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Andrew J. Bacevich: A smaller U.S. Army should do just fine
The Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | March 2, 2014 | Andrew J. Bacevich

Posted on 03/03/2014 7:25:48 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo

Armies are like newspapers. They have become 21st century anachronisms. To survive, they must adapt. For the press, that means accommodating the demands of the Internet. For the United States Army, it means adjusting to a changing security environment. Nostalgia about a hallowed past is a luxury that neither armies nor newspapers can afford to indulge.

So the hand-wringing triggered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s plan to reduce the Army’s size, while predictable, is beside the point. Yes, those cuts would leave the U.S. with its fewest active-duty soldiers since the eve of World War II.

So what?

This isn’t 1940. Moreover, as an instrument of coercion, that smaller army would be more lethal than the much larger one that helped defeat Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. Given a choice between a few hundred of today’s Abrams tanks and a few thousand vintage Shermans, Gen. George Patton would not hesitate to choose the former.

More relevant questions are: Do we need even a few hundred tanks? And for what? In its 2012 report to Congress , the Army’s senior leadership described the service as “The Nation’s Force of Decisive Action.” In the 2013 version, they “guarantee the agility, versatility and depth to Prevent, Shape and Win.”

Yet to judge by outcomes, the Army is not a force for decisive action. It cannot be counted on to achieve definitive results in a timely manner. In Afghanistan and Iraq, actions that momentarily appeared to be decisive served as preludes to protracted and inconclusive wars. As for preventing, shaping and winning, this surely qualifies as bluster — the equivalent of a newspaper promising advertisers that it will quadruple its print circulation.

Washington’s preoccupation with budgets provides Army leaders — and the entire national security establishment — an excuse to dodge core questions. The most pressing: What should the nation expect of its armed forces?

After the Cold War and especially after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, expectations of what the U.S. military should be able to accomplish expanded considerably. Defense per se figured as an afterthought, eclipsed by the conviction that projecting power held the key to transforming the world from what it is into what Washington would like it to be: orderly, predictable, respectful of American values and deferential to U.S. prerogatives.

The “Global War on Terror” put that proposition to the test, with disappointing results. Putting boots on the ground produced casualties and complications, but little by way of peace and harmony. It did nothing to enhance the standing and reputation of the United States. And as a means to engineer positive political change, America’s Army proved sadly wanting. That’s not a knock against our soldiers. They performed admirably, even if the same cannot be said for those who conceived and mismanaged the wars our soldiers were sent to fight.

Americans today are not inclined to indulge this experiment further. With his widely noted preference for drones and Special Operations forces, President Barack Obama has tacitly endorsed the public’s view— even if his improvised way of war is devoid of any serious strategic rationale.

The principal military lesson of the Global War on Terror affirms what ought to have been the principal military lesson of the Cold War: Force held in readiness has far greater political utility than force expended. Armies are well suited to defending and containing. But invading and occupying countries are fraught with risk.

It’s the Bush Doctrine, just inverted: Rather than engaging in preventive war, commit troops only after exhausting every other alternative. As long as that approach pertains — may it do so for many decades — the projection of U.S. military might will come in the form of bombs and missiles, falling under the purview of naval and air forces.

What role, then, remains for the U.S. Army? The honorable and necessary one of defending this country. For that task, absent the emergence of a major Mexican or Canadian threat, a smaller Army should serve just fine.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He wrote this column for The Washington Post.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: bacevich
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"...absent the emergence of a major Mexican or Canadian threat, a smaller Army should serve just fine."
1 posted on 03/03/2014 7:25:48 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

“Armies are like newspapers”

Sorry about that, the author should seek some professional help


2 posted on 03/03/2014 7:30:56 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

What an idiot. The “professor” is the sort of person that doesn’t believe in guns but lives in a gated community protected by police with guns.


3 posted on 03/03/2014 7:33:08 AM PST by glorgau
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

“...a smaller Army should serve just fine.”...

...keeping US citizens in check and guarding FEMA camp residents under Obama’s martial law.


