Posted tagged ‘Korean conflict’

Army is breaking, let down by Washington

August 3, 2015

Army is breaking, let down by Washington, Stars and Stripes, Robert H. Scales, August 2, 2015

(Last year I also wrote a depressing article on the lamentable combat readiness of our military. It’s here at my blog and here at Warsclerotic. The situation has continued to deteriorate. How could Obama’s America help to protect freedom, particularly against an enemy whose name must not be mentioned, without a combat effective military — even if Obama wanted to do it? — DM)

image militaryU.S. paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade load a M119A2 howitzer at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, July 28, 2015.
GERTRUD ZACH/U.S. ARMY

Last month, Gen. Ray Odierno, outgoing Army chief of staff, and Gen. Mark Milley, his successor, testified to the difficulties faced by the Army. I’d like to make the same points by telling a story.

When I was a boy, tonsillitis was a dangerous illness. In 1952, it kept me in Tokyo General Hospital for weeks. I shared a cramped ward with dozens of soldiers horribly maimed in Korea. The hospital had only one movie theater. I remember watching a Western sandwiched between bandage- and plaster-wrapped bodies. I remember the antiseptic smells, the cloud of cigarette smoke and the whispers of young men still traumatized by the horrors of the war they had just left.

My dad came from Korea to visit me, and I recall our conversations vividly. At the time he was operations officer for the 2nd Engineer Battalion. He told me how poorly his men were prepared for war. Many had been killed or captured by the North Koreans. During the retreat from the Yalu River, some of his soldiers were in such bad physical shape that they dropped exhausted along the road to wait to be taken captive.

“We have no sergeants, son,” he told me, shaking his head, “and without them we are no longer an Army.”

In the early ’70s, I was the same age as my Korean-era dad. I had just left Vietnam only to face another broken Army. My barracks were at war. I carried a pistol to protect myself from my own soldiers. Many of the soldiers were on hard drugs. The barracks were racial battlegrounds pitting black against white. Again, the Army had broken because the sergeants were gone. By 1971, most were either dead, wounded or had voted with their feet to get away from such a devastated institution.

I visited Baghdad in 2007 as a guest of Gen. David Petraeus. Before the trip I had written a column forecasting another broken Army, but it was clear from what Petraeus showed me that the Army was holding on and fighting well in the dangerous streets of Baghdad. Such a small and overcommitted force should have broken after so many serial deployments to that hateful place. But Petraeus said that his Army was different. It held together because junior leaders were still dedicated to the fight. To this day, I don’t know how they did it.

Sadly, the Army that stayed cohesive in Iraq and Afghanistan even after losing 5,000 dead is now being broken again by an ungrateful, ahistorical and strategically tone-deaf leadership in Washington.

The Obama administration just announced a 40,000 reduction in the Army’s ranks. But the numbers don’t begin to tell the tale. Soldiers stay in the Army because they love to go into the field and train; Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently said that the Army will not have enough money for most soldiers to train above the squad level this year. Soldiers need to fight with new weapons; in the past four years, the Army has canceled 20 major programs, postponed 125 and restructured 124. The Army will not replace its Reagan-era tanks, infantry carriers, artillery and aircraft for at least a generation. Soldiers stay in the ranks because they serve in a unit ready for combat; fewer than a third of the Army’s combat brigades are combat-ready.

And this initial 40,000-soldier reduction is just a start. Most estimates from Congress anticipate that without lifting the budget sequestration that is driving this across-the-board decline, another 40,000 troops will be gone in about two years.

But it’s soldiers who tell the story. After 13 years of war, young leaders are voting with their feet again. As sergeants and young officers depart, the institution is breaking for a third time in my lifetime. The personal tragedies that attended the collapse of a soldier’s spirit in past wars are with us again. Suicide, family abuse, alcohol and drug abuse are becoming increasingly more common.

To be sure, the nation always reduces its military as wars wind down. Other services suffer reductions and shortages. But only the Army breaks. Someone please tell those of us who served why the service that does virtually all the dying and killing in war is the one least rewarded.

My grandson is a great kid. He’s about the same age I was when I was recovering at Tokyo General. Both of his parents served as Army officers, so it’s no wonder that in school he draws pictures of tanks and planes while his second-grade classmates draw pictures of flowers and animals. The other day he drew a tank just for me and labeled it proudly “Abrams Tank!”

