"This nation has got to ... fix what is soon going to be broken."Chris Floyd, who hits the ball hard and straight more often than most, and hardly ever strikes out, here stands accused of inconsistency nevertheless, in that he occasionally knocks the ball out of the city as well as out of the park, so to speak.
-- Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC)
For exhibit "A", so to speak .. watch this!
Ann Scott Tyson, of the Washington Post, toes the rubber, winds and works, and here's the pitch: Military Is Ill-Prepared For Other Conflicts:
Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge.and so on ...
More troubling, the officials say, is that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover from what some officials privately have called a "death spiral," in which the ever more rapid pace of war-zone rotations has consumed 40 percent of their total gear, wearied troops and left no time to train to fight anything other than the insurgencies now at hand.
The risk to the nation is serious and deepening, senior officers warn, because the U.S. military now lacks a large strategic reserve of ground troops ready to respond quickly and decisively to potential foreign crises, whether the internal collapse of Pakistan, a conflict with Iran or an outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula. Air and naval power can only go so far in compensating for infantry, artillery and other land forces, they said. An immediate concern is that critical Army overseas equipment stocks for use in another conflict have been depleted by the recent troop increases in Iraq, they said.
"We have a strategy right now that is outstripping the means to execute it," Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
The Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard A. Cody, described as "stark" the level of readiness of Army units in the United States, which would be called on if another war breaks out. "The readiness continues to decline of our next-to-deploy forces," Cody told the House Armed Services Committee's readiness panel last week. "And those forces, by the way, are ... also your strategic reserve."
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [photo top right], was asked last month by a House panel whether he was comfortable with the preparedness of Army units in the United States. He stated simply: "No ... I am not comfortable."
"You take a lap around the globe -- you could start any place: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela, Colombia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, North Korea, back around to Pakistan, and I probably missed a few. There's no dearth of challenges out there for our armed forces," Pace warned in his testimony. He said the nation faces increased risk because of shortfalls in troops, equipment and training.
In earlier House testimony, Pace said the military, using the Navy, Air Force and reserves, could handle one of three major contingencies, involving North Korea or -- although he did not name them -- Iran or China. But, he said, "It will not be as precise as we would like, nor will it be on the timelines that we would prefer, because we would then, while engaged in one fight, have to reallocate resources and remobilize the Guard and reserves."
Depending on where you stand, you'll see this curveball in one way or another. You can read it as a more-or-less standard Pentagon plea for more money, and/or a request from upper brass for some saner tactics, and/or a boogeyman in the global closet warning of what
A more-or-less standard analysis
For instance, when all the pro-Bush armchair warriors read the bad news -- that we face increased risk because of shortfalls in troops, equipment and training and that we might have to reallocate resources and remobilize the Guard and reserves -- they'll certainly find their next soapboxes already built and ready to go.
And when the most of the anti-Bush armchair warriors see how our strategy right now is outstripping the means to execute it, they'll find ample reasons to prattle on about "mismanagement" -- as if an enormous crime against humanity would be any more righteous were it done with more deadly efficiency.
But Chris Floyd takes a different approach, producing a more sophisticated multi-level analysis which looks not only at what was said but at what was left unsaid.
It's one of his best pieces in a long, long time, "Hubris and Obscenity: Imperial Ambitions on Naked Display".
I insist that you read the whole piece, but I don't mind getting you started:
Rarely has the imperial hubris that lies at the basis of U.S. foreign policy – the unspoken, unquestioned assumption of America's right to global domination by force – been so nakedly revealed than in the recent Washington Post story decrying the degraded state of the Pentagon's military preparedness.Good question, no? And that's just the beginning. It's a bit longer than the average blog post -- even for Chris -- but that's a bonus in my book because it's so well done; I recommend it to your attention on every level: it's brilliant, concise, beautifully written, and right effing on, so to speak.
On its surface, at the level of meaning it intends to convey to readers, the story is disturbing enough. The upshot is that Bush's reckless and stupid war of aggression in Iraq has plunged American military stocks and manpower reserves into a "death spiral" of depletion that will take years – and untold billions of dollars – to replenish.
On the second level of meaning – which the reporter may or may not have consciously intended to put across – we find something equally disturbing... What gives cause for the greatest immediate concern in Pace's remarks is his observation that in a coming "major contingency" – such as the all-but-inevitable attack on Iran – the Pentagon's campaign "will not be as precise as we would like."
What is this but a tacit admission that when push comes to shove with Tehran, the United States will have to go in with a sledgehammer, lashing out left and right – no "surgical strike" against alleged nuclear facilities, but a blunderbuss assault, with the attendant "collateral damage" and destruction of civilian infrastructure that we have seen in Iraq (twice), Kosovo, Panama, Vietnam and other "contingencies."
All of this is bad enough in itself. But it is the third level of meaning – never expressed either directly or indirectly but embodied by the story as a whole -- that is the most profoundly disturbing. The present state of affairs leaves the nation at grave risk, we are told. Why? Because it leaves the United States somewhat hobbled in its ability to impose its will military on any nation or region it so chooses. Again, attend to General Pace as he tells Congress that he is "not comfortable" with the Army's readiness:"You take a lap around the globe -- you could start any place: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela, Colombia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, North Korea, back around to Pakistan, and I probably missed a few. There's no dearth of challenges out there for our armed forces," Pace warned in his testimony.This is not the statement of a military officer serving in the armed forces of a democratic republic devoted to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of its citizens. This is the action list of a Roman general seeking more funds so that he might fulfill Caesar's commands for further conquests and punitive raids beyond the frontiers of the Empire. Nation after nation, in every corner of the globe, is laid out for possible military intervention – "and I probably missed a few." And the legislators – of both parties – who heard these dire warnings merely nodded their heads in solemn agreement: the United States must be ready at all times to strike with massive force at short notice anywhere and everywhere in the world.
Not a single Congressional official – or the reporter – ever asked the simple question: Why?
Please click, read, and learn: "Hubris and Obscenity: Imperial Ambitions on Naked Display" by Chris Floyd.