4 posted on 03/03/2014 7:33:57 AM PST by moovova
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

“In an article of The American Conservative dated March 24, 2008, Bacevich depicts Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama as the best choice for conservatives in the fall. Part of his argument includes the fact that “this liberal Democrat has promised to end the U.S. combat role in Iraq. Contained within that promise, if fulfilled, lies some modest prospect of a conservative revival....To believe that President John McCain will reduce the scope and intrusiveness of federal authority, cut the imperial presidency down to size, and put the government on a pay-as-you-go basis is to succumb to a great delusion.”

and how did that work out for you, you jackass.


5 posted on 03/03/2014 7:34:42 AM PST by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

What we lose is the ability to project force. Why do you think Putin is invading Ukraine? He reads the ink coming out of State Whitehouse and Pentagon. With the philosophy enumerated he knows it is cool to unite the old Soviet block. Why not? Why not try? See what the West will do.

One kick and the whole rotten mess falls down.


6 posted on 03/03/2014 7:36:00 AM PST by DariusBane (Liberty and Risk. Flip sides of the same coin. So how much risk will YOU accept?)
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To: GeronL

“Sorry about that, the author should seek some professional help.”

The author hold the title of “Professor” a title that has been thoroughly bastardized, besmirched, and rendered to the clown category by liberal arts departments throughout the country.

My input, for as little as it is worth, is that any army - large or small - must have competent leadership. It must also respect its commander in chief.

This army has no leadership and I can assure you that it loathes, despises, and f*rts in the general direction of your president, oh great “professor”.


7 posted on 03/03/2014 7:37:00 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: GeronL

At first, I thought the author is seriously challenged with respect to knowledge of just exactly what a real military is and how one needs to be equipped in this day of American ineptness in foreign policy, complete disregard of our borders, and a debilitating drain on our country’s wealth due to entitlements that dwarf our defense budget.

However, I looked him up on the net and see that he’s a USMA grad, a retired Col and a VOCAL critic of Iraq and Afghanistan involvement by America and have to rethink his knowledge.

I see his son was killed in Iraq in 2007. I have to assume that grief has poisoned his logic and reason - and everything he learned or knew before then about the military. In this regard, his credentials don’t matter any more. He’s really nothing more than that Cindy whatshername at this point. My two cents


8 posted on 03/03/2014 7:37:47 AM PST by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: glorgau

The author is a former career army officer whose son died serving in Iraq.


9 posted on 03/03/2014 7:38:15 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Mouton

To be fair, there wasn’t much of a choice and regarding foreign affairs, the trigger-happy McCain was very dangerous.


10 posted on 03/03/2014 7:41:02 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Betting he voted for hussein at least twice.


11 posted on 03/03/2014 7:42:22 AM PST by bgill
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Speaking purely academically, with the explosion in the sophistication and use of drones and other “super weapons” (e.g. AA12, remotely controlled flying cameras, robots, etc.), the army should be able to shrink, if only because the power wielded by each individual participant is greatly increased.

Again, I’m speaking strictly academically, assuming all other factors are equal.


12 posted on 03/03/2014 7:47:02 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: DariusBane

I agree that we wouldn’t be able to project force, but it can be argued that the costs in blood and money far outweigh the unpredictable gains to be had from projecting force. History provides a long list of nations destroyed by endless foreign adventures.


13 posted on 03/03/2014 7:50:23 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

You just need the capability. If you don’t have the capability you can’t negotiate from strength.

Ronald Reagan, George Shultz, Cap Weinberger taught us that.


14 posted on 03/03/2014 7:52:20 AM PST by DariusBane (Liberty and Risk. Flip sides of the same coin. So how much risk will YOU accept?)
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15 posted on 03/03/2014 7:53:47 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (The Fed Gov is not one ring to rule them all)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

And he’s still wrong.


16 posted on 03/03/2014 7:57:29 AM PST by onedoug
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To: DariusBane

The problem is that we generally can’t rely on our political leadership to have the self-control and probity of Reagan. Despite the leftist slander of him being an out of control cowboy, Reagan knew that military power had the most effect when it wasn’t being endlessly depleted, a lesson our last few presidents have failed to absorb.


17 posted on 03/03/2014 7:59:29 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Bacevich is brilliant. I have met and talked with him. His thoughts should be taken seriously. His thoughts should also be taken in context. Besides being a tremendous warrior and a brilliant thinker, he is also a grieving Father who lost a beloved Son in a poorly run war. Maybe he can keep that from affecting his thoughts in this area. The man I met was human in the very best sense of that word. I was in awe of his mentoring of his Lieutenants. It was very much like a Father teaching his Sons. I have an intense admiration for Bacevich, and I agree with his take on our leaders in the military, but I disagree with him on how we determine the size of the Army.


