Mitchell Zais is a retired Army brigadier general who is the president at Newberry College in South Carolina. On Nov. 9 he gave a speech at the college in which he stated that “most of our problems in Iraq stem from a flawed strategy that has been in place since the beginning of the war.” I won’t paste the ehole speech here, yoo may read it at the link, but here are his central points:
Our strategy in Iraq has been:
1) Fight the war on the cheap.
2) Ask the ground forces to perform missions that are more suitably performed by other branches of the American government.
3) Inconvenience the American people as little as possible.
4) Continue to fund the Air Force and Navy at the same levels that they have been funded at for the last 30 years while shortchanging the Army and Marines who are doing all of the fighting.
No wonder the war is not going well.
Read the whole thing.
When I read this post my mind immediately remembered the book by Thomas Barnett called The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century. In that book Mr. Barnett highlights the anguish within the armed forces over preparing the U.S. armed forces for the next war. He argues that the U. S. already has air and sea superiority and without a renewed threat from Russia or China, it is very likely we can maintain this superiority with a considerably reduced budget. The Army and Marines have a different problem. The success of the invasion part of the Iraq war makes a persuasive argument that this part of the war was appropriately funded and staffed. The peace keeping portion of the Iraq war has not been successful. Using the same argument the failure of the peace keeping mission leads one to believe that this part of the mission was underfunded and under-staffed. The Army and Marines would have liked this mission to be performed by “someone” else but there isn’t someone else. The dilemma they face is that the peace keeping mission requires the increased funds and soldiers/policemen and not the invasion part. This puts pressure on the Defense Department to divert money from lower priority projects and to embrace the changes required to fight our new strategic threats. There is a lot of money and politics riding on these projects which are no longer strategic to the defense of the country. The budget warriors know that if funds are diverted from their project, they will never get the funds back. These officers are fighting for their jobs and future and hoping for a new enemy like the last one. In a way this budget battle is like a game of musical chairs with the music slowly winding down.