The Cold War Against Recruiters

Military — By on March 25, 2008 at 12:14 am

For the past few weeks Michelle Malkin has been documenting the attacks–in both word and deed–on America’s military recruiters:

Ideas have consequences. Inaction has consequences. For the past several years, I’ve chronicled the Left’s escalating war on military recruiters-and the apathetic, weak-kneed response to it. In Unhinged, I devoted a sub-section of my chapter “They Don’t Support Our Troops” to the organized campaign of harassment against recruitment offices on college campuses nationwide. The anti-recruiter thugs have thrived thanks to a combination of public indifference, law enforcement fecklessness, and left-wing ideological apologism.

While it’s encouraging to see Malkin and others take up this cause, there is a greater concern that is largely ignored. The biggest challenge for military recruiters is not the heated battles with Code Pink protesters but the cool indifference of mainstream Americans.
If you want to see the contrast between what people say they believe and how they live, spend a day with your local military recruiter. You’ll be amazed by the number of people you’ll encounter who go out of their way to tell you how much they “support our troops” and how they appreciate our service. Then you casually inquire about their son or daughter and when they will be stopping by the recruiting station to learn more about serving their country. The reaction is palpable: their spines stiffen, they smile blankly, and a coldness comes over them. If they are quick-witted they will find a way to jokingly dismiss the question. More often, though, they will simply blurt out honestly that there is no way they’d let their own child enlist.
Since I spent my years as a Marine Corps recruiter in Aberdeen, WA — the hometown of Kurt Cobain — I had hoped my experience was an isolated case. But then I talked to others who told the same tales about being brushed off by school counselors and dismissed by parents. Often times, when I would call a student’s house and tell the parents I was with the Marines they would hang up on me. Imagine how different the reaction would be if I told them I was a recruiter for Harvard.
If Americans valued and respected the institution and the troops as much as they claim the military would be more difficult to get into than any Ivy-league school. We wouldn’t be able to take everyone who wanted to enlist. The “elite” would be lined up around the block, letters of recommendation in hand, hoping to serve in the greatest military in the history of the world. Rather than having to bribe “scholarship mercenaries” with a generous college fund, recruiters would be forced to turn away highly qualified applicants.
But for all the talk, most Americans are willing to support the troops only insofar as they are not expected to add to their ranks. We are more than willing to leave our country’s defense to the “military types” and lower classes who need the employment. We have other priorities: advanced degrees to pursue, careers to build, money to be made. Besides, we pay our taxes. What else should we be expected to do?
Yes, Americans support our troops and respect their service. We just don’t want our own sons and daughters to be the ones to serve. And if, like the citizens of Kyrgyzstan, we have to pay out of our pockets to keep our children out of the military we’ll have just one question — “Who do we make the check out to?”



  • Mike Toreno

    Joe, you are even more dishonest than you are stupid. You are, of course, unable to make an honest argument because the proposition you’re trying to support is fundamentally unsound. Your stupidity, however, ensures that you will use only the most clumsy and transparent sleight of hand to support your dishonest and arguments.
    Americans support our troops because they support the willingness of our troops to follow the orders they are given and to carry out the missions they are given without judging (in their capacity of troops) the rightness or wrongness, wisdom or unwisdom, of the orders and the mission.
    You are trying to insinuate that support of the troops requires American citizens to undertake the same obligations that the troops undertake. But American citizens have a different set of obligations. They are obligated to judge, and to speak on, the actions undertaken by the government. They are obligated to decide for themselves whether the actions of the government are right and wise. You, in your dishonesty, seek to present a false picture of morality and patriotism that requires Americans to give up their most fundamental rights and obligations.
    You’re a coward. Instead of supporting your position honestly, you seek to use our soldiers as a ahield to hide it from criticism. If you have an honest argument to make, let’s hear it?
    Americans don’t support the Iraq war. Why are they obligated to volunteer, or to encourage their children to volunteer, to carry out a mission they don’t support, one that they think is bad for America?
    Michelle Malkin is not too old to join the military and help carry out the mission she supports. Instead, she works to protect the recruiting operations of the U.S. government from “attack”, including “attack” by words. Naturally, she is as dishonest as you are, and is therefore unwilling to acknowledge that words don’t constitute an attack, and that what she is “protecting” from “attack” is not the recruiters, but the goverment policies they are carrying out.
    If you want to support the government’s recruiting effort, talk Malkin into joining the military.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Mike,
    If you would stop for a moment and think about what Joe is saying, I would like to point out that he is actually agreeing with some of what you are saying.
    He is saying it is not enough to pay lip service to service, and to support the war with nothing more than patriotic rhetoric. He is saying we need to put our own lives on the line, or encourage our children to consider doing so. I’m not sure why your reaction is so negative, other than your disagreement over the merits of the war itself.
    Volunteering for service is not forfeiting our rights and freedom. It is a temporary sacrifice which is meant to purchase those rights and secure them. Perhaps it is all a fool’s errand, but that is the theory, anyway.
    Peace,
    Matthew

  • http://newportpreacher.photoblog.com/ Derek Helt

    So, Mike, it appears that you are an incredibly insightful person. You’ve determined what the mind is of the American people — why they support our troops (just smart enough to follow orders without questioning their morality). You pronounce Joe as “stupid” several times. Apparently this is just self evident, from his comments? (I’d say someone’s comments are indicative of their lack of cognitive skills, but not Joe’s). You say Joe is dishonest, but here I must be stoopid, because I couldn’t follow your “logic.”
    Also, you say Americans don’t support the Iraq war. This is definitely arguable, yet I would also say that the fact that it looks less and less like it will be a big issue in November argues that the American people are, at times, ambivalent about the War in Iraq.
    Calling Joe a coward just seems like an ad hominem attack — not the way to change minds. And the stuff about MM? Please, you can do better. Many moonbats do.
    Overall, I give your “rant” a C-.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com Collin Brendemuehl

    And the blogs on the Left, Kos & C&L in particular, though promoting anti-war activities in general, have been completely silent with regard to violence within the anti-war movement. They take neiter responsibility nor criticism for their words. (Try to post something to the contrary @ C&L and it WILL be censored.)
    1970 has returned. But I’m afraid that even another Armstrong cannot squelch this one.
    Collin
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    This post is simply an obscenity.
    The idea that one who is not already in the military would want to “serve their country” in this day and age – the age of George W. Bush as commander in chief- is absurd.
    Sorry, but we support our troops by wanting the commander in chief brought to justice for the laws he has broken.
    We support our troops by not wanting them to get dead in boondoggles whose only purpose is to bring booty for oil companies and Halliburton and KBR.
    If you’re so supportive of the troops, Joe Carter you can re-enlist and volunteer for duty in Iraq.
    ‘Til then you’re just another right-wing chickenhawk.

  • http://www.sonilanlar.com ilanlar

    Calling Joe a coward just seems like an ad hominem attack — not the way to change minds. And the stuff about MM? Please, you can do better. Many moonbats do.
    Overall, I give your “rant” a C-.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Good piece. This jives with my experience too; people who “support the troops” and even the war in Iraq will be quite opposed to their own children enlisting. That’s not because they don’t support the military so much as they are attached to life and its trappings (including family). Americans have gotten use to comfort, and one of the biggest comforts is not having to face death very often.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Joe, you are right on the money on this one. I am a third-year law student and I can personally attest to the antipathy towards military recruiters from the school’s administration as well as the apathy towards military service from my colleagues. A few months ago, I realized that if I TRULY support our troops, I should get out of the law library and use my overpriced education for something greater than myself. I was recently accepted into the Air Force JAG Corps, something I consider a true privilege and an honor. All I have to do is pass the CA bar exam and I’m on my way!!
    Mike Toreno, your ad hominem attacks against Joe are unwarranted and reveal how little substance lies beneath your bluster. Joe did not say that Americans must forsake their right to judge and speak on actions taken by the government; he said that if we support our troops in word, we should support our troops in deed. Matthew Goggins and Derek Helt are absolutely correct in their responses to your sophomoric outburst.
    Mumon, bald assertions without supporting data do not good arguments make. You say that President Bush has broken laws; which ones? The original Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) gave him authority for actions taken in Afghanistan. The USA Patriot Act gave him broader authority for the war on terror and against Al Qaeda. The second AUMF gave him authority for actions taken in Iraq. All three are laws duly passed by Congress. That said, there are definitely some habeas corpus issues that are being worked out. But to say that President Bush has broken laws is quite an assertion and must be supported; put bluntly, you fail in that regard.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    While it’s encouraging to see Malkin and others take up this cause, there is a greater concern that is largely ignored. The biggest challenge for military recruiters is not the heated battles with Code Pink protesters but the cool indifference of mainstream Americans.
    My first reaction is what do you expect? We have a President who essentially asked most of us to ‘contribute’ to the war by going shopping and extending his tax cuts. Under this administration soldiers have been stretched to the limit and then treated with almost hostile indifference (the story that comes to mind is a group that was allowed to “come home” but the timing was strategically planned so they would miss bonuses and additional educational benefits by just a single day). And of course there is the fact that Bush is a failed leader. Should parents be eager to trust the lives of their children to someone like Bush when those who experience his policies first hand are rushing to finish their tours and leave as fast as possible?
    Let me add the usual boilerplate: No military recruiters should not be punished or harassed for bad policy in the White House. No those who join the military should be respected and not attacked. “The left” is not a monolithic group and liberals do not have to apologize for some hippie who throws red paint at a recruiting station anymore than Rush Limbaugh has to apologize for lies other people tell about Obama or Clinton. No there is nothing wrong with feeling proud of one’s service or the service of a family member. No there is no contradiction between seeing the war for the folly that it is and at the same time supporting the military both in general and the soldiers individually.
    Taking a longer view, though, what Joe is asking for has never existed. Even in WWII, when thousands rushed to recruiting stations, many more waited for the draft board to get them. (You may recall the scene at the end of Godfather II when Michael gets slapped around by his brother for quitting college and signing up after Pearl Harbor). During the Civil War running the draft (forget about recruiting) could almost be as dangerous as working on the front lines (those who have a degree from Netflix can reference Gangs of New York and Cold Mountain).
    Let’s be clear what we are talking about here. We are not talking about the military elite. The elite military academies still have rejection lists, still have more qualified candidates than openings even during a time of war and bad leadership. The general military, though, has almost always been filled by either using generous benefits or by the draft. Should this really be otherwise? The military by definition is a drain on the economy and a nation’s manpower. This fact is often not understood by people who take the wrong economic lesson from a nearby military base (ohhh it makes jobs!) or by WWII (got us out of the Depression therefore war creates prosperity!). You may want to object that the military budget, even as it stands today, is still smaller than Social Security, Medicare and other big ticket items. But those are more transfer payments, moving purchasing power around from one person to another. That has a real cost but it is not as much as the actual distortion and diversion of material that military spending creates. Of course we need to have a military. I’m not saying we don’t but that doesn’t alter the fact that needing a military is like needing to replace your roof. It’s going to cost you and it is nowhere near as fun as ‘needing’, say, a big birthday party.
    Should, then, we be eager to all join the military or have our sons and daughters join? I would say no. Such a perspective is pretty statist if you ask me. Parents should worry about the lives of their children and should not be eager to see them rush into danger. That is natural. It is unnatural to demand the Spartan ethic of “I hope to see my boy give his life for the state”. And it is right that parents and individuals place a high price on their lives. The military should not recruit people ‘on the cheap’ but should have to pay a lot. This is the essence of individual liberty which is what this nation was founded on. The drafts and massive mobilization of manpower during the Cold War was an exception, not the norm.