18 posted on 03/03/2014 8:02:45 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

“... Yet to judge by outcomes, the Army is not a force for decisive action. It cannot be counted on to achieve definitive results in a timely manner. In Afghanistan and Iraq, actions that momentarily appeared to be decisive served as preludes to protracted and inconclusive wars. As for preventing, shaping and winning, this surely qualifies as bluster — the equivalent of a newspaper promising advertisers that it will quadruple its print circulation. ...”

IDIOT! Yeah, sure... “the Army is not a force for decisive action” - particularly when the ROE make it impossible for our guys to inflict the sort of punishment that sends the right message ... “

It cannot be counted on to achieve definitive results in a timely manner” particularly when our military is operating under a cowardly back-stabbing CIC - who is in reality an in-your-face Marxist and an a$$-kissing closet Muslim, one who desires to appease the oligarchs whom hold his leash!

This drivel is the typical perversion and omission of facts that is put forth as “enlightened thinking” by the myopic and traitorous liberal maggots who have infected our nation with their terminally putrid pabulum.

I so despise these self-absorbed egg-heads. The majority of these Marxist-inclined “intelligentsia” are educated beyond their intelligence!


19 posted on 03/03/2014 8:04:49 AM PST by WTFOVR (I find myself exclaiming that expression quite often these days!)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Ya, Andy, we’ll just NUKE all forthcoming opposition....we don’t need no stinkin’ Army!

Obama has the DHS to address all of his MILITARY NEEDS....


20 posted on 03/03/2014 8:08:23 AM PST by G Larry (Did You Like That Better?)
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To: Gaffer

Your reply is spot on. Bacevich’s books, more so since his son died in Iraq, have aligned with the Democrat party ideals of immoral war, re-instate the draft so all can feel the pain of loss in war, it’s easy to manipulate the current volunteer force, contractors rule over the Pentagon, etc. He obviously feels his son died in vain in an unjust and immoral war. It’s the same reason Jim Webb became a Democrat when his son went off to war in Iraq. He’s Cindy Sheehan with “street cred.”


21 posted on 03/03/2014 8:16:35 AM PST by castowell (War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will - Von Clausewitz)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

As you are a veteran I respect that you have an opinion of the size and structure of the military.
As someone that made the following statement- In an article of The American Conservative dated March 24, 2008, Bacevich depicts Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama as the best choice for conservatives in the fall.
You lose all respect and nothing you say has any value to me as a veteran and an American citizen...


22 posted on 03/03/2014 8:19:51 AM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I go to sign up for the American Revolution 2014 and the Crusades 2014?)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

I am retired military and I can count the finest officers I have served with on one hand. Andy Bacevich is one of them. I personally served with him in the 11th ACR while in Germany and ran into him many times at Ft Bliss while he commanded a squadron and I was in the SF community. If he hadn’t run into some very bad luck in Kuwait with that unfortunate explosion killing several US personnel I believe he would have achieved the rank of 4 stars.


23 posted on 03/03/2014 8:21:11 AM PST by mosaicwolf (Strength and Honor)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

True that.


24 posted on 03/03/2014 8:23:53 AM PST by DariusBane (Liberty and Risk. Flip sides of the same coin. So how much risk will YOU accept?)
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To: castowell
Leftists are often against war because they are afraid we will win, we conservatives are against war because we are afraid that the loss of lives, wealth and domestic freedoms will cause us to lose in the end.

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." James Madison

25 posted on 03/03/2014 8:24:04 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
Armies are like newspapers. They have become 21st century anachronisms.

I suppose then that the Memphis Comical Apple followed this with an announcement that this would be their last issue?


26 posted on 03/03/2014 8:46:00 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: mosaicwolf

“I believe he would have achieved the rank of 4 stars.”

It is fortunate that he did not achieve the rank, given his apparent lack of appreciaiton for the principle of a force in being and the futility of the strategy of strategic and operational defense as noted by Patton.


27 posted on 03/03/2014 8:48:49 AM PST by WhiskeyX ( provides a system for registering complaints about unfair broadcasters and the ability to request a)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Merely evidence that the left most data point of the sample can be found even in the profession of arms.


