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This seems to be far over exaggerated. Most of those guys are talk and no do. There was this white Army Ranger who on leave would strangle black cab drivers to death in Buffalo. Wanted to do what he was taught for real. And the Marines who went after the wild horses in Nevada after seeing them on TV. Hunted and blasted a whole wild herd. Those guys were dishonorably discharged. But they are VERY RARE exceptions.
Ed: I don't think sociopaths are rare, but those that are unable to contain their urges are rare. If only one out of a thousand American soldiers is a dangerous sociopath, that means 140 of them are in Iraq at this time. This explains those horrid stories, like this homicidal nut, PFC Edward Richmond: Hawaii Solider Convicted
"Waruch said that once Kadir [an unarmed farmer] was handcuffed, he began to lead him away and Kadir stumbled. Waruch then testified that Richmond shot Kadir in the back of the head from about six feet away, the Army said.
Two government witnesses, both unidentified by the Army, said they heard Richmond talk about wanting to kill an Iraqi. The first testified that Richmond requested to shoot Kadir well before the radio message to detain men from the village. The second testified he also had heard Richmond talk about wanting to kill an Iraqi."
Troops on the Border
I'm with you on putting the Army on the border but we also must be more realistic about the manpower necessary to get the job done right. By your own calculations and rotations, putting a full division on the border would only result in about 2000 troops on station at any given time. Our southern border alone is over 2000 miles in length. This ain't the 1800s Carlton - the invasion ain't coming on horseback, they ain't moving primarily during daylight, and they're packing real heat. And that doesn't even begin to address the even worsely guarded Canadian border which may very well pose a greater security threat than the Mexican border as the Canadian border lies within range of the bulk of the population of the US and the Canadians are all into that PC crap refusing to even acknowledge that the terrorists they recently busted were all Muslim extremists. Then you have the necessary logistics to transport and detain these folks because you're going to catch a lot of people, obviously and they're aren't enough detainment areas to hold these folks.
Realistically, to cover the four
major corridors, you're going to need three divisions each which means you're
going to need about 120,000 troops in total. Physical barriers will
still be necessary in some areas as well technological support systems.
This is consistent with our previous border defense and this was before motor
transportation and the heavy populating of the Pacific Northwest. I'm
sorry but I don't see any reason that even this significantly larger number of
troops couldn't be drawn from the existing force. Most Corps level and
higher echelons within the Army no longer serve any useful purpose and we're
outsourcing virtually all critical logistics functions so it's hard to see
where we could not reasonably pull one of every four US troops for rotations
on the border and do it right without overburdening local resources.
Ed: Yes, I agree that more than 10,000 troops are needed on the border, but we need to start with a very modest proposal to overcome objections. Once Army officers see how bad the situation is on the border, they will ask for more troops themselves. I think 80% of Americans would prefer that our 140,000 troops in Iraq be moved to our own borders to guard against terrorists and other threats.
Up or Out in VietnamYou have touched a sore spot with 'up or out'. First let me say I was one of the 'retained' O-5 fighter pilots - I was 40 when I got to Da Nang to fly F4s in combat. I was still flying F4s (and beating Aggressor pilots at age 49 when I retired. If the 'want to' is strong enough, the true fighter pilot will do it. Back to Da Nang - I assumed command of the 390 TFS (F4s) in Dec 71. I discovered I had 4 pilots who were experienced enough to lead flights into North Vietnam. All the rest of my pilots (about 25) were either right out of flying school and the F4 RTU or were converted bomber, transport, or training command types with no fighter experience other than the RTU.
Yet to my certain knowledge there were experienced fighter pilots, men I knew personally, serving in ground jobs in Vietnam and Thailand. Why were they in ground jobs? Because USAF DCS/Personnel decided every pilot would serve a combat tour before any others had to do a second tour, regardless of volunteer status. This chair-borne decision cost us an airplane lost to inexperience. In addition, flying a fighter well demands experience. Flying a fighter to one's best ability demands at least 8 years of experience. And a good fighter pilot only gets better. I should know; I flew fighters for 22 years and after the first 10 I could predict what a opponent was going to do. I was 48 when I whipped my first USAF Aggressor pilot in his F5E with my F4E. He was surprised to find someone who would fly the F4 to its limits. Hell, I knew a dozen colleagues who would have done the same thing.
'Fighter generals' have been trying for years to get a limited duty slot for picked fighter pilots; the best, of course. Experience like that, so hardly won, should not be wasted but treasured. In WW2, 100 German fighter pilots shot down 100 or more aircraft each - over 10,000 aircraft. That was not totally due to luck. Hard-won skill and cunning was the secret. There has got to be a way to keep that experience from being lost; people like that now exist in every combat slot, yet the Personnel types keep bleating 'up or out'. How silly to throw away all that corporate knowledge and reinvent the wheel in a vicious circle. Lessons Unlearned, if you will.Walt Bjorneby
The US Military is not Invincible
Victor Corpus's article "If it comes to a shooting war..." [with China] is absolutely superb. Should be must reading for the Pentagon and the State Department--not to mention President Bush (and all the neocons who think we should take over the world).
For years I have written about the total inadequacy of our cruise missiles compared with what Russia has designed and with what Russia and China and others (see Corpus) now have in service. Ironically, our successful THEL tests a number of years ago also made our cruise missiles instantly obsolete. You know the Russians and Chinese are working on laser systems, too. (I pointed this out in Defense News back when; did a couple of pieces on what the Chinese could do SHORT OF WAR for Washington Times and Fort Worth Star Telegram after various tensions between either the U.S. and China or Taiwan and China from 1996 on...)
There is, in fact, so much we could do working WITH China--especially on energy and environmental issues. The conclusion of Corpus's piece addresses our potential for leadership in such areas very nicely.
Ed: Lasers like THEL are not effective in bad weather since the laser beam quickly loses strength due to refraction. They are only line-of-sight weapons too, which limits their range due to the curvature of the Earth at sea, and greatly limits their range ashore as trees and hills are always in the way. But I agree that we are developing the wrong things, spending huge sums on new platforms and little on new munitions.
I remember that you're sometimes fighting the biased information of news concerning some conflicts and so on. I've just seen this pretty long video (obviously produced for T), which is one of the better documentations on the topic. Specifically on the conflicts surrounding Israel. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7828123714384920696&q
The following is from my 2002 article: Cancel the AAAV
#4 The Department of Defense projects each AAAV will cost $7 million each, compared to $3 million for each M1A1 heavy tank a few years ago. This assumes the Corps purchases all 1013 AAAV planned and that current costs do not rise, like they always do.
This game will begin after the AAAV is approved for full production. General Dynamics will quickly raise the unit cost while the Corps tells Congress not to worry because it can make do with 750 AAAVs, so it will cost taxpayers no extra money. Based on the complexity of this vehicle and General Dynamics' record of huge price increases, I predict an average unit cost of $10 million for each AAAV in FY2002 dollars.
The AAAV was since renamed the EFV. This is from
Inside The Pentagon, June 15, 2006: Page 7 of 20:
MARINES PLAN HUGE PRODUCTION CUT FOR EXPEDITIONARY FIGHTING VEHICLE:
report released last month by the Government Accountability Office, the
investigative arm of Congress, noted overall costs for the program have risen 45
percent since 2000.