Bacevich on force levels and policy.


"To fulfill its self-imposed obligations as sole superpower, the United States would need a citizenry that subscribes to the cwarrior-patriot’s code: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. How sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country. Most Americans are far more likely to subscribe to the code vividly displayed each weekend in Style sections of newspapers. There, the appeal of dying for one’s country takes a backseat to the latest tips on relationships, restaurants, recipes, street wear, household furnishings, and places to be seen.

Between what our duties as a self-proclaimed indispensable nation ostensibly require and what our freewheeling culture encourages, there exists a contradiction. In the White House, the Pentagon, and the Congress, the stewards of U.S. national security policy assume they can manage that contradiction. Yet day-by-day, evidence suggesting otherwise piles up."  Dallas news.


Colonel (Ret.) Doctor Bacevich believes that the numbers recruitable for the US armed forces on a voluntary basis are not large enough to sustain a foreign policy as aggressive as ours.

He and I fought in Vietnam.  We had over 500,000 troops there in 1968 just before Nixon's phased withdrawal began.  There were also several hundred thousand anticommunist native troops.  South Vietnam and the adjoining countries were very large.  The numbers available to us were, IMO, marginal in the task of trying to defend the country against the Viet Cong/NVA.

If that is so, then how ridiculous was the attempt to occupy and pacify Iraq and/or Afghanistan with what amounted to a relative handful of men.  It was obvious from the beginning that the numbers available were too small.  The voodoo semi-religion of COIN was used to inflict the delusion of sufficiency of forces on the armed forces of the US.  This doctrinal fantasy was spread by people like McMaster, Nagl, Kilcullen and a cluster of other "children" who professed to have learned  in libraries that VN was lost to the communists because the US blundered around in the jungles and rice paddies throughout the war trying to re-fight the Battle of the Bulge or the Okinawa campaign.  In fact the US sought assiduously to apply the COIN folly to VN throughout the war, and did it with resources that were vastly greater than any available in the GWOT.  I was there and worked with the CORDS/COIN apparat.  So, I guess I probably know what I am talking about.

Colonel Bacevich does not seem very specific about the solution to the question that he poses. 

It seems clear to me that the draft will not return.  Bacevich says that as well.  He and I agree that American culture is now so sybaritic and self-obsessed that it is unlikely that the force necessary to pursue our self-assigned mission of world "purification" can be created and maintained.

As a rationalist I feel it necessary to say that the "reach" of US foreign policy has, since 9/11, exceeded its "grasp."  We should give up our R2P dreams and define US security interest as being the defense of the homeland.  If we do that then the numbers available and our policy would begin to match.  pl

This entry was posted in Afghanistan, As The Borg Turns, History, Iraq, Middle East, Policy, The Military Art, Vietnam. Bookmark the permalink.

128 Responses to Bacevich on force levels and policy.

  1. jerseycityjoan says:

    I hardly know what to say because the number of interconnected issues involved here are so many and so important.
    I don’t disagree with anything the Col. or Andrew Bacevich said.
    I think the disconnect between our government and our military’s stated goals and aspirations on defending ourselves and the world are immense, irreconcilable and unmanageable.
    If we do not reassess, scale back and take back some of the promises our leaders have made we will eventually destroy our American way of life through excessive debt, massive levels of misspent government revenue is used to maintain our literally and truly nonexistent Empire, inadequate funding for our own needs and escalating social unrest here at home.
    If the people of Planet Earth want a “world’s policeman” then everybody should be contributing to such an international organization with manpower and funding. The world’s population has gone from about 3 billion to 7 billion since 1960. Our country does not dominate the world as it once did, we cannot possibly fulfill these duties without failure or self-destruction.

  2. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, Bravo for this words, perfectly, well said

  3. SmoothieX12 says:

    “It seems clear to me that the draft will not return. Bacevich says that as well. He and I agree that American culture is now so sybaritic and self-obsessed that it is unlikely that the force necessary to pursue our self-assigned mission of world “purification” can be created and maintained.”
    I know I sound redundant but US “elites”, including military ones, are not conditioned by continental warfare. I do respect Bacevich, to survive own son’s death in Iraq is a heavy load. I am not sure I would be able to bear this. But the problem is not in that–United States are not continental power with everything it entails, nor will it ever be the one–US true security lies with the naval force. Losing in Vietnam didn’t change the landscape of Chicago or D.C. No American housewives were raped, no local convenient stores were burned to the ground by bombing, no schools withstood direct hits, no children were killed–but that is how most of the world lives for centuries. Conditioning by warfare matters, great deal. American exceptionalism is in insularity from war.

  4. HankP says:

    Very interesting. However, I wouldn’t necessarily write off the entire American populace as “sybaritic and self-obsessed”. What one sees in marketing materials like advertising (and most “style” pieces are advertising without the logo) is often aspirational. There are plenty of Americans, I would say a large majority, who aren’t near well-off enough to be either a sybarite or a self-obsessive. They’re pretty much the same hard working Americans they’ve been for decades. Whether they’re actually more pacifist than their forebears of 50 or 100 years ago is difficult to know. I would guess that they are quite a bit more cynical about military adventures, though, given what occurred in Vietnam and subsequent military actions.

  5. turcopolier says:

    You are kidding yourself. What you seen now is, in the main, “the antic capering of a degenerate stock,” All they want in life is to be rich. pl

  6. turcopolier says:

    “are not conditioned by continental warfare.” How laughably xenophobic and Russian that is. it is a long time since Stalingrad my friend and your army “conditioned by continental warfare” fought poorly in Afghanistan. pl

  7. Cortes says:

    On a visit to the USA over Christmas and New Year 2011/12 I experienced a startling contrast in the world awareness of two US citizens.
    Party of the First Part sat next to me on a Heathrow-Dallas flight with headphones on watching the movie, except for a brief interval during which he led me to believe that he was returning from a secondment to the IT section of a subsidiary of his corporation in Switzerland. During his three months there he had gone …nowhere. He was youngish, say late 20s, and white.
    Party of the Second Part was youngish and black. I met and spoke with him and his dad at a diner in Savannah where they were visiting family over the holidays, being ordinarily residents of NYC. POTSP described how delighted he was to have been based in Germany with the US Airforce as he had had ample scope to take flights to countries both adjacent and further afield, like Spain and explore a little while on leave (furlough?).
    My sample of two proves the square root of hee haw, but the sybaritic quality which troubles you is probably multiplied by insularity, extraordinary as that sounds for a continent sized country.

  8. VietnamVet says:

    I agree with you. General Westmoreland requested a million troops to fight in Vietnam but LBJ turned him down because it meant activating the National Guard. 5000 US soldiers plus twice as many mercenaries in Iraq won’t do squat. In addition, the USA ally Saudi Arabia is the godfather to the Daesh and NATO member Turkey is morphing into the new Ottoman caliphate. The Iraq America war has been going on for a quarter century and is unwinnable as it is being fought. To compound this insanity, because Americans are not being drafted, we no longer matter to ruling elite. The blue collar class and conscripts are held in total contempt. Every anti-Trump comment on Huffington Post applies to those who voted for him. The loss of democracy, the forever wars and the increased white middle age suicide rate are all intertwined. Our lives have to matter. If not, America will go broke and it will splinter apart just like the old Soviet Union.