28 posted on 03/03/2014 8:50:32 AM PST by Temujinshordes
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To: blueunicorn6
No mention of the Gulf War and Desert Shield/Storm. We could no longer support an operation like that today given the size of our military. Numbers do matter. You need a trained capable force to address current and potential threats to our national interests. And we may not have the time to create the force we need. You fight wars with the military you have.

The tooth to tail ration of most armies is at least five to one. The smaller the army, the smaller the tip of the spear. What are the consequences of having too large a force compared to having one too small?

What is really going on here is the classical "guns versus butter" struggle that marks welfare states. Dwindling resources force hard choices and butter usually wins since it has more constituents. The UK is a prime example of how a Great Power declines into irrelevancy. The UK had someone else to pick up the torch, i.e., the US, but there is no one to replace us as the leader of the free world. Nature abhors a vacuum and there will be nations that want to expand and increase their influence thru military power, e.g., China and Russia.

29 posted on 03/03/2014 8:53:35 AM PST by kabar
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To: blueunicorn6
Bacevich may be brilliant, but his writing here is not.

“The principal military lesson of the Global War on Terror affirms what ought to have been the principal military lesson of the Cold War: Force held in readiness has far greater political utility than force expended. Armies are well suited to defending and containing. But invading and occupying countries are fraught with risk. “

How did that work out for the French in 1936? They chose to held their force in readiness, and instead of executing an invasion and occupation when they enjoyed overwhelming force, they waited and suffered a catastrophic defeat in 1940. Hitler's very own words are haunting:

“If France had then marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs.”

The idea that wars are always won quickly and cleanly is a false concept that cannot be shown from history. The Indian wars were a protracted conflict that lasted over a hundred years, just for the United States.

I never served in the military, so perhaps my views don't count. But I can read a history book. Perhaps the author is right, and a smaller Army is just fine. But this writing seems to be totally backward looking, the old canard of “fighting the last war.” Some British tank designers were creating tanks to span shell cratered trenches even as the German army was rolling across France in 1940. It's easy to use your last experience as a guide and miss the tasks coming up, which may be quite different.

The appropriate size of U.S. forces should be based on projecting the jobs they will be expected to do in the future, not regret over recent operations.

One last point, that I have already posted on another thread. Per capita, the Army should have 650,000 troops to be the same size relative to the population as it did in 1940. Massive welfare spending and support for the bureaucratic state prevents that.

30 posted on 03/03/2014 8:57:10 AM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

I don’t doubt Bacevich’s brilliance and have read some of his writings years ago when I was at Command and Staff college. My take is that he is being more introspective in the wake of his son’s death. Getting back to the topic at hand, my question is what requirement are we meeting by cutting the Army’s end strength to record lows? The answer is we are not. The bean counters determined how much we can afford in Defense and passed that to the service chief’s who then came up with a troop number. This so we can continue to pay welfare and disability to those who don’t need it, the EPA, the Solyndra’s of the world, etc. I subscribe to Reagan’s ideal of “Peace through Strength.” We will rue the day (sooner than later) by our continued downsizing. Do we want the only card to play in a future showdown with a despot to be the nuclear option? That’s where we are headed.


31 posted on 03/03/2014 8:58:19 AM PST by castowell (War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will - Von Clausewitz)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

As a number of other posters have mentioned, Skip Bacevich is a retired Army Colonel whose views on our recent wars and on the military in general are at odds with most of his fellows officers.

Skip is, I believe, still bitter about his relief from command of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment following the tragic accident in Kuwait. He turned his back on the military and found another career as the Left’s favorite military nay sayer. The death of his son in combat contributed, but is not the cause of his current political and philosophical stance. His arguments have found a predictable audience and we will need to remind the American people and their fickle political leaders that we have been down this road before with disastrous results.

We are powerless right now with regard to the Crimea both in our weak capability to respond and because of the unwillingness of our President to do anything. Contrast that with the Cold War where we had a President who stood strong, an Army ready to act, and a people solidly behind both. We won through resolve without some great bloodbath that would have killed both Bachevich and me together with many of our fellow soldiers.


32 posted on 03/03/2014 8:59:06 AM PST by centurion316
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To: DariusBane

I think MOST forget too that YES I could build you a 100 story office bldg in a couple years.