  • http://www.apostlepress.com Apostle Press

    I disagree with the sentiments expressed here. This country wasn’t in danger from Iraq. We didn’t need defending there. Most of America, according to recent polls, understands that. Therefore the 4000 American lives lost there (as well as hundreds of thousands innocent Iraqis) appear to have been wasted. They died for what most people believe to be a war that wasn’t necessary.
    So yes, I’ll support the troops from afar. My son will be told of the dangers involved in fighting for man’s ambitions and not God’s. Iraq will be held up as an example to him.

  • Mike Toreno

    Matthew, if Joe’s point was about the failure of Operation Yellow Elephant, he would have mentioned the failure of Operation Yellow Elephant. He would have said that if all the supporters of the Iraq War (like Michelle Malkin) signed up, the pressures on our troops would be much less, and recruiters would have a much easier time of it.
    But he didn’t do that. Instead, he invented a false requirement for citizens, namely, that it is necessary for someone to sign up for the military in order to support the troops, and that it is not possible to support our troops without participating in the mission they are undertaking.
    So according to Joe, if someone believes (as a large majority of Americans do believe) that the Iraq war has been and continues to be a disaster for America and a waste of life and resources, that doesn’t matter; in order to support our troops, an American is required to participate in this disaster. That is, he or she is required to put aside his or her own judgment about the wisdom of the policy and participate in carrying it out.
    Joe’s argument is, like just about every pro-war argument, a call on Americans to suspend their judgment about the war in the name of “supporting the troops”.
    It isn’t necessary for people who oppose the war to sign up, or to encourage their children to sign up. There are still millions of eligible, healthy Americans who advocate the war (like Michelle Malkin), and if all these people signed up, there wouldn’t be any need for a recruiting operation.
    So if Joe and Malkin want to shut down anti-recruiting efforts, they need to make an end run around the protestors. Get all the war supporters now eating Cheetohs in their parents’ basement to sign up, and there will be occasion for Code Pink to commit further dastardly acts such as printing flyers and waving signs.

  • Mike Toreno

    be *no* occasion for Code Pink to commit further dastardly acts such as printing flyers and waving signs.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    ilanlar:
    We didn’t use an ad hominem attack- the term “chickenhawk” is a term used for those who favor other people going to war because “it’s patriotic,” but somehow can’t see fit to do it themselves.
    Joe Carter is the ultimate chickenhawk.
    However, “moonbat” is merely a term which shows you’re in the 20% of the Bush dead-enders.
    Ho hum.
    And Malkin? Get that racist dishonest demagogue outa our consciousness. Please.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Mike
    But he didn’t do that. Instead, he invented a false requirement for citizens, namely, that it is necessary for someone to sign up for the military in order to support the troops, and that it is not possible to support our troops without participating in the mission they are undertaking.
    I think Joe noted the disconnect between the vast majority of American’s who are not in the military and do not have close family in the military and how this country supports its troops. The fact is this war illustrates how one sided the burdens are felt. A tiny portion of the population is under a huge strain while the rest of us are literally told to go shopping at the mall. This is in stark contrast to WWII which was one of much more shared service whether it be directly by service in the military or indirectly on the homefront through recycling drives, war bonds, and so on.
    This reveals how unsuited our society is for prolonged military adventures with unclear objectives….and that’s not a bad thing IMO. When Darius writes, “Americans have gotten use to comfort, and one of the biggest comforts is not having to face death very often” I have to ask if he means that to be a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t think we should have to face death very often, at least not the death of young men from bullets and IEDs and Americans should vote against anyone who wants to make ‘facing violent death’ more common or more comfortable.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Mumon, wow, you sure showed us. Your intellectually stimulating, substantive comment made me rethink all my beliefs.
    Then again, from your other comment above, it appears that substance is not your specialty.

  • The One

    Most people support the troops, but somewhere inside they realize the gov’t is corrupt. Why would I ever join a military in a country when wars no longer need Congressional approval? Forget taxation without representation, joining the military means being send off to death without representation. I note Ron Paul who wanted to return to having Congress approve wars (Constitution anyone) got more military votes then war hero McCain.

  • smmtheory

    My son will be told of the dangers involved in fighting for man’s ambitions and not God’s.

    Perhaps you would care to prove that it was not God’s will?

  • ucfengr

    When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail. That seems to be the case for Mike Toreno, mumon, Boonton, et. al. where every problem with the military is the fault of Chimpy McHitlerburton and His Evil Cabal. Indifference to the military did not originate with the Iraq war (I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe’s recruiting experience didn’t pre-date Iraq), in fact it is pretty much the norm, and not just in the US. Being a common soldier (as opposed to an officer) has never been seen has a high calling, in fact most were viewed as one step above criminals, because in fact, many were. While that may not be the reality now, the perception still lingers in the background. In other words, move along folks, nothing to see here.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually the military has been quietly lowering standards and judges have been offering “join the army” as an alternative to a criminal sentence. That is directly linked to the massive strain inflicted on the military by Bush. I’m sorry ucfengr but “I’ve heard people say Bush is a failed leader a billion gazillion times now and I’m bored of hearing it” does not make Bush any less a failure.
    Still, I mostly agreed with you. The common soldier was not seen as a high calling and the military had to either use the draft or generous pay to fill their ranks and that pre-dated Bush’s arrival on the scene. I’m not sure who you’re fighting, methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • Marvin the Martian

    Get that racist dishonest demagogue outa our consciousness.
    More liberal projectionism I see.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Boonton, et al., when you say that Bush is a failed leader, it would certainly be advisable to proffer that opinion with a healthy dose of humility, wouldn’t it?
    When I think of the most divisive, unpopular president in the history of the United States–as measured by the THEN-HELD perceptions of the American public–I do not think of our current president; I think of Abraham Lincoln. Now, he’s considered a hero and rightfully so. Let history be the judge of the legacy of President Bush. And let us not demonize or vilify our president in the meantime.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Actually, boonton, the strain on the military stems from Clinton cutting it so much during his years as president.

  • oclarki

    The amount of outrage this post has generated among the usual suspects is proof that Samuel Johnson was right: “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.”
    Joe and I served our country. What’s your excuse Mike Toreno, Mumon and Boonton?

  • ucfengr

    I’m sorry ucfengr but “I’ve heard people say Bush is a failed leader a billion gazillion times now and I’m bored of hearing it” does not make Bush any less a failure.
    Neither does blaming him for problems that pre-exist his tenure. Indifference to military service is something that dates back to long before either Bush was President.
    Still, I mostly agreed with you. The common soldier was not seen as a high calling and the military had to either use the draft or generous pay to fill their ranks and that pre-dated Bush’s arrival on the scene.
    Well, gee, why not just say that? Instead you’ve put yourself in the position of arguing that indifference to military service pre-dates George W. Bush, but it’s still his fault, dammit, because I’ll be damned if I’ll ever agree with that damn ucfengr. Dammit.

  • ucfengr

    Actually, boonton, the strain on the military stems from Clinton cutting it so much during his years as president.
    But Bush would have had a pretty easy time expanding it in the wake of 9/11. At the least he should have proposed it, but he didn’t. Clinton made a mistake cutting the military, but Bush compounded the mistake by not trying to expand it, so he needs to take his share of the blame for this.

  • oclarki

    ucfengr,
    I agree, if a democrat had been in office and fought two wars without significantly increasing the size of our military republicans would have rightly pitched a fit. Bush has no excuse.
    I love the Army as an organization and for what it represents. I hate that we have ground it down and worn out the NCOs and young officers that make it the finest army on the planet. But were the mindless 20%ers aren’t we?

  • giddyyup

    Actually, boonton, the strain on the military stems from Clinton cutting it so much during his years as president.
    Its so tiring hearing the “its Clinton’s fault” excuse. Did Clinton sent the military to war in Iraq? No. Has Clinton had any say over the military budget the past 7 years? No. And should one care what the active military actually thinks about the state of the military, here’s a link to a poll compiling their thoughts: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/images/mi-index/MI-2008-data.pdf
    Nutshell: 60% of active military think the military is weaker than five years ago, major causes (1) civilian oversight (2) iraq/afghan wars (3) deployment rotations.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Daniel
    When I think of the most divisive, unpopular president in the history of the United States–as measured by the THEN-HELD perceptions of the American public–I do not think of our current president; I think of Abraham Lincoln.
    Bush is no Lincoln. If it takes you 150 years to see that then I feel bad for you. The rest of us are much quicker studies.
    Darius
    Actually, boonton, the strain on the military stems from Clinton cutting it so much during his years as president.
    from http://www.gpoaccess.gov/eop/tables08.html
    Dept of Defense 1980-2000
    Billions
    130.9 1980
    153.9
    180.7
    204.4
    220.9
    245.1 1985
    265.4
    273.9
    281.9 1988
    294.8
    289.7
    262.3
    286.8 1992
    278.5
    268.6
    259.4
    253.1 1996
    258.3
    255.8
    261.2
    281.1 2000
    And as a % of GDP
    4.9 1980
    5.2
    5.7
    6.1
    5.9
    6.1 1985
    6.2
    6.1
    5.8
    5.6
    5.2 1990
    4.6
    4.8 1992
    4.4
    4.0
    3.7 1995
    3.5
    3.3
    3.1
    3.0 1999
    3.0 2000
    I’ll let someone adjust the top figure for inflation but it’s clear while the military budget was cut in the 1990′s the real cuts were not that dramatic. The dramatic cuts came as a % of GDP but that is a moving target. You can have a stable military budget that shrinks as a % of GDP if you have rapid economic growth. Likewise falling military budget can still increase as a % of GDP if your economy is faltering.
    In reality a Cold War defense budget should look very different from a post 9/11 one. Somehow I suspect if Clinton’s budgets were about $10B per year higher (putting them in line with Bush I and Bush II’s pre-9/11 budget), a lot of that extra money would have ended up shuttling nuclear missles back and forth under the north pole, keeping tanks in Germany clean and freshly painted and providing dental work for people manning missle silos in Iowa. If you don’t think so then you have a faith in gov’t spending that would make even Obama blush.
    oclarki
    Joe and I served our country. What’s your excuse Mike Toreno, Mumon and Boonton?
    I confess, Rush Limbaugh was a poor role model for me in my misspent youth. If only Al Gore had invented the internet a few years earlier I might have gotten to know you and Joe!
    ucfengr
    But Bush would have had a pretty easy time expanding it in the wake of 9/11. At the least he should have proposed it, but he didn’t. Clinton made a mistake cutting the military, but Bush compounded the mistake by not trying to expand it, so he needs to take his share of the blame for this.
    Hmmmm, let’s look at the post 2000 DoD budget:
    281.1 2000
    290.2
    331.9
    387.2
    436.5
    474.1
    499.3
    529.8
    583.1
    651.2 2009 (estimate)
    And as a % of GDP
    3.0
    3.0
    3.4
    3.7
    4.0
    4.0
    4.0
    4.0
    4.2
    4.5 2009 (estimate)
    It looks like it nearly doubled (give or take inflation). While Bush might have expanded the military more rapidly and dodged some of the bad publicity of small towns holding fundraisers to buy body armour and stop losses that doesn’t alter the fact that a cost is a cost. 1.5% of our GDP is a huge amount to invest in a national building project in Iraq instead of actually fighting terrorism, looking at the rise of China as a new superpower, or the spread of nuclear bombs.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Now also might be a good time to remember Lawrence B. Lindsey. He was the guy who Bush fired for daring to estimate that the Iraq war might cost closer to $200B rather than $50B.