  9. turcopolier says:

    “Insularity?” what could be more “insular” than the great majority of working class Englishmen whom I know? The causes do not matter. The end result does. You are going to be on your own, Get ready for it. pl

  10. SmoothieX12 says:

    “and your army “conditioned by continental warfare” fought poorly in Afghanistan.”
    Actually, it didn’t, but then again, what do I know (a hint–I have more classmates and friends who fought in Afghanistan than CIA would only dream about interviewing). What “xenophobia” has anything to do with that? Is Lester Grau an idiot? Leningrad lost more people in 900 days than US lost through its military history combined. Facts are facts, numbers are numbers. I can tell you my family’s (which is average) military history but what would it change and I am not sure you want to hear it, I could be wrong, of course.

  11. turcopolier says:

    We don’t have “conscripts.” We have working class soldiers now and they ARE despised by the Morning Joe crowd in spite of the BS about thanking for service. I generally tell people who say that they should thank some private rather than me. pl

  12. David Lentini says:

    Magical thinking—about cultures, history, economics, and humanity—has a bad way of perpetuating itself, since it denies reality while claiming to be fully rational. The gods first make crazy whom they would destroy.

  13. Andy says:

    Bacevich continues his Quixotic quest for a force structure that will reign in the ability of politicians to engage in ill-advised wars. Bacevich wrongly chalks failure in war to a “military system is out of sync with its military ambitions” – the AVF. Bacevich doesn’t offer an alternative that would have achieved victory (as our elites have defined victory) – probably because such a victory is not practically possible with or without an AVF. No military can overcome the obstacles required to achieve the neocon/borg fantastical victories the promise (ie. a secular, democratic Afghanistan that respects all religions, treats women equally; a foreign-sponsored military force that will conquer all opponents in Syria and institute a modern, pro-western secular democracy, etc.).
    Also, like so many others, Bacevich wishes that elites and “America” would have more skin in the game, but history shows that can’t be achieved through the kind of technocratic social engineering which he and others have previously advocated for. He complains about only 1% of Americans who serve – what does he want, a 20 million person military? Universal service which would require the accession 4 million souls annually? The schemes to get American skin in the game by forcing the people to share the burdens imposed by wars of choice to not stand up to modest scrutiny. He fails to recognize the self-limiting features of an AVF.
    He’s right draft will not return anytime soon. After Vietnam the American people decided that our government could not be trusted to use that power responsibly and not much has happened to change that. Support for a draft won’t return until America faces an existential threat at some point in the future.
    I can’t criticize Bacevich too much though – I do share his concerns but I am not optimistic there are any solutions to the problems he describes.

  14. Serge says:

    Sybaritic, now that’s a good word. Regarding the mention of A-Stan in this context, the death toll in the massive coordinated attack in Kabul on Tuesday has been revised from initial reports that all of the dead were “innocent afghan” civilians to the fact that most of the dead were “elite intelligence officers” who died when the roof collapsed on them from the massive blast. 60+ dead 300+ wounded in an attack that reminds of IS tactics in the use of military grade explosives, atypical of the Taliban. We certainly aren’t out of the woods yet.

  15. Cortes says:

    Being a Scot I am happy to be independent. The current scaremongering over the future of the EU worries me not. My daughter and her family will, I suspect, enjoy a brighter future in the absence of the Borg “dripping roast ” represented by the EU (and the UK).
    Thanks once more.

  16. turcopolier says:

    Whose magical thinking, mine or Bacevich? If mine we should discuss my primitive Orientalist views. pl

  17. HankP says:

    Col. Lang –
    We’ll have to agree to disagree about the current state of the American people. As far as “All they want in life is to be rich”, well, that’s been a draw to the US since long before either of us was around. I’m pretty sure it started with Columbus. There are exceptions, but it certainly wasn’t uncommon.

  18. turcopolier says:

    My ancestors who fought in the Pequod War, King Phillips War, served at Valley Forge and Yorktown did not fight to be rich and to have an easy life. Perhaps yours did. pl

  19. HankP says:

    Col. Lang –
    My relatives only fought in WWII and Vietnam, not sure if that counts or not. But I think it’s a bit much to deny any economic attraction to the US.

  20. Shawn says:

    That’s my take too colonel. I joined the marines when I was 17. The enlisted ranks are full of, as Mr. Obama says, bitter clingers. In my own state the governor has stated there is no place for conservative minded folks.
    I have 4 sons. The beltway is not worth any one of them and is reflected in what I teach them.

  21. Eliot says:

    “All they want in life is to be rich”
    It’s vulgar, sad thing.
    – Eliot

  22. Jag Pop says:

    There is an ultra famous poem by that name: Dulce et Decorum Est
    written by Wilfred Owen (killed in action the last week of WWI).
    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
    Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
    Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
    If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

  23. Mark Pyruz says:

    I usually agree with Col.Bacevich. However in the context of an aggressive–I might even characterize it as “bullying,” it matters what type of application of hard power is applied.
    These days economic warfare as applied to countries adopting a foreign policy independent of the U.S.-led global security order–such as Iran and Russia–are subjected to economic warfare in the form of sanctions. And against non-state actors, there is the application of drones.
    Where Bacevich may be correct is if a major war were to occur where a significant segment of American society were required for formal conquest and, most importantly, sustained occupation. To a certain extent, this has been the lesson of OIF and even OEF-A.
    As a commenter above has pointed out, there are segments of American society that are not immersed in self-indulgence. Yes, less affluent–you might say poor– elements of American society can be induced to fight foreign wars. In my own personal, multiethnic background, mom’s side of the family is Native American. During the late 1960’s, all of my cousins from this side of the family volunteered for U.S. military service when they turned 17. The eldest fought in Vietnam and returned with a brain injury; we lost him here stateside. Stretching back two generations, we lost a great uncle (USA) at Battle of Bitche and a great great uncle returned from WWI with a lung injury from a German chemical weapon attack. I should point out members of our current generation have also volunteered, per tradition to the Marines.
    As a side note, the Battle of Okinawa was mentioned in this post. My nephew’s grandfather fought in the Battle of Sugar Loaf. He too returned with a brain injury and passed away stateside.
    I’ll tell you what hurts: not long after my eldest cousin passed away (around 2000), I happened to notice the label on a t-shirt I’d purchased at a local department store. It read “Made in Vietnam.”

  24. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Agree completely with your argument, but as I dont see the US accepting (barring a massive defeat and/or economic collapse) a realistic set of FP objectives – if we are building roads in Afghanistan, we should also rebuild our crumbling US roads and bridges.
    So how to get beyond the limitations of a AVF?
    Simple but disturbing – Boston Dynamics
    An army of military robots could give the military and FP elites the necessary numbers, at, I am sure, a bankrupt-the-US cost. Personally I find the concept of such a robot army very disturbing, but then again, I also found Terminator disturbing (but a great flick).
    Now just wait until some genius decided to let the military robots make more of themselves.

  25. Brunswick says:

    The trade off was the Draft would be dropped,
    but the Military would become a “volenteer”‘Professional force,
    Thus the US Military could be used for what ever the Politicians wanted, with out having to get, or coerce, popular support for the wars.
    It worked well enough for a while, but the ongoing wars are breaking the “system”.

