Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supporting a Declaration of War Should Be The Same As Volunteering to Fight It

The same day I posted my idea for a "token draft" of 10% of the force to ensure all Americans are at war, not just the military, this appeared in the USA Today. No, I did not read it before my post, it was simply a coincidence. I think the history is off - during most of America's history we had an all-volunteer force supplemented by a draft in wartime, not just since 1973 - but the points are valid. Here is the article in full:

All-volunteer Army: An ongoing experiment

By Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras

In 1973, the military draft ended, and our nation began the experiment of manning an Army exclusively with volunteers.

A decade later, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger proclaimed, "To all the American people, I would say that the experiment is over. We know that an all-volunteer force can succeed, and we know what it takes to make it succeed."

And yet, perhaps today we really don't know all it takes to make the all-volunteer force succeed. Five years of war have turned recruiting for the Army into a continuous struggle. The challenge, however, is not merely recruiting enough soldiers, but "quality" soldiers.

A "quality" soldier is motivated to serve, learns quickly and flourishes in the Spartan conditions of military life. To assess "quality," the Army relies on a high school diploma as an indicator of motivation, higher aptitude test scores as a marker of trainability, and the absence of a criminal record.

Lower standards

Because more recruits lack high school diplomas or require waivers for misconduct, the Army developed plans for programs such as a prep school to attain a GED or more focused training to compensate for lower aptitudes. These recruits have proved very competent.

But the Army is more than enlisted soldiers. There is also the officer corps. Unlike the enlisted force where re-enlistment rates have been high, officer retention continues to be a problem.

The Army's recent incentives, including a $35,000 bonus, have failed to persuade enough captains to stay in uniform, especially officers from top-tier ROTC schools or West Point. These officers, who eventually account for the majority of Army senior leaders, are critical in providing the future direction of the military. These officers are also extremely marketable, even in a tight job market.

What should be done? One option is to mimic the enlistee-recruitment approach. The Army can lower standards to bring in more lieutenants, bypassing the requirement to attend ROTC, West Point or even college. Good training can compensate at the tactical level for the lack of an ROTC or West Point experience in the short term.

Future leadership

As officers progress through their careers, they are called on more for their ability to handle the unknown. But unlike corporations, the Army cannot hire external senior leaders. Bringing in lower-quality lieutenants today will result in lower-quality generals tomorrow.

Another option is a significant drawdown in Iraq, thereby giving our warriors a break from multiple deployments. Besides being a political rather than a military decision, however, this alternative is only a short-term fix that sidesteps the real issue.

The real issue confronting today's Army derives from three aversions held by Americans:

* We are skeptical of a sizable military. "The spirit of this country," Thomas Jefferson noted, "is totally adverse to a large military force."

* While many Americans yearn for some form of national service, few are eager to revisit the inequities of conscription.

* Americans have a low tolerance for long wars.

When the all-volunteer Army was envisioned 35 years ago, few predicted that it would be downsized from a force of 800,000 then to 547,000 today. It was assumed that the all-volunteer force would be supported by a standby draft and that long wars would not be measured in decades, but in years. The result is an Army struggling to maintain quality — especially in its officer corps — in an environment unforeseen by its architects.

Even after we eventually leave Iraq, the Army will still have to attract and retain quality people. Considering the circumstances, it appears this experiment called the all-volunteer Army is not over.

Retired lieutenant colonel Leonard Wong and retired colonel Stephen Gerras are faculty members at the Army War College. Their views are not necessarily those of the Army.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Last Full Measure of Devotion - at a discount rate

As the war in Iraq drags on, I would like to point out something that all Americans should agree with regardless of whether you support the war or, like me, thought it idiocy from the start. That something is this: the burdens of this war have not been equally shared by the American People.

The Army and Marines are at war, the rest of us are not. It is not fair. It is a national disgrace.

