Radically Inept
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
  How to waste a perfectly good army without really trying...

NOTE: Transferred from American Samizdat to fit blog format, 1039 hrs, 071404.

You know, if there was one issue that I think all Americans could agree on, it might well be that the Commander-in-Chief not squander his military.

Sun Tzu in his
The Art of War, written 2500 years ago, states, from I. Laying Plans::
3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.z,
And from, II. Waging War
1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
Well, actually, in just reviewing the bullet points of the first three chapters, I don't