Well, sadly, if he follows in our footsteps, one day he may be fighting in an Abrams tank. His tank will be 60 years old by then.

At the moment I’d rather he go to law school.

Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

Obama’s Vietnam

October 13, 2014

Obama’s Vietnam, American ThinkerBruce Walker, October 13, 2014

(The Korean mess was similar, particularly after China entered the conflict in mid – late 1950. Political attempts to end the conflict (1951 – 1953) by putting things back where they had been before the Russian sponsored June 25, 1950 invasion of South Korea resemble current negotiations with Iran over its nukes.

In Korea and Vietnam, we were not fighting for our homes and mothers; they were not at risk. In Korea, after China joined the conflict against us, we were fighting to maintain our status quo as a world power against alien cultures (mainly China) and to bring as many of our “boots on the ground” back home alive as possible. After initial successes and attempts to win, we no longer sought victory. Victory was not politically useful and had ceased to be an objective.

Have we learned much since then? It does not appear that we, or our “leaders,” have. Here we go again, this time with (as Obama has often pledged) no boots on the ground against the “not Islamic” Islamic State although it may in time threaten our homes and mothers, and with little interest in keeping Iran from getting (or keeping) nukes. — DM)

 

The “grand strategy” of Obama in the Middle East is an indecent flux of poll numbers and sound bites.  It is to react to crises that affect American public opinion until the media and the voters are lulled into thinking that he has done something.  The purpose of American national security policy is to make Barry look good.

The price for such selfishness is that innocent blood is spilt for ignoble vanities.  Today it is Kurdish blood, but because ISIS is the sort of existential threat to Western values that in time will demand either its defeat or our surrender, inevitably it will be the blood of our best and bravest that will wash away the venality of Obama and his Vietnam.

***************

Vietnam has long been recognized as a failure caused by political meddling in military operations, coupled with lying by Democrat presidents anxious to protect their image and popularity.  Although many Americans – count me in that group – believed that the cause of freedom demanded that communist aggression in Southeast Asia be stopped, implementing this policy demanded presidential leadership.  The man in the White House had to tell us why spending treasure and blood to win a war was in our nation’s interest, and he had to explain, at least in broad terms, how we were going to win.

Vietnam was a winnable war.  The idea that American military power could not stop a communist attack from the north and a guerrilla war from within South Vietnam was absurd.  As Goldwater accurately explained during his 1964 presidential campaign, our command of the air meant that if we let military leaders decide the targeting in North Vietnam, we could “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”  (This phrase was twisted by leftists to imply that he wanted to use nuclear weapons.)

Our four Iowa-class battleships – each with nine sixteen-inch guns, which could hit targets in 90% of North Vietnam with perfect precision – if all four were brought out of mothballs, had a combined rate of fire of one sixteen-inch shell every two seconds.  Every factory, every bridge, every railway, every anti-aircraft battery, every North Vietnamese Army post, every power generation plant – everything of any military, political, or economic value – could have been utterly destroyed in a few months.

Our minelayers, our bombers, and our submarines had the capacity to completely blockade Haiphong Harbor, where nearly all the munitions, weapons, and supplies the North Vietnamese came through, with an airtight quarantine.  The Ho Chi Minh Trail, if hit at irregular intervals by different types of attacks, could have been stopped cold.  The very preventable Holocaust that Cambodia and Vietnam endured happened because of gutless American presidents and in spite of the courage and honor of our fighting men.

Whatever the faults of George H. Bush, he fully grasped the reasons we failed in Vietnam, and he scrupulously avoided those in Desert Storm, a war against a much more powerful Iraq (we tend to forget that the battle-tested Iraqi army had outfought, in a decade-long war, an Iranian army three times as big.)  We had a specific goal, and we used every weapon we had to achieve that goal.  Leftists at the time predicted that this would be “another Vietnam,” but they were utterly and pathetically wrong.

Obama, now, is demonstrating that it is possible to repeat all the mistakes of Vietnam.  He is following what fifty years ago was called “escalation,” or the incremental response with American military power to communist aggression with the vague intention of raising the costs high enough so that the rational actors who were leading enemy forces would decide that peace was in their best interest.  ISIS leaders, like communists and like similar radical Islamists, are madmen obsessed with the destruction of those they cannot conquer.  These are the folks who successfully recruit suicide bombers.