We have never before asked, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, of so much from so few. And yes, we owe them so much. But we should never have asked for so few to bear the burden of this war. The Army said it needed more soldiers before we invaded. It still, over five years later, does not have them. We should be ashamed of ourselves. If the "surge is working," imagine if we had enough troops at the start! But here is the problem: regardless of whether the surge is working or not, we are still fighting in Iraq and we are sending the same soldiers over and over and over again. That is despicable.

It is not ok to say "well, they volunteered." The idea of our "all-volunteer military" was never, NEVER, intended to be like that of the French Foreign Legion. They are not a mercenary force and must not become one or we are all in danger. In World War Two we did not use only our pre-war all-volunteer military. We as a nation went to war, not just the Army and Marines.

An "all-volunteer military" is a standing army, in peacetime and for short and quick engagements, not for times of extended war. That has ALWAYS been the case in American history. We have had an "all-volunteer military" before - in fact, for most of our history the Army has been all-volunteer. We only initiated a peace-time draft - for the first time in US history - in 1940, to prepare for World War II. Why? Because it was understood - and always understood - that an all-volunteer military serves in peacetime so that we are prepared for war, but once we are in a war that lasts, that can't be handled quickly, the nation will - and should and must - mobilize. That is what we have done in the past. We did that because it was the right thing to do - whether our wars were just or unjust, our nation went to war as a nation. Agree or disagree, but we were in it together. E Pluribus Unum. The United States. When we don't do that we lose the war - and we lose our soul. And we are losing our national soul.

We have not mobilized. Five years down the line, with the Army and Marines worn out by repeated combat tours, we still have not mobilized. Whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, we should have mobilized to fight a war that we as a people authorized. We should be angry - and ashamed - of our betrayal of our volunteer military. We have betrayed our troops.

This is not, as some have called it, "Mr. Bush's war." Mr. Bush had to get - and he recieved - Congressional authorization for invading Iraq. OUR NATION DECLARED WAR, NOT MR. BUSH BY HIMSELF. And yet we let the same soldiers return to Iraq again and again and again and again. How disgraceful and shameful.

When the idea of a draft for this war was first raised, pre-invasion, many who "support the troops" were against it because it would harm the professionalism of an all-volunteer military. I disagree. We can keep the professionalism by having a limited - call it a "token" if you will - draft, ensuring that most of the Army remains volunteers, but ensuring that when our nation is at war that we all face the risk that we or our loved ones will face danger and might die. Perhaps a draft of 10% of the force - if the Army has 550,000 soldiers, we draft 55,000 young men and women to serve alongside the volunteers, and the same percentage for the Marines - and we ensure they serve in combat. For each draftee that does not make it through training and join a unit, we draft another. 1 draftee among 10 volunteer soldiers will not harm the professional nature of our all-volunteer military, and it will mean something much more - that our nation feels it is at war instead of just the military being at war. We will be in it together - as we should be when we declare war - not the Army, which does not and should not have the power to order our nation to war. We have that power - and we should face the consequences. Anything less is national cowardice.

And if that is "politically impossible" for this war, what does that say about this war? And what does it say about our nation? If our nation truly must wage war, it must do so. If not, it should not. To say we must wage war but not me or my family, send somebody else, I'm busy is a recipe for the destruction of the republic, a dangerous recipe for military adventurism without domestic political safeguards, and a recipe of absolute betrayal of our troops so many bumper stickers so easily - and falsely - claim to support.

If the nation is not willing to draft soldiers to fight the war, then the nation is not willing to fight the war and the People will have spoken. Agree or disagree as you may, that is the will of the People and that is supposed to be how our nation conducts itself - with the People as sovereign. Those who would not want to even ask the People to do so because they are afraid the People will refuse such a draft are doing two things:

1) betraying the troops they falsely claim to support - by not supporting them, and
2) betraying the cause of democracy they claim this war is all about.

For those who refuse to "enable" this war by a draft because they disagree with it, they are doing two things:

1) betraying the troops they falsely claim to support - by not supporting them, and
2) betraying the cause of democracy they claim their opposition to this war is all about.

