Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a study.
WASHINGTON — Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.
Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded the Army cannot sustain the pace of deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon’s decision to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.
Faced with unfriendly conclusions Rumsfeld did what any self-respecting beaurocrat would do. He rejected it.
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday rejected two new reports – including one ordered by his own office – warning that the Iraq war has strained the Army to the breaking point.
In an “interim assessment” of the Iraq war commissioned by the Office of the Secretary Defense, former Army officer Andrew Krepinevich said the strain of keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has reduced the Army to a “thin green line.”
Honest question. Donald Rumsfeld presumably doesn’t have the spare time in his schedule to tour every American military installation and evaluate the status of our armed forces in person. If the Secretary of Defense wants to understand the general state of folks under his command, how can he do it? When the offices that he personally trusts to carry out studies don’t bring back results that he considers acceptable you have to wonder what’s left. Policy without any grounding in reality seems doomed to fail. Perhaps the Office of Special Plans is free.
One ‘graf says it all
Krepinevich is probably a partisan Democrat trying to undermine our troops. Rumsfeld was right in rejecting the hateful attack on our military.
Bill from INDC
So let me get this straight:
When the offices that he personally trusts to carry out studies don’t bring back results that he considers acceptable you have to wonder what’s left. Policy without any grounding in reality seems doomed to fail.
You’d prefer it if the Secretary Defense publicly affirmed the military’s weakness? Would that satisfy you? He’s not in denial about the study, he’s just not going to affirm the results in the face of a threatening Iran and North Korea. You’ve got to grow up about stuff like this – it’s not quite as easy of a partisan sniping game as you think. One that pits your cleverness against the verifiability of a public official’s public PR efforts. If Rumsfeld signalled weakness at this point in time, even after the public results of this study, he should be fired. Because he wouldn’t be doing a key part of his fucking job.
Reality Bites. Andrew is just channeling the general staff, who have had it with messianic democracy projection. Generals are good soldiers only up to a point.
Could someone please remind me why we still have troops in Germany, Japan, Korea, Haiti, Bosnia, … . Will the godforesaken insurgencies never end.
It’s hard to tell this stuff from fiction.
I asked to another thread, and must repeat here:
Who are these crazy motherf__kers running our country?
I need a drink.
Rumsfield is operating on the assumption that he’s going to receive a report that tells him what he wants to hear. If the Secretary of Defense wants to understand the general state of the folks under his command, he gets out of Rumfieldtopia and listens to his generals/agents/correspondents when they give him a report.
Even if he were to take the painstaking trip to each and every military base at home and abroad, there is still no garantee he wouldn’t stick fingers in his ears and hands over his eyes while crying “We’ve still got the manpower to invade Iran” to himself to get to sleep at night.
Bullshit. The only “enemy” that Don Rumsfeld is responding to here is the abject failure of the Iraq policy he crafted. (And don’t pull the “military background” meme on me — I figure I’ve payed my dues on strategic planning, dude.)
One of the key constraints that the military leadership learned from Vietnam was “tell the truth about your failures”. Half the war is fought at home, and nothing kills the support at home as fast as lying about things that don’t go right. Rumsfeld is in full retreat in his war at home, and he’s on the verge of being driven into a rout.
“B-b-b-b-but that supports the terrorists!”
No. Saying “Oh, Jesus, the worlds about to end!” supports the enemy. Saying “We take reports like this very seriously, and we are looking into the steps which will be necessary to prevent a possible breakdown at some point in the future. In the meantime, the men and women of the thin green line are performing their duties in incredibly difficult conditions, and we are working to make those conditions better” doesn’t. It just acknowledges that things aren’t perfect.
Bill, do DPRK and Iran give much indication that they are frightened of our military? I think that cat is largely out of the bag.
That has to be a spoof post. No way anyone actually believes such a crazy thing.
You know what people prefer? That their government officials be straight with them. Is that too fucking much to ask? I don’t think it is.
No. I’d rather see him stand to one side of the podium, wave his hands around, make spooooky noises, and then say “Pay No Attention to the Report Behind the Curtain!!!”
Thanks for voting them back into office.
I’d prefer he resign and get someone in there that isn’t going to give us crap like “you go with the army you have, not the army you want.”
In the interim, I want him to accept the truth that our military is at the breaking point and pledge to fix it.
Obviously you don’t.
Yeah, the pledge is all that matters when you create your own reality as you act. We’ll just be here judiciously studying.
You have any idea how many studies the Pentagon has done? Someone selected this one for spotlighting beacuse it was controversial and just maybe because it fit an agenda or other preconceived notion.
FWIW, In the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to move around a good deal within the Army (far more than in my previous 8 years in service). I don’t see the strain, from my position down here as a junior NCO. Unfortunately, I have no concrete means to convey that to you.
Still, I’d also point out that two days before the study was released, Secretary of the Army Harvey made very similar comments in response to general mutterins to the same effect as the study.