Obama also fails to tell us what victory will look like.  Will we establish and support a free Kurdistan?  Is our goal to both defeat ISIS and the Assad regime and create a functioning democracy in Syria?  Are we trying to prevent a general conflagration in West Asia?  Obama doesn’t say, and, scary as this sounds, his dull-witted advisers – truly embarrassingly dumb folks – don’t know any more than he does what we are trying to do.

The “grand strategy” of Obama in the Middle East is an indecent flux of poll numbers and sound bites.  It is to react to crises that affect American public opinion until the media and the voters are lulled into thinking that he has done something.  The purpose of American national security policy is to make Barry look good.

The price for such selfishness is that innocent blood is spilt for ignoble vanities.  Today it is Kurdish blood, but because ISIS is the sort of existential threat to Western values that in time will demand either its defeat or our surrender, inevitably it will be the blood of our best and bravest that will wash away the venality of Obama and his Vietnam.

Nuke negotiations with Iran are worse than the 1951-53 peace process with North Korea

October 12, 2014

Nuke negotiations with Iran are worse than the 1951-53 peace process with North Korea, Dan Miller’s Blog, October 12, 2014

Parallels between the current negotiations with Iran over nukes and those with North Korea and China over the end of the U.S. – U.N. “police action” in Korea should be considered in evaluating the former. That is the purpose of this article.

Among the conclusions to be drawn is that Obama’s America and the rest of the “international community” are heading down a foolishly misguided path in nuke negotiations with Iran. The path is likely to lead to results more inconclusive and substantially worse than did negotiations to end the Korean Conflict. 

Korea negotiations

Negotiations looking to the end of the Korean conflict began on July 10, 1951 at Kaesong, a town occupied by North Korea. On November 25th, negotiations moved to neutral territory in Panmunjom, where they continued until July 19, 1953, just over two years after they had begun.

During the Korea negotiations — which South Korea opposed and at which North Korea and China, but not South Korea were represented — fighting continued with many casualties on all sides. The push for “peace” and political strategies to achieve it — mainly on the part of the United Nations, America and her allies —  overwhelmed military considerations. Those factors pushed the casualty rate higher than it would likely have been during more normal combat operations had there been no “peace process.” (Note: much of the information provided here on the Kaesong – Panmunjom peace process and the continuing combat which accompanied it is from T. R. Fehrenbach’s excellent book titled This Kind of War, first published in 1963. During the conflict, Mr. Fehrenbach served in Korea as a U.S. Army officer.)

The resulting agreement put the geographical situation back where it had been when North Korean troops – supplied, trained and led by Stalin’s Russia — invaded the South on June 25, 1950.

Still a horridly repressive country, North Korea still remains aggressive against South Korea and now has nuclear weaponry. In contrast Japan — which we nuked to end the war in the Pacific with fewer casualties than would otherwise likely have occurred had the war continued — has become one of few reasonably free, democratic and prosperous nations in Asia. Another is South Korea, far past the days of the Japanese occupation followed by the increasingly dictatorial reign of U.S. supported Syngman Rhee.

Iran nuke negotiations 

IranBombCartoon

Feelers for a nuke deal with Iran began as early as 2006, with multiple U.N. resolutions. A round of talks among the P5+1 representatives (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) and Iran was held on February 26 – 27, 2013 in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Germany

is the key trading partner of Iran.[4] Iran’s nuclear program depends mainly upon German products and services. For example, the thousands of centrifuges used to enrich the uranium are controlled by Siemens “Simatic WinCC Step7” software.[5][6] Around 50 German firms have their own branch offices in Iran and more than 12,000 firms have their own trade representatives in Iran. Several well-known German companies are involved in major Iranian infrastructure projects, especially in the petrochemical sector, like Linde, BASF, Lurgi, Krupp, Siemens, ZF Friedrichshafen, Mercedes, Volkswagen and MAN (2008). (Emphasis added.]

Iran’s relationships with Russia and China are similar. Negotiations have continued at various venues since February of 2013 with little if any progress and have been extended through November 24, 2014. They seem likely to be extended further. By November 24th, they will have lasted one year and nine months. An extension could well prolong them beyond the two years consumed by negotiations over the Korean conflict.

Iran has benefited substantially from the amelioration of sanctions which pressed it into negotiations and which seem highly unlikely to be restored in any effective manner no matter what happens during the negotiations. Iran has very likely continued its efforts to obtain (or keep) and militarize nukes. P5 + 1 negotiators, with “guidance” from Obama, have yielded to many if not most Iranian demands pointing to that result.