Since 9/11 we have acted as a terrorized nation filled with cowards. Tough talk? Shocked by my words? Then imagine this: you are at a party with 1,000 people. There are 300 "bad guys" outside who attack and try to kill guests. 100 party guests who see what is going on rush to defend everybody inside the party, and they are outnumbered and are struggling to hold back the "bad guys." The rest of the 900 guests continue to party. The band plays on, the dances go on, the guests feast on shrimp cocktails, while the initial 100 guests fight to hold back the angry horde of bad guys who want to rush in and attack everybody. The host of the party occasionally takes the stage and says "let's have a round of applause for the volunteers!" and the guests cheer and then go back to partying. When the volunteers are exhausted they stagger back inside to rest - and after catching their breath, they are ordered back to the fight by men in tuxedos munching on shrimp who pat them on the back and say "I support you" and then return to the dance floor rather than help. When some guests criticize the way the fight is being conducted, the host tells them they don't understand the nature of the "bad guys" and the crowd boos the critics, accusing them of not supporting the 100 volunteers. The 100 volunteers return again and again to the fight. The 900 guests never do - they just continue partying while talking about how much they admire the volunteers. Eventually few of them even want to talk about the fight, they mostly ignore it.

Now imagine a similar scenario, except the "bad guys" didn't start it, and the 100 volunteers warned that it would be a disaster and said they needed help - and were ignored. Now imagine 5 years of this. You don't have to do so, it is the war in Iraq.

We as a nation have betrayed our Army. The Army remains loyal to the will of the People, but we as a people have not remained loyal to our Army. We have not supported them. We have instead partied on. Now we don't even talk about the war - it has mostly disappeared from the news.

A friend of mine who was killed last year - a great man, I served with him for years and my wife and his wife went to college together and we introduced them, and they were the only guests at our wedding (we eloped) - has two daughters. He served long before 9/11 and long after. He died from an IED in Iraq. The pain from his death continues - and most of us have no idea of that pain, it is not real for us, the dead are, for most of us, not real people, the soldiers in Iraq are not people we know. Our nation is not at war, only the military. My friend's wife wrote this recently about the death of her husband (I didn't ask her for permission to post this so I have redacted all identifying info):

I remember standing in the Atlanta airport, stranded, telling my crying daughter we would make it home and it was going to be ok, but not knowing where home was or if it was going to be ok. And fitful sleeps, violent dreams, and living off a cup of coffee and a brownie, one of our friends brought by. And reading the last letter, mailed just days before his death, then finding the notes hidden in our Christmas stockings, "Daddy will be home soon, I love you."

[redacted]'s loss is still so hard to fathom. But he loved me enough, to help me find my strength and use it. He loved me enough to show me the way. He loved me enough to make me a home. He loved me enough to show me how to have pride in honor, duty, and country. Our wounds will never heal fully. It is a daily struggle of learning to live with them, and trying to finding the joy in today and remembering the joy of the past.

A joy of the past... One of my favorite stories that makes me smile and laugh was our last motorcycle trip together to Charleston, North Carolina. It was gorgeous, the flowers were blooming the spring weather was perfect, and our new headsets were working great. We could talk helmet to helmet or listen to the radio. As we were headed back, I began one of my many bla, bla, rantings, or so [redacted] must have thought. He unplugged my headset so he wouldn't have to listen! I couldn't believe it, "plug me back in," I tried to scream through the helmet. He motioned back that he couldn't hear me, and I could see the huge grin behind his helmet. "Every husbands' dream," I thought, as I now sat in silent solitude on the back of the bike, "a mute button for the wife." A few miles down the road, I was magically plugged in again, on the condition that my rantings were over, and we had a good laugh.

Well, enough of my rambling, remember the grin, the huge arms and broad shoulders, and all those funny stories. In our hearts he will live forever.

