Friday, January 25, 2008

GW Bush's State Of The Union – 2008

To survive in Washington DC, an astute politician learns never to recognize a problem unless he has a solution. By law and custom GW Bush is required to deliver a State of the Union speech this January. What is he to do? He has plenty of problems and he has no solutions.

Guess he could announce mission of winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unaccomplished... that Bin laden remains as free as a bird composing lyric poetry somewhere over the rainbow while he plots the destruction of the USA. There is no applause line here, but he could bring the Congress down with joy if he reminds it that this is his last State of the Union address and that he has less than a year to serve as president.

Pick your topic, whether national security, economics, GWB's political party, social justice, law and order and you find quickly that it is in an almost disastrous funk. Nothing seems to work right.

Chinese still do not own our oil wells or mines, but some may argue that they do own our banks. Investment organizations are more and more scooped up by Arab consortiums. Russians are still not directing traffic in our cities or controlling our nuclear stockpiles. And most importantly the US has not been hit by a major terrorist attack. So our president can argue things can be worse. He be can make up any doomsday scenario and claim he prevented it from happening..Despite the damage his policies have inflicted on the US, he deserves credit that the Jihadists have not hit the US since 9/11. The president can claim credit for this, but Bush still has 11 months to go in office, so let us hope his luck holds – at least he would record one success in his 8 years in office.

Hopefully the post GW Bush administration will do a top-to-bottom review of national security policy. New courses have to be charted as it is clear the old ones have endangered the US and have destroyed the country economically.

Bin Laden and his followers are not going to whither away. Military tactics centering on expensive huge fire bases, complicated logistics have failed in Vietnam and most certainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dropping 500 pound bombs, firing cruise and tomahawk missiles as a substitute for engaging the enemy on the ground seldom works. After the failure of British colonial expeditions and the destruction of Russian forces in Afghanistan, Bin Laden did his best to entice the US into ground combat there. He figured there was no way for any foreign force to win in that god forsaken country. Reports indicate that the two US African embassy bombings and the attack on the US ship Cole were designed to commit US to war in Afghanistan. When that did not work the Jihadists pulled 9/11. Not only did the US go to war in Afghanistan, but also in Iraq, so bin Laden got two wars for 9/11 which played into his hands. He now has insurgents recruited from North Africa, mainly Libya, as well as the usual Saudi contingents, all of whom want be martyrs. The tribal areas are keeping the Taliban and el Qaeda ranks filled in the Pakistan/Afghan theater. Musharraf is holding on by his teeth as the US does its best foolishly to force democracy into that 60 year old, pasted together anarchical country.

The US Army and Marines remain configured mainly to meet and destroy modern organized ground forces. Apart from the US, the top three contenders on this fight card are Russia, China, and India. Chances of fighting these nuclear powers in the next decade are slim, so US forces must stop emphasizing tank and artillery heavy divisional units. Special operations should compose over half the ground forces – designed around light, air assault, airborne strike forces that do not attempt to hold ground; go in and get out. Sustained operations as now employed in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are doomed to collapse from their own torpid weight – the longer troops remain, the deeper they dig in and the less flexibility develops as housekeeping becomes more sophisticated – fixated with flush toilets, air conditioners and bottled spring water.

The State of the Union is not healthy. Prospects for its robust improvement is not positive as political candidates promise variations on the same themes. For example, the people of New Hampshire with a state slogan, LIVE FREE OR DIE voted for big government, super bureaucrat Hillary Clinton who will certainly limit their choices and freedom; the same state voted for John McCain who promises more war, so may it get its wish to DIE. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flush toilets, that is funny but oh so true. At our compound there was only 1 flush toilet. It got busy in the am.
The Iraqis would just "go" outside. They are way tougher than the Americans.
I look forward to this blog every Friday. But I do agree with you about the Army needing more lighter and leaner forces.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the military has adopted KBR slogan. KBR -We are not here to make a profit but to spend tax payer money.
Army - We are not here to win wars, but to spend tax payer money.


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