Iran continues to refuse the U.N. “watchdog,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEI), access to sites such as Parchin, where it is thought that Iran continues its nuclear weapons research but which the IAEI has not been permitted to inspect since 2005. According to the IAEI, it has

collected about 1,000 pages of information that point to attempts to develop such weapons.

Several meetings have resulted in little progress since Iran and the IAEA agreed late last year on a new effort to try and clear up the allegations.

The agency said Thursday that Iran presented no new proposals at the latest talks with IAEA experts. An IAEA statement gave no date for a new meeting.

The explosions at Parchin may have been workplace violence a workplace accident, sabotage or, perhaps more likely, an effort by Iran to hide its nuke developments because pressure to allow inspection by IAEI has increased significantly.

The timing of the blast is notable. On Monday night, a delegation from the IAEA landed in Tehran for a new round of talks scheduled for that Tuesday. The UN’s demand to inspect Parchin was set to be one of the top agenda items at the talks. [Emphasis added.]

Given the timing, it is certainly possible that the Iranians carried out the explosion themselves as a means of preventing the IAEA from demanding access.

The explosions at Parchin strongly suggest that Iran continues its nuclear weapons development while Obama and many others continue to live in a world of fantasy, hoping that Iran does not have, may not get and in any event will not use nukes.  Obama has not declared the Islamic Republic of Iran “non-Islamic,” so evidently He fantasizes that it (unlike the “non-Islamic” Islamic State) is benign and trustworthy.

Here is an Iranian video simulation of a nuclear attack on Israel:

According to the summary posted at You Tube,

A short animated film being aired across Iran, shows the nuclear destruction of Israel and opens with the word ‘Holocaust’ appearing on the screen, underneath which a Star of David is shown, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.

Israel may well be the first to suffer an Iranian nuclear attack if when Iran decides to use its nukes. Why would Iran — which continues to proclaim to the West its innocence of any past, present or future desire for nuclear weapons — try to convince its denizens otherwise? Just as South Korea had the most to lose, opposed and was not represented at the Korean peace process negotiations, Israel is not represented in the P5+1 peace process. She can do little more than sit on the sidelines and urge an international community that rejects her contentions to deny Iran nukes.

As was the case during the Panmunjom peace process, the human rights abuses by Iran appear to be deemed irrelevant. Despite Iranian President Rouhani’s pre-election promises to improve Iranian human rightsits human rights record remains little if any better than that of North Korea. Indeed, far from improving, the situation under “moderate” Iranian President Rouhani has worsened.

The Iranian regime executed more people per capita than any other country, executing as many as 687 people in 2013—an increase of 165 over the prior year.  In March 2014, Reuters quoted Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, as saying:  “I am still at a loss to understand how a reformist president should be in office and see such a sharp rise in executions.  The government hasn’t given an explanation, which I would like to hear.”

  • The United Nations cited an increase in the rate of executions in Iran under Rouhani’s presidency in the second half of 2013.  As the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) noted in an April 2014 report:  “An escalation in executions, including of political prisoners and individuals belonging to ethnic minority groups such as Baloch, Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds, was notable in the second half of 2013.  At least 500 persons are known to have been executed in 2013, including 57 in public.  According to some sources, the figure may be as high as 625.”

  • Under Rouhani, Iranian authorities have executed more than two people per day in 2014.  As Iran Human Rights reported in June 2014:  “at least 320 prisoners have been executed in 2014 in Iran. Iranian official sources have announced at least 147 executions in the period between 1. January and 1. June 2014.  In addition, more than 180 executions have been reported by human rights groups and not announced by the official sources.  Based on these numbers, the Iranian authorities have executed in average, more than 2 people every day in the first five months of 2014.  This is despite the fact that there has been a 3 week’s halt in the executions around the Iranian New Year in March.” [All emphasis is in the original.]

Iran hangings by crane

It also appears to be deemed inconsequential that Iran is among the world’s foremost state sponsors of Islamic terrorism, perhaps because Obama and His minions refuse to recognize the nature of Islamic terrorism. Indeed, the State Department recently

issued a tweet endorsing a manual that promotes sharia and admonishes investigators not to use terms like “jihad,” which it describes as “a noble concept” in Islam.

. . . .

