Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Do Ya Think?

I just posted this over at MilBlog Ring HQ:

Secretary Rumsfeld has apparently made a startling admission:
"Well, I think that anyone who looks at it with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight has to say that there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is," Rumsfeld told CNN...
Actually, I seem to remember Gen. Shinseki anticipated what was needed pretty well. I admit, I'm not a big Rumsfeld fan; as a CENTCOM staff weenie in 2003-'04, I didn't work directly with the Secretary, but I worked with people whose bosses got taskers directly from the SecDef in meetings, and none of them liked him very much either.

The Submarine Force had a similar personality in Admiral Rickover; quite a few people hold that while he was indispensible in the '50s and '60s, but had outlived his usefulness by the '70s. Likewise, I think history will judge that Rumsfeld was the right man for Afghanistan, but the wrong one for Iraq. (Of course, I recently finished reading Cobra II and Fiasco, so those books might have warped my fragile little mind.)

Standing by for incoming...

Any thoughts from my readers on this?

Bell-ringer 0011 29 Sep: SubSunk's post that he references in his comment is here.


Blogger lazlong said...

Now, I am not saying that I am an expert in this situation, however, I will still offer my &.02 on it. The Sec Def is right about 20/20 vision, and it seems to me that he is doing what he can now with the levels he has, without sending every swinging dick in the armed forces over there. If he is to blame for anything, it is for being too soft in the begining. Look at Japan and Germany during and after WWII. We bombed the living shit out of them, we destroyed their contries, and we still stayed there as an occupation force for double the amount of time we have been in Iraq. It all comes down to how cowed the population is when the occupation forces move in. We didn't give them enough time to see how totally powerless Saddam was, so when we moved in, enough of them turned to the terrorists (not "insurgents") because they thought they could get us out of there.

In reality, we are there now, nothing is going to change that. If the POTUS thinks that his Sec Def needs replacing, he will replace him, otherwise the POTUS is not doing his job. No matter how loud the opposition gets about the Sec Def, it doesn't matter, they don't have a say in it. So either we accept the fact that we need to fix what we broke, or we give up our status as a superpower and turn the country over to the EU or the UN.

9/28/2006 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ieInteresting points of view all.

A larger occupation force would certainly have meant that more of the collateral deaths would have been our troops (larger, more concentrated targets). The number killed to date is incredibly low by historical standards, yet look at the outrage from our feminized populace. Assuming a much larger, widely dispersed occupation force the grief from al Sadr types would have been unbearable. We would have had to have taken out the troublesome, militant cleric Muqtada al Sadr (imagine the Islamic outrage worldwide) who commander the Mahdi Army.

The strategy being pursued by the pentagon negates greater force in favor of quarantine and attrition. It is working, albeit slowly and with very little to cheer about except extremely low coalition casualties.

The discomfort Subsunk and Bubblehead experience are due to the constant level of carping about CIC's poor management, a Dem. party diatribe picked up by the media.

It is all political. Never before has the U.S. had to fight on two fronts - home and abroad. Viet Nam ended that way because that strategy really was flawed (look at the deaths, in comparison).

Now we may not like the political choice for SecDef, but going all the way back to Nam, name me one political appointee (it will always be) who could have gotten us this far with only 2700 deaths? -Ben Thare

9/28/2006 7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had 536,000 troops in Vietnam in 1968. All we did is give them more targets. (Was there in 71-72 on a Tango, so I have some gravitas on this)
More troops does not equal success. Right now we have a lot less troops in Afghanistan and with NATO we are whacking the Taleban quite well.
My opinion is that the bad guys in Iraq are playing things up to the election in the US. And the media, as they twisted the "Tet offensive" will do everything they can to turn victory into apparent defeat.

9/28/2006 8:47 PM

Blogger Anna said...

I saw Fiasco at Borders tonight. The cover turned me off. Four soldiers loading a flag draped stretcher into a track.

Lets not forget Turkey stabbing the US in the back so 4th ID had to sail around Saudi Arabia while 3rd ID had to launch from Baghdad into Kurdish areas, leaving Baghdad to fall to looting.

No plan survives first contact. Leaders adapt. Shinseki is an idiot who, while the US and PRC were at logger-heads over an EP-3C and crew, went no-bid to a PRC firm for all the black berets he forced on the US Army.

