Day By Day

Friday, February 25, 2005

Everybody Wants to Mess with Rummy's Military

The calls are coming from all quarters. Retired four-stars are on TV constantly calling for "more boots on the ground" which translates as "reverse all the cuts and reforms of the past fifteen years and return the military to the state it was in during our glory days in the First Gulf War." Congressional Democrats call for reinstituting the draft [mostly as a way of trying to embarrass the Bush administration]. Daniel Pipes wants to license privateers. Max Boot wants to recruit soldiers from among illegal immigrants and in foreign lands, offering them American citizenship upon completion of their service, and to form them into a Foreign Legion, modeled on the French Foreign Legion. The Economist wants the US to recruit gays to form something like the Theban Sacred Band in ancient Greece.

Why? Because of the perception that the US Military as currently constituted is stretched too thin and will become ever more so as the nation embarks on an aggressive global strategy. Is this the case? Not really!

As currently constituted the US military is the most devastatingly efficient military organization ever seen anywhere, anytime. And as far as being overstretched: look at the numbers. We have about 2 1/2 million men and women under arms. At its peak, Iraq tied down about 150,000 of them. You do the math.

Sure there were shortages in some areas, but those can mostly be solved by moving troops around within the existing force structure. And there is an impending shortfall in special forces due largely to the fact that well-trained SF troops are leaving the service to take high paying jobs in the private sector and it's not easy to replace them. They will be replaced, it just takes time. Meanwhile there is no technical reason to believe that the US cannot mount full-scale military operations against Syria, Iran, North Korea, or any other foe [though there might be overwhelming political and financial obstacles].

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