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December 17, 2004

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» Another Rightist Anti-Rumsfeld Voice from THE BELGRAVIA DISPATCH
Frederick Kagan, writing in the Weekly Standard. A must-read. Excerpts below--but do click through and read the whole thing. The overall manpower situation of the American military, too, is grim. By increasing troop strength primarily by extending the ... [Read More]

» WAR: Spanning the Globe, 12/19/04 from Baseball Crank
* Orin Kerr looks at some sloppy reporting of a recent survey about “civil liberties” and Muslim-Americans. (Via The Corner). * A new RAND study has some good suggestions for winning the ideological component of the War on Terror. *... [Read More]

» WAR: Spanning the Globe, 12/19/04 from Baseball Crank
* Orin Kerr looks at some sloppy reporting of a recent survey about “civil liberties” and Muslim-Americans. (Via The Corner). * A new RAND study has some good suggestions for winning the ideological component of the War on Terror. *... [Read More]

» WAR: Spanning the Globe, 12/19/04 from Baseball Crank
* Orin Kerr looks at some sloppy reporting of a recent survey about “civil liberties” and Muslim-Americans. (Via The Corner). * A new RAND study has some good suggestions for winning the ideological component of the War on Terror. *... [Read More]

Comments

Appalled Moderate

I keep thinking this position is "sacrifice the minister in hopes of saving the King". Will ridding the Bush administration of Rumsfeld really get any more troops in the field? Well, maybe in would prompt some hearings about how the Iraq war has been conducted (through the New Guy's confirmation hearings), and how things can be made better. Airing that debate might be a good thing, if we can trust our chicken little press to cover the hearings accurately.

I just think on this issue, Rummy is not the problem. It's the Commander in Chief. And the nation passed on taking care of that problem.

Cecil Turner

Djerejian: "We'll need more troops for this smart game-plan. But our Secretary of Defense doesn't get it. Glenn puts the blame squarely on McCain and assorted legislators."

Piffle. Glenn's point was McCain's hypocrisy, and he's right. Rummy is also right that this is the wrong time for a massive influx of recruits, and that restructuring US deployments abroad (with an emphasis on security, vice political considerations) is the more prudent short-term approach.

And the two criticisms of Rummy still fall flat: "more troops" is not a panacea (and in fact, not persuasive), and the current armor flap is silly, just like the previous one about body armor. Yeah, we all want the latest and greatest--but there is an unavoidable transition time between developing a new version and complete fielding--and my three earlier versions of body armor weren't "inadequate" the day a newer set became available.

Similarly, up-armoring HMMWV's isn't the be-all and end-all. For landmine resistance, the usual approach is to raise ground clearance, reduce the flat bottom area of the vehicle, angling the sides up to allow a blast an escape route, and hardening the sides and bottom. The HWWMV doesn't have any of those design features--it's low, flat, wide, and soft-skinned--and though troops can make field modifications, they usually amount to bolt-on armor and the old sandbags on the floorboard trick. But that approach has some inherent limitations, which the WSJ's Brendan Miniter pointed up in his good article on the subject, including a caveat:

The problem, the House Armed Services Committee chairman explained, is that a ballistic windshield is too heavy for some of the military's vehicles. The window frames simply cannot support it without being reinforced.
Adding any signficant amount of armor is also likely to overstress the suspension, causing frequent breakdowns, and result in an underpowered vehicle. If we were actually serious about providing troops with hardened vehicles, they are out there. Here's a site with some of the later landmine resistant vehicles. The design features are fairly apparent even in the small pictures. Unfortunately, there are trade-offs: think you could hit that Buffalo with an RPG? (I bet I could.)

There are good reasons for unarmored vehicles: they're faster, cheaper, and more easily deployable--so you can field a lot more of them. Yeah, trucks and jeeps got shot up during WWII . . . but that's not a good reason to replace them all with tanks. There may well be good reasons to up-armor convoy vehicles in Iraq. But you'll never have enough armor on them to make every driver happy (and still be able to drive); and reporters playing proxy "gotcha" in SecDef press conferences is not a rational basis for acquisition policy.

martin

What about Poland?

Karl

Criticism from Trent Lott is hardly a tipping point. Lott has taken the opportunities he's had to stick it to the Administration since W eased Lott out of the Leader's chair.

FWIW, I'm still on the fence about Rummy. There's certainly some legit criticism to be had. To cite one example, his push to transform the forces to a meaner, leaner fighting machine seems less wise with post-9/11 hindsight. And it's given the Army folk Rummy ticked off for proposing it plenty of ammo for sniping.

However, the force structure we have now is due not just to Rummy's positions, but also to more than a decade's worth of decisions made during the Clinton era. I'm not blaming Clinton exclusively for them; Congress was also key, and it was in GOP hands from '94 onward. Rummy may have wanted to shrink the Army, but the reason we lack troops now is more due to post-Cold War euphoria in D.C. The Fukuyama-esque End of History had arrived, so our government dropped troop levels by the division. The reductions were so deep that Al Gore was promising to boost military spending in the 2000 campaign. That is what Rummy inherited. And I'll bet that's what he was thinking when he commented that you go to war with the Army you have, not the one you wish you had.