  • ucfengr

    It looks like it nearly doubled (give or take inflation).
    As usual, you missed the point. The military is the same size as it was prior to 9/11. The increased DoD budgets have gone largely to replacing and refurbishing worn-out equipment caused largely by the “procurement holiday” during the Clinton administration and to increased OPTEMPO.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Boonton, you seem to have just proven my point. Clinton drastically cut the budget during his “reign.”

  • oclarki

    Military procurement is broken. Our front line fighters are 30 years old. They are falling apart in the sky. However they are being replaced by systems that cost an order of magnitude more. The net result is while we are spending more, we have fewer planes in the inventory. No matter how much focus is on Iraq right now, we have to plan for the fact that within 20 years we will be involved in a shooting war with China. We can afford to turn our back on Iraq, we cannot afford the same with China. Losing an engagement with China will ensure our children grow up in a wrld where America’s status is weak and our future grim. So we need both an increase in the raw numbers of troops to maintain our prescence in Iraq, but we must still spend the neccessary amount to maintain our air and naval dominance over China for the future.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    giddyyup, you listed the reasons in reverse order. The main reason that some military personnel think we’re weaker is the troop deployments and rotations.
    Looking more closely at the numbers, we find that 20% of the military believes that the current pace of troop deployments has weakened us. Another 20% think we’re STRONGER because of all the men and women who now have battle experience due to the wars in the Middle East. 12% think we’re weaker because of those wars.
    One point I would like to make though… any time we have a significant war, we’re obviously going to be weakened militarily. For example, we were more weak and more vulnerable to attack during WWII than just before it. It’s the nature of the beast, we only have enough resources to fight so many wars.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    As long as we’re looking at that survey, let’s look down a few pages.
    Regarding confidence in various government institutions, the highest confidence is in the President and the Defense Department. The lowest… Congress by a mile.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Boonton, you seem to have just proven my point. Clinton drastically cut the budget during his “reign.”
    The lowest it ever got was $262.3B from $286.8 in 1992. In contrast, in 1986 it was $265.4B. A period when we were still in the Cold War and Reagan supposedly had ‘restored’ the military to greatness (I don’t want to go back anymore without doing an inflation adjustment).
    ucfengr
    As usual, you missed the point. The military is the same size as it was prior to 9/11. The increased DoD budgets have gone largely to replacing and refurbishing worn-out equipment caused largely by the “procurement holiday” during the
    Wow, what a holiday. In 2000 it was $281.1B. In 2001 it was $290.2B. Assuming afterwards the increases were war related we are talking about $10B here. I’d be curious to know what the Clinton number should have been? $300B? Higher than even during the Cold War?
    oclarki
    However they are being replaced by systems that cost an order of magnitude more. The net result is while we are spending more, we have fewer planes in the inventory.
    There’s Rumsefield for you. Remember his idea was that wars could be won with tech instead of boots on the ground. That’s the real reason the actual size of the military wasn’t increased during Bush’s first term. Actual occupation and soldiers walking down streets was seen as so WWIIish.
    I disagree that a shooting war with China is inevitable. However the fact remains that Iraq has been a huge drain of resources on us leaving us with a lot less to deal with everything else both military and otherwise. Ucfengr’s solution would have been for a massive manpower increase during Bush’s first term. All that would have done is alleviate some of the stress now. That doesn’t alter the fact that a massive cost is a massive cost.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Boonton,
    Nice red herring but I’ll pass, thanks. :o)
    I didn’t say Bush was Lincoln. I said that Lincoln was probably the most divisive president in our nation’s history. And now he’s considered a hero. Bush may or may not be considered a hero 150 years from now, but that wasn’t my point. But you were just yanking my chain, right? :o)

  • ucfengr

    Boonton, do you argue just to argue? Which is it? Is the military under “a massive strain” or do they have so much money they could buy every soldier a solid gold M-16? Make up your freaking mind.

  • giddyyup

    “The most cited reason that the vast majority of military personnel think we’re weaker is the troop deployments and rotations.”
    FYP, and, this is Clinton’s fault how?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    oclarki :
    Read Catch-22.
    Marvin the Martian:
    Funny how she wrote a defense of internment, but avoided a defense of the use of the “water cure” in the Philippines when the US used it.
    ucfengr :
    Wanna really cure avoidance of military service as a career? Really?
    Don’t have wars that:
    a) Anyone who’s read popular military science (e.g., Harry Summers) could tell you is a stupid stupid waste of human lives.
    b) That are economic boons to a small circle of friends of people high in the government, but wind up killing and maiming and driving insane hundreds of thousands.
    c) Wind up with wounded veterans that are screwed and nickled and dimed.
    d) Defend some cockamamie notion of somebody’s “necessary empire.”
    e) or are combinations of all of the above. Like we have now.
    Those are the real reasons why folks aren’t lining up to join, and I’m sure those factors played a part in Joe Carter’s decision to find a new career, regardless of what he says.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Boonton, do you argue just to argue? Which is it? Is the military under “a massive strain” or do they have so much money they could buy every soldier a solid gold M-16? Make up your freaking mind.
    Sadly both.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Boonton, you’re still missing my point. Look at the numbers… during the Reagan years, the budget numbers were going up, so thus he was increasing the military. During the Clinton years, the numbers were going down, thus he was cutting the military.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Neither of those facts:
    1. Support the use of the word ‘drastic’ in your original post.
    2. Support the assertion that the military is strained today because of Clinton cuts. None of the pressure on soldiers in Iraq would be alleviated by additional missle silos in the midwest or subs under the north pole.

  • ucfengr

    Sadly both.
    Okay, you win; the military is both massively over-funded and stretched to its breaking point and it’s all Bush’s fault. Glad we could have this discussion.
    There’s Rumsefield for you. Remember his idea was that wars could be won with tech instead of boots on the ground. That’s the real reason the actual size of the military wasn’t increased during Bush’s first term.
    No, that really wasn’t his idea. When Rumsfeld came into office, he had a problem, he inherited a military where the average age of much of the equipment was greater than the average age of the soldiers using it because under Clinton, new equipment wasn’t bought (the “procuremnt holiday”). So he had to try to figure out a way to re-capitalize the military with what was projected to be relatively flat defense budgets. Then 9/11 hit, and defense budgets increased, but so did optempo (operational tempo) which meant that equipment was being used significantly more. The result of this was that dollars that could have gone into the development of new systems went into maintaining old systems. As systems age, they require more maintenance, so you enter a downward spiral in which you are spending more and more money to maintain old equipment, that you need to fight the war, rather than investing in new equipment to plan for future threats. Again, Bush dropped the ball, because he in essence tried to fight a war, without a war-time defense budget, at a time where much of the military’s equipment was near the end of or past its projected life cycle. He tried to fight a war on the cheap, and it bit him in the behind, but the problem didn’t originate with him and it wouldn’t have been very different if Gore had won. I know that most folks in here have a short memory, but in 2002 support for the war in Iraq was pretty universal. Gore probably would have followed a similar path, and run into the same problems.

  • ucfengr

    None of the pressure on soldiers in Iraq would be alleviated by additional missle silos in the midwest or subs under the north pole.
    I am starting to wonder if I am not wasting my time here. It wasn’t missile silos and subs that Clinton didn’t buy, it was new aircraft tankers, Tomahawk missiles, tactical fighters, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles that didn’t get bought.

  • Jimmy Dean

    The U.S. military does not serve the American people, it serves the American government. Two very different entities. If the U.S. military was actually fighting to protect America, more probably would serve. But getting blown up in Iraq is not protecting America. Iraq was no threat to this country and it was about as unjust of a war as you can get.
    Put the U.S. military on the southern border and stop the invasion of illegals. THAT would actually protect Americans. 3,000 people died during the 9/11 attacks. But since 2001, it is illegal aliens killing and attacking Americans in our own country EVERY SINGLE DAY, not terrorists! Through crime and drunk-driving accidents, you have more to fear from an illegal than a terrorist. Of course, sealing the borders and refusing to give visas to those from terrorist supporting nations would do a better job keeping out terrorists than launching a war halfway around the world that we can’t afford does. Plus, 4,000 American servicemen would still be alive.

