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"‘Good Guys’ Make Bad Generals" Topic


12 Posts

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528 hits since 14 Nov 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2017 12:03 p.m. PST

"By all accounts, the present-day United States military is the best—that is, the most capable—in all the world. In the estimation of their countrymen, today's American warrior (the homelier term G.I. having now gone the way of doughboy) may well be the best of all time. Yet America's Army doesn't win. Except for small-scale skirmishes, it hasn't since World War II.

In terms of providing its army with bountiful resources, no nation comes even close to the United States. In terms of willingness to commit that army into action, no nation (except perhaps Israel and the United Kingdom) compares. Yet the roster of victories achieved by the United States Army since 1945 is an abbreviated one: the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983), and Panama (1989). Twenty years ago, observers might have added the Persian Gulf War (1991) to that list. Unfortunately, the brief and seemingly glorious encounter that was Operation Desert Storm turned out to be a mere preliminary bout…"
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Amicalement
Armand

Dynaman878914 Nov 2017 12:27 p.m. PST

Any actual meaningful response to this would require delving into modern politics – and I'm not wanting to visit the dawghowse

28mm Fanatik14 Nov 2017 2:26 p.m. PST

This is because there are no more World War 2's like there used to be. Things are now more complicated and not as black and white.

Gear Pilot14 Nov 2017 3:13 p.m. PST

I'm pretty sure the US won both wars in Iraq in text book fashion. It's the occupation/rebuilding where we failed.

basileus6614 Nov 2017 9:52 p.m. PST

It's not the generals, as the article argues. It is the mission itself. If you ask from the US military to defeat in battle another regular army, it will accomplish its mission, even against China or Russia. If, in the other hand, asks from it to fight an insurgency, build a nation and create the conditions necessary for a functional democracy in countries whose infraestructures and economy have been blown to smithereens… well, then it will fail. They are just men (and women!) not superhumans.

SouthernPhantom15 Nov 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

I wonder if the author realizes that Vietnam was a definitive US victory on the battlefield, thrown away because of politics.

28mm Fanatik15 Nov 2017 8:07 a.m. PST

War and politics are inseparable, two sides of the same coin. The aim of war is to achieve political objectives. War is the "continuation of politics by other means" according to Clausewitz.

We lost Vietnam because we failed to keep Vietnam from being ruled by communists. In WWII we succeeded because democracy won over fascism and tyranny.

It's all "political."

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

There's a portion of me that says that we should be thankful that we don't have to commit our Army (or other forces) to any long scale long term affair like WWII, just for this articles sake….

smh…

Lion in the Stars15 Nov 2017 1:36 p.m. PST

War and politics are inseparable, two sides of the same coin. The aim of war is to achieve political objectives. War is the "continuation of politics by other means" according to Clausewitz.

So what should the military do when the political objectives are not militarily achievable?

28mm Fanatik15 Nov 2017 4:03 p.m. PST

There's a portion of me that says that we should be thankful that we don't have to commit our Army (or other forces) to any long scale long term affair like WWII

Times have changed. Vietnam had shown that America no longer can stomach the losses and make the sacrifices it collectively did just 20 years before in WWII. Maybe it's because they're no longer sheltered from the horrors of war thanks to modern communications.

During WWII, government-sponsored news reels (what we now consider propaganda) and radio broadcasts engendered in Americans a sense of patriotism and inspired them to do their parts in helping the war effort, such as recycling/salvaging war materiel and reporting suspected foreign spies (we've all seen those posters and slogans, didn't we?). During Vietnam, graphic war footages only brought the horrors of war to our color TV sets and fueled the anti-war movement. Most Americans weren't even aware of this when it happened at the time, but can you imagine the outcry if something similar happened today in one of our wars?:

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So what should the military do when the political objectives are not militarily achievable?

Tell the politicians that there are limits to military power in attaining their political goals and that, unless the American people are willing to accept more sacrifices and losses to continue the war (again, with no guarantees of achieving the desired political outcome), then maybe we should just call it a day and bring the troops home.

Begemot15 Nov 2017 4:50 p.m. PST

So what should the military do when the political objectives are not militarily achievable?

The generals and officers can:


  1. Change the government – If successful a career enhancer. If not successful a career ender.
  2. Resign – A career ender.
  3. Salute and carry out their orders – Good for one's career. This is the usual choice.

The other ranks can:


  1. Desert – Risky. Career ender for sure. Could shorten one's life.
  2. Salute and carry out their orders – The usual choice.

Not many choices here, but then the military is designed that way.

Caedite Eos16 Nov 2017 2:36 a.m. PST

Hey, the military can acheive any political goal it wants

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