  26. Brunswick says:
    “If you had to make a sudden visit to the emergency room, would you have enough money to pay for it without selling something or borrowing the funds from somewhere? Most Americans may not realize this, but this is something that the Federal Reserve has actually been tracking for several years now. And according to the Fed, an astounding 47 percent of all Americans could not come up with $400 to pay for an emergency room visit without borrowing it or selling something. Various surveys that I have talked about in the past have found that more than 60 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck, but I didn’t realize that things were quite this bad for about half the country. If you can’t even come up with $400 for an unexpected emergency room visit, then you are just surviving from month to month by the skin of your teeth. Unfortunately, about half of us are currently in that situation.”
    While many American’s “dream” about getting rich, most are putting in god awfull hours to just get by, or slowly fall behind.
    More, and more, I think my Fundi Brother in Washington State has the “right” idea. He ignores war and politics, ( doesn’t even vote), believes no Politician is ever going to give him and his familily a “hand up”, works hard, saves his money, spends his spare time building a strong familiy and a strong local “Fundi” community, where not only has he given members of his community a “hand up”, but they have done the same for him and his Family.

  27. A post and thread worthy of study! Thanks P.L. and All. What does a uniformed military represent today in the U.S.A. and worldwide? I have often heard the postulate in 1945 in France and Germany and other places that any group of armed men was to be feared unless they were WILLY AND JOE!

  28. Brunswick says:

    Including “Ghost Soldiers”, Afghan Security Forces number over 420,000, ( Police, Intel, Army, Airforce, semi-Militias, etc),
    But Afghanistan’s whole GDP including opium and heroin is $33.55 billion ( PPP).
    Including equiptment, the security force size Afghanistan can actually “afford”, maxes out at maybe 60,000.

  29. bth says:

    Bacevich is saying that we have to reduce our interventionist aspirations to a level consistent with the force projection capability of an all volunteer force otherwise we lose wars.
    Skin in the game is an important. Andrew and I have discussed this together on multiple occasions over the last decade. If the country can’t gather the will to pass a formal declaration of war, does it have the will to win? If it doesn’t have a will to commit its youth to war via a draft or. an even lower threshold, if it doesn’t have the will to actually pay for the war through higher taxes, then it is clear a long slow bleed is at hand with no victory in sight. Is it any surprise that this last ME adventure will last 3 times longer than WWII?
    We have made it too easy to send some other man’s son to war.

  30. LeaNder says:

    “Sybaritic, now that’s a good word.”
    I agree, these old words going back to Greek are quite fascinating:

  31. LeaNder says:

    You seem too touchy here, it feels. For all I can tell, he may even agree with you: concerning ill-conceived regime change dreams or R2P.
    R2P, Responsibility to Protect
    To pick up VV’s statement above:
    “The Iraq America war has been going on for a quarter century and is unwinnable as it is being fought.”
    In hindsight, the decision of Bush father (R2P) made sense, not so sure about Clinton’s semi-war-activities, but definitively the decision of Bush son and the circles around him made none at all, as far as finishing matters once and for all times. Culture?
    As far as I am concerned, I wouldn’t be here, if your view of the region could simply be reduced to what you, I suppose, somewhat provocatively offer above.

  32. turcopolier says:

    Mark Pyruz
    the question is not whether there exist people in the US suitable and willing for military service. The question is HOW MANY relative to the demands of our aggressive foreign policy. pl

  33. turcopolier says:

    hank P
    “a bit much to deny any economic attraction to the US.” No idea what that means. pl

  34. turcopolier says:

    How is your summary different from mine? pl

  35. turcopolier says:

    “Actually, it didn’t” I followed that war in great detail for many years and with access to the best information the US government had. tell me where Soviet 40th army fought well in Afghanistan. Where? pl

  36. turcopolier says:

    Ah, I get it now. A hope for economic improvement was always an incentive for coming to America, but it was not the only incentive and there were always enough people willing to fight for the country. I do not think that is still true given the size forces we would have to generate in order to win extended wars overseas. IMO there has been a shift in the general public attitude that precludes recruitment of really large forces. People now see the military as a vocational choice, something like joining a police force. Remember, for every soldier deployed overseas you have to have several in the rotation base. pl

  37. Fred says:

    “These days economic warfare as applied to countries adopting a foreign policy independent of the U.S.-led global security order–such as Iran and Russia–are subjected to economic warfare in the form of sanctions.”
    These days economic warfare as applied to states adopting legislation affirming the rights of free association of their citizens independent of the Left led social conformity order – such as North Carolina – are subjected to economic warfare in the form of sanctions.

  38. LeaNder says:

    Cortes, my favorite speakers while living in London had a Scottish background. “My private school of English”, responded to that: of course you like that most, its as hard/harsh? as German or Russian. 😉
    Recent events concerning the future of the EU do worry me.
    If I am not absolutely misinformed, Scotland profits from EU membership. Quite possible, we Germans should distribute more funds both South and certain areas of the North. Notice, I have not the least idea about the Scottish economy: Certain areas of the North?, To get out of the restraints in the realm of generalizations.
    On the other hand, I am not so sure what type of loopholes it could open up for misuse in the larger world-financial-complex and its respective services. Full discovery: I do not understand that complex well enough to write this, really. I also worry about what would happen here on my own local EU ground as a result.
    “in the absence of the Borg ‘dripping roast'” Dripping Roast? Should we define the Borg, or at least one central aspect of it, as the diverse interest and lobby group around Bruxelles somewhat parallel to Washington?
    I do not worry about EU versus local law too much, at least a lot less then about the limits to what extend a basic Utopia at the times of its creation can replace centuries of grown national prejudices. And strictly that is the fertile ground special interests lobby can use in shaping public perceptions according to their demands.
    In hindsight the worst decision was to expand the EU eastwards following German re-unification, at the speed it happened.

  39. LeaNder says:

    “as North Carolina – are subjected to economic warfare in the form of sanctions.”

  40. Tom says:

    I agree with Smoothie and I don´t. I agree that most Americans don´t have the faintest idea of what war means and that is scary. Worst are those armchair warriors and neocons. I hate them with a vengeance. But it is wrong to suppose that somehow the Russian army has genetically inherited a capability for contintental warfar. The truth of the matter is that the Russian army is a child of necessity and the US army is a child of choice. Choices mostly made by corrupt procurement officials and equally corrupt think tanks. Although laughable if you compare the means employed and the result obtained – overall the US army is still quite formidable. Which doesn´t really matter as there is never any real national necessity when the grunts are sent abroad.
    By contrast the Russian army has real importance and therefore much more efficient. Although he material base is much, much smaller. If you though suppose todays conscripts could fight the battle of Stalingrad: please don´t make me laugh. Russian teenagers (at least from the big cities) are just the same sort of smartphone addicted, overfed babies as their Western counterparts. Accordingly mandatory service is much easier than it used to be. Conscripts are even allowed to keep their smartphones and call home to mommy. Granted all of the Caucasians and most of the Muslims including the Tartars are different. One wonders though how enthusiastically they would fight for the Motherland.
    Finally I believe all people have the capacity to fight if they must. It is just that the Americans simply don´t have to.