  • jd

    ucfengr writes:
    Boonton, do you argue just to argue? Which is it? Is the military under “a massive strain” or do they have so much money they could buy every soldier a solid gold M-16? Make up your freaking mind.
    He argues to, in his own words, be a “pin [prick] in a bubble factory.” ucfengr, why do you continue to encourage this guy to think he has anything of value to add to the conversation? He’s the guy at the party that no one wants to talk to because he thinks he can talk to everyone about everything with more knowledge than anyone. OF COURSE, HE ARGUES JUST TO ARGUE. He writes more here than Joe Carter. He has given up his day job to comment on evangelical outpost.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    He tried to fight a war on the cheap, and it bit him in the behind, but the problem didn’t originate with him and it wouldn’t have been very different if Gore had won. I know that most folks in here have a short memory, but in 2002 support for the war in Iraq was pretty universal
    It was ‘universal’ after the Bush administration decided to sell it as part of the war on terror. It was by no means obvious on 9/12 that the next stop was Iraq… IF you factor the Iraq operations out of the cost of the war the budget numbers probably would improve dramatically.
    This is kind of funny. The last refuge of Bush supporters here has been to hope that in 150 years Bush will seem like a Lincoln. Supposedly because the Iraq War will seem a lot more intelligent then than it does now. Well if the Iraq War was going to happen anyway then what, pray tell, is Bush going to seem so great for doing? Did we overlook Gonzolez as the centuries greatest legal mind or something?
    Jimmy Dean
    Put the U.S. military on the southern border and stop the invasion of illegals. THAT would actually protect Americans. 3,000 people died during the 9/11 attacks. But since 2001, it is illegal aliens killing and attacking Americans in our own country EVERY SINGLE DAY, not terrorists! Through crime and drunk-driving accidents, you have more to fear from an illegal than a terrorist.
    Ahhh but more Americans die every day from other Americans than from illegals or terrorists so why not have the military on the highways shooting all drunk drivers! While we are at it they can also take out those cars with those new headlights that seem to blind everyone on the opposite side of the street.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Mike,
    Instead, he invented a false requirement for citizens, namely, that it is necessary for someone to sign up for the military in order to support the troops, and that it is not possible to support our troops without participating in the mission they are undertaking.
    There were two parts to Joe’s essay today.
    The first part was a brief set-up, where he mentioned Michelle Malkin’s documenting the “hot war” against military recruiters. This “hot war” consists of anti-war activists trying to impede the progress of the war by hampering the recruitment of new troops.
    Joe expressed agreement with Michelle that this hot war was a bad thing, but then pointed out what he considers a much more vital, pressing matter: the “cold war” of indifference towards (actually, outright avoidance of) military recruitment by the large majority of Americans, including many who are either for or against the war.
    So the requirement or duty that Joe is referring to is not that all of us should join the military, but that we should actively support efforts to recruit for the military, even if we don’t sign up for military service ourselves.
    And “requirement” is not the right word here, of course. A draft would be a requirement. What Joe is urging is an internal decision on the part of a citizen to recognize his/her duty.
    So according to Joe, if someone believes (as a large majority of Americans do believe) that the Iraq war has been and continues to be a disaster for America and a waste of life and resources, that doesn’t matter; in order to support our troops, an American is required to participate in this disaster. That is, he or she is required to put aside his or her own judgment about the wisdom of the policy and participate in carrying it out.
    You raise a very interesting and important question.
    Most people would concede that supporters of the war should support the military and everything that entails, such as spending for veterans’ benefits and encouraging military recruitment.
    But what should the anti-war people do? And what should people who have no strong opinion either way do?
    Your answers and mine are very different. I think opposition to a war does not free a person from supporting the military. I can see why you disagree, of course, and if we were living in Nazi Germany, I would agree with your position instead. But we don’t, and I don’t.
    Get all the war supporters now eating Cheetohs in their parents’ basement to sign up…
    I agree with you that the military is understaffed, but recruitment shouldn’t be limited to pro-war bloggers. Neutral and anti-war partisans should be encouraged to enlist as well.
    … and there will be occasion for Code Pink to commit further dastardly acts such as printing flyers and waving signs.
    Dissent is patriotic, and the Code Pink activists don’t strike me as dastardly people.
    Yet words and ideas have consequences, and if Code Pink’s actions are hurting us and helping Al Qaeda in Iraq, then the consequences of their actions are ultimately evil.
    That doesn’t mean they personally are evil — they certainly are not. But they are sorely misguided, and it’s a shame that they dont take a hard, cold look at what they are doing.
    Code Pink’s dissent, however noble or patriotic their intentions might be, is unfortunately channeled at the wrong target. Which is a nice way of saying they are clueless moonbats, God bless them ;)

  • Mike Toreno

    ucfengr, your dishonesty and stupidity blaze forth once again in your argument that “indifference to the military” is a problem that “didn’t begin with the Iraq war”. “Indifference to the military” is not a problem, it is a false issue that Joe made up. There is not any general obligation for people to serve in the military if they don’t think it’s the right choice for them, or to encourage their children to serve if they don’t think it’s the right choice for their children. If the government wants people to serve in the military, let it spread the burden among the general population by increasing pay and benefits, and let it manage its affairs so that the burden on those who serve is not excessive.
    The problems with the military stem from the fact it is being asked to undertake a mission that does not contribute to the security of America. The burden on the military is therefore one that is beyond its capacity to carry. It is unable to attract sufficient recruits because the way that the military is structured, the burdens are borne disproportionately by those who serve. Under normal circumstances, patriotism leads people to serve, but people are less willing to serve in an enterprise that is harming America, as the Iraq war is now.
    In addition, the Bush administration has broken faith with the soldiers, by imposing extended and repetitive tours of duty on them. The normal pledge that the government makes to the military is that the burden placed upon them will not be excessive, that they will be given enough time at home and off duty that they can manage their lives. The extended tours of duty are disrupting the lives of those who serve, breaking marriages and splitting families. The burden on the soldiers is therefore greater than normal, making people even less willing to undertake it.

  • Mike Toreno

    But Matthew, the Code Pink protestors aren’t harming America and they aren’t helping al Qaeda in Iraq (or al Qaeda out of Iraq – that is, the real al Qaeda). Naturally, those who support the goals of Code Pink are obligated to join in their activities, but what of those who are neutral, or opposed to the goals of Code Pink?
    I think opposition to a protest does not relieve a person of the obligation of supporting the protestors. I can see why you disagree, of course, and if we were living in Shangri-la, I would agree with your position instead. But we aren’t, and I don’t.
    Naturally, it is your right to dissent from Code Pink’s goals and activities. But words have consequences, and if your opposition to Code Pink is are hurting us and helping Osama bin Laden, then the consequences of your actions are ultimately evil.
    That doesn’t mean you personally are evil you may be, you may not be. But you are sorely misguided, and it’s a shame that you don’t take a hard, cold look at what you are doing.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Mike,
    I would eagerly volunteer to engage a Code Pink activist in a debate. You could serve as the judge.
    My only concern is that the activist might get so upset as to become physically ill.
    I do agree with you, however, that if I am wrong, then I am likely guilty of evil consequences myself. That is the paradox of taking moral action in an uncertain world.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I converted the numbers to constant 1984 dollars. Here is how military spending breaks down:
    $107.86 **** 1980
    $139.90
    $174.38
    $203.58
    $229.52
    $263.73
    $290.88
    $311.15
    $333.49
    $365.55
    $378.64 ***** 1990
    $357.25
    $402.38
    $402.43
    $398.07
    $395.33
    $397.11 **** 1996
    $414.57
    $416.95
    $435.16
    $484.05 **** 2001
    $513.94
    $597.02
    $712.29
    $824.55
    $925.92
    $1,006.59
    $1,098.49 **** 2007
    $1,234.38
    $1,419.90
    Here’s some averages:
    1980-1992 the average was $273.72B. I assume this would have been the level necessary to have maintained existing equipment & tech. development without any major conflict going on (treating Gulf War I as a bit of a blip).
    1993-2000 the average was $417.96B. There was a bit of a dip, in 1992 the budget was $402.38 and by 1995 it slipped to $395.33 but 1988 it was $333.49.
    2001-2009 the average was $925.90B Again over a doubling of the defense budget.
    Ucfengr might be correct about aging equipment but there’s little evidence the problem is lack of funding. In real terms funding has been going straight up even through the Clinton years. In 2001 Bush was already spending enough money to make up for any ‘procurement vacation’ and in order to fight a short war and long occupation he more than doubled the budget. In real terms we are on track to spending 14 times more than in 1980 when supposedly we were fighting the second largest superpower ever to walk the earth.

  • Rob

    “Yes, Americans support our troops and respect their service. We just don’t want our own sons and daughters to be the ones to serve.”
    No paradox here, folks. I support my janitorial staff and respect their service, but I don’t want my kids to be janitors. Of course, soldiers face more risk and hardship than janitors and don’t earn much more money, but they do receive good benefits and the potential for very early retirement with a nice pension. Most military guys my age are retired, whereas I’ll be working for 17 more years.
    Any position in which one serves others is honorable. When one’s service entails great risk and personal hardship, one’s service is especially honorable.
    As a parent, I want my children to make use of their considerable abilities. I don’t see them self-actualizing in the military.
    To be honest, I am horrified that we humans need armies at this point in our development as a species. It is awful enough that we devote so much human and material resources to the business of blowing each other up. The only thing that could make it worse would be for my kids to be part of it.
    I suppose I am also a bit resentful that my tax dollars and the children of my fellow citizens are being so freely expended in what I have always seen and continue to see as a stupid war.
    Still, if the nation’s situation were so dire that the service of every able-bodied adult was critical, I would be proud if my children would put my concerns aside and embrace their patriotic duty.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton,
    You’re looking through the wrong end of your telescope. You’re supposed to scale the budget numbers after 1984 down, not up.

  • JohnW

    If a young man or woman is recruited into the military at this time, they will most likely sent Iraq. This, along with the deceptive practices of recruiters and the fact they prey on people with limited options, is reason enough to protest recruitment centers.
    Saying you “support the troops” sounds like honorable patriotic thing to do, but it seems to imply that you also support a war and occupation built on lies.

  • ucfengr

    I converted the numbers to constant 1984 dollars. Here is how military spending breaks down:
    I think you’ve made a math error, Boonton. Drawing numbers from the 2006 Green Book (the DoD Comptroller’s Official Budget Book) in constant 2006 dollars the 1990-2004 Defense Budget is as follows (from Table 6-8)
    1990–$439B
    1991–$399B
    1992–$397B
    1993–$369B
    1994–$339B
    1995–$338B
    1996–$329B
    1997–$326B
    1998–$319B
    1999–$336B
    2000–$341B
    2001–$354B
    2002–$384B
    2003–$473B
    2004–$495B
    That’s quite a bit different from your numbers and I think validates my point.

  • ucfengr

    ucfengr, your dishonesty and stupidity blaze forth once again in your argument that “indifference to the military” is a problem that “didn’t begin with the Iraq war”. “Indifference to the military” is not a problem, it is a false issue that Joe made up. There is not any general obligation for people to serve in the military if they don’t think it’s the right choice for them, or to encourage their children to serve if they don’t think it’s the right choice for their children. If the government wants people to serve in the military, let it spread the burden among the general population by increasing pay and benefits, and let it manage its affairs so that the burden on those who serve is not excessive.
    Wow, talk about dishonesty and/or stupidity, sheesh. I make an innocuous comment pointing out that indifference to military service didn’t start with Bush or Iraq and you blow that up into a deranged rant about how I think people have “a general obligation..to serve in the military”. Wow, that’s a pretty big leap. Might I suggest you lay off the hallucinogenic drugs or at least cut back on your caffeine intake.

  • ucfengr

    Most military guys my age are retired, whereas I’ll be working for 17 more years
    Assuming retirement at age 65, that makes you somewhere in your mid-late 40′s; as someone who works with a lot of military folks, let me assure that military retirement is not enough to retire on. Most of these guys have started second or even third careers, and will be working as long as you will, many because they want to, but nearly all because they have to. A 20 year retirement translates to roughly 40% of your base pay (base pay makes up about half of an active duty soldier’s pay).

