Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Army We Need? Not So Fast!

November 19, 2006

In a New York Times Editorial published today under the title The Army We Need, and applauding the departure of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, the editor gleefully tells us, “[Rumsfeld] didn’t like the Clintonian notion of using the United States military to secure and rebuild broken states.”

He then rambles on with such statements as, “So one of the first challenges for the next defense secretary and the next Congress is to repair, rebuild and reshape the nation’s ground forces. They need to renew the morale and confidence of America’s serving men and women and restore the appeal of career military service for the brightest young officers.

In what appears to me to be a bleeding heart rumination longing for the return of the “good old Clintonian era of Military readiness,” he ends the editorial with, “ Rebuilding the Army and Marine Corps is an overdue necessity. But it is only the first step toward repairing the damage done to America’s military capacities and credibility over the past six years.”

Although I was out of the U.S. Army long before Clinton or Rumsfeld either were overseeing it, I have spoken to enough that served under them to realize that Clinton was no friend of the Military, before, during or after his Presidency.

To begin with we have the infamous quote from his December 1969 letter to a Colonel Holmes that was deceived into helping him avoid the draft by enlisting him into an ROTC program, which Clinton never appeared for, in which Clinton has been quoted as saying, “I loathe the Military.” To be fair, those exact words are not in the letter. What he did say was, “ I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men have devoted years, lifetimes, of the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no longer clear what is service and what is disservice, or if it is clear, the conclusion is likely to be illegal.”

Defenders maintain he never said “HE” loathed the Military, but that “others” did. Clearly, reading the second sentence, he includes himself in with those “others.”

Next we must look at Military actual readiness during his Presidency and how they were used as well as what Military morale was during his “leadership.” With the end of the Cold War before his Presidency some reductions were occurring, but during his time in office, they were drastically reduced in numbers, nearly a half million personnel during his eight years.

Coming into office, Clinton announced Defense Budget cuts that amounted to $60 billion. After in office his cuts grew to a $120 billion reduction in Defense spending between 1993 and 1997. This on the heels of the First Gulf War.
In his 1999 State of the Union address, he proposed a $112 Billion increase in Defense spending citing, "it is time to reverse the decline in defense spending." This was to spread out over six years, into 2005.

During the 2000 campaign, Candidate Bush was saying the Military was "a military in decline." While Vice President Gore countered that the military is the "strongest and the best" in the world.

About this same time, leaked Army documents reported that 12 of the 20 schools that were training soldiers in field artillery, infantry, and aviation had received the lowest readiness rating. Additionally, the Pentagon rated two of the Army's 10 active divisions at the lowest readiness level.

In spite of reducing the size of our Military by some half a million personnel, Clinton deployed the Military 26 times outside of normal training and alliance missions.

Reducing the size of the Military and increasing their deployments while not upgrading weapons and equipment led to a severe morale problem with the ranks. According to an August 1999 U.S. General Accounting Office review, more than half of the officers and enlisted personnel surveyed "were dissatisfied and intended to leave the military after their current obligation or term of enlistment was up."

I can personally relate to their feelings as that is what I did after 8 years in the Army and the election of President Carter in 1976 with his initial act of cutting Military spending and declaring amnesty to Viet Nam draft dodgers, basically giving those of us who went the single finger salute.

Claims have been made that we are winning the War on Terror thanks to "Bill Clinton's military.” Of course, this was stated in 2003 before the more popular stance of defeatism and “we can’t win Militarily” set in. That could be what prompted former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to answer an outspoken Guardsman complaining of not having the proper equipment with, “You go to war with the Army you have, not the one you wish you had.”

In a post 9/11 world with Islamic extremists bent on world domination threatening to blow up the White House as a mark of their “mission accomplished” and the threat of nuclear suicide bombers within our cities, we cannot afford a return to the Clinton era of Military unreadiness.

Of course, this editorial might also possibly just be a precursor in support of the Democrats call under Representative Charles Rangel for a return to a Military Draft

Either way, we will see what unfolds as Democrats take control of Congress and the Senate this January. For you young people on the left that couldn’t wait to get Democrats in before you might have to go fight, have fun, we tried to warn you.



MR said...

Read about how W spent his time while visiting Vietnam...

LewWaters said...

And, what the hell does what he did in Viet Nam recently have to do with returning the Military to Clintonian era levels?

If you haven't heard, or ignored due to BDS, he can't run again and will be gone in two years.

Of course, you libbies can paralyze the country trying desparately to impeach him, but if you do Cheney also, you get Cheney, who libbies ahte even worse.