  41. Since the U.S.A. put 2 million potential soldiers on the ground in France after Declaration of War in 1917 there has been some recognition that a new player had arrived on the World Stage. John Eisenhower’s book on that mobilization a gem IMO.
    But while I respect Andrew Bacevich for many reasons the AVF and supply of soldiers not now the key. The key is getting agreement on what U.S. FP should have as its goals? And then how can those goals be accomplished?

  42. turcopolier says:

    You are German, right? “Finally I believe all people have the capacity to fight if they must. It is just that the Americans simply don´t have to.” How is it “necessary” for Russians to fight? Has anyone attacked Russia lately? NATO under US influence is playing a schoolyard domination game with them but has not actually attacked Russia and IMO is unlikely to do so. Russia is doing quite an effective job in Syria but that was an intervention of choice and they have evidently decided not to use their own ground troops there except for a few Spetsnaz, some artillery and some advisers/trainers. This decision must be linked to the size force that they think they can sustain in an expeditionary environment. In the case of the US, the AVF, is IMO self limiting in size because of the limits of potential recruiting in a society that no longer values duty as a concept. US military recruiting for the AVF is largely conducted on the basis of strong incentives, largely in educational benefits but the number of people so available who also can qualify in terms of intelligence, not criminal record, etc. is finite in a very real sense. BTW, I can tell you from experience that most individuals have little potential as combat soldiers. Unless their “fight or flight” reflex is triggered, mot people simply freeze up under fire. Most actual fighting is done by people who are able to function under great stress and there are not that many of those. SLA Marshall cited the US Army’s studies after WW2 that most infantry soldiers never fired their weapons at all. they just kept their heads down until the noise stopped. pl

  43. turcopolier says:

    The point is that present US FP cannot be accomplished with the force available under the AVF. pl

  44. bth says:

    How do our summaries differ? Well as to an assessment of the problem we are in complete agreement.
    What I’m wrestling with is what to do about it? Or even if there is any positive change possible? Bacevich would largely say that positive change isn’t in the cards right now.
    But you now we post on this blog for a lot of reasons and one is the belief that public education is necessary and begins with educated discourse. The American public does have the capacity to learn about their enlightened self interest. For all its faults, America has done a pretty good job of improving the world post from WWII on.
    The American public is smarter than it was in 2001. Its more skeptical and perhaps better informed about the ME. The younger Bernie supporters and the older Trump backers know something is afoul from the borg but they aren’t being offered practical alternatives that would match our national reach with grasp.
    I want Bacevich to focus his considerable mental intellect on prescriptive actions in his next book. He keeps tightening the knot and I want him to untie it.

  45. bth says:

    What Putin has done well is limit his public objectives to narrowly defined goals as we are seeing in Syria. When he takes chances he does them with surrogates or in some masked manner.

  46. turcopolier says:

    I suppose you are referring to Ukraine. As you know it has been endlessly argued here that the anti-fascist, ethnic Russian revolt in eastern Ukraine is supported by Russia but not a “surrogate.” pl

  47. turcopolier says:

    it is a feature of most Americans’ thinking to believe that for every problem there is a solution. Bacevich is not “most Americans.” pl

  48. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to LeaNder 23 April 2016 at 09:49 AM
    He’s complaining about the fact that North Carolina’s recently passed repressive legislation has met with a backlash and that it’s costing the state money and jobs. Boo hoo. If they have the right to pass such legislation other people have the right to decide to spend their money elsewhere. These Guardian articles might fill in some background for you:

  49. BraveNewWorld says:

    The problem extends beyond just the people in uniform. The general public is tired of paying for the (for lack of a better word) “limited” wars the US is in now. There is just no way they would be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to support a larger scale war unless they thought their lives were directly threatened. Unfortunately Washington with the assistance of the press have become quite adept at making people believe every thing is an existential fight. See the WOT as the poster child.
    I am going to get blasted for this but I am still not ready to toss aside the concept of R2P. I still think that there are times when humanity needs to stand up and say enough is enough. But I firmly believe that most of what has been sold as R2P has been nothing of the sort. Far greater limits need to be placed on it.

  50. turcopolier says:

    “most of what has been sold as R2P has been nothing of the sort.” Ah, more “merchants of death,” and economic determinist stuff. You obviously do not know the other worldly fools involved. well, your attitude reflects that of present day society and is indicative of why we can’t find enough people who want to fight for the Republic. pl

  51. SmoothieX12 says:

    “But it is wrong to suppose that somehow the Russian army has genetically inherited a capability for contintental warfar. The truth of the matter is that the Russian army is a child of necessity and the US army is a child of choice.”
    No one argues with that and that wasn’t even implied, geopolitics has its place in all that. Russian Army has enough defeats to its record which testify to the fact that war is a tricky and complex issue. My point was about political elites which have no idea about application of military force–it is expected from the political class overwhelming majority of which never served, let alone served in operations where one has a direct threat to own life, let alone to life of own family and home. Lawyers and political scientists do not make good strategists–it is an axiom, not theorem and some rare exceptions merely confirm the rule. This is not just my personal point alone (and I was commenting about it since 2008 on Daniel Larison’s blog at TAC), Philip Giraldi, among many others, constantly makes this point. After all, it was none other than former DecDef James Schlesinger (by far not a dove) who stated that it would be very wise to take most of US Congress to proving grounds and detonate low yield nuclear device for them to feel the heat and hear the sound to rethink their position on war. I will reiterate, US elites and population in general are not conditioned by continental warfare–it is a major cultural strategic factor which shapes US foreign policy. It is also the reason why US is de facto the home to Holocaust Industry (money making machine) central. My task was not to “insult” US Armed Forces, I am the one who stated not for once that American soldier is one of the best in the world, but fact is the REAL solution to US insularity from the continental war, which is the objective of any, especially great nation, is in the oceans. US insularity from war is what makes this nation so unique and, indeed, exceptional. It is also both blessing and, in some sense, a curse and we see this curse playing out dramatically and tragically in a front of our eyes. Even in the worst times of Cold War, both USSR and US had political elites which were very aware of the horror of what WW II was–enough to take a look at veterans such as Henry Kissinger or George Bush Sr., let alone Ike. Today this changed dramatically on US side. In fact, emergence of neocons as a main driving force for US foreign policy is, apart from primitive flattery and corruption, could be attributed to US power elites’ losing, with the departure or purging of most realists, awareness of a war and its consequences. But here we are getting too deep into the rabbit hole.

  52. cynic says:

    Google fails to reveal the source of that quote.Was it one of the Ancients, or a pessimistic Modern like Waugh?

  53. turcopolier says:

    Malcolm Muggeridge referring to the people of England. He is one of my favorite sages along with Mencken and Bill Murray. pl

  54. Degringolade says:

    This should force people to remember Eric Shinseki and how he was drummed out when he dared to point out the number of troops needed to do the job.

  55. freedomfries says:

    I always like it when the full stanza of the Owen poem is repeated:
    “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The Old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.[nb 16] ”
    And of course “the children, ardent for some desperate glory”, are always played by the war profiteers who subscribe to:

    Dulce et decorum est,
    pecuniam facere in bellum.”
    For those unable to connect the dots, here is an example: Halliburton/with subsidary KBR stock chart for the past 40 years:;range=my
    Note: War profiteers, a quaint term from the first half of the 20th Century that is now forbidden by political correctness. Most people will have to look it’s meaning up. In the late 20th and early 21st Century, making large fortunes from the suffering of War is considered appropriate and normal. It’s just another profit center in a neoliberal economy.
    Because after all, the business of America is business.