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I think you’ve made a math error, Boonton.
    I did, I multiplied when I should have divided. I thought I posted a correction and it got caught in the spam filter, since I don’t see it yet I’ll repost it after this one:

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Thanks Matt, I fixed the formula in my Excel sheet and it looks like the story is now almost back to where we began. Also it looks like my alarm at seeing our spending 14x higher than in 1980 was likewise wrong.
    $158.86 **** 1980
    $169.31
    $187.25
    $205.22
    $212.61
    $227.79
    $242.15
    $241.11
    $238.29
    $237.74
    $221.65 **** 1990
    $192.58
    $204.42
    $192.73
    $181.24
    $170.21
    $161.31
    $160.93
    $156.93
    $156.78
    $163.24 ****** 2000
    $163.86
    $184.51
    $210.48
    $231.07
    $242.75
    $247.67
    $255.52
    $275.45
    $298.66 ****** 2009 (est)
    Average from 1980-1992 $210.69
    Average from 1993-2000 $167.92
    Average from 2001-2009 $234.44
    We still nearly doubled our spending (going from 163 in 2000 to nearly 300 in 2009 and counting). Now that thanks to Matt the numbers seem finally right it’s interesting to look at the % change each year:
    6.58% ***** 1981
    10.60%
    9.59%
    3.60%
    7.14%
    6.31%
    -0.43%
    -1.17%
    -0.23%
    -6.77% ***** 1990
    -13.11% ***** 1991
    6.15%
    -5.72%
    -5.96%
    -6.09%
    -5.23%
    -0.23%
    -2.49%
    -0.10%
    4.12%
    0.38%
    12.60% ******* 2002
    14.07%
    9.78%
    5.05%
    2.02%
    3.17%
    7.80%
    8.43%
    The most dramatic cuts came, it seems, under Bush. with 1992 oddly bucking the trend (then again that was an election year and gov’t spending often goes up during election years). The trend looks like it continued for the first few years of Clinton and then tappered off and reversed.
    No more numbers for me tonight. Thanks to Matthew for catching my error

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Thanks Matt, I fixed the formula in my Excel sheet and it looks like the story is now almost back to where we began. Also it looks like my alarm at seeing our spending 14x higher than in 1980 was likewise wrong.
    $158.86 **** 1980
    $169.31
    $187.25
    $205.22
    $212.61
    $227.79
    $242.15
    $241.11
    $238.29
    $237.74
    $221.65 **** 1990
    $192.58
    $204.42
    $192.73
    $181.24
    $170.21
    $161.31
    $160.93
    $156.93
    $156.78
    $163.24 ****** 2000
    $163.86
    $184.51
    $210.48
    $231.07
    $242.75
    $247.67
    $255.52
    $275.45
    $298.66 ****** 2009 (est)
    Average from 1980-1992 $210.69
    Average from 1993-2000 $167.92
    Average from 2001-2009 $234.44
    We still nearly doubled our spending (going from 163 in 2000 to nearly 300 in 2009 and counting). Now that thanks to Matt the numbers seem finally right it’s interesting to look at the % change each year:

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Thanks Matt, I fixed the formula in my Excel sheet and it looks like the story is now almost back to where we began. Also it looks like my alarm at seeing our spending 14x higher than in 1980 was likewise wrong.
    $158.86 **** 1980
    $169.31
    $187.25
    $205.22
    $212.61
    $227.79
    $242.15
    $241.11
    $238.29
    $237.74
    $221.65 **** 1990
    $192.58
    $204.42
    $192.73
    $181.24
    $170.21
    $161.31
    $160.93
    $156.93
    $156.78
    $163.24 ****** 2000
    $163.86
    $184.51
    $210.48
    $231.07
    $242.75
    $247.67
    $255.52
    $275.45
    $298.66 ****** 2009 (est)

  • ucfengr

    Just to expand on my point about the “procurement holiday”, From 1990 to 2000, in real dollars, the procurement budget (budget used to buy planes, tanks, ships, etc.) went from $107B to $54B (from the same source), essentially being cut in half. At the same time, O&M (operations and maintenance, i.e. fuel, spare parts, etc) budget went from $135B to $129B. So the military had less dollars to operate and maintain an aging fleet. As aircraft, tanks, etc. get older, maintenance costs go up (think of the difference between a 15k service for your car and a 100k one), so know you see what I am talking about when I speak of the downward spiral Rumsfeld inherited.

  • http://elusivewapiti.blogspot.com Elusive Wapiti

    “We are more than willing to leave our country’s defense to the “military types” and lower classes who need the employment.”
    This is absolutely true, and I don’t have any real ideas as to how to correct it shy of a radical reformation in policy. An all-volunteer force means that only those who want to be, and those who have to be (for economic or other reasons), are servicemembers. The ruling monied elites, conspicuously, are nowhere to be found. It is their involvement that is needed; but they are leaving military service to those who occupy the lower strata of society.
    I most definitely don’t agree with Chollie Rangel’s solution to this problem by attempting to draft everyone into support of the state. This is worse than what we have right now.
    Perhaps we should take a page from Heinlein and make military service a condition to bestow citizenship.
    Mumon wrote:
    “Sorry, but we support our troops by wanting the commander in chief brought to justice for the laws he has broken. We support our troops by not wanting them to get dead in boondoggles whose only purpose is to bring booty for oil companies and Halliburton and KBR.”
    Perhaps you should read this article in Monday’s Washington Times and decide if actions such as those you describe are really consistent with “supporting the troops”.
    Boonton wrote:
    “We have a President who essentially asked most of us to ‘contribute’ to the war by going shopping and extending his tax cuts.”
    Right. I am still astonished at how, 5 years hence, our country is still not mobilized for war. How can this country be expected to take the fight seriously if we’re on neither a fiscal or moral war footing?
    “Now also might be a good time to remember Lawrence B. Lindsey. He was the guy who Bush fired for daring to estimate that the Iraq war might cost closer to $200B rather than $50B.”
    Don’t forget Shinseki who was canned for publicly disagreeing with Rumsfeld that the force in Iraq was undersized for the task.
    Finally, I agree with some here that rejection of a recruiter’s appetite for your children does not necessarily ipso facto indicate lack of support for the troops or hostility to the same. I would not be very receptive to a recruiter looking for my kids either, and I am very pro-military and respect recruiters for the difficult job they have these days.
    There are many other reasons why you wouldn’t want you children to go immediately to Iraq or Afghanistan (like JohnW correctly writes) to fight a war which a majority this country doesn’t really take seriously and doesn’t think we should be there.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Elusive Wapiti :
    Your link doesn’t work, and even if it did, I’d have to still comment that normal people don’t quote the Washington Times.
    It’s owned by Sung Myung Moon you know.
    You know who he is, right?
    Convicted felon.
    Thinks he’s Jesus Christ.
    Famous cult-leader.
    IOW:
    You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Elusive
    This is absolutely true, and I don’t have any real ideas as to how to correct it shy of a radical reformation in policy. An all-volunteer force means that only those who want to be, and those who have to be (for economic or other reasons), are servicemembers. The ruling monied elites, conspicuously, are nowhere to be found. It is their involvement that is needed; but they are leaving military service to those who occupy the lower strata of society.
    Should it be corrected? It’s never nice to put people down for doing their jobs but is a pealer working in the bowels of a ship’s kitchen doing a ‘upper class’ job simply because he is doing it in the military and not doing it in a french fry factory in Iowa? Yes he should get credit for being in the service and it should be recognized that he is putting his life in a degree of danger and should he perform a heroic act he should get all due credit for it. Nevertheless, as honorable as he is it doesn’t alter the fact he is in a ‘low class’ job that can and will often be filled by “lower classes who need the employment”.
    Contrast that with the ship’s captain or admiral who (hopefully) achieved his position with a high degree of education and extensive experience resulting in a well educated, well experienced leader. If we jump too much on the “everyone who serves is the greatest American hero” bandwagon we ignore the fact that like any other field there are careers of higher and lower prestige in the military and there needs to be.
    Perhaps you should read this article in Monday’s Washington Times and decide if actions such as those you describe are really consistent with “supporting the troops”.
    I couldn’t go to the link you are trying to reference but:
    1. The Washington Times is pretty untrustworthy as a newsbreaker.
    2. The left is not a monolith. People are responsible for their own actions. If some hippie somewhere spit on a solider the entire Democratic Party doesn’t have to apologize for him.
    Right. I am still astonished at how, 5 years hence, our country is still not mobilized for war. How can this country be expected to take the fight seriously if we’re on neither a fiscal or moral war footing?
    And maybe the problem is that Iraq is not the war we should be fighting. We’ve been ‘sold’ on it with the political equilivant of the subprime mortgages that are causing us so much trouble now. Our ‘teaser rate’ was “go shopping”, “now’s not the time for a tax hike”, “no attempt to reduce the use of oil”….now the teaser period is coming to an end and we are seeing high gas prices, inflation combining with a budding recession, a falling dollar and a financial crises/bailout every other week. Just like many subprime victims who would have never signed up if they knew their mortgage would jump a grand we wouldn’t have signed up for this if we knew the true cost.
    ucfengr
    so know you see what I am talking about when I speak of the downward spiral Rumsfeld inherited.
    My impression is, though, that Rumsfeld was also an advocate of using fewer troops and more tech. This wasn’t just a creative way to deal with a limited budget.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I suggest ucfengr respond to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumsfeld_Doctrine,
    The Rumsfeld Doctrine is/was not just a response to smaller defense budgets but an attempt to remake the US military into, essentially, a cheap form of nation building with limited ground forces using precision air strikes to accomplish what would have normally been done with massive ground forces in the past.
    The idea, IMO, is not entirely bad but the diaster was caused by pushing a good idea too far. Experienced people tried to object and tried to explain why it wouldn’t work in this case but they were essentially told to shut up or lose their job.

  • Mike Toreno

    ucfengr, if there is no general obligation to serve in the military (which there is not), then “indifference to the military” is not a “problem that preceded Bush,” because it’s not a problem at all. Some people wish to serve in the military and some don’t. You point to the lack of desire among some Americans to serve in the military, call this “indifference to the military,” and dishonestly portray it as a “problem” because you want to deflect attention away from Bush’s failings – for example, involving the U.S. in a war that doesn’t serve our interests, overburdening the soldiers, wasting money on contractors.
    It’s Bush who has damaged the military. It’s not Clinton and it’s not the population of America. It’s Bush. I understand that you don’t want to address that fact, but it is a fact nonetheless.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    The Washington Times is almost as untrustworthy as the New York Times.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Darius,
    You are wrong, the Wash Times is a crap newspaper whose only claim to fame is it’s ability to generate stories for the right wingosphere whose half-life (before debunking) is longer than the typical media/spin cycle.
    Mike Toreno
    I think Joe is just saying that he wishes Americans in general were so attracted to military service that the military wouldn’t need to resort to a draft or high benefits to attract recruits and there would be so many applicants that their biggest problem would be turning people away.
    This sentiment, I think, is not very conservative and doesn’t really fit much with a nation founded on liberty. The reason parents are excited by a call from a Harvard recruiter and not from an army recruiter is because the Harvard guy usually has a better deal. People, in other words, look out for their self interest. You don’t have to be an Ayn Randist to think that’s a good thing. Should parents put the interest of the state ahead of their kids? That sounds like something out of 1984 or Maoist China rather than America to me.