Upon reading the book, Toronto Star columnist Anthony Furey observes that it frowns on “liberal values,” forbidding such things as the intermingling of the sexes in civil society and the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim, while promoting the treatment of adultery and premarital sex as crimes for which “punishments are harsh.”  [Emphasis added.]

Even if Iran does not itself use nukes against its enemies (e.g., Israel) how likely is it that it will provide nukes to its Islamic terrorist clients? It has been supplying them with conventional weapons for years.

Iranian negotiators, like the negotiators for North Korea and China, are skillful, well led and devious. They know what they want and will not accept less. “Our” negotiators? Not so much. Indefinite continuation of the Iran Scam negotiations helps rather than hurts Iran. Please see The Iran Scam continues for a summary of the problems as of January of this year. The situation has not got better and instead continues to worsen.

Summany

Obama's excellent foreign policy

The Korean “police action” was a deadly mess and its results were inconclusive. Ditto the 1951 – 1953 peace process and the attenuation of military strategy and tactics for the political purpose of achieving “success” at Panmunjom. In view of Obama’s likely willingness to continue negotiations with Iran for however long it may take to get a deal – any deal that He can claim will bring peace in His time – the results are likely to be far worse than merely inconclusive.

Iran even without nukes — assuming that it does not already have them — has been and continues to be a major problem. With nukes, it will become an even greater threat to world security, including that of the United States.

While North Korea has nukes, it has not yet used them. Since North Korea (unlike the Islamic Republic of Iran) is “not Islamic,” perhaps it may eventually do so. However, North Korea has more than enough problems for now. It continues to deteriorate economically and it is not now even known for sure whether Kim Jong-un remains in power, if he ever was.  As I noted here in January of 2013,

I disagree that Young Kim leads the direction in which North Korea travels and contended even prior to the death of Kim Jong-il, his father, that a regency would be needed to “guide” his steps. Kim Jong-un is only twenty-eight or so. He is simply too young, too unworldly, too untrained, and by himself too weak, to govern a nation — particularly one such as North Korea, where age is revered and poverty worse than we can imagine based on our own experiences is endemic. For those reasons, and because continuation of the Kim Dynasty was and remains necessary to prevent unfortunate events — among them the death or worse of those in Kim Jong-il’s inner circle — a regency was and remains necessary. There have been changes in the Kim Jong-un regency as central leaders have gained power and those at the periphery have lost it or been ousted. But there is still a regency and Kim Jong-un still seems to dance in step with the music it plays and directs.

Iran — with which North Korea has collaborated in nuke development — is very different. Supreme Leader Khamenei is its most powerful leader; “moderate” President Rouhani has comparatively little power. With the amelioration of sanctions, and despite Iran’s abysmal record of human rights abuses and continuing sponsorship of terrorism, Iran has grown economically as it continues to pursue nuclear weapons; its government seems more than merely stable because it has and uses forceful means to keep it so.

Conclusions

P5 +1 negotiations with the Persian rug merchants of Iran should terminate on November 24th and Iran should be told, clearly and emphatically, that any further attempt to augment its nuclear arsenal will be met with such force as may be needed to eliminate it. That of course assumes something quite unlikely, that such attempts will come to our attention. It also assumes with little basis that the “international community” will care enough to do anything substantial.

However, any Iranian attempt to use its nuclear weapons is more likely to be obvious, and the U.S., what’s left of Israel and others should respond forcefully. It can probably be done effectively even without boots on the ground.

It would be criminally insane to leave the matter up to the “international community” and the U.N. The U.N. in June of 1950, immediately following the North Korean invasion of South Korea, took several of its rare useful steps to respond to aggression. Then, however, Russia was boycotting the U.N. in its efforts to have Communist China admitted as a member. At the request of the U.N. as then very temporarily configured, members of what was then an international community of sorts sent troops and supplies to fight along with the American and South Korean troops. Had Russia been present in the Security Council, the U.N. could not and would not have taken those steps. The Russian boycott stopped soon after the initial U.N. actions and, by 1951, the U.N. and the “international community” were clamoring for an end of military conflict regardless of the outcome and its consequences. America now has far fewer friends there and the U.N. is now far worse than in June of 1950.

Hopefully, Obama will be out of office by the time that Iran uses its nuclear weapons and there may be someone in the Oval Office with sufficient courage, testicular fortitude, belief in freedom and democracy to collaborate with Israel in eliminating those weapons. That remains to be seen, but the prospects do not seem very encouraging.

Doggie heaven

Obama? That’s rather different.