  56. rjj says:

    Epigenetics is in its infancy and it is far too early to define the limits of transgenerational inheritance. But there is this:

  57. HankP says:

    Col. Lang –
    Yes, that’s what I meant. I think I’ve said it before, economics doesn’t explain everything, but it doesn’t explain nothing. As to the reasons why many Americans don’t enlist, I think it’s partly the reason you state (military as a vocational choice) but I think the bigger reason is that people with conscription facing them demand much better reasons for putting their life on the line from the government. This is the reason for an all-volunteer force, the politicians wanted to make it easier to engage in overseas military forays without the resistance at home from those who would do the fighting.
    Of course I can’t be sure, but my guess is that if we faced something like the attack on Pearl Harbor again, there would not be a shortage of Americans willing to fight for the nations defense. The difference now is that Americans have seen the abuse of the military in pursuit of (at best) questionable foreign policy, and aren’t willing to put their lives on the line for that.

  58. HankP says:

    BraveNewWorld –
    Yes, exactly. People have memories, and when they look back and see that the reasons they were given for sacrifice were misleading or outright lies, they’re much less likely to put themselves on the line in the future.

  59. jld says:

    An army of military robots could give the military etc…

    Ever heard of the F35?

  60. turcopolier says:

    Hank P
    Yes. Yes. We were all lied to. People would defend the country against an actual existential threat? That is not the point. All the moralistic whiny baloney about Pearl Harbor does not address the point of Bacevich’s article and my gloss on which is that the resulting force is too small for the foreign adventures we have undertaken. pl

  61. cynic says:

    Thank you. It’s now got to the point where the degenerate remnants are being replaced by the trash of the world, amidst the lunatic capers of the depraved.

  62. rjj says:

    it is not repressive legislation. why should 1-5 (likely more) out of a hundred people forego their comfort to indulge a gender fetish of 3 out of a thousand people.

  63. SmoothieX12 says:

    From the top of my head–operations by 15 Separate Brigade of Spetznas. Especially operations on the LOCs.

  64. HankP says:

    Col. Lang –
    Yes, and you and Bacevich are correct about that. I guess my point is that the reticence of Americans to support the military in our current type of operations isn’t really a moral failing of the American people, it’s more cynicism born of experience. In other words, the problem here isn’t the lack of support for foreign adventurism but the leadership that initiates these kinds of operations.

  65. turcopolier says:

    Hank P
    “supporting the military” is easy. You pay taxes. Joining at the risk of your life is another and more difficult thing. I believe it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who refused to pay taxes during the Mexican War. You might want to try that and let me know how it worked out for you. BTW, for me joining the military WAS an occupational and vocational choice. I like soldiering. pl

  66. Tom says:

    Absolutely agreed. That is why I always felt much safer with Bush senior than Bush junior. On top the US doesn´t even feel the war in its pockets. As the holder of the world´s reserve currency the US has the unique privilege of being able to print the modern day equivalent of gold. (Another – indirect – result of the Vietnam war as the war costs in gold which flowed abroad (huge trade deficits) proved to high for a currency based on gold) The result is nevertheless desastrous for the American people as modern warfare has proven to be the most profitable of all enterprises. That´s were most of the investment has been flowing for more than thrty years now. The results are everywhere to be seen. The other result has been an ever increasing propensity to use force not only abroad but with in the US as well. That reminds me strongly of Russia. As somebody who has friends who been involved against police brutality in Russia I can confidently say that in both the US and Russia a big part of the problem are former soldiers who entered the police force. the similarity between the Russian (Chechnya) and the American experience is not having been in a war as such but in a guerilla war against basically the civilian population. Let us hope that the US stops being the worlds reserve currency soon. It seems to be the only way to stop this madness.

  67. turcopolier says:

    I don’t buy the thing about savage ex-soldier cops. Any proof of that? I think a bigger problem has been the training fostered by DHS employing contract Israeli policemen as teachers. They are accustomed to treating the people as a subject race. pl

  68. turcopolier says:

    “Spetsnaz” in A-stan were not really GRU controlled regular Spetsnaz. They were battalions (not brigades) of counter-guerrilla troops cadred by regular Spetsnaz men. They were pretty good and did not have the disciplinary and other problems that the rest of 40th Army had. pl

  69. It is difficult for me to believe any coherence in current U.S. FP. Could you explain?

  70. SmoothieX12 says:

    I would argue about Brigades (that is OShS–Организационно Штатная Структура, Organization-Billet Structure) but it is of secondary importance, since in the end there were mostly Detachments (Otryady) of SP, such as 173rd which was mostly made of the guys from traditionally Islamic parts (mostly Caucasus) of USSR. Some were GRU, others, as you correctly pointed out, were of troop (voiskovoy)variety. As per run of the mill conscripts–there were some units which were good, others that suffered greatly from number of issues–discipline, demoralization etc. This did also take place. What is often forgot, when speaking on A-stan, USSR used it as a “proving ground” (however horrible it sounds for some) for the new generation of the Precision Guided Munitions, ranging from TV to Laser-guided ones.

  71. Tyler says:

    Only in schizophrenic liberal land is indulging a man’s sexual kicks be considered “regressive”.

  72. Tyler says:

    Tom hyperventilating about “savage ex soldier cops” is f-cking laffo. I guess it’s cops shooting up Chicago.

  73. SmoothieX12 says:

    “As somebody who has friends who been involved against police brutality in Russia I can confidently say that in both the US and Russia a big part of the problem are former soldiers who entered the police force.”
    Speaking of personal experience–one of my friends, who looked like Pushtu, spoke great Pushtu (while being as Russian as they come, in fact from Cossack blood-line), and served as a military adviser to one of big time Pushtu field commanders in A-stan, later became Chief of the 6th Department (famous ORBs–Operational Detective Bureaus) in the police of one of the major Russian districts. Let me tell you–he was one of the best police chiefs I ever knew, but Russian realities of 1990s were really brutal and he was perfect for the job. Later, in early 1990s he got together with one of my business contacts from Santa-Fe, who was Vietnam vet. Goodness gracious, did they hit it off famously. This was one the greatest amount of alcohol I ever consumed. I later brought him to the US, where I had business–I vaguely remember that time;-))) But I still have the photo of me, him, another friend of mine with, and, at that time FBI Special Agent in Charge Bill Gore. My friend was treated in Seattle PD also as a king. Wonderful times, full of hope, which was later dashed brutally. All kinds of people served and serve in police, some of those people do have demons, others are plain simple criminals themselves.

  74. Bill Herschel says:

    This article:
    makes a case that the $595 billion 2015 Pentagon budget does not really cover all military expenditures and, that if you add everything in like the Veteran’s Administration, you get up to a trillion.
    We have military bases in 80 countries and military personnel in 160. Afghanistan is the longest war fought by the United States and is not over. Nor is Iraq. Nor is Libya. We have combat troops on the ground in Ukraine and Syria.
    Our country is awash in heroin. I have trouble driving at night, because the lines on the road aren’t repainted.
    On the other hand, Russia, with a military budget one tenth of ours has intervened effectively in Syria, has attempted to conduct a cease-fire, and will now, presumably, eliminate via its training, supply, and support of Syrian troops the jihadists attempting to overthrow the government.
    Finally, alone among government agencies, the Defense Department is not audited, so nobody knows where the money goes.
    I don’t pass judgement. But does it work? It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s a question of manpower. A malpractice lawyer would say, Res Ipsa Loquitur.

