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October 25, 2006

Comments

A.M.

Sir,

Here are a couple of things from Feb 2003.

Exhcange between GEN Shinseki and Sen Levin - Armed Services Commettee

SEN. LEVIN: General Shinseki, could you give us some idea as to the magnitude of the Army's force requirement for an occupation of Iraq following a successful completion of the war?

GEN. SHINSEKI: In specific numbers, I would have to rely on combatant commanders' exact requirements. But I think --

SEN. LEVIN: How about a range?

GEN. SHINSEKI: I would say that what's been mobilized to this point -- something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground- force presence to maintain a safe and secure environment, to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed, all the normal responsibilities that go along with administering a situation like this.

-----

Public responses of civilian leaders to the Army Chief of Staff's comment

"The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark," - Rumsfeld.

Mr. Wolfowitz commented Shinseki's estimate for troops in Iraq, "wildly off the mark."

Sir, who was right, who was wrong? I am not an expert Sir, but all I can say is so far many things have been wrong - way wrong.

Diggs

Of all the things done wrong over here, and believe me, there are many many things done wrong over here every day, initial and follow-on troop strength is probably the hardest one to move to the right.
Remember that a SecDef cannot just pick a number for troop strength in a given war, otherwise we could have fielded thirty divisions and walked up the Tigris valley elbow to elbow. He has to figure out which units can stay out of the fight in order to react quickly to hotspots elsewhere in the world (82nd Airborne, for instance). He has to consider the logistics tail neccesary for every single soldier because every single one needs to eat, drink water, have fuel for their vehicle, have ammo, etc. He has to consider turn-around time, i.e. if 90% of your soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are in OIF I, who do you send to OIF II? The people like Andrew Sullivan, who think that the SecDef can just pick an appropriate number and go with that, are not realistic. He cannot just pick an number, otherwise why wouldn't he have gone with 500,000 soldiers? Or 1 million? Well, he'd have to feed them all, and we don't have the ships available for transporting all that food. And the Kuwaitis don't have the berthing facilities to dock the ships, even if we did have them. And the longshoremen in Kuwait don't have the numbers required to offload the ships, even if we did have them and the Kuwaitis had the docks. And the Army doesn't have the number of trucks or truck drivers needed to move enough food to feed 500,000 soldiers in the middle of a desert or on the battlefield even if we did have enough ships, and Kuwait had enough docks, and the Longshoremen had enough workers....and the list goes on. And that's only covers the food. I know GEN Shinseki was sincere in his efforts to get more people, and he was smart enough to know that it wasn't that simple. There are a lot of people who didn't like Rumsfeld's remark that "you go to war with the army you have" but what other army did he have? If Congress wanted to fund a 1 million man army, and build enough ships, and buy enough trucks, then yes, we could have fielded an army of 300,000 just for OIF I. But Congress doesn't want to pay for that kind of Army. They just want to be able to blame the SecDef when it becomes apparent that they haven't built a big enough army for the threat that is out there.
I'm sure when you were here you could think of a hundred things that could have been done better. I can. But I can't honestly say that more soldiers is a good answer for what I see ailing this country.

madtom

That's nice, but you might want to find a better source than Deploy'em and leave'em Franks. I would think his view are biased by the fact that he participated in histories most disastrous military campaign ever, where they drove past the enemy in a race to retire in time to catch Wheel of Fortune.

I think it's fair to say that all the generals you quote are political generals, they have all been claiming victory while we are entrench in a situation which is deteriorating day by day.

If these generals were in fact giving the public their truly felt assessment, then all future promotions should be put on hold, and all officer candidate currently in school now should be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to study theoretical warfare on the ground in theater.

Diggs

I didn't write this, I got it straight from the DoD site, so I'm not quoting anyone, Dorrance Smith is quoting them. I've been pretty clear in previous posts about how much I disagree with any general who doesn't have the balls to put his soldiers first, career second. That includes those revolting generals who led their divisions with a war plan they disagreed with, and that would include any of the quoted generals above, if they are only saying what they said to get promoted. I've no defense of any officer who doesn't put his soldiers first and foremost. I don't know whether these generals are political, I only know that the revolting generals have stated publicly that they disagreed with Rumsfeld from the start but didn't do the right thing because he said he'd fire them. That to me is treasonous. I can't say the same thing for the generals quoted in the article above simply because they may in fact believe every word they said. The revolting generals have said that they did not, but kept their silence to keep from being fired. That, in my opinion, is the definition of a ""political general".
As far as sending all officer candidates here to Iraq, that's pretty much going on. If any of them come here and get the idea that it's best to give up and go home simply because the going is tougher than they thought it would be, or the plan they've been given is not working as well as they thought it should, then I sure as hell hope that the first thing they do when they get back to CONUS is resign their commission. They are worthless as warriors, and useless as leaders.

madtom

I apologies, after rereading it again I see it's clear that you posted an article written by someone else. That got past me the first time, I should have directed my opinion towards the writer. I'll read closer next time.

madtom

On the issue of "revolting Generals", you know more about this than me, so take this for what it's worth.

How exactly would that have worked, if 12 generals would have refused to follow orders at the beginning of the war?
What effect would that have had on moral in the opening days of this conflict. And how would they have explained it to the Court Martial.

Lets say the orders say that they we are to take Hill's 1, 2, 3 in that order. And general madtom goes back to the command and says, I don't agree, if you ask me we take hill 3 first, then we move to 2, and 1 will fall by default resulting in a more efficient battle.
But general madtom is told to execute his orders as written.

I'm my opinion madtom should do as he's been told. It's not an issue of the orders being illegal or immoral, it's an issue of a difference of opinion, and everyone else outranks madtom.

What does he do. If nothing else follow orders and complain later...

Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but that's the way it looks to me.

Diggs

Division Commanders are pretty high up in the food chain; there's only ten of them on the Active Army side (1st AR, 1st CAV, 1st IN, 2nd IN, 3rd IN, 4th IN [IronHorse!], 10th MTN, 25th IN, 82nd AB, 101st AB/AA). They don't have to react like a platoon leader, who may not know much more than what's going on in the very immediate area. Generals have to carry out direct orders, but if even two of those Major General Division Commanders tendered their resignation, and asked for immediate retirement because they disagreed with the plans being forwarded, the whole of the G5 at the Pentagon would have stood up and taken notice. In fact, it would have very quickly gotten into the media, and there would have been a lot of people asking what exactly was wrong with the plan that left two division commanders so sure of it's failure that they refused to lead their soldiers into war based upon that plan. But as you know, they didn't. And now they go before cameras and say that they DID disagree with the plan, but were worried about being fired. That's not leadership. That's not what a commander should do. We like to say "mission first, soldiers always". How would someone square that saying up with their actions. They didn't believe in the mission, and they chose to place their promotability over their soldier's welfare.
You are also mixing up timelines. A division commander shouldn't continuously question orders, or resign his command in the middle of a war. That would be devastating, both to the soldiers in that division (especially if he was well liked), and to the divisions to the left and right. But that's not what these revolting generals are talking about. They specifically mention the planning phase of OIF, and there were no bullets flying at that time. Had they tendered their resignations, they likely would have affected the planning of OIF. If not, they could have at least held their heads high knowing that they did there hard right over the easy wrong. Their whining on CNN now is quite useless except to promote whatever civilian career they are now looking to promote. Shameless? No more so than their earlier actions; so expected.

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