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Betraying Our Troops

Birdstrike

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I've always enjoyed Ralph Peters' writing and the way he makes you think. He was a grunt and has maintained a grunt's perspective. I wish he was on Rumsfeld's staff instead of writing for the NY Post. Here's his most recent piece.
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BETRAYING OUR TROOPS
By RALPH PETERS
February 2, 2006 -- IF you found your hilltop house on fire, would you (A) put out the flames, or (B) buy flood insurance? If your answer is "B," you're suited for a job in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

At a time when our Army and Marines bear by far the heaviest load of our nation's security burdens, OSD proposes reducing the number of soldiers to free up funds for wasteful Cold-War-era weapons systems.

Our ground forces are being driven hard, with many soldiers and Marines already on their third assignments to Iraq or Afghanistan. Overwhelmingly, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps do the bleeding and dying. And even as we're able to gradually reduce our troop levels in Iraq, the need for robust land forces to cope with other looming crises is indisputable.

Yet, instead of beefing up the forces that do the actual fighting, the Pentagon self-justification process known as the "Quadrennial Defense Review," or QDR, is about to call for increasing the buy of the F/A-22, a pointless air-to-air fighter with a $280-million-per-copy price tag, while acquiring high-tech destroyers designed to defeat a vanished Soviet navy.

The excuse offered by Pentagon political appointees is that we must hedge our bets regarding a future conflict with China. But our military is already two generations ahead of its Chinese counterpart — and the Chinese don't want to fight us.

Yes, we could blunder into war, if we're phenomenally stupid (always a possibility in Washington). But our military already overmatches Beijing's — and, besides, the Chinese would fight us asymmetrically: You don't dog-fight the Big Dog, you poison his food.

OSD wants a force that's all fantasy and no fight, a military designed to cope with a threat that might come someday — if we wish hard enough — but that ignores the gory reality our soldiers and Marines are facing every day right now.

Even the one promising recommendation — to increase our special-operations capabilities — hasn't been thought through in the least. As proposed by OSD, the Army's active and reserve components would lose at least seven of the already-lean combat brigades proposed for its future force structure. The National Guard and Reserves — who've performed so selflessly and courageously in Iraq and Afghanistan — would give up tens of thousands of soldiers.

Why? Despite the utter failure of the high-tech, from-the-skies model of war during Operation Iraqi Freedom, OSD remains ideologically committed to fantasies of remote-control combat. According to the pretzel logic employed by Pentagon civilians (and in the Air Force), if we reduce the capabilities of our ground forces, we'll have no choice but to rely on technology — thus justifying the technology purchases.

In an age when ground-force missions will only continue to increase, and after suffering chronic troop shortages in Iraq, OSD recommends cutting Army and Marine combat units. Faced with the urgent need to replenish Marine and Army equipment destroyed or worn out in Iraq, we're buying high-tech toys that have no missions.

Your tax dollars are being squandered while our troops are being betrayed.
It isn't about combat effectiveness. It's about contractor profits.
Confronted with the new shape of war, from terrorism to insurgencies, we're gutting the finest military we've ever had to prepare for imaginary conflicts designed by contractors.

The fundamental problem is that, after all the hot air on Capitol Hill has been expended, few legislators really care about our troops. They love photo ops with our soldiers, but at budget time they vote for Lockheed Martin. The average American working a construction job or a cash register cares far more about those in uniform than the average senator — of either party.
Don't expect it to make sense. Just follow the money.

In support of this massive scam, the Air Force-dominated Joint Forces Command is pushing an outdated concept that only works on PowerPoint slides. It's called Effects-Based Operations, or EBO. Originally hatched to attack Soviet-style air defenses, EBO's now being hawked as the answer to all our battlefield needs (Zarqawi's radar installations better look out, to say nothing of Osama's aircraft carriers).

Learning from Iraq? Forget it. According to the technocrats, we'll never get into a mess like that again. I heard the same thing said after the Clinton-era debacle in Somalia. Then came Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Khobar Towers, the Cole bombing, 9/11 and Afghanistan. But those who believe we can just buy our way out of history continue to insist that perfect, sterile, high-tech wars are coming — as if the enemy doesn't have a say.

Meanwhile, with cynicism to spare, the new QDR plays a shell game, pretending that we're cutting platinum-plated Cold War weapons programs — while the plan actually increases the buys: It simply shifts the funding from one year to another.