  • ucfengr

    My impression is, though, that Rumsfeld was also an advocate of using fewer troops and more tech. This wasn’t just a creative way to deal with a limited budget.
    Number one, your link doesn’t work. Number two, that is a simplification of the Rumsfeld Doctrine, which was really an implementation of the Revolution in Military Affairs, which is something a lot of countries are looking at. In essence it is a way of using technology to integrate all forces in a theater.
    It’s Bush who has damaged the military. It’s not Clinton and it’s not the population of America. It’s Bush. I understand that you don’t want to address that fact, but it is a fact nonetheless.
    Well, since I have spent the last 2 decades either in the military or working for the military, I suspect I have a little more insight than you on the matter. I hope you will forgive me for dismissing your rant as the ravings of a lunatic and not as something I need to address.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Boonton, are you saying you actually give credence to the New York Times, a thoroughly discredited rag? That is the newspaper that published national secrets (TWICE!) merely for political gain and tried to discredit McCain on a bogus charge of marital infidelity with no evidence.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    ucfengr, NO, it’s a fact because he says it’s a fact. Who needs evidence?
    And even when Boonton published evidence, it actually CONTRADICTED their “blame Bush” mantra.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Everybody,
    It doesn’t make any difference if somebody cites a particular news story in either the New York Times or the Washington Times. Either the story is true, or it’s not. The only way to determine a story’s correctness is to read it and fact-check it.
    Now both newspapers have a lot more vested in publishing accurate facts (for example: libel laws, their reputation for reliability) than anyone commenting on this thread.
    That doesn’t mean that they both don’t make a lot of mistakes – they do – but it does mean that it is a copout to assume a news article should be presumed false until proven true, especially if one hasn’t read it yet.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Number one, your link doesn’t work.
    I didn’t make a hyperlink, it’s just “Rumsfeld Doctrine” on Wikipedia.
    Darius
    Boonton, are you saying you actually give credence to the New York Times, a thoroughly discredited rag? That is the newspaper that published national secrets (TWICE!) merely for political gain and tried to discredit McCain on a bogus charge of marital infidelity with no evidence.
    Indeed, I take those negatives into account. Instead of the NYT being 100,000 times more credible than the Wash Times, it is only 99,998.
    Your attempt to defend the Wash Times is typical of many on the right. You’d rather try to shift the debate to another newspaper. I don’t blame you.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Number one, your link doesn’t work.
    I didn’t make a hyperlink, it’s just “Rumsfeld Doctrine” on Wikipedia.
    Darius
    Boonton, are you saying you actually give credence to the New York Times, a thoroughly discredited rag? That is the newspaper that published national secrets (TWICE!) merely for political gain and tried to discredit McCain on a bogus charge of marital infidelity with no evidence.
    Indeed, I take those negatives into account. Instead of the NYT being 100,000 times more credible than the Wash Times, it is only 99,998.
    Your attempt to defend the Wash Times is typical of many on the right. You’d rather try to shift the debate to another newspaper. I don’t blame you.

  • smmtheory

    Saying you “support the troops” sounds like honorable patriotic thing to do, but it seems to imply that you also support a war and occupation built on lies.

    For the umpteenth time, what were the lies, and where did they originate?

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Actually, I never read the magazine, and am I certainly not defending or criticizing it. I was just trying to make a joke that some on this thread are too daft to get I guess.

  • Marvin the Martian

    Your attempt to defend the Wash Times is typical of many on the right. You’d rather try to shift the debate to another newspaper. I don’t blame you.
    Your attempt to smear the Wash Times is typical of many on the left who can’t stand that a conservative leaning paper would dare try to impose itself upon the monopoly the far left currently enjoys in the print/broadcast media. Your assertation that the NY Times is infinitely more “credible” than the Times is patently absurd on its face. The NY Times is so obviously partisan in its reporting that its readership has diminished to such a large degree that only those on the far left consider it a “credible” source of news.
    I personally don’t read the either Times on a regular basis as I am familiar with the biases each paper brings.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually, I never read the magazine, and am I certainly not defending or criticizing it. I was just trying to make a joke that some on this thread are too daft to get I guess.
    The joke being the NY Times is as bad as the Wash Times? Blahahaha, he’s the next Chris Rock fellers, and you say him here on Joe’s blog first!
    Marvin
    Your assertation that the NY Times is infinitely more “credible” than the Times is patently absurd on its face. The NY Times is so obviously partisan in its reporting that its readership has diminished to such a large degree that only those on the far left consider it a “credible” source of news.
    See, when the NYT messes up it is actually newsworthy and people talk about it. The Wash. Times is only a step above the old National Enquirer (of “Space Alien endorses Clinton for President” fame), it’s failures are rarely noted.

  • Marvin the Martian

    See, when the NYT messes up it is actually newsworthy and people talk about it. The Wash. Times is only a step above the old National Enquirer (of “Space Alien endorses Clinton for President” fame), it’s failures are rarely noted.
    Ah…I see. You base credibility on the number of “mistakes” made. I base credibility on the ability to report without bias, which the NY Times as no ability to do, at all.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    On either front the Wash. Times fails compared to the NY Times. If conservatives really value an unbiased news source then they should create one. Instead they seem to pretend that simply screaming CNN or NYT magically elevates their outlets (Fox, Wash Times) to that level. It doesn’t.

  • Marvin the Martian

    If conservatives really value an unbiased news source then they should create one.
    You are joking, yes? You think that if we “created” an unbiased news source, that you all on the left would agree that it is infact unbiased?
    BTW, I never claimed that Fox News or the Wash Times was unbiased. I acknowledge thier right leaning tendencies. It would be a cold day in hell though before liberals would admit to the far left leaning tendencies of the NY Times, the Wash Post, MSNBC, CNN, LA Times and 90% of the other MSM outlets.

  • Mike Toreno

    ucfengr, you want to blame the “problems with the military” on Clinton, so you invent imaginary problems and ignore facts.
    First, it is important to realize that reducing military expenditures do not constitute damaging the military. The military is a tool, used to meet the needs of the country. It is not entitled to, and does not need, unlimited resources. Instead, the resources devoted to the military should be balanced with the mission it is given, and the foreign policy of the country should be managed so as to properly manage the burdens placed on the military. Clinton devoted enough resources to the military for it to carry out its mission. Bush expanded the demands placed on the military, but was unable to sufficiently increase the resources devoted to it because the demands placed on the military were not directed to the safety and welfare of the country. It was not politically possible, or economically sustainable, to increase military resources sufficiently to carry out a mission that did not benefit America, but harmed America, which is what the Iraq war is doing.
    Second, as you seem to have admitted, “indifference to the military” is not a problem. If the military finds it difficult to attract recruits, the country needs to examine what it is calling on soldiers to do, and what resources it is devoting to their support and welfare, and to reduce the burden and increase the support until it obtains enough recruits.
    The reason the military is not attracting enough recruits is that the burdens placed on soldiers by the policies of the Bush administration are not sustainable. The failure of recruiting is the result of deliberate choices made by the Bush administration.
    Your problem is that you work backward from your desired conclusion to facts which, if true, and reasoning which, if valid, would sustain your conclusion. This is the wrong way to approach the problem. The right way to approach the problem is to establish the facts and to use valid reasoning to determine what conclusions are demanded by these facts.
    Your claims of special insight are irrelevant if you do not engage in valid reasoning from known facts. You are arguing from authority, with yourself as the authority. But acceptance as an authority requires you, at the very least, to provide some evidence that you are not the stupidest person in the world, and you have not done this. Quite to the contrary, earlier, when you wanted to demonstrate that conservative policies do not cause degradation and squalor, you decided that you wanted the infant mortality rate in San Francisco to be greater than that in Alabama. All you managed to do was to prove that you were too stupid and illiterate to read a page of statistics.
    Any claim you make of special insight must be evaluated in the light of your known stupidity and illiteracy.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Mike Toreno:
    Clinton devoted enough resources to the military for it to carry out its mission. Bush expanded the demands placed on the military, but was unable to sufficiently increase the resources devoted to it because the demands placed on the military were not directed to the safety and welfare of the country. It was not politically possible, or economically sustainable, to increase military resources sufficiently to carry out a mission that did not benefit America, but harmed America, which is what the Iraq war is doing.
    Most of this is true, but I’d like to stipulate that the US is at present the most militarized country on earth, and for what?
    No other country is any where near us in our military capability; this has been true since the end of WWII.
    The US has traditionally used this as a massive badly-implemented form of Keynesian economics, because basically, since WWII (or Korea, if you will) there has been no country that posed a conventional military threat to the United States, unless you think the MAD doctrine wouldn’t work (and you’d have been wrong).
    So from perhaps Kennedy, at least, the US has sought to drastically outspend its strategic competitors for military items.
    But Bushco’s mismanagement of our military is something different entirely, and is one of the reasons why the military increasingly views itself as a Democratic Party institution rather than the repugnant party.
    Bush actually greatly harmed the military by “outsourcing” tons of work to for-profit contractors – a ridiculous “bidness” giveaway to his friends at Halliburton which was totally unnecessary, given the organization & logistics that were already present in the not-for-profit military.
    The effect on the morale of the troops who were formerly doing the same job as those from KBR et al., who were making 5- 10X what the troops were making is obvious.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Daniel Briggs:
    I missed this:
    You say that President Bush has broken laws; which ones?
    He broke:
    1. The FISA law. Even admitted it.
    2. The Geneva Conventions. Don’t give me any “the underlings did it” nonsense. He bears command responsibility for these acts in the same way Tojo did for the waterboarding that he authorized.
    3. He is part of a criminal conspiracy that kidnapped and tortured innocent people. (At least two, one of which is Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.)
    4. His “unitary executive” theory is a crime against the constitution.
    5. And finally, yes, he still did obtain his office under what can only be described as outrageous, and illegal circumstances, and despite the fact that the Supreme Court make that kangaroo court ruling, it’s still illegal, and Congress could still legally impeach and convict him for it. See: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010205/bugliosi
    6. Obstruction of justice (attorney firing cases).
    As noted above, Bush’s mismanagement of the military means it’s important to get him out of office, legally, as soon as possible.
    What I’ve written above are the crimes of Bush that have come off the top of my head. There’s others to be sure, that we aren’t aware of.

