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Having spent perhaps an hour reading your magazine, I am, on the whole, favorably impressed. Your anti-Imperial stance and "welcome to the new century" position are right on target. One thing I must take issue with, however, is your love for SOF. Frankly, they have not provided nearly the strategic return that would justify their current budget, and certainly not justify adding 15,000 more men.
SOF's have gained in popularity for two basic reasons:
1) The regular forces have completely abandoned the role of light infantry.
2) Their activities can be concealed from the electorate.
Neither is proper, necessary, or legitimate.
Ed. I think you will agree that the Army needs to shift more resources from tanks to "light infantry", which was part of my criticism of the former Chairmen of the Joints Chiefs, General "Do Nothing" Shelton. There are two distinct types of SOF, the Green Berets (trainers/advisors) and the Rangers/Delta/SEALs. I think another "Green Beret" group is needed for South Asia (Iran, India and the "Stans"); that's a billion people there now divided between the "Arab" and "Asian" groups. I'd cut the SEALs (they just duplicate the Marines) and divide the Rangers among each Army Corps organized into four-man LRRP teams, like Marine Recon. I'd cut Delta and turn their mission over to the FBI, which already has its own Delta force (called the Hostage Rescue Team), and the FBI already operates worldwide with offices in over 40 countries. The recent Ranger/Delta raids in Afghanistan could have been performed equally well by the 82nd and 101st Division troops.
I agree that the Special Operations Command is dangerous, and was formed to bypass Pentagon oversight. Most Admirals and Generals disapprove of illegal activities, which is how Ollie North rose to power. I don't like they way the operate as Presidential mercenaries with a secret budget. I'd disband the Special Operations Command structure and bring training and equipment under Army control with a separate budget line.
How Incompetence Hurts Our Military
Haven't seen this quote for a while and thought it applicable to your November editorial.
"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The Statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent or arrogant Commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant Fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations all take their seat at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war. Always remember, however sure you are that you can easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance."
Winston Churchill, "My Early Life," 1930
How can the F-22 be obsolete?
In response to some of your recent points:
3. Your reference to "nuts" trying to push the US into combat
in Afghanistan ignores the central point that the President went on world television to threaten the world -- and thus, is, or was until senior
military personnel explained some of the realities of life to him, the leading nut.
No US President has declared the planet a free fire zone before, and his
action in doing it on internationally beamed television strongly weakened the US
Most experts believe the JSF, now F-35, will be a superior and cheaper aircraft
than the long-delayed F-22. Why not just wait a few more years. Here
is a link to an older article: Obsolete
I agree that bin Laden knew we would look for him in Afghanistan, so he probably
left before 9-11. I suspect he's driving a cab in New York.
The Soviets also tested the SUBSAM idea. Check this link: Soviet SUBSAM