But, building say a million man Army staffed with EXPERIENCED NCO’s and officers and PROPERLY equipped takes decades.

I think the Ukraine citizens had a couple days notice. Poor bastards. Like us, their country, which they now have probably lost, is currently run by feel good liberals that would rather stay home and sleep all day.


33 posted on 03/03/2014 8:59:21 AM PST by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: GeronL
He needs it: he's been the voice of appeasement ever since his son was killed fighting in Iraq.

Sympathy and respect for his loss, but that doesn't change the nature of reality.

34 posted on 03/03/2014 9:16:07 AM PST by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: SoCal Pubbie

Bacevich’s policy recommendations are not based on protecting the US, but on forever diminishing its capacity to act, as some form of perverse penance for its collective sins.


35 posted on 03/03/2014 9:20:31 AM PST by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
Bacevich has been correct for many years.

Troop size is meaningless in times when a force chooses to not utilize the power and might of ones weapons inventory.

We don't need more troops, but more bombs.

Far too many brothers and sisters died because they were forced to clear buildings and towns instead of destroying the structures itself.

Why send forces into tora bora and other places for the enemy when you can nuke them.

36 posted on 03/03/2014 9:22:21 AM PST by Theoria (End Socialism : No more GOP and Dem candidates)
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To: castowell
The principal military lesson of the Global War on Terror affirms what ought to have been the principal military lesson of the Cold War: Force held in readiness has far greater political utility than force expended. Armies are well suited to defending and containing. But invading and occupying countries are fraught with risk.

Global terrorism started with Khomeini's takeover of Iran, making it the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism. It also signaled the rise of militant Islamic fundamentalism.

The US was a target of terrorism long before 9/11. We failed to use our military despite these repeated attacks. We waited too long.

1979

Nov. 4, Tehran, Iran: Iranian radical students seized the U.S. embassy, taking 66 hostages. 14 were later released. The remaining 52 were freed after 444 days on the day of President Reagan's inauguration.

1982–1991

Lebanon: Thirty US and other Western hostages kidnapped in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Some were killed, some died in captivity, and some were eventually released. Terry Anderson was held for 2,454 days.

1983

April 18, Beirut, Lebanon: U.S. embassy destroyed in suicide car-bomb attack; 63 dead, including 17 Americans. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

Oct. 23, Beirut, Lebanon: Shiite suicide bombers exploded truck near U.S. military barracks at Beirut airport, killing 241 marines. Minutes later a second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers in their barracks in West Beirut.

Dec. 12, Kuwait City, Kuwait: Shiite truck bombers attacked the U.S. embassy and other targets, killing 5 and injuring 80.

1984

Sept. 20, east Beirut, Lebanon: truck bomb exploded outside the U.S. embassy annex, killing 24, including 2 U.S. military.

Dec. 3, Beirut, Lebanon: Kuwait Airways Flight 221, from Kuwait to Pakistan, hijacked and diverted to Tehran. 2 Americans killed.

1985

April 12, Madrid, Spain: Bombing at restaurant frequented by U.S. soldiers, killed 18 Spaniards and injured 82.

June 14, Beirut, Lebanon: TWA Flight 847 en route from Athens to Rome hijacked to Beirut by Hezbollah terrorists and held for 17 days. A U.S. Navy diver executed.

Oct. 7, Mediterranean Sea: gunmen attack Italian cruise ship, Achille Lauro. One U.S. tourist killed. Hijacking linked to Libya.

Dec. 18, Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria: airports in Rome and Vienna were bombed, killing 20 people, 5 of whom were Americans. Bombing linked to Libya.

1986

April 2, Athens, Greece:A bomb exploded aboard TWA flight 840 en route from Rome to Athens, killing 4 Americans and injuring 9.

April 5, West Berlin, Germany: Libyans bombed a disco frequented by U.S. servicemen, killing 2 and injuring hundreds.

1988

Dec. 21, Lockerbie, Scotland: N.Y.-bound Pan-Am Boeing 747 exploded in flight from a terrorist bomb and crashed into Scottish village, killing all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground. Passengers included 35 Syracuse University students and many U.S. military personnel. Libya formally admitted responsibility 15 years later (Aug. 2003) and offered $2.7 billion compensation to victims' families.