  • ucfengr

    First, it is important to realize that reducing military expenditures do not constitute damaging the military.
    Would reducing your income damage your lifestyle?
    It is not entitled to, and does not need, unlimited resources.
    I never claimed it did.
    Instead, the resources devoted to the military should be balanced with the mission it is given, and the foreign policy of the country should be managed so as to properly manage the burdens placed on the military. Clinton devoted enough resources to the military for it to carry out its mission.
    No, he didn’t. He drastically cut procurement funds, reduced operation and maintenance funds, cut the overall manpower strength while at the same time increasing operational tempo. The 1990′s was not a time of peace and tranquility. Clinton initiated operations in Somalia and Bosnia, while at the same time maintaining the Iraq “no fly” zone and occasionally initiating operations against Iraq, such as Operation Desert Fox. I, personally was on alert twice for Iraq during the Clinton administration. Clinton used up the military, and like all overgrown teenagers, left the mess for the adults to clean up.
    Bush expanded the demands placed on the military, but was unable to sufficiently increase the resources devoted to it because the demands placed on the military were not directed to the safety and welfare of the country.
    He never tried to sufficiently increase the strength of the military; that’s his mistake, but Clinton set him up by not replacing the forces he used up on his adventures.
    It was not politically possible, or economically sustainable, to increase military resources sufficiently to carry out a mission that did not benefit America, but harmed America, which is what the Iraq war is doing.
    Would you really like to try and make the case that Bosnia and Somalia were more in our interest than Iraq?
    Your problem is that you work backward from your desired conclusion to facts which, if true, and reasoning which, if valid, would sustain your conclusion.
    No, that’s your problem. You start with the premise that it’s all Bush’s fault and then ignore any evidence to the contrary and when that doesn’t work you devolve to calling people who disagree with you stupid and dishonest.
    Your claims of special insight are irrelevant if you do not engage in valid reasoning from known facts.
    I’ve provided quite a lot of data to support my position and links for verification, you on the other hand have provided no data, but you are way over your quota in arm flapping, chest beating, and name calling.

  • ucfengr

    I’ve provided quite a lot of data to support my position and links for verification, you on the other hand have provided no data, but you are way over your quota in arm flapping, chest beating, and name calling.
    Oh, and I forgot general “asshole-ness”.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Marvin
    BTW, I never claimed that Fox News or the Wash Times was unbiased. I acknowledge thier right leaning tendencies.
    I didn’t say the Wash Times was right leaning, I said it was a crap newspaper. True to form your response is to scream NYT, CNN, Wash Post etc. as if that magically makes WT any less crap.
    left who can’t stand that a conservative leaning paper would dare try to impose itself upon the monopoly the far left currently enjoys in the print/broadcast media
    Blah blah blah. They really blazed the way for the Wall Street Journal. And to think they honor Rosa Parks.

  • http://elusivewapiti.blogspot.com Elusive Wapiti

    Boonton wrote:
    “Should it be corrected?”
    Well, what do you think? Are you comfortable with only a portion of our society paying the bills? Are you comfortable with the same portion of society that doesn’t pay the bills ordering those who do into battle? As a lefty, isn’t your primary directive social justice?
    “People are responsible for their own actions. If some hippie somewhere spit on a solider the entire Democratic Party doesn’t have to apologize for him.”
    That would be true if the hippie were an isolated case; the Democrat party is chock full of those who behave like your expectorating hippie.
    “Just like many subprime victims who would have never signed up if they knew their mortgage would jump a grand we wouldn’t have signed up for this if we knew the true cost.”
    Baloney. Subprime “victims” knew exactly what they were getting into, as did the banks who loaned to those who were poor credit risks. And we as a nation knew that we were getting into a fight where the end was several years away. Can you predict what happens 10 years from now, or how high your bills will be then? It’s stupid to argue that something as fluid as warfare or statecraft is deterministic or predictable.
    “Indeed, I take those negatives into account. Instead of the NYT being 100,000 times more credible than the Wash Times, it is only 99,998.”
    Pffft. Your attempt to hold up the Gray Lady as an example of unbiased journalism is laughable. Besides, you are setting up a straw man. It wasn’t Moon’s WashTimes that is the source of the study in question, it is some of the academics at Harvard. WashTimes merely reported on it.

  • Mike Toreno

    ucfengr, once again you resort to dishonest sleights of hand. It’s true that there were military operations during the Clinton administration. It’s true that the military was not completely idle. But the fact that the military was not completely idle does not mean that Clinton “used it up”.
    The reason that Bush does not have a sufficient military to sustain the burden imposed by the Iraq war obviously does not result from Clinton’s “adventures.” Clinton did not subject the military to a grinding, interminable, unsustainable mission.
    In addition, it is now 2008. The Clinton administration ended in January of 2001. The state of the military is worse than it was when Clinton was president, and it is getting progressively worse. This cannot be the result of Clinton’s actions because he is not president and has not been president for 7 years. If Bush were doing a better job than Clinton, he would have improved the state of the military from what it was when Clinton was president, but this is not happening.
    Yes, of course I’ll argue that the actions in Bosnia and Somalia were more in our interest than Iraq. The Bosnia action was a total success, accomplished without a single American combat death. The Somalia action was cut short by Republican Congressional opposition before it had a chance to succeed, and therefore was not a success, but it did not result in the deaths of 4000 Americans, grind down our military, and wreck our economy, as the Iraq war has done.
    I have not ignored the “evidence” that you have supposedly put forward. The only evidence you have put forward is irrelevant. As I said, there is not any obligation for Americans to be enthusiastic about joining the military if that doesn’t happen to be the way they feel, so any “indifference to the military” is irrelevant.
    The data you put forward about decreases in expenditure are likewise irrelevant, because military expenditures should be based on the national security needs of the United States, not some notion that a larger and larger military is somehow desirable as a goal in itself, or that the military somehow “deserves” not to have its “income” reduced, or that military expenditures should be used as a welfare program for residents of conservative states.
    My claim that Bush, who has been president for the last 7 years, is responsible for the ongoing deterioration of our military, does not result from some fixed notion that this cannot be Clinton’s fault. My claim is based on the inherent qualities of space and time. Bush is president NOW. Clinton was president OVER SEVEN YEARS AGO. Your claim that Bush is not responsible requires that we suspend universally accepted notions about the nature of time, and accept a theory that Clinton’s actions somehow skipped forward in time so that they are the cause of present conditions, while Bush’s actions over the last 7 years have had no effect.
    This is certainly a novel theory. However, I believe that it is not based on any new insights on your part, but is instead based on the same failings that led to your inability to read a page of statistics. First, you are stupid and illiterate. Second, you don’t care about what is true, you only care about what will support what you want to believe.

  • ucfengr

    Once again Mike, you’ve resorted to name calling, arm flapping, and general “asshole-ness”, with a few unsupported assertions thrown in for seasoning, rather than address evidence that disagrees with your premise. Typical.

  • Mike Toreno

    In other words, I have demolished your arguments, but you’re not enough of a man to admit it.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Darius:
    The Washington Times is almost as untrustworthy as the New York Times.
    You don’t read many newspapers, do you? Or you misplaced your thinking cap.
    The NYT is indeed “biased,” but not “liberal,” no siree, not by any means.
    The idea that a paper that has published Judith Miller, James Sterngold, Jeff Gerth, Adam Nagourney and others, and that it pioneered the ridiculous “He said, she said” style of reporting that gives any bat*&* crazy conservative idea the same stature as normal, sane ideas shows that its bias is hardly in any way to the left.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Elusive
    Well, what do you think? Are you comfortable with only a portion of our society paying the bills? Are you comfortable with the same portion of society that doesn’t pay the bills ordering those who do into battle? As a lefty, isn’t your primary directive social justice?
    No I’m not but I am comfortable knowing that families and individuals look at the ‘deal’ offered by military recruiters with a skeptical eye. I am comfortable with individuals putting their family and their own needs before the state. I am also comfortable, even as a taxpayer, knowing that the military must offer people as good a deal as the market requires in order to get recruits.
    That would be true if the hippie were an isolated case; the Democrat party is chock full of those who behave like your expectorating hippie.
    I’ve never spit on a soldier nor have I meet anyone who has. I would expect many such spitting Democrats to be sporting broken jaws if this was true. I would say you’re stuck in the 60′s but I think its more like you’re stuck in a 60′s fantasy.
    Re: Subprime mortgages and Presidents
    - Yes you’re correct. We should have known better.
    Mike
    In addition, it is now 2008. The Clinton administration ended in January of 2001. The state of the military is worse than it was when Clinton was president, and it is getting progressively worse. This cannot be the result of Clinton’s actions because he is not president and has not been president for 7 years. If Bush were doing a better job than Clinton, he would have improved the state of the military from what it was when Clinton was president, but this is not happening.
    I always like to pull out the magic trump card in these types of arguments (it also works for “Clinton didn’t do enough against bin Laden”). Bush came AFTER Clinton. On day 1 of Bush’s administration the total available knowledge was all of Clinton’s years plus 1 day. If the military was ‘used up’ then Bush should have known that from day 1. If he didn’t address it on day 2, 3, 150 etc. then the truth is either the military was not ‘used up’ or Bush’s failure was even worse than Clinton’s (it’s one thing to leave the next guy a ‘used up’ military, for the next guy not to even care to address it being ‘used up’ is even worse).
    The data you put forward about decreases in expenditure are likewise irrelevant, because military expenditures should be based on the national security needs of the United States, not some notion that a larger and larger military is somehow desirable as a goal in itself, or that the military somehow “deserves” not to have its “income” reduced, or that military expenditures should be used as a welfare program for residents of conservative states.
    Two realities:
    1. Terrorism != the Cold War, WWIII or WWIV no matter what the neocons say. The world became undeniably safter after the end of the Soviet bloc. Likewise military expenditure did and should have fallen.
    2. A post Cold War military needs to look different than a Cold War one. To a degree we are still running a lot of Cold War machines and pork barrell politics still means we ‘invest’ in some equipment (nuke subs under the north pole) that have little expected use in the current world. When making a dramatic change one would expect to see budgets dip down before coming back up. Why? It is easier to stop spending on the outdated stuff than it is to come up with new stuff to invest in. The MX missile, for example, was clearly not needed in the late 80′s but it took us into the late 90′s and 2000′s to start to make serious use of unmanned drones and robots.
    oclarki complained back in post 32 “However they are being replaced by systems that cost an order of magnitude more. The net result is while we are spending more, we have fewer planes in the inventory”. But if the new planes are an order of magnitude better, we don’t need the inventory that we used in the past. Precision bombs, for example, mean that a target can be taken out with one plane whereas 60 years ago you needed a fleet of bombers and even then there would be a good chance the target would be missed while sustaining heavy casualities.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Mumon, at the risk of wasting my breath, I will respond to your “Bush broke the law” points.
    1) The illegality of the NSA wiretaps is still heavily debated, and courts have sided with Bush when they involve wiretapping of non-US citizens on our soil or anyone on foreign soil (which is what was happening).
    2) You mention the Geneva Convention. It appears you’ve never read it though, since you seem to want to apply it to those to whom it doesn’t apply: independent terrorists. Go read it, then come back and explain how it applies to Al Qaeda operatives.
    3) You blame Bush for others’ mistakes??? Do you think there were similar cases under Clinton? All governments, by their very nature, make mistakes. One or two examples hardly show a case of widespread excess.
    4) A THEORY does not break laws… give us actual examples of ACTIONS that broke laws.
    5) HAHAHA. You would charge him with a crime for winning the Presidency? And you quote a screed in The Nation as proof??? You are hilarious.
    6) Umm, here’s a hint: U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the… wait for it… PRESIDENT! Clinton fired all 93 attorneys and no one complained, Bush let go 7 and the liberals are going batty.
    You are living proof that to be a radical liberal is to be insane.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    6) Umm, here’s a hint: U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the… wait for it… PRESIDENT! Clinton fired all 93 attorneys and no one complained, Bush let go 7 and the liberals are going batty.
    Pretty pathetic. Clinton replaced all of the attorneys when he started his administion. The office is supposed to be apolitical. Bush fired attorneys who resisted the efforts to politicize the justice department. Furthermore, he supported his AG in perhaps the most blatent act of perjury in the last 100 years. Is that a crime? Probably not but it’s yet another ding against a tarnished President.
    Then again, maybe he is just like Abe Lincoln but we just can’t see it yet.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Just so we’re clear, Abe Lincoln broke a lot of laws and did a lot of unconstitutional things to save the country from splitting apart.