Studies that support the “conventional wisdom” get pointed at a lot. In my view, neither the pointing nor the CW status makes them right.
Two million active soldiers in the U.S. military, and 150K in Iraq is going to break us. Puh-lease.
Do any of you naysayers ever think to look at U.S. deployments in the rest of the world, or would that kill your cynicism buzz?
The funny thing is that everyone made a big deal about Rumsfeld’s management experience when he was nominated to the post. Yet, one of the key management principles is having enough trust in what your subordinates are saying. Shades of Robert McNamera? Oh, wait, we’re not allowed to make such a comparison, since that involves the V-word.
I listened to the entire press conference live yesterday.
He didn’t reject the report out of hand, only that he disputed the army was ‘broken’.
the study was commissioned to find where things are bad and where they could be improved.
INDC Bill is right – some here would not be happy unless he’d stood up there and said, “you’re right – I’ve broken the military, and I can’t fix it – see ya”.
gimme a break.
Read the byline, dude.
No, I’d prefer he accept the report AND FIX THE GODDAMN PROBLEMS! Get the armor in there! Get more troops! Fix it!
It’s not just there: we’ve got troops in Afghanistan still fighting remnants of the Taliban. We’ve got troops tied down in Korea along the DMZ. We’ve got troop commitments across Europe and Asia, Africa and South America.
Not all of that two million active soldiers are ground forces. For each ground trooper there’s, what, 5 or 6 office workers and suppliers and maintenence crewmen and whatnot.
It’s not just the army’s status as well: the nation itself is NOT in a wartime mode. We’re not on rations on the home front. Our entire industries are not geared toward a war effort. That has to have an effect on getting our troops supplied and prepared.
We were able to fight on two fronts in WWII because the whole nation had gone into that war effort. We’re currently not in that situation, but now trying to deal with occupying two war-torn nations attempting to rebuild them into viable democratic institutions.
Add onto that the wardrums beating for dealing with Iran and you’ve got an army that is stretched across the map in so many different directions.
And don’t forget, Rumsfeld came into all of this claiming we could do all of this with smaller, supposedly more efficient, supposedly less costly, armed forces. Every time generals both active or retired suggested we needed more troops, more supplies, more more more, they were roundly ignored or insulted.
John, I think that maybe the Republican Stupidity classification might be appropriate here…
Even if this study was on something completely different, the fact that Rumsfeld rejected it without reading it might make it noteworthy by itself. Is that business as usual? Well, from this administration I wouldn’t be surprised… Cheap shots aside, you could just as honestly say “Someone selected this one for [rejecting] beacuse it was controversial and just maybe because it [didn’t] fit an agenda or other preconceived notion.” Unless you can give sodium pentothal to Rumsfeld or the reporter who wrote the story, there’s equal evidence for both.
I have a theory: be deeply suspicious of conventional wisdom except when it runs contrary to the people in power. If “everyone knows” something but they don’t have to think about it, they’re probably wrong. But if “everyone knows” something even when authority figures are telling them the opposite, something stinks. By 1974 I think it was CW that Nixon was, in fact, a crook. CW wasn’t wrong in that case.
The Other Steve
It’s so funny, in a kind of sad pathetic way.
In 2000 Bush campaigned on the argument that Clinton had broken the military by deploying them to Kosovo.
BWWWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! Look what you voted for now!
Ignoring for a moment that armor isn’t necessarilly a panacea, or even a solution of any special kind, what kind of timeline expectations do you have on “fix it.”
Did you listen to all of his remarks? Sec. Rumsfeld laid out a small list of large problems that exist in todays Army–owning each point. Culminating with the satement that the last 5 1/2 years have been spent in efforts to fix these problems. (see the briefing here)
The point is that none of the problems that actually exist (without inventing new problems) are rapidly fixed. SO I gotta know what your expectaitions are in this regard, or to conclude that your expectations are unrealistic.
No they weren’t. They were fired.
Who was fired?
The Money Quote:
“We have over, you know, 1.4 million active, over 2 million total, counting the Guard and Reserve. And we’ve got 138,000 people in Iraq. Now, does the force still need more rebalancing? You bet. Do we have the wrong skill sets within the Guard and Reserve, as between the active and Reserve components? You bet. Do we have too big an institutional army, as opposed to a warfighting army? You bet. And is that what we’ve been doing for five years, fixing that? You bet.” –SecDef Donald Rumsfeld, 25 January 2006
The Other Steve
Rumsfelds vision of the military is fundamentally wrong. The problems he’s been trying to fix have long been the wrong problems. He’s actually been reinforcing the primary problems and ignoring the real ones.
You ought to read Waging Modern War.
I read it a long time ago (in fact, I’ve dug it out,if you wantot make any particular references). It served only to reinforce my already poor opinion of GEN Clark.
I’d counter with suggestions of Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire by Douglas A. MacGregor and The Pentagon’s New Map by Thomas P.M. Barnett for what I find to be far superior ideas.