1993

Feb. 26, New York City: bomb exploded in basement garage of World Trade Center, killing 6 and injuring at least 1,040 others. In 1995, militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 9 others were convicted of conspiracy charges, and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of the bombing. Al-Qaeda involvement is suspected.

1995

April 19, Oklahoma City: car bomb exploded outside federal office building, collapsing wall and floors. 168 people were killed, including 19 children and 1 person who died in rescue effort. Over 220 buildings sustained damage. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols later convicted in the antigovernment plot to avenge the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Tex., exactly 2 years earlier. (See Miscellaneous Disasters.)

Nov. 13, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: car bomb exploded at U.S. military headquarters, killing 5 U.S. military servicemen.

1996

June 25, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds of others. 13 Saudis and a Lebanese, all alleged members of Islamic militant group Hezbollah, were indicted on charges relating to the attack in June 2001.

1998

Aug. 7, Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: truck bombs exploded almost simultaneously near 2 U.S. embassies, killing 224 (213 in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania) and injuring about 4,500. 4 men connected with al-Qaeda 2 of whom had received training at al-Qaeda camps inside Afghanistan, were convicted of the killings in May 2001 and later sentenced to life in prison. A federal grand jury had indicted 22 men in connection with the attacks, including Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, who remained at large.

2000

Oct. 12, Aden, Yemen: U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole heavily damaged when a small boat loaded with explosives blew up alongside it. 17 sailors killed. Linked to Osama bin Laden, or members of al-Qaeda terrorist network.

It’s the Bush Doctrine, just inverted: Rather than engaging in preventive war, commit troops only after exhausting every other alternative. As long as that approach pertains — may it do so for many decades — the projection of U.S. military might will come in the form of bombs and missiles, falling under the purview of naval and air forces.

If we exhaust every other alternative, it may be too late to use military force. North Korea has nuclear weapons and Iran is developing them. Once you have a nuclear state, it is very difficult to use military force. We force ourselves into a box with just two choices: do nothing or up the ante to nuclear war.

37 posted on 03/03/2014 9:23:30 AM PST by kabar
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

When was this article written? 1916? 1939? Seems like we’ve heard this song before.


38 posted on 03/03/2014 9:24:40 AM PST by pgkdan
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To: centurion316

My first Company Commander told me that, “ Command is just a license to go to jail.” I realized pretty quick that luck played a part in having a successful command. Didn’t Napoleon say something about preferring lucky Commanders over talented ones? Ecclesiastes (Solomon) says it best. He said something like, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity and a chasing after the wind. All your work can mean nothing for you while another takes your place and receives your rewards.” Solomon knew.


39 posted on 03/03/2014 9:30:28 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr. is an American political scientist specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history. He is currently Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is also a retired career officer in the Armor Branch of the United States Army, retiring with the rank of Colonel. He is a former director of Boston University's Center for International Relations and author of several books, including American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of US Diplomacy, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War and The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. He has also appeared on television shows such as The Colbert Report and the Bill Moyers Report and has written op-eds which have appeared in papers such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Financial Times. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

I served under several "Military Officers" (90 day wonders) that I wouldn't pee on if they were on fire....

40 posted on 03/03/2014 9:32:24 AM PST by unread (Rescind the 17th. Amendment...bring the power BACK to the states...!)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

I’ve read all the comments and have some thoughts.

Swarming and drone (UAV) technologies could take the place of some of the today’s active missiles, rockets, operators and surveillance. Transport or protection for manned embassies and bases or boots on the ground obviously involves some vehicles, technologies and materials.

Unless law-abiding Americans are stripped of their guns, I believe that few of today’s entities would choose to physically “invade” within the next generation, unless after killing many people with nuclear devices.

We must think about the types of threats now possible. In my opinion, the worst predictable attack a successful EMP trigger (nuke at altitude) over Kansas would be enough to send America back to the 1600s. Damage would be little to nothing of infrastructure, while people without other recourse could easily be rounded up and put to work for their new masters.


