Thursday, December 21, 2006

Growing the Military

[posted by Callimachus]

Is what you do when you're out of ideas. It's a throwback notion, a 19th century idea. God no longer marches with the biggest battalions.

The current U.S. military is "strained" by these two concurrent wars because the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not the thing the current U.S. military is well-prepared to do. So adding more of what doesn't fit is not a prescription for success. It's buying a bigger belt instead of going on a diet.

If you want to add a special division of peacekeepers, security checkpoint men, police trainers, heart-and-minds winners, that would be a smart idea. This isn't a smart idea.

Rumsfeld, whatever his faults as a battlefield manager (which isn't his job anyhow) had it right: Leaner, smarter, more flexible -- and better integrated branches of service including Reserves. This latest announced plan advances none of those necessary things. Unless you expect a return to the Cold War and fear Red Army tanks pouring through Fulda Gap, this gets us nowhere.

It is what the Pentagon wants, of course, because the generals always want more. The vague idea of more troops coming up means the brass will be able to march up to Capitol Hill every year with vague ideas of more money and new systems to meet the influx. And who will gainsay them? A smart Defense Secretary -- and this was Rumsfeld -- would know this. A smart president would listen to such an advisor.