This is disgraceful. Our troops deserve better. While every service will get its turn at protecting our nation and our interests, the gory evidence attests that our ground troops will continue to bear the heaviest burdens for many years to come. The least we can do is to provide them with the numbers and practical equipment they so badly need.
If the Democrats want a legitimate security issue to fight for in mid-term elections, the Rumsfeld Pentagon's giving them a gift. The only winners from the latest QDR are our enemies and our most powerful defense contractors — and it's getting hard to tell the difference between them.
 

malterf15

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It's never that easy

The F-22 is a natural progression in technology, like the F-15 to the F-105. Airplanes get old...you need new ones. Guess what, building an F-15 today would cost not much less than an F-22. Plus, the Raptor is more survivable. It's better at it's job. And if we did have to fight the Chinese, or whoever, it would be better to do it in an F-22. Just because the rest of the world is backwards, should we let our Air Force grow old and die or stay technologically dormant?
Ask your army and marine buddies if they would prefer if the Air Force were not in the skies above Iraq to call Hell down on whomever they need to!
Defense is not a zero sum game. You can't say, congress doesn't care about the man on the ground because it's buying F-22s or destroyers. We need all of it.
You don't think they're trying to find a way to protect soldiers? Do you think there's someone with "the answer" to save all those lives, but the Pentagon says "we don't want to buy that...we want cool jets". Maybe it's a difficult problem to solve - protecting pink flesh from hot metal and explosives in close proximity.
By the way, F-15s scrambled on the 2nd airliner flying toward NYC on 9-11. An F-22 may have made the difference. Maybe not. But sometimes it comes down to thin margins.
Get the army/marines excellent body armor, armored cars, AND buy F-22s.
 

Birdstrike

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malterf15 said:
...Get the army/marines excellent body armor, armored cars, AND buy F-22s.
No argument. Let's just buy the stuff the grunts need to survive...first. Then IF there's money left to burn, we can upgrade to the fancy new widget.
 

K-Mart

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malterf15 said:
Guess what, building an F-15 today would cost not much less than an F-22

If Boeing wanted to make it that price. That really is ridiculous.

Plus, the Raptor is more survivable
Nope.
It can barely get off the ground.

It's better at it's job. And if we did have to fight the Chinese, or whoever, it would be better to do it in an F-22.
Marines.

You can't say, congress doesn't care about the man on the ground because it's buying F-22s or destroyers. We need all of it
.

You're right congressional districts do need all the money.

You don't think they're trying to find a way to protect soldiers?

Na, just protect his/her districts jobs.

Do you think there's someone with "the answer" to save all those lives, but the Pentagon says "we don't want to buy that...we want cool jets".

Yeah, just subsitute districts jobs for cool jets. Although the jet really isn't that cool.


Get the army/marines excellent body armor, armored cars, AND buy F-22s.[/quote]

Don't buyem. There a waste of money and mindless masturbation. It's like dealing with your wife's spending. You gotta know when to put your foot down!!!
 
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EagleRJ

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The F-22 only costs $280M per copy if you build just the initial contract. It's a common ploy by project opponents to divide the total program cost by the number of units to come up with a "per copy" number. It's not a legitimate fact to use in claiming the program is too expensive, since the more units you build, the cheaper they get. The F-22 includes a lot of cutting-edge technology, so a large portion of the total cost is R&D.

If you don't count American #77 and the Pentagon, no American soldier has been killed by an enemy aircraft since the Korean War. The reason is our superior aircraft that have easily established air supremacy. Our potential adversaries are still developing better aircraft- we need to keep up to maintain our position on top. The F-22 will be Top Dog for quite a while, and will let our troops on the ground get the job done without being harassed from the air. I say we darken the skies with them. Our present front-line fighters are going on 25 years old.
 
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Gorilla

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EagleRJ said:
If you don't count American #77 and the Pentagon, no American soldier has been killed by an enemy aircraft since the Korean War.

I agree with your position re: weapons, but I assume you are calling all the guys shot down by MiG-17's and 21's in Viet-Nam AIRMEN and not SOLDIERS. In fact, I'd suspect some Army personnel were possibly shot down as well.

Now if you are referring to enemy air-mud, you may be correct.
 

CobraKai

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I think what EagleRJ is trying to say is that it is rare, and has been so since OPERATION OVERLORD, for a US ground pounder to hear a aircraft overhead and have to look up in fear. However in Korea it was better training not better Aircraft that won that airwar, in most cases the MIG-15 was a better jet than anything we had including the F-86, at the time.
 

AA717driver

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But we must remember that 90% (maybe more) of the members of Congress would sell their mothers for a buck. Don't look to them for rational decisions.

P.J. O'Rourke was right when he called Congress a "parliment of whores".TC
 

ck130

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The reduction in ground forces jumped out at me also, when I read it in the paper the other day. When you look at the numbers though, the pentagon has been unable to fill its ranks all year because of recruiting problems. It just so happens that the new authorized troop strength is EXACTLY equal to our current troop levels. I don't think they are downsizing..... IMHO the pentagon is trying to reach its recruiting goals by simpling getting rid of the billets they have been unable to fill anyway. Viola, instant 100% manning with the stroke of a pen!

ck130
 

Korgs130

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You will never have boots on the ground with out owning the air space over it. Once you have air superiority, everything else will fall into place. I’ve flown over the bad guys, but I can’t imagine flying under them. We need the F/A-22.
 