He certainly will live on in my heart. Those fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are real flesh-and-blood people. They don't want to die. They don't want to be deployed. They love their families. They prefer being home to read bed-time stories to their children over facing danger and filth and tragedy in a foreign land for years at a time. But they do it because they obey the orders of the People - imagine the dedication to democracy it takes to obey such an order. Now imagine it if you have a family and you are facing your fourth tour. Imagine if, like a dear friend of mine, you are facing another tour in Iraq and your son was killed in Anbar province in 2005 because he followed in your footsteps. What have you done to support him? Plaster a bumper sticker on your car? How brave and selfless of you. For those who think he chose to serve in Iraq because he volunteered, my friend did not volunteer to fight in Iraq - he joined the Army in the early 1980s. He served - and continues to serve - to protect and defend the Constitution. He remains loyal to it. He didn't start the war. We did. What are you doing to support him? Don't you think you should do a little to support the Constitution too, since you and the rest of us are the reason for his being in Iraq? Or is it ok to just let him and his family bear the cost for our decisions?

We have betrayed these soldiers. We are dancing at the party and ignoring what we ordered them to do, as if it were their decision to wage war instead of our own. "Oh, I was against the war so it is not my fault." Yes, it is. Our nation declared war and you are part of it. That you let others bear the burden is not ok. And many soldiers were against the invasion too - but they did their duty. It is our duty too. We have shirked it. We have let a mere few bear the burden and that is national cowardice. We refuse to make hard choices - although we made the "easy" decsion to go to war. We started it, we have avoided the consequences, letting the same few face the danger time and again. That is cowardice. There is no other word that fits. It is cowardice.

If our nation thinks the way to wage wars is to send the same men again and again and again and again while the rest of us continue to party, we have become an evil and despicable people. If you disagree and think us better than that - then I ask WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SUPPORT THE TROOPS? Call your congressperson, write to your Senator, and let them know we should have a "token draft" - and you should do this whether you are for or against the war. This isn't about politics, it is about support for our troops. It is about our nation bearing responsibility for our national decisions. It is about self-government. It is about whether democracy should survive in the United States.

And if you do not, all the bumper stickers you paste on your cars are nothing but lies. And you know it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Speaking of "Patriots"

FRESNO, Calif. (June 23) - John McCain distanced himself Monday from a top adviser who said another terrorist attack on U.S. soil this election year would benefit the Republican presidential candidate. Barack Obama's campaign called the comment a "complete disgrace."

Were I able to make my mind live in OZ, I would be able to say that Black's comment surprises me. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that winning the election is much more important than the well being of our nation and its people.

I have received all too many right wing e-mails that support this tortured logic. Stuff like "The terrorists are holding back only to get Obama elected.", or "If Obama gets elected, we deserve another 9/11."

I would not be surprised if these mutts haven't put together a campaign package ready to capitalize politically on any terror incident between now and Nov.

It is quite perplexing that one can be charged with a felony for discussing the impact of a bomb while in an airport, but not for discussing the political "benefit" of it in a magazine interview. How anyone can discuss a terror attack in terms of "benefit" is beyond me, unless, of course, you are the terrorist.

I would be so uplifted to hear anyone say, "Discussing human tragedy in terms of the political gain it can deliver is blasphemy."


I just couldn't resist

On a flight from Athens to London last week, I ended up sitting in the waiting area next to two young ladies who had just graduated from a major university. An Australian woman was talking to them, and she expressed her confusion over our recent "primaries and caucuses" and how it seemed that there wasn't a consistency. One young lady said, "Well, we elect our presidents by using an electoral college." In response to the Aussie lady's obvious increased confusion, I offered a very brief explanation of the primary and caucus process, explaining that these were how the parties, using party rules, selected the delegates to the conventions, and the final candidate was officially selected at the convention. Each state has relatively free to determine how it selected it's delegates, I added.