41 posted on 03/03/2014 9:34:53 AM PST by LurkedLongEnough
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To: blueunicorn6
Bacevich is brilliant. I have met and talked with him. His thoughts should be taken seriously. His thoughts should also be taken in context. Besides being a tremendous warrior and a brilliant thinker, he is also a grieving Father who lost a beloved Son in a poorly run war. Maybe he can keep that from affecting his thoughts in this area. The man I met was human in the very best sense of that word. I was in awe of his mentoring of his Lieutenants. It was very much like a Father teaching his Sons. I have an intense admiration for Bacevich, and I agree with his take on our leaders in the military, but I disagree with him on how we determine the size of the Army.

If history should teach us anything, it's that we always tend to fund, train and organize our military around fighting the last war and/ or the aftermath of it instead of looking forward to growing threats. If Bacevich is brilliant, as you attest, he should acknowledge this. I suspect his grief and guilt projection onto an administration that was less than adroit in such matters, no matter how just and honorable the effort may have been, and signing on to Obama "smart power" as a sufficient way of military power projection is clouding his thought process.

42 posted on 03/03/2014 9:40:25 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: Cen-Tejas

Your right. You can’t just wave a magic wand and create an armored brigade. Sure you can buy the gear. But gear and bodies does not an armored brigade make.


43 posted on 03/03/2014 9:40:57 AM PST by DariusBane (Liberty and Risk. Flip sides of the same coin. So how much risk will YOU accept?)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

It doesn’t matter a whit what size the US thinks its forces should be. It matters what Russia and China thinks the size of our military should be.

And it’s obvious what their answer is.


44 posted on 03/03/2014 9:42:17 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (Play the 'Knockout Game' with someone owning a 9mm and you get what you deserve)
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To: blueunicorn6
My first Company Commander told me that, “ Command is just a license to go to jail.” I realized pretty quick that luck played a part in having a successful command.

Alot of truth there. It's like playing hands of poker. You have to have skill and luck. On any given hand, skill alone won't do.

45 posted on 03/03/2014 9:46:18 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: TADSLOS

Yep. Napoleon was quoted as asking that about a prospective general: “But is he lucky?”


46 posted on 03/03/2014 9:47:46 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Mouton

I saw this guy on Book-TV about 4 years ago. If I recall correctly, he is ex-military and much of his distaste for the “Long War” (unending war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan) is because his son, who was deployed over there in the military, was killed in action.

I bought his book, and he makes some very common sense arguments for getting out of a battle with no foreseeable ending...

Still, he comes across as a man who believes his family and his country had been deeply wronged by the Bush Administration, which he regarded as the Imperial Precidency... and he gave warning about the profligacy of Big Government. I am sure if he felt betrayed before, he feels even more betrayed by 0bama.


47 posted on 03/03/2014 10:18:00 AM PST by Rodamala
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To: blueunicorn6

Most of the division, corps, and higher commanders of World War II would not have survived in today’s environment. They all made mistakes, including as General Officers, but they persevered and became effective commanders.

When I turned over my company in Vietnam, my battalion commander told me: “You can love the Army all you want, it’s never going to love you back.”


48 posted on 03/03/2014 10:18:31 AM PST by centurion316
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To: TADSLOS

Look again at what Bacevich wrote. His first paragraph argues for the same point you are making.
I can’t explain his support for Obama. I never talked politics with him. I also can’t explain my in-laws support for the Democrat party.
I don’t know the whole story about Camp Doha. I realized early in my career that when somebody died or was seriously injured in peacetime that the first line supervisor would be fired. The second line supervisor would be fired and the third line supervisor would be retired. The Navy is the same way. If your ship runs aground, you get fired. You could be the Captain of the ship and be sound asleep when the ship runs aground. It doesn’t matter. You get fired. It’s not always fair, but it sends a message about how important some things are. Bacevich is brilliant and was a great warrior. It appears that he was unlucky (coupled with some mistakes) and he took responsibility and the Army lost a great leader. You can rail against your luck all you want. It just is. Somewhere, there’s a former artillery Soldier whose actions with a heater had a tremendous effect on today’s Army.


49 posted on 03/03/2014 10:20:47 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
Andrew J. Bacevich: A smaller U.S. Army should do just fine The Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | March 2, 2014 | Andrew J. Bacevich

Andrew J. Bacevich apparently wrote this on March 2, 2014, just a day ago?
Andrew is a real special kind of STUPID!!!

50 posted on 03/03/2014 10:23:37 AM PST by meadsjn
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