9/28/2006 9:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last month of WW2, we lost almost 12,000 men. The last month. The closer we got to the end of the war, the more intense the fighting got. Don't forget the cost of Iwo Jima. The current level of casualties in Iraq don't add up to the national annual traffic construction worker deaths in this country. Let's put it into perspective. You may not like Rumsfeld, but he'll get the job done if he doesn't have to play politics, which everybody is making him do, so he's not as effective. And absolutely right we don't have enough troops. There's something wrong when we're sending a guy back for a 3rd tour.

Final comment. Of course the insurgency level is going to pick up as we start stirring them up. It's just like when you knock down that hornets nest under the eaves of your house. At first they swarm and get all angry, but then they die off, if your persistant with you're bug spray. We just need to be persistant.

9/28/2006 9:50 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I disagree with the argument that "more U.S. troops means more targets", especially during the first year of the occupation. I believe that had we controlled the Iraqi borders and had enough people to provide security to get the reconstruction projects going and finished, we would have 1) reduced the number of foreign jihadis, 2) protected the Iraqis who were disposed to help us, but were demoralized when we left to be terrorized when we didn't have the manpower to protect them continually, and 3) shown the population (the real "center of gravity") that we really were there to make life better for them.

Re: the books -- I didn't like Fiasco as much, but Cobra II seemed to match pretty well with what I experienced at CENTCOM -- it wasn't that we didn't have a plan, it was that we stayed with the original sub-optimal plan for too long.

9/29/2006 12:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Closing the borders of any country the size of Iraq is an enormous undertaking. It's borders are longer than the US boarder with Mexico.
In addition, once you secure the borders you have to defend the interior from the sunni's that were in the last regime. In a country where every household has an ak-47 that's another enormous undertaking.
We simply don't have enough troops to do that. As it is, we hear that we are wearing our military out. It's better to be patient and help the current regime take care of securing their own country.

9/29/2006 3:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not heard anyone address the real root cause, in my opinion, of why we are where we are. There is a deeper reason that I think is more rooted in the type of corporate America thinking which appears to pervade the upper ranks of our military leadership. When we send our Generals and Admirals to get their "Executive MBA" from Harvard, how is that preparing them for WAR?

To me it appears that we are in a similar situation to what we were in at the beginning of WWII. The country had been at "peace" for so long, that the bureaucrats, the ones who embraced the paper, the systems, the desk jockeys, had risen to the top. The real warriors were languishing and waiting patiently. They had prepared properly in the interwar years, studying history, studying the potential enemy...thinking that they were near the end of their careers. Fortunately, we had in George C. Marshall a man who knew where the real talent lay and put the proper folks in the right positions to ensure victory. Sure there were growing pains, and not everything was perfect, but they came together.

For a very long time, perhaps because of the long sunset following the end the Cold War, this country failed to see what the next threat really was…at all levels. I think our military really was disappointed that we never got to go head to head with the Russkies in a knock-down, drag-out conventional war. I don’t think the guys at our top levels have ever really gotten over the '70s and especially the massive build up in the '80s. We still, overall, have a Cold War mentality. SECDEF has tried to change that thinking with his "transformation" strategy, which started before 9/11/01. I know he has stepped on some folks and shuffled some folks out of the way who were not on board with his plans. I have never cared for that management style, but you are not going to change a guy in his 70s who has spent the majority of his life in public service. You are always going to have that 20/20 hindsight look and you better take it. What happens on the boat after something bad happens? What was that thing we all hated, but is one of the most necessary parts of ensuring we can fight the ship safely? The incident report? Isn't that 20/20 hindsight?
This is a hallmark of a learning organization and our military needs to be a learning organization…because our enemy certainly is.

We still have not figured out how to fight this asymmetric war in the shadows. We are still trying to fight it, for the most part, conventionally. Yeah, we are winning. Folks are getting extended, folks are getting multiple tours in the "sandbox", and yes, some are getting tired.

But we are learning.

I am not so sure about our very top leadership; that remains to be seen. But certainly, we are creating our future leaders on the front lines today who will not see the "Long War" through the myopic lens of the Cold War. I hope they will see a future in more practical terms, both from a manpower position and equipment position.

We always practice for combat, but we never get the chance to practice for war. Think about the difference.

9/29/2006 5:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the kind words. Incoming, offline.

9/29/2006 11:35 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home