of concern, Lynch [commanding officer] said, and the effects are being watched closely.”

Those precise effects, of course, are never, ever written in a US corporate paper: suicide, depression, obesity, adultery, alcoholism, divorce, child abuse, malnutrition, and howling lifetime sentences of misery at the death of loved ones. Utter fucking hell, in other words, yet if the effects are not graphically displayed day after day it never seems to sink in what we’ve done to our people in the Services.

The greatest lesson for the Pentagon and the American people is to never let the country be put in a position to make the reserve bet in the first place. Far too much can go wrong with political leadership and an enabling propaganda “journalism” corps for the play to work; once a war starts unknown dynamics take over that make pre-war political calculations useless.

War can be very, very difficult to stop. Voting in new political leadership or even having 60% of the populace in permanent outrage won’t even stop it, as we’re about to find out.

paradox :: 6:54 AM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!