Laxman

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Nice for a ground pounders perspective. But he doesnt know anything about an airwar. I cant speak for the Navy and their pursuit of a new destroyer. But the airforce does need to upgrade to a new generation of aircraft. Its sad when I step to a fighter thats older than the crew chief working on it. You can only do so much with a tired jet. Marines against the China threat would still require airsupport from the AF and the Navy. And no, we are not 2 generations ahead of most countries in terms of fighters. KMart - Have you ever had the opportunity to see a -22 in action? It'd water your eyes but then again you dont seem to care about tomorrows pilots going to war anyways
 

K-Mart

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But the airforce does need to upgrade to a new generation of aircraft.
I agree. Let's buy one that is cheaper and buy more.

Marines against the China threat would still require airsupport from the AF and the Navy.
I really don't know what our doctrine calls for but with Chinas size it probably involves a big bomb. Plus remember who is always deploying out to Guam for practice. B-52's, B-2'2 etc.....
KMart - Have you ever had the opportunity to see a -22 in action? It'd water your eyes but then again you dont seem to care about tomorrows pilots going to war anyways
I do, I am one of them. Just want to spend the money wisely. Our doctrine on how we fight wars is slowing changing to keep pace with a new world threat. I don't see why an F-22 is all that important. Seriously, do really think we are going to need to fly that thing into China???? or how about Russia??? Where then?? Iran...??? Oh well, it would be a good thesis analyzing this aircraft at that place down in Montgomery. Then again, there probably is several who already have.



.......
 

RVSM

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ck130 said:
IMHO the pentagon is trying to reach its recruiting goals by simpling getting rid of the billets they have been unable to fill anyway. Viola, instant 100% manning with the stroke of a pen!

ck130

Exactly. They did the same thing in the late 90's when they couldn't fill billets in the reserves. A battalion used to comprised of A,B, C and D companies. One day D company goes away and "shazaam" full manning across the board.

I think Rummy is F'ing the troops. I don't trust or believe the old SOB as far as I could throw him.
Everything from that Deathtrap, P. O. S., "stryker" to using "contract NGO" troops.
Contractor profit tools.
 
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scoreboard

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Birdstrike said:
No argument. Let's just buy the stuff the grunts need to survive...first. Then IF there's money left to burn, we can upgrade to the fancy new widget.

So your saying screw the guy in the cockpit? I understand your concern, but like many others have said, it's not a zero sum game, we need this thing just as bad. The F-22 isn't a thing you buy with money to burn. You cannot say to a defense contractor, shut down for the next few years while we buy xyz, insane at best.

And yes, lets buy more body armor and stuff...
 

malterf15

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K-Mart
Isn't it ironic, dontcha think?

The point is not whether we're planning on fighting China. The point is we need an Air Force that can provide Air Superiority in any conceivable situation. Our current fighters won't last forever. Should we build new ones with 70s technology? Would that even be cheaper? No, you use the technology you have. Don't be a cheap >>>>>>>.
 

Birdstrike

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scoreboard said:
So your saying screw the guy in the cockpit?
You talkin to me? Are you talking to Me?? Did I say screw the guy in the cockpit? Is going to war in an F-117, an F-18, or even an F-16 "screwing the guy in cockpit?" I don't think you can sell that anywhere except to the Air Force Chief of Staff. DOD won't buy it.

For years, the ground forces have taken a back seat to the air force in the only terms Washington understands - money. That's finally beginning to change. This year, the Army's % share of the DOD budget is increasing. The USAF still has the biggest slice, but the gap is narrowing. The Army's missions are expanding; their resources need to expand as well.

Give the ground puke what he needs, when he needs it, and as much as he needs. The Army isn't asking for the "F-22 equivalent" in modernization; we'll take the F-18 equivalent; we're that far behind, especially the Guard and Reserve. So you only get 183 F-22s instead of 300+. Somehow, I think the air force can still get it done while the Army plays catch up. And yes, it is a zero-sum game; the budget is what, a little under $450B and that's no open checkbook.
 

GCD

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Maybe some money could be spent on the Army's FCA to get the beans and bullets to the troops.
 

K-Mart

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malterf15 said:
K-Mart
Isn't it ironic, dontcha think?

Yeah.:laugh:

The point is we need an Air Force that can provide Air Superiority in any conceivable situation.
I agree but that is impossible in todays age, in this country. Not with baby boomers retiring (Huge loss of tax revenue) and this stupid war in Iraq.

Our current fighters won't last forever. Should we build new ones with 70s technology?[/QUOTE]
I agree with you. However, F-15/16's are nothing like they were technology wise from the 70's.

Dude, I wish I had a complete answer. It's all a matter of where to spend the dollars to manage the threat, whether it's happening now or covering any situation. Cost versus risk. The AF balked at buying terrain avoidance software on an unamed fighter. Why, becasue it was cheaper to lose a pilot than update every aircraft with this system. Sad but true. The same can be said about weapons systems, however throw in politics as the driving decision maker. Any thoughts??
 
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