Abu Qa'Qa

We went to war in Iraq equipped to fight the war we thought was facing us. Anyone remember the bitching about the chemical warfare suits and masks that weren't needed? The game changed, but trying to make M1 Abrams out of Humvees ain't gonna get it.

This entire armour kerfluffle is a straw man designed to take down Rummy. He's the best thing that has happened to our armed forces in the last 25 years! I only hope that Bush will stick with him like he has stuck with Mineta except for better reasons. Surely there is one good reason he stuck with Mineta or is it that he was stuck with Mineta?

Towering Barbarian

I have to agree with both Cecil Turner and Abu Qa'Qa. Plain speech is hardly a hanging offense and "You go to war with the army you have" is merely as much a common sense observation as Von Moltke's "No plan survives contact with the enemy!". I had more respect for those who tried to block Spector's accension to the Judiciary Committee chairmanship than I do for this.

Jor

Let's just face it, republians dont believe in personal responsiblity, unless its for the poor. Corporate welfare and the cult of victomization are perfectly acceptable for the rich and powerful. Glenn is a hack-extrodinarie, I really don't know why anyone takes anything he says seriously (especially conservatives). The National Review peice literally was a self-parody. No shame, is the problem, and most of the foot soldiers have a thirty second memory.

Cecil Turner

Sorry Jor, but if you're looking to recognize Rumsfeld's "individual responsibility," the only proper action is to pin a medal on him (long overdue, IMHO). It's also difficult to take claims of military malfeasance seriously from the same lot who brought us: the "Brutal Afghan Winter"; "Rumsfeld's Micro-managed War Plan"; "Overextended Supply Lines"; deadly "Urban Warfare in Baghdad"; "Civil War"; "Limited Body Armor"; and now "Landfill Scrap HMMWV Armor." "No shame," indeed. In short, those who claim errors in the conduct of the war have the burden of proof . . . and a very skeptical audience.

Mark

Rummy true crime.

He treats reporters like they are silly twits ! Which they are mostly. He would dissect silly question, which meant it couldn't be used , because it might expose their inabilty to articulate a question. Which makes it a capital crime. Rummy answer a question honestly. The Casandras scream about a offensive answer, on behalf of the soldiers.

( Then send in the clowns )

Senators who attack Rummy because

a) It good way to keep getting quoted every night and invites on Sunday talk shows. Which is only way to keep your TV IQ up.

b) People might see how thin their own public statements , over the years, about overall armed force levels, body armour, and lite or no armour vehicles purchase long before Rummy.

c) Brutus Gambit. Kill Military pork in my district. I'll be there to stab you with the rest.

The time for Rummy to leave will come. When the job he started is finished. Not because of sta puff twits don't like him.

Mark

Rummy true crime.

He treats reporters like they are silly twits ! Which they are mostly. He would dissect silly question, which meant it couldn't be used , because it might expose their inabilty to articulate a question. Which makes it a capital crime. Rummy answer a question honestly. The Casandras scream about a offensive answer, on behalf of the soldiers.

( Then send in the clowns )

Senators who attack Rummy because

a) It good way to keep getting quoted every night and invites on Sunday talk shows. Which is only way to keep your TV IQ up.

b) People might see how thin their own public statements , over the years, about overall armed force levels, body armour, and lite or no armour vehicles purchase long before Rummy.

c) Brutus Gambit. Kill Military pork in my district. I'll be there to stab you with the rest.

The time for Rummy to leave will come. When the job he started is finished. Not because of sta puff twits don't like him.

Scaramonga

As Abu Qa'Qa stated above, Rummy is the best thing to happen to the military in 25 years. Much of what he says is shocking to the PC zeros of the media and the left, but some day will be quoted far and wide for their wisdom.

He had to fight two asymmetric military conflicts with a military not designed for that purpose. He had to shake things up in the 5-sided bureaucracy where stars and bars oppose every change and protect every square inch of turf.

His brilliant strategy in Afghanistan and the rapid defeat of the Iraqi military will go down in history as strokes of pure genius.

Rummy's only problem is with those who see their own inadequacies when contrasted with this truly great man.

M. Simon

Heavier vehicles require more fuel.

I have heard no suggestions to armor fuel trucks.

You reduce vulnerability in one place, increase it in another.

Then fuel becomes more critical which then is the target.

Insugencies are not defeated by mass. They are defeated by smarts.

Intel.

In a way the peole calling for Rummy's head over this are calling for another VietNam. Fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong way.

Any body here read one single article about operations research in this war?

No?

My guess is that it is probably doing a great job.

It was one of our secret weapons in WW2. Probably more effective today.

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