  75. cynic says:

    Defence of the homeland is a matter of spiritual,cultural, racial, intellectual, moral and political struggle before it becomes a military affair. When there is no identity beyond consumerism and the latest lefty babble, there is nothing left to defend, nothing worthwhile that has a home. Then there are just unwitting and uncaring slaves of those who say, “When we’ve sucked it dry, it can shrivel up and blow away.” All sorts of adventures can be carried out, in any military configuration, against the interests of both parties,solely to benefit the cosmopolitan kleptocratic parasites who own the politicians and despise the people over whom they rule.

  76. turcopolier says:

    Bill Herschel
    DoD has always been internally audited. My father was an Army auditor. I think outside auditors would be a good thing, There are large unfunded liabilities. Retired pay, for example. pl

  77. C Webb says:

    It was Henry David Thoreau.
    He was released after Emerson paid his tax bill for him.
    (Strangely, I read about that fact only yesterday.)

  78. turcopolier says:

    C Webb
    What can I say? The moment was in a course on US Lit 55 years ago. pl

  79. VietnamVet says:

    As usual you are correct. The current US Army is not large enough to support the foreign adventures that America has embarked on.
    My belief is that Americans themselves have not changed that much. The WWII GIs described in “The Boys’ Crusade” by Paul Fussell are no different than the draftees I served with 46 years ago. Yes, there are differences. America today is suburbanized mega-cities. Rural America is disappearing decay. Blue Collar Workers, who made up the majority of American conscripts, were thrown in the trash. Western rulers today are the trans-national financial oligarchs.
    Our future depends on returning to government by and for the people. If not; war, economic depression and climate change will splinter the surviving Americans along ethnic and economic fault lines. The regime change campaigns and the flood of refugees they caused are a first taste of what is to come if there is no restoration.

  80. steve says:

    It was repressive, not regressive, which matters. The North Carolina law forbids individual cities and municipalities from making their own laws regarding these issues. Big government in action. Sounds repressive.

  81. Tyler says:

    Refusing to indulge, I should say

  82. steve says:

    I am not so sure that people are more sybaritic now, but we certainly have a more narrow population from which to draw if one counts family influences. My father served in the Korean War, uncles in WWII and other relatives served further back. I am sure that influenced my decision to enlist during the VN War. When you look at the percentages of Americans who have served in wars since WWII, that percentage keeps dropping. Kids just aren’t being brought up with the mindset to serve since they aren’t exposed to those who have done so. Also, for those who might have been inclined, I can certainly see how serving in these recent wars wouldn’t seem much like national defense.
    Since I would prefer a much more modest, less interventionist foreign policy, I am inclined to agree with Bacevich that we can’t obtain and maintain the troops we need to maintain what we have been doing.

  83. C Webb says:

    That’s not bad recall at all. I’d consider myself lucky if I can remember some of the facts I read last week. If I can recall the general ideas I’m happy enough.
    My own liberal education program started a couple of weeks ago with these books I purchased on eBay.
    That bit about Thoreau is in book 1.

  84. turcopolier says:

    If you are going to be able to use any bathroom you like, then just have one kind of bathroom. pl

  85. turcopolier says:

    C Webb
    Emerson and Thoreau were taught back to back in that course and I have always mixed the two up. pl

  86. turcopolier says:

    steve and VV
    IMO Americans are much more pampered today than during VN. I can’t imagine many of these people I see who were raised for their adolescent resumes by helicopter parents doing the things the VN era grunts did. pl

  87. Tel says:

    North Carolina passed a law of voluntary association, such that no one needs to associate with someone they disagree with on lifestyle matters.
    In response, the people who support forced association are utilizing their rights to not provide services to North Carolina, in order to pressure that state into depriving other people of their rights to not provide services.
    See how that works? Everyone loves ironing.

  88. Will Reks says:

    It’s mostly a non-issue. I think. Presumably, the transgendered folks have been using whatever bathroom they wish to use for years now with none the wiser. I don’t think these laws are going to change any of that. No one’s going to be checking under the hood.

  89. Will Reks says:

    I meant to address that to you. I think its just another wedge issue for the revolutionaries, reactionaries, and culture warriors to wrangle over.

  90. Cesar says:

    “All they want in life is to be rich.”
    As an Afghanistan veteran currently attending a top 10 graduate business school, I can attest that this is generally true among my peers. These self proclaimed “leaders” are not “a bit more cynical about military adventures”; they could not care less about them because the adventures did not and do not affect them in the least bit. They are quick to brag about their previous consulting, banking, or other business lives, and their expected salaries post graduation and will ignore you unless you add value to their “network”. Companies recruiting see veterans at my school as liabilities or someone who will do anything for them (as a recruiter once told me “we like you guys because your willing to work weekends without complaining because its better than getting shot at right?”). An interesting learning experience this has been.

  91. Fred says:

    Complaining, boo hoo? Really? And some links to articles written by the NYC based reporter for the Guardian? How kind of you. I simply commented on the usual partisan political posturing and social value signaling in an election year. In this particular case the standard Northern anti-southern bigotry combined with the anti-Christian kind. Friday’s round was the Governor of Virginia restoring Constitutional rights to ex-felons be executive order. .
    “Nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms”
    Of course they can only be trusted to vote, not to own a firearm. If he had actual moral courage he could have approached the legislature at any time to address just this issue. But that wouldn’t rally the partisan or piss off the opponents.
    BTW the lifelong registry on the sexual predator list in Virginia isn’t going to change either. Of course I wait with baited breath for the Guardian to report on the possible psychological effects on rape survivors of seeing a self proclaimed “transgender” using what was previously called in Charlotte, epicenter of NC’s LGBT driven bathroom de-segregation efforts, a women’s restroom.

  92. Fred says:

    Will Reks,
    “just another wedge issue”
    Precisely. The establishment of both parties are pulling out all the stops. I wonder what the insider polls actually show. it can’t be good for them.

  93. Bill Herschel says:


  94. Tyler says:

    NC forbid local governments from catering to schizophrenics as part of their Grorious Revolution and putting women and children at risk from lunatic freaks.
    I know to perverts like yourself the highest form of expression of what gets your rocks off but there are worries that take precedence over that.

  95. Tyler says:

    Now let’s apply that logic to people who don’t want to host, bake cakes for, or create floral arrangements for gay weddings.
    Oh wait no we can’t do that cause that logic only works one way.