  • ucfengr

    In other words, I have demolished your arguments, but you’re not enough of a man to admit it.
    I guess I need to add delusional to your list of faults.
    1. Terrorism != the Cold War, WWIII or WWIV no matter what the neocons say. The world became undeniably safter after the end of the Soviet bloc. Likewise military expenditure did and should have fallen.
    I disagree, the Soviets were well armed, but ultimately they were rational. They officially didn’t believe in an afterlife, so they were unlikely to throw their own lives away recklessly. That does not appear to be the case with our current enemies. That said, it is ultimately irrelevant to the issue of whether or not Clinton used up the military because what uses up a military is being used, and operational tempo did not go down under Clinton, but procurement and O&M did, as did manpower strength. In other words, Clinton is like the friend who borrows your car and brings it back with the gas tank empty.
    2. A post Cold War military needs to look different than a Cold War one. To a degree we are still running a lot of Cold War machines
    Exactly, because procurement dollars went down. That means there was no money to buy the new stuff needed to replace the old Cold War stuff. I do, however find this criticism strange coming for you, because not too long ago, in this very post, you were extremely critical of the “Rumfeld Doctrine”. The “Rumsfeld Doctrine” was a plan designed to move the military out of the Cold War mindset and into a smaller and nimbler force that was better able to deal with smaller conflicts and non-state actors, like Al Qaeda. You should have heard the howls of anguish at the Pentagon when Rummy canceled Crusader, which was an artillery piece designed to stop the Russians in the Fulda Gap.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Mumon and Boonton,
    In comment 82, Mike Toreno concluded his remarks by saying to Ucfengr:
    Any claim you make of special insight must be evaluated in the light of your known stupidity and illiteracy.
    Now, I’m not sure how closely you read Mike’s comments, but the above quote is pretty typical of his tone towards Ucfengr in this thread.
    What is your reaction to his vitriol? Do you disapprove, are you indifferent? Would either of you like to take a moment to point out how uncivil Mike is being, or to ask him to behave properly?
    If someone were polluting the atmosphere or the oceans, we would all respond vigorously. I believe that polluting this comment thread with nasty name-calling is just as deserving of condemnation on our part.
    Debate shouldn’t be about shouting the next fellow down, it should be a respectful exchange of ideas. Both of you share my attitude, so perhaps a few words to Mike that he is violating good form would be helpful?
    Thanks,
    Matthew

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I disagree, the Soviets were well armed, but ultimately they were rational. They officially didn’t believe in an afterlife, so they were unlikely to throw their own lives away recklessly.
    Out of a billion Muslims they’ve produced, maybe, less than a thousand, who were willing to go the suicide route. Even more secular enemies like Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan produced small numbers of suicide troops. While getting the nuts to strap themselves with explosives will generate some mayham it has never been sufficient to result in a real impact on the battlefield. More relevant is that the top leadership doesn’t act to throw away their lives. Saddam was dug out of a hole (not quite like Hitler who killed himself in his hole rather than be captured). Bin Laden seems quite happy to go on living and plan accordingly. Iran’s foreign policies are rational enough to almost believe Henry Kissenger’s consulting company is working for them (and who knows since he declined to be ont he 9/11 Commission because he would have to make his client list public).
    More to the point unlike the USSR they don’t have anything beyond the handful of nuts. Barring the aquisition of multiple nuclear weapons no terrorist organization has the ability to pose any existential threat to a superpower. If they were the old USSR could have saved billions on its army, navy and air force and simply allied itself with some radical Muslims.
    That said, it is ultimately irrelevant to the issue of whether or not Clinton used up the military because what uses up a military is being used, and operational tempo did not go down under Clinton, but procurement and O&M did, as did manpower strength. In other words, Clinton is like the friend who borrows your car and brings it back with the gas tank empty.
    And Bush is like the schmuck who decides to embark on a cross country road trip the next day with no cash, the credit cards maxed out and not even bothering to check the gas guage.
    Exactly, because procurement dollars went down. That means there was no money to buy the new stuff needed to replace the old Cold War stuff. I do, however find this criticism strange coming for you, because not too long ago, in this very post, you were extremely critical of the “Rumfeld Doctrine”.
    If you recall I said the doctrine itself wasn’t necessarily a bad idea but it was pushed too far, in the wrong situation and by pushing aside those who knew better and tried to say so. But this point is wrong, if you are transitioning to a new paradign your procurement dollars will go down because many systems will be retired and not replaced. It’s your R&D dollars that should go up and later on your procurement dollars will start going up again as you ramp up procurement of new systems. Unfortunately we don’t have the breakdown here between different categories of spend but look at the year to year change in spend I posted in 59. The most dramatic cut in spending happened in 1991 with the slide slowing and then bottoming out in 1999.
    The “Rumsfeld Doctrine” was a plan designed to move the military out of the Cold War mindset and into a smaller and nimbler force that was better able to deal with smaller conflicts and non-state actors, like Al Qaeda.
    Unfortunately we are engaged in a massive mission creep where we are trying to be the middle man in an Iraqi Civil War. That is a role that fits neither the Cold War model of conventional and nuclear combat between super powers nor the ‘small nimble’ role of taking out troublesome non-state actors like Al Qaeda. Perhaps the closest analogy might be the role the British played with their Empire…but their empire was built at a time when there was a bit of a monopoly on small arms force by the developed powers of the day. Nowadays even the poorest of countries have easy access to cheap guns and explosives. You can’t “keep the natives in line” anymore by simply marching some men with rifles into the area.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Matthew Goggins :
    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. Thousands of Americans dead. Tens of thousands of Americans wounded, many of which are in hospitals with conditions you wouldn’t want to house animals in. Families separated. $8 billion dollars just – poof! – gone. Who knows how many troops stop-lossed.
    All for a war in which major ethical and religious leaders have decried as morally indefensible, and in which military strategists have long decried as stupidity and insanity itself.
    And…let me get this straight…about Mike Toreno’s incivility?
    Yeah, he’s using bad words, OK?
    But that’s like saying the ocean’s overflowed because somebody emptied a thimbleful of water into it.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Darius writes:
    Mumon, at the risk of wasting my breath, I will respond to your “Bush broke the law” points.
    1) The illegality of the NSA wiretaps is still heavily debated…
    No, actually the FISA law is crystal clear, and his admitted violations of it were crystal clear as well.
    2) You mention the Geneva Convention. It appears you’ve never read it though, since you seem to want to apply it to those to whom it doesn’t apply…
    Believe it or not, it did apply to the folks at Abu Ghraib, who were not “terrorists.” And calling folks “terrorists” or “Islamofacists” or any other thing like that does not absolve anyone of the obligation to treat them decently, even if they’re the lowest form of criminal and murderer.
    3) You blame Bush for others’ mistakes??? Do you think there were similar cases under Clinton? All governments, by their very nature, make mistakes. One or two examples hardly show a case of widespread excess.
    Can you name any? Of course not; you know why?
    And you know something? If Clinton had violated someone as the Bush regime did to Maher Arar, they’d be guilty too.
    But there’s a reason that Clinton was impeached for what he did do and not extraordinary rendition.
    4) A THEORY does not break laws… give us actual examples of ACTIONS that broke laws.
    It’s the obstruction of justice.
    5) HAHAHA. You would charge him with a crime for winning the Presidency? And you quote a screed in The Nation as proof??? You are hilarious.
    It is a crime in and of itself. Read Bugliosi, who of course, before he analyzed the travesty of Bush v. Gore was known for going against somebody whose crimes today look relatively quaint next to Bushes. That person was Charles Manson.
    6) Umm, here’s a hint: U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the… wait for it… PRESIDENT! Clinton fired all 93 attorneys and no one complained, Bush let go 7 and the liberals are going batty.
    ‘Fraid not. They’re not a political office, and they’re covered by laws to ensure that their office is not compromised politically, and to obstruct an investigation by another branch of government, legally, that’s a felony.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Mumon,
    Ucfengr and I are not fighting a war against you and Mike Toreno. We’re discussing and debating public policy.
    If you or Mike feel justified in name-calling and posting gratuitous ad hominem attacks, then you are not helping the anti-war cause. If anything, you are provoking people into dismissing your comments, including any valuable insights that you or Mike might have.
    More importantly, how we treat each other is always the issue for a good person. Scoring points in a debate should always be secondary to that.
    If you don’t agree with me, then where do you draw the line? Should you find out where we live and vandalize our homes? Should you track us down and assault us in person? All over a policy disagreement that we’re discussing in good faith?
    Please explain to me what I’m missing. Your summary of why the war is so bad is not enough, because, of course, a pro-war person could easily make an angry list of why opposing the war is so shameful. Please explain to me why rudeness is justified, in your view.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Matthew Goggins :
    Please explain to me what I’m missing.
    Dude, there’s a country mired in chaos, sickness, murder, that, no matter how much we “surge” we have to be able to defy 5,000 years of history to honestly assert that the area at the epicenter of where warfare was invented can be brought to peace by further military involvement.
    To me, the discussion about anyone’s rudeness or impatience in debating this issue ought to be triaged to “not worth paying attention to at the moment.”
    There’s far, far, more important fish to fry.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Mumon,
    If the war in Iraq is as misguided as you say it is, you should be able to say that without insulting people who disagree. If you are correct, then our foolishness will more than speak for itself.
    I’m not arguing against impatience. I’m just as impatient with opposition to the war as you are towards support of it. I’m just saying that rudeness does not advance the discussion.
    I agree 100% that our discussion is small potatoes compared to what it going on in Iraq. But if one is generating heat instead of light, one is not contributing to the solution. If anything, one is only making the problem worse.
    You are correct to point out that anyone’s contribution, positive or negative, on this comment thread, is going to be quite marginal in the bigger picture. But we are supposed to be stewards of our own limited domains. If we can’t get that right, then what’s the point of setting our sights on solving all the world’s problems?
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But you need to be pointed in the right direction, my friend.

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  • Bob

    I'm an Air Force vet. One of the things you learn when you are in service is that the truly liberal avoid the military as if it were the plague. They do look down on those who enlist or accept a commission. Maybe that is why when I was in service the number of self described liberals was under 10% and they were mostly minorities (mostly female).

    Liberals expect others to defend them because they won't. Seems below them. Menial or whatever.