The Aussie lady, then asked the two young ladies who they were supporting. Again, the same girl answered, "Well, I really don;t think I could vote for Obama", which drew the expected response, "Why". "Well, I come from a conservative family. Even if I didn't, there's a lot about Obama I can't accept. I am more patriotic, I guess." The second girl simply stayed out of the conversation.

The conversation then drifted to what the girls would do upon return to the US. The quiet one said she would be continuing in an MBA program. The other said she wasn't sure, but was thinking about doing something that could be a "life altering experience" first, such as a couple of months of missionary work in Guatemala.

I ended up in the row in front of the two on the plane, and we exchanged a couple of pleasantries about this and that. Learned that the more talkative one attended the same high school as our oldest grandson. They asked what I did, and I told them that I was retired military.

As we were deplaning, I wished the MBA candidate good luck with her studies, and then said to the other, "Are you really looking for a life altering experience? Why don't you consider military service?" Her initial response was to look at her friend, who gave a "Well, why not?" look. "Oh, heavens", she said. "I'm not cut out for that at all." I responded, "We need bright, educated officers who are dedicated to our country. How would you know you aren't cut out for something you haven't tried?"

Well, she hummed and hawed and then said, "My dad served in the Navy. I don't think he'd want me to join."

I decided to let it end at that. The MBA candidate was grinning from ear to ear. I wished them both well and went on my way.

I have wanted ever so long to pose "The Question" to a self professed patriotic conservative college kid. I just couldn't resist.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Fighter for Freedom - RIP George Carlin

Rest in Peace, George. You are already missed.

In his honor:

you know the seven don't you? Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits, huh? Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that will infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war.

You don't have to serve in the military to further the cause of freedom. Thank you for all your criticism of our United States of America, George. Our Republic is better off because of it, not in spite of it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Learning from the United States

The Bush Administration has been trying to get China to adopt a more market driven monetary policy. This recent snippet from AP gives a glimpse of how much authority our suggestions carry:

China has pledged to loosen currency controls, but has not given any timetable, saying that sudden change would expose the country's shaky financial system to excessive risks from outside speculators.

During the talks in Annapolis, Md., China's central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, alluded to such risks by asking about the regulatory mistakes that may have helped precipitate recent U.S. financial troubles.

"China always hopes to draw lessons from the U.S. experience in macroeconomic management and market development," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Zhou as saying. "However, during this time of discussion, we are also interested in drawing lessons from the U.S. financial turbulence."

Among the questions Zhou said raised was the role exchange rates can play "in maintaining the world's financial stability."

Seems China is more interested in learning from this administration's mistakes than the administration itself!

What's that old Chinese curse about interesting times?
215 DAYS
, 10 Hrs, 15 Min, 44.8 Sec - but who's counting?

Monday, June 16, 2008

This is how they support our troops

Soldiers risk ruin while awaiting benefit checks

2008-06-16 14:07:45
By MICHELLE ROBERTS Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — His lifelong dream of becoming a soldier had, in the end, come to this for Isaac Stevens: 28, penniless, in a wheelchair, fending off the sexual advances of another man in a homeless shelter.

Stevens' descent from Army private first-class, 3rd Infantry Division, 11 Bravo Company, began in 2005 — not in battle, since he was never sent off to Iraq or Afghanistan, but with a headfirst fall over a wall on the obstacle course at Fort Benning, Ga. He suffered a head injury and spinal damage.

The injury alone didn't put him in a homeless shelter. Instead, it was military bureaucracy — specifically, the way injured soldiers are discharged on just a fraction of their salary and then forced to wait six to nine months, and sometimes even more than a year, before their full disability payments begin to flow.

"When I got out, I hate to say it, but man, that was it. Everybody just kind of washed their hands of me, and it was like, `OK, you're on your own,'" said Stevens, who was discharged in November and was in a shelter by February. He has since moved into a temporary San Antonio apartment with help from Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization.

