Monday, September 25, 2006
Can We Cut Out the "Sole Superpower" B.S.?
The Army has a stated goal of giving active-duty soldiers two years at home between overseas combat tours, but it is unable to achieve that "dwell time," as the Army calls, because it does not have enough brigades to meet the demands of simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would not be a problem now if the situation in Iraq had improved enough to allow the Army to reduce its presence as originally planned.
We are facing insurgencies in two Third World states; we aren't fighting land wars with major powers. And the closing line is critical. Yes, the situation in Iraq has worsened. It is not because another great power has intervened a la the PRC in Korea.
I know, I know, I am a broken record on this. But let's decide, people. A citizen's army--which means more citizens have to join and the missions we undertake affect vital interests; or we do what the Portuguese, the British, and others did--an overseas army recruited largely from non-citizens and leavened with some regular forces, if you want to police the world.
Jim Webb supports a 5 percent break on income tax for military personnel -- I am not certain if that is a lifetime boon, but his language on Meet the Press indicated do.
There is also the option of a draft.
Then there is your choice of the present citizen dynamic or a foreign force with native elements.
We could also raise recruiting targets and standards, develop a different plan with more infantry and combat power, pay those people more, and fight our wars better.
Is there any evidence that suggests that increasing benefits and so on, under the present circumstances of combat, will increase volunteer enlistments?
The draft is always a theoretical option but one that is political suicide so I don't see it happening.
So this leaves cutting back our military commitments, increasing the number of citizen volunteers, or finding new sources of personnel.
US has no strategic reasons to remain in those places.
Then this problem will disappear.
I don't think so. We were able to recruit a much larger volunteer army in the 1980s and through the first Gulf War without the high enlistment bonuses of today. But military actions were more carefully chosen and executed back then. For commitments like Afghanistan and Iraq, it may be increasingly difficult to persuade our citizens to volunteer.
I wonder why we would want to admit foreign mercenaries when we exclude highly qualified gay citizens who are willing to serve. But I don't see much use in getting new people to serve if they are sent to fight wars that are needlessly mismanaged.
General Schoomaker agrees with you on the need for either a change in the present all volunteer force or a reduction of our commitments, the Guardian.
It is interesting that the draft is deemed just a theory. If we are to believe all that the president says, then the situation in Iraq is of great import. So, it's worth the end of his administration to save that country, is it not? He should institute the draft and resign.
Resumption of the draft today would mean sending draftees immediately to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where at present our troops would be under-equipped. In Afghanistan they would also be unable to attack enemy sanctuaries in a neighboring country. Before we resume the draft, we need to improve the material condition of the Army and Marine Corps and rethink how we would use any new troops to greater effect. The draft should not be a way by which civilian leaders sidestep deficiencies in supply and strategy.