Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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General McChrystal

Max Boot on "General McChrystal’s New Way of War."  

Discussions - 13 Comments

So the CFR wants longer deployments. The argument seems logical, but when does it turn into a passage to india. I would be skeptical of lauding any of the old British Imperial model. Our troops are having a hard enough time adjusting back into the USA as it is, I would venture to say the daily youtube videos of cops beating or tasering someone to death are related. He brings up the point about this altering enlistment, I wonder if the economy offsets this or if we are not being told that mandatory service(the kind our president talked about) would be included in this model.

No, it takes a professional military to accomplish the goal stated in that article. Boot is talking about soldiers taking a personal or at least professional interest in the area where they have served. Volunteers should be allowed to spend years at a time in places like Afghanistan -- not only soldiers but also diplomats and intelligence officers. That doesn't sound like your interpretation, Brutus, not at all.

I am thinking this goes back to some of David Tucker's arguments about how to better engage the enemy by this more indirect method of involvement with and protection of the civilian population. Am I correct?

Max boot is confused, the army isn't about fighting wars it is about shuffling paperwork in S-1 and S-2. The changes Max boot suggest would just require too much paper work, especially when famillies are concerned and involved. Suppose you elect to not redeploy with your unit...so you do two years and then decide to go back...do you go back to your original unit or do you go back to the new unit?

The army is an all volunteer force, but in the end you don't exactly volunteer for deployments and volunteer to redeploy. There is some flexibility but it is of a distinctly bureacratic sort. Max Boot almost makes "You've got orders" sound more like "You've got mail".

I am sure General McChrystal has the right idea, and is on to something good, but a lot of folks with ideas tend to not understand the damn inertia of paperwork...You see the army does away with unintended consequences with standardized paperwork...and this paperwork is the single greatest force in the world. Changes that disrupt paperwork, require a whole new level of paperwork.

Of course articles about the "new" way of war are meant to be read by people deceived about how/that change occurs. Of course the Pakistan Afghanistan coordination cell probably has some real change to it...but the key is that it is "the pakistan afghanistan coordination cell"...it is created with a new level of paperwork.

Kate, you are correct. This is a great strategy used to foster a good working relationship between foreign militaries and our own, as the native militaries are better able to interact with the civilian population and combat insurgents than we, as Americans who are foreigners and don't speak the language, can (the Afghani military is the most popular government institution in the country with something around 85% approval rating). We have been sending TTs (training teams) composed of staff NCOs and officers to Iraq and Afghanistan where they attach to a military unit in the host country and advise them to the end of turning them into a more effective and professional fighting force. It has been a great success. In fact, it is a very coveted billet as the teams have a lot of freedom of action, they are generally very rewarding, and they are singularly the best billet to have on your fitness report when you are up for promotion. It sounds like Gen McChrystal is simply refining and improving on the system (TTs used to be similar to regular deployments in that they lasted 7 months to a year - we'll have to wait and see if he changes the existing structure or creates something entirely new).

John, I don't forsee a problem implementing this at all. Like I said, we're basically already doing it, but it sounds like those TTs will simply deploy back to the same region after a few months back in the states. Basically, instead of being an individual augment to one of those TTs you'd simply get orders to the Af/Pak coordination cell. Sounds good to me.

John Lewis, so we must win the war against military paperwork in order to win the war? You're right. Fat chance of that. We are doomed.

Actually, I know a guy in the Army who has been in training for more than two years. What kind of training? Whatever kind is on offer. I don't think he has done anything yet, as in actually served anywhere, because every time some paperwork for another kind of training comes along, he signs up and does it. I think he is learning Czech right now.

Andrew, I am glad to hear that. I do not just mean the part where you say I am right, but the whole positive take you have on this matter. What a relief to America and the world that "the paperwork" is not as deadly as John Lewis says.

My only thing is this: you would be taking 18 year old kids and having them spend formative years, mabye even a quarter of their life in a foriegn country and a war environment. What are they going to be like coming out of that, will they be more Arab than American and with such a long tour will it be a smooth transistion back into society? We really can't draw comparisons to WWII here because this war can not be won by taking a city or destroying an army, that generation came back able to cope. Although my grandfather did have nightmares till the day he died. How would one deal with an deployment where the time was indefinite and the conditions for victory was indefinite. I just think it would be very hard not knowing how long you were going to be their or what it would take to end the war. Mabye WWI is a better example where people did loose it and talk about things like the bullet with their name on it ect. Is this a sort of Colonialism?

Brutus, no one is going to put 18 year-old kids in that position. This is not a moral matter; no one trusts 18 year-old kids to have the proper judgment for the situation, mostly because they are not formed. Andrew mentions TTs (training teams) composed of staff NCOs and officers, and those guys are not punks. Where you are right in your comment is that this is not like those two world wars. It is not colonialism, either, but an adaptation of a technique that worked for in the rare instances that it was used. Thinking about it, it is a reversal of a colonialists' attitude of suppression. Looking back, it resembles the better Christian missionary efforts, only with a different objective.

Brutus, what the heck are you talking about? First of all, the British policy wasn't to send "18 year old kids and having them spend formative years, mabye even a quarter of their life in a foriegn country and a war environment", nor is it ours. The British kept diplomats and intelligence officers in the same country, which makes a lot of sense. It sounds like Gen McChrystal will be trying to consolidate all the OGAs (other government agencies) a little more as well as establish a command which regularly sends small teams of military advisors to the same region every few months so the rapor they develope with the local leaders is maintained. As I said, there is already a program like this, but currently those military liaisons don't return to the same region/unit after spending all that time with them.

As for those poor 18 year olds, well the worst coming down the pipe for them may be a few months added on to their deployments so there is more overlap between units ("trust this guy, don't trust this guy, these streets are safe, these aren't," etc). All of my Marines want to be over there - that's why they joined, and many that have deployed before voluteered to stay on for an additional tour.

I understand you're an isolationist, and that's great, but don't project that onto the facts laid out in front of you - namely, this article.

You guys are probably right, gasp... I read his references to vietnam troop rotations and thought he was talking about having the grunts the stick it out for long stretches. Still, i am not really sold on having half a year and half a year off; imagine what the quality of life must be like counting down the days till you return to trashcanistan. For some, I'm sure its not like that and god bless them. For what he is talking about though I do feel for the men who become this creature of both societies when the political winds shift and they are ordored to abandon their friends.

Brutus, please stop treating the military as victims. If they don't want to be there, they won't reenlist. Pretty simple.

I give up....I understand what you are saying, but I don't think it is that simple when you consider how the military sells itself to possible recruits. God bless those serving our coutnry.

I agree with you on that point, Brutus, and apologize if I came across too harsh; there is definitely a problem when all the Army and National Guard commercials focus on paying for college.

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