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User Journal

Journal Journal: Intel-Dump on Franks on Bush

I read this. Tommy Franks, former head of Central Command, said that he thinks we should've hired back the old Iraqi Army rather than forming a new one.

The United States should have quickly reformed the Iraqi army after most of its soldiers walked off the battlefield and got them "working for us," retired Gen. Tommy Franks said Tuesday.

Franks, who oversaw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, told reporters it may have taken "a couple billion dollars," but that he would have liked to have put Iraqi troops "back on the payroll right quick."

Phillip Carter of Intel-Dump says:

Still, I'm glad that you've joined the chorus of voices saying this was a bad decision. I'm surprised though, that you can campaign on the one hand for your wartime president, but criticize the decisions of that same president.

Just because Franks thinks it, that doesn't make it the right call
One of the big complaints about Afghanistan is that some Taliban warlords became Alliance warlords when the US became bombing. Wouldn't those soldiers be just as distrusted when they so easily went from the anti-US Iraq Army to the pro-US Iraqi Army. Really, in the early days of our action in Afghanistan, when we had small numbers of SF soldiers on the ground and large nubmers of AF bombers above it, we didn't really have the kind of control that would mean we could disband a warlord's forces, so we left it to the Northern Alliance and we got what we got.

It's the kind of mistake we always make
At first, you couldn't become dog-catcher in post-WWII Germany if you ever joined the Nazi party, but it is difficult to get ahead in a one-party state if you're not in the party, so the talented and the ambitious joined up, and while, at first, we of course didn't want to give power to the people we had been fighting. Eventually, we did, while ensuring that, while former Nazis were allowed, Nazism wasn't. Same thing went on in Japan.

It's a lesson learned
The State Department knows it. The Defense Department knows it. Next time we take on a nation-building mission, we'll put more consideration into which parts of the nation to dismantle first, and that lesson will persist, no matter who is president next February.

User Journal

Journal Journal: War Commentary 5

At first, I thought this guy had a point.

Then I thought he was a pinhead.

The reason the occupation broke down was because the part of Europe that Soviet Russia freed became the Warsaw Pact. The forces hostile to the Occupation, who I believe called themselves 'Werewolves', were distinct from those who wanted to spread the Soviet Union. American policy toward the Soviet Union was flawed because it allowed that spread up to the Soviet sector of Occupied Germany, which became East Germany. I know something of that history, and to change it and avoid the Cold War would've required a Hot War in Europe, one which we might not have won and would've given us a Soviet-occupied Europe that included France and possibly England, too.

There is room to criticize Bush's comparison. Occupied Germany in 1945 did not have neighboring fascist Denmark and Switzerland supplying arms and fighters to their resistance, but Iraq has Syria and Iran as neighbors, and the last thing they want is a free and democratic Iraq on their borders. Germany was utterly defeated and it's military destroyed on the battlefield, but Turkey's unwillingness to assist meant that there was no force coming from the north to meet the one coming from the south, and our war of maneuver focused on command and control centers, leaving the army intact and soon unemployed. Bush's comparison doesn't fit as well as Word recreations fit over Dan Rather's documents. It wasn't meant to. It was meant to make a point about internal critics, and I do tend to agree.

User Journal

Journal Journal: CBS

My town has a local CBS affiliate. Can it be counted as a boycott if, before now, I only watched it for weather and snowday information?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Woe Being Me 2

I had a meeting today.

My boss' boss got fired.

It's really a reorg thing. Instead of a director of IS, we'll have a CIO, which means we'll have a voice in upper management. Or, alternately, our uberboss will, and we'll just be shmucks.

My wife's been pushing me to apply for a DB guy job at CSPAN. I'll work on my resume this evening.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I Think Too Many Thoughts 1

I am considering joining the National Guard.

Right now, I'm considering with the same strength of determination that I am considering taking up jogging before work, which is to say I'm considering it without really planning on doing anything about it. This is a thought on a serious subject, but it doesn't mean I'm serious about the answer.


Part of it, a small-but-significant part, has to do with physical fitness. I have been losing weight over the last year. Already, while I am still pretty much a large egg with legs in terms of shape, I no longer own a pair of pants that I can wear without a belt. Part of me wants to not live a life where I get up, get in a car, walk 100 steps from the parking lot to my cubicle at 8am, walk 100 steps back at 5pm and go home, and go back. Yes, I'm aware that even the Air Force would dump me immediately into the Fat Boy Program and I'd end up running and pushing up until I'm physically sick. I'm not masochistic enough to say "Bonus!" but I accept that is part of the reversal of my sedentary lifestyle.

And part of it is that a few more dollars a month would be quite welcome.

The greater part of it follows from my support of the War on Terror. I support the invasion of Afghanistan and the attempt to bring freedom. I am proud that our military comes not to enslave but to free. I wish things had gone better in Afghanistan and I wish the oil was flowing and the economy blooming in Iraq. I'm reminded that Wilson, with his League of Nations internationalism, had to deploy the forces of the US military far more than the saber-rattling Teddy Roosevelt, and that, in terms of our relations with the nations between Morocco and Pakistan, we haven't been showing ourselves in the best light. My wife's midway through the 9/11 Commission Report and cursing Clinton loudly for the quiet capitulation to Islamic/Arabic terror over his term in office, but considering the US focus on the USSR before that, I cannot credit any US president as being all that good on it, as realizing we've been at war with certain elements in the Middle East since the taking of the Tehran Embassy, if not before. The stakes weren't as high as the Cold War -- the Russians had nuclear weapons on intercontinental ballistic missiles while al Qaeda has bombs and guns and hijacked jetliners -- but it is important.

However, I am reminded of a scene from All's Quiet On The Western Front. This is specifically Richard Thomas's version, from 1979. I only saw a small small part of it, but it had this scene. Richard and his friends were on leave, back from the front. Old fat men were sitting around the biergarten, congratulating the young soldiers and their work at defeating the French, and the soldiers had no respect for them because they didn't know what the horrors were like. Historically, I know that the face of warfare had changed fundamentally between Waterloo and Verdun, and nobody had a clue going into the conflict that things would be near that bad, but it is true. The minimum age to be eligable for the presidency is 35, and historically candidates have been much older. The maximum age to enlist is 34, and median age is far far far younger. (I'm pushing it for NG, I know.) The old send the young into war, and I feel like the old fools in the biergarten, with my ideological zeal unproven by my actions.

In other words, I want to sign up because I don't want to be that asshole.

I was an AF brat, and I never wanted in because I got sick and tired of moving every few years and losing every friend I had, plus I wanted to grow my hair. I felt, fairly self-righteously, that I had done 18 years and deserved out. I had no problems with the institution except as previously listed. Right now, the big bumps will be that, on deployment, assuming deployment, a pfc gets less pay than a system admin and the tight finances at home would get tighter. There are valid arguments against it, and I don't need any of this to support a political career -- I'll never have one because I believe in things. And this dedicates time away from my family.

Thus, still considering. This doesn't work like a real essay, as it has no real end. Foo.

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