Nearly 20,000 disabled soldiers were discharged in the past two fiscal years, and lawmakers, veterans' advocates and others say thousands could be facing financial ruin while they wait for their claims to be processed and their benefits to come through.

"The anecdotal evidence is depressing," said Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., who heads a subcommittee on veterans disability benefits. "These veterans are getting medical care, but their family is going through this huge readjustment at the same time they're dealing with financial difficulties."

Most permanently disabled veterans qualify for payments from Social Security and the military or Veterans Affairs. Those sums can amount to about two-thirds of their active-duty pay. But until those checks show up, most disabled veterans draw a reduced Army paycheck.

The amount depends on the soldier's injuries, service time and other factors. But a typical veteran and his family who once lived on $3,400 a month might have to make do with $970 a month.

Unless a soldier has a personal fortune or was so severely injured as to require long-term inpatient care, that can be an extreme hardship.

The Army, stung by the scandal last year over shoddy care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, has been working to help soldiers during the in-between period, said Col. Becky Baker, assigned to injured soldier transition at the U.S. Surgeon General's Office.

In a change in policy that took effect last August, the Army is allowing wounded soldiers to continue to draw their full Army paychecks for up to 90 days after discharge, Baker said. It is also sending more VA workers to Army posts to process claims more quickly, and trying to do a better job of informing soldiers of the available benefits and explaining the application process.

"We make certain that we've covered all the bases before we discharge the soldier," Baker said.

She acknowledged, however, that the changes have been slow to take hold across an Army stretched by war. "It's definitely a practice that is new. It takes awhile for new practices to be institutionalized," the colonel said.

Stevens was moved to the Operation Homefront apartment after a social worker at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, acting on her own initiative, rescued Stevens from a homeless shelter there.

"This is a situation where someone used their common sense and they did the right thing, versus saying, `This is the rules. We can't do this,'" Tripler spokeswoman Minerva Anderson said of the social worker.

Typically, the first 100 days after discharge are spent just gathering medical and other evidence needed to make a decision on disability, VA officials say. If paperwork is incomplete, or a veteran moves to another state before the claim is decided, the process can drag on longer. Disagree with the VA's decision, and the wait time grows.

"The claims are a lot more complicated than people think," said Ursula Henderson, director of the VA's regional office in Houston.

Amy Palmer, a disabled veteran and vice president of Operation Homefront, which helps newly disabled servicemembers, said: "Nobody's assigned to them. You're on your own once you get out."

Hall is pushing legislation that would force the VA to use compatible computer systems and more consistent criteria and to reach out to veterans better.

"A veteran goes and serves and does what the country asks them to do," the congressman said. "But when they come back they're made to jump through these hoops and to wait in line for disability benefits."

Simon Heine served three tours in Iraq as a tank mechanic before he was discharged with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

His wife quit college so she could figure out how her four children could live on less than $1,000 a month. Eventually, she moved the family of six into an Operation Homefront apartment so they could finish navigating the bureaucracy and wait out the arrival of Social Security and VA benefits.

"It is like giving you a car and taking the steering wheel off. They say, `There is the gas and the brake. Just go straight,' and hopefully, you are going in the right direction," Heine said.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

France Bashing

Received the following from our 47 yr old son.

A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. 'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.' The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.'

'Impossible. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France !' The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in '44 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any Frenchmen to show it to.'

I'm sure it was an innocent sharing of "humor", but it hit my hot button and I told him so, sharing a bit of history with him.

While France bashing became vogue under this inept administration, the details of history make us look less than stellar compared to 1940's France.

Yes, the Germans did indeed invade and conquer France with 136 divisions, 2,600 tanks and 3,200 aircraft, defeating the French military, and driving the British Army's 10 divisions into the sea at Dunkirk. They occupied only 1/2 of the country, and the first two years of occupation were "benevolent" by Nazi standards. Immediately after the fall of the French Govt, the Resistance began to grow. Accurate numbers are not available, except for the German records of Resistance members captured and imprisoned. That was about 56,000 over 4 years, of whom about 1/2 survived. The Resistance was a number of individual groups, all working to thwart or drive out the Germans. It is estimated that on D-Day, the Resistance numbered some 250,000 and about 100,000 members assisted the Allies landing at Normandy. Eisenhower is said to have opined that without this assistance, the landing might have failed. By the end of 1944, it is estimated that there were some 1.2 million Resistance members.

Many factors are said to have contributed to the lack of a more violent initial general resistance to the German occupation. First was the belief by many French that help was on the way from their old allies, the US and Britain. Of course, Britain was preoccupied with its own survival in 1940, and the general population of the US couldn't care less about France. The somewhat benevolent nature of the occupation in the beginning helped generate a "patience", reinforced by the belief that the Vichy govt was free to work out a "plan" and the Allies could be expected to help. Of course, while Vichy France was not occupied, the German intelligence network knew everything that was going on, and the Vichy govt quickly learned this and the consequences of resistance.

Summarizing the Resistance in terms of the general French population (40 Million), there was about 0.5% of the population in the Resistance on D-Day, rising to some 2.5% within a few months.

On 9/1/91, 19 men attacked the US armed with boxcutters. No divisions, no tanks, and just 6 highjacked airplanes. These 19 people stirred up such a great level of fear in the American population that they willfully surrendered many of their Constitutional rights and supported an invasion of another country out of fear of a third or forth rate dictator and weapons he did not possess. A general "war on terror" was launched. The main forces in this war were the Army and Marine Corps. On 9/1/01, they represented 0.4% (active and reserve) of the population. Seven years later, these forces still represent 0.4% of the population, and it has taken extreme measures (Lower standards, big signing bonuses, raising max enlistment age to 42, etc) to maintain that level of manning. In short, the numbers of people "answering the call" following 9/11/01 has been nothing like the 2.5% figure of 1944 France.

The French were wrong in thinking the US would immediately come to their defense in May 1940. Indeed, we did not enter the war until 19 months later, and then only after we were attacked by the Japanese.

The French were right in saying that Saddam posed no WMD threat to anyone, nor was he a major player in 9/11 or any other Al Qaeda operations.

So, how do you justify French bashing??

Just needed to vent.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sad News - RIP Gen. William Odom

Our nation lost one its most distinguished and brightest public servants recently, Gen. William Odom, US Army, Ret.

Gen. Odom was a brainiac. With such intelligence and such dedication he could have done anything. He chose to be a soldier. His service to our republic was exemplary.

General Odom spoke truth to power. He did not "go with the flow" and was not a general that would "go along to get along." In other words, he would have been forced out during this administration. He was one of the finest general officers the US Army has ever produced.

As the Bush Administration continues to claim that "everybody" thought it was right to invade Iraq based on "the intelligence" they had at the time, Gen. Odom's words before we invaded show the lie that truly is:

“The issue is not whether the Iraqi people will greet U.S. soldiers as their liberators, but what will they do six months after that,” Mr. Odom told The Washington Post in February 2003. “I find it na├»ve and disingenuous to claim that you can create democracy in Iraq any time soon.

“The administration has already assured us that the U.S. will not stay there for very long,” he added, “and, if that is the case, then the goal of establishing a constitutional system in Iraq is a joke.”

....Mr. Odom was dismissive of Iraq as a potential threat to the United States. Once the war was under way, he argued that the United States was in effect fighting only for the interests of Iraq’s regional rivals, Israel, Iran and Al Qaeda.

The Odom family's service to our republic continues. I had the honor of serving under the command of Gen. Odom's son, LTC Mark Odom, the most outstanding and inspiring and dedicated officer I ever met.

Rest in Peace, General Odom. You have my gratitude for all you did to protect and defend the Constitution and the fine example you set for the soldiers of the United States Army. The Army was a better institution for your having worn that honored uniform.