  96. Tyler says:

    Breitbart summed it up nicely here:
    It is more Orwellian/Marxist claptrap to get people to accept a bold face lie: that because a man declares him a woman – voila, he is a woman – and you are an evil bigot for not denying the reality in front of your face.
    “When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”

  97. Amir says:

    An additional attraction is also to be citizen and a part of a country that produces soldiers like Bacevich or to some extent Powell. As a side note, Inwas fortunate to be able to attend an inspiring speech followed by question and answer session in front of a small audience by Former Sec. of State Powell. Truly an impressive man and a gripping life story but also a towering personality. The moderator asked him abut his childhood ambitions and drive to achieve when he would grow up. Powell joked “when I was 10, looking out the window and in the distant future, I saw myself becoming a general and then a Chief of Staff to then end as the first African-American Sec of State”. He then changed tack and said in a serious tone, everywhere Ingo, this question is asked and I have to remind myself that in the 40’s the schools were even segregated and an ambition to become a general in US Army, let alone the rest was not even thought to be in the roam of the rational and that the specific question had not come up for him at the time. He said that when he joined the service, his goals, everyday, was to just be a good soldier.
    He ended up in tears by saying “… to imagine that now a black man can be on the White House …” sobbing and almost loosing composure. This was a truly touching moment and I as well as the audience heard a genuine cry from the heart. Felt like “Moon River” song had been heard by the Lord.
    The above has probably little to do with the conversation but couldn’t hold it back.

  98. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Fred 23 April 2016 at 10:35 PM
    Yeah yeah all your fellow Americans hate you. Boo hoo. You can’t have it both ways, in the real world adults realise that their actions have consequences. North Carolina passed a law others found objectionable those others chose to express their objections to the repressive (and regressive) legislation passed by withdrawing their business. They’re entirely within their rights to do so and that they did so was an entirely predictable result of the legislation.
    Really you should stop snivelling about the entirely predictable consequences of passing legislation that others would find objectionable. They don’t owe you a living, go out see if you can find some other customers.
    Your attempt to conflate the Carolina legislation with the EO signed by the Governor of Virginia is frankly rather shameful. As is your attempt to do the sexual equivalent of waving the bloody flag.
    To refuse to allow convicted felons to buy or carry guns is reasonable given the US’ astonishingly high recidivism rate.
    To continue to punish a felon after they have served their time by denying them the opportunity to participate fully in the life of their community is not reasonable and is flat out wrong but entirely of a piece with the underlying viciousness of much of current American politics.

  99. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to turcopolier 23 April 2016 at 07:06 PM
    Not just Americans alas, it’s quite as bad here (Denmark) and I’d say throughout Western Europe generally. Perhaps not quite so bad in former Warsaw pact countries but rapidly getting there.

  100. I believe Professor Bacevich’s article linked above worth reading. But I respectfully disagree with his conclusion that the Armed Forces are inadequate for our FP.
    My conclusion is that there is in fact no coherent U.S. FP so unless one established his equation in error.
    What could become a coherent U.S. FP is one based on defending the nation-state system [admittedly not perfect or entirely peaceful] in effect since the Treaties of Westphalia [1648]. And in addition adopt a FP based on the First Amendment and equal rights for women.
    Could be wrong as always.

  101. rjj says:

    no stalls – they make people feel excluded. anyway they discriminate against voyeurs.

  102. Peter Reichard says:

    I can’t remember where I read this but a senator said something along the lines of …. “The youth of today trouble me. They are lazy and unambitious, they seem obsessed with entertainment and sex, they lack respect for our institutions and have neither the drive nor patriotism we had when we were younger. I fear for the future of our country.” His name was Cicero, speaking in the first century B.C. So perhaps it is just an eternal illusion of old age misjudging youth which now that my red hair is turning white I plead guilty to myself. Don’t worry colonel, the kids are all right.

  103. Peter Reichar says:

    Wars are begun by 50 and 60 year old men who expect 20 year old kids to do their dying for them. An all volunteer army allows the normally powerless younger generation to exercise veto power over large and/or long wars by simply not enlisting whereas conscription provides a bottomless supply of cannon fodder for the heartless power mad sons of bitches who have ruled most countries throughout history. If we can not get enough people to enlist perhaps it reflects less on their softness and narcissism but more on their collective wisdom in not wishing to put their lives on the line for the vainglorious dreams of empire of the incompetent imperialists who have been running US foreign policy for the last quarter century.

  104. turcopolier says:

    Peter Reichar
    I have advocated for years here a radical reduction in the size of US ground forces as a disincentive to foreign adventures. So, don’t include me among the “heartless power mad sons of bitches.” nevertheless I think you are kidding yourself about the character of today’s youth. they are not the men their fathers were. they have been deliberately raised to be self centred. pl

  105. LeaNder says:

    Chechnya, nitwit contribution to the larger debate, here.
    9/11 – Chechnya – Russia & the US/EU/NATO
    One sure can wonder, if the members of the Hamburg Cell indeed initially wanted to fight in Chechnya, how the huge US/EU/NATO confrontation could happen at all in our larger WOT universe.
    But strictly, I suppose there was some type of overall moment of inertia, with the EU (and economical interests?) simply following its earlier path of eastward expansion.

  106. Peter Reichard says:

    I too have shared your same advocacy for years and do not include you among “the heartless power mad” by any stretch of the imagination. Humans have been growing ever softer since the stone age but bigger stronger and smarter. The grunts who won at Stalingrad, Tarawa and The Bulge were probably not as tough as the Mongols or the Vikings but I would bet on them. I just think that we of old age with selective memory have forever judged youth too harshly.

  107. LeaNder says:

    “a man’s sexual kicks …”
    again, explain, Tyler.
    Are you suggesting a man always can only be attracted to woman, no matter what personal history, mother and father? In my own, no doubt as always, limited knowledge or personal experiences some mother’s admittedly caught my attention.
    What are you suggesting as the right ways as opposed to “schizophrenic liberal land”?

  108. LeaNder says:

    “women and children”
    Not sure if I posted my last response to you, but this is interesting?
    I can understand children should be protected, but what should women be protected from? From men, that aren’t really interested in having sex with them?

  109. turcopolier says:

    Following up on the logic of your suggestion against stalls, I suggest that there should be a consultant conducted study with regard to urinals in public bathrooms. Surely it could be learned if a sufficiently high number of women can pee standing up at one to justify the public expense involved in these appliances and the possible discrimination that may be occurring. pl

  110. Fred says:

    You’re sure trying hard to make a general observation on the political climate in the US into something personal.
    “To continue to punish a felon after they have served their time by denying them the opportunity to participate fully in the life of their community…” The principles of American freedom include the right to keep and bear arms and to be free from government monitoring.
    “…the underlying viciousness of much of current American politics.” We certainly agree on that.

  111. Jus'Thinkin says:

    There has been some slight comment on foreign policy of the US in this discussion alluding to the fact there is no coherent policy. The Military folk here seem to presuppose the military is supposed to win wars. What if that is not true? I think out foreign policy is to break things and leave them in a mess with some residual forces left around to keep the war suppliers with business. Are Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria better off because of our interventions there? Nope and that was the point. Of course our leaders cannot say that is our policy because it has negative moral implications along with being totally illegal from an international law standpoint. I am not a military person so, I ask, what is the military analysis of what is going on if we proceed from the supposition that our actual foreign policy is to wreck things and leave them in chaos in contravention of international law/

  112. turcopolier says:

    “I think our foreign policy is to break things and leave them in a mess with some residual forces left around to keep the war suppliers with business.” A lot of the non-military folks here are obsessed with their notion that business is life and life is business to the exclusion of all else and that man really does live by bread alone. The idea that business interests run US foreign policy is so laughable that I will not reply in detail except to say that US foreign policy is really run by aged graduates of university graduate schools where they were taught a lot of fantastic BS about a utopian future. Stop breaking things? You ask ME that? You must really be new here. pl

  113. cynic says:

    What about the stories that the EU is starting to integrate the forces of all it’s member states, based on the German army. There have been recent reports that the modern German army is run on a trade union system of a strictly enforced 41 hour week. They had to go home early from a NATO exercise, in Norway I think, because they had used up all their permitted overtime! They are also absorbing the Dutch army, whatever good that may do them. Is this trend spreading to the USA? Despite all their complaints about NATO expansion, this sort of news must have the Russians laughing like hyaenas.

  114. Tom says:

    Agreed. What most people in the West don´t know is that ordinary policing was much better in the USSR than in todays Russia. Habeas corpus and the sanctity of ones home was more respected. At he beginning of the oughts more and more poorly trained Chechen war veterans entered the police service and according to people in the know they greatly contributed to the brutalisation of law enforcement. According to people like Radlow from the Washington Post or Craig Roberts the same thing happened with Iraq veterans in the US. It is interesting that I never heard of the same problems with World War II veterans. There are lot´s of problems as well with young Israelis who had been on occupation duty in the West bank. Ask any unfortunate Asian tourism manager about their behaviour. Which makes me believe that occupation duty amidst a partisan war os thoroughly corrupting.

  115. rjj says:

    it is the wall mounted facilities that present the hydraulic challenge. rows of freestanding urinals, in addition to being more ergonomic, would accommodate greater numbers of users and higher traffic throughput.

  116. turcopolier says:

    Perhaps something in the nature of a central trench in the floor with a rougher surface along the two sides to be used for stability in squatting.

  117. Tyler says:

    Autogynephilia. Men dressing up as women. Your purposeful obtuseness is getting wearing.

  118. Tyler says:

    Is that what you really think?
    Plenty of cases already of men pretending to be women taking pictures of women doing their thing in there.

  119. Bobo says:

    I tend to believe the 18-22 year old youth will rise up and do their duty if/ when the time comes. Hopefully not. Just as in VN war it will be the parents who decide if their youth can go (the influence) thus as the Pearl Harbor type of event the buy in will be big. Remember the 9/11 enlistments were huge. Anything less well there is debate about the blood of their young. To me the youth of today, while pampered, are more intelligent & ambitious but less orientated. A few points.
    1. My 17 year old grandson (well helicoptered) asked for advice on registering with the Selective Service. Seems his buddies were all talking about the situation and he had to talk with someone as he could not talk with his parents. I ushered him through the process and learned some things. Seems you cannot get Financial Aid for college without registering plus a few other things.
    2. In the selective service registering process It states an individual born male who becomes a female must register but an individual born female who becomes male does not need to register. At best this is an oxymoron. Good thing this addresses less than .3 percent of the population, so I’m told.
    3. While recently using the facilities at a local gun range there was a sign above the urinal that stated “you may be able to hit a deer at 250 yards but please move closer as we insist you do not miss here. The Management.”.

  120. rjj says:

    I like it! Maybe done up ethnic-ish motifs and color palettes with piped in “third world” music to complement each scheme. The concept needs a brand. ContraCrapper** too crude. PERFECT eponym would be Burkittagethe Burkitt. (click on link, control F, type in “squat”)
    Burkitt has science cred and an established high PQ (persuasiveness quotient) track record. His was the “research” behind the fiber fad.
    Can’t find the publication in which he advocated “going native” but it is out there.
    ** Anyway turns out Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush – it was some other white guy.

  121. LeaNder says:

    “purposeful obtuseness”
    far from it, Tyler. But yes, I have some gay friends. And I seem to have appreciated from early on that sexual attraction was out of the way in these cases. I also was some decades back slightly more hesitant about a specific homosexual subculture, who felt highly misogynist with a BDSM tendency overall. But I am not an expert on the topic.
    I am also slightly skeptic about attempts to resolve more general ‘gender troubles’ via surgery. A classmate recently mentioned a boy at my school who, as he told me, was already “different” then. Didn’t I notice? His case ended tragic. After he had the female body he always thought he wanted to have, he killed himself. Seems the classmate, a psychologist then, met him after his sex-change.
    Maybe he was part of whatever type of subgroup with a more serious psychological problem?
    On first sight the term autogynephilia may well carry the same burden as studies in psycho/sociopathy. In so far that over centuries the focus of studies of psychopaths was restricted to the group of criminals kept under high security for a reason. Without a look at the well functioning overall. At least a very, very cursorily check of the term suggests it to me.
    “The theory lays out two groups, and only two groups, of trans people:
    “Excessively effeminate, and exclusively attracted to men, called ‘Homosexual Transsexuals’
    Everyone else, who thus automatically have erotic fantasies about being a woman, and are called ‘Autogynephiles’
    The central core of the theory holds that one small subset of trans women are genuinely programmed to be like women, and thus are of course, automatically and exclusively attracted only to men…just like cis women are only ever attracted to men.[2] ”'s_transsexualism_typology#Autogynephilia_and_autoandrophilia

  122. divadab says:

    Well whatever admiration or respect I had for Powell was destroyed by his disgraceful lying to the UN to justify invading Iraq.
    As a non-military person from a family with a long military history (my grandfather received the Military Cross, and two great-uncles lie buried in Flanders, a cousin in Vietnam) – I have a concept of military honor which is perhaps old fashioned? I look at Powell and see a man devoid of honor. How can such a man lead men by other than force or bribes?

  123. turcopolier says:

    I share your view of him and Wilkerson both and have said so in public. pl

  124. Jus'Thinkin says:

    I rarely post but, yes, I would be new here. You did not answer the question which was “what is the military analysis of what is going on if we proceed from the supposition that our actual foreign policy is to wreck things and leave them in chaos..?”
    I did not say that business interests run foreign policy but what was one of the main stories of Obama’s visit to the Saudis? That the US is “selling” them 60 billion worth of weapons. Are “business interests” making those 60 billion of weapons? I suspect “business interests” do have a significant effect on foreign policy but do not totally dictate it.
    Still, that is not the question I posed, to which you did not respond. I am not a military person and I was hoping to get some insight as to what military people think on this subject.

  125. turcopolier says:

    I do not share your “supposition.” The awful truth is that if you are American your government’s FP is run by a lot of post-adolescents with arrested development and fancy degrees. In the case of SA it is a long standing habit, hard to overcome for the group think to assume that SA is an ally when they are not. The Saudis have from to time bought military material from other countries, UK, and France mostly, but they think of US equipment as the best and so they prefer to buy it. It is a matter of prestige for them among the GCC countries. Are the arms manufacturers pleased? Certainly they are and the US government is pleased to see American industry patronized but I think that less logical and rational habits of mind are the main factor in the “alliance.” pl

  126. Amir says:

    During his question and answer session, he was allowed to comment on a few pictures related to his tenure as SOS. The famous UN picture was shown and that was were he contorted his arguments to prove to us that he made an innocent mistake, because “everyone believed the information that was given to him by the intelligence services”. I have to admit that this is a black mark on his soul that will not be easily washed away. I had the impression that he believed this/his lie, after having repeated it so many times. I guess he is human but then again his attempt to rationalize his choices lead to death of hundreds of thousands.

  127. rjj says:

    moribund republics tend to bring out the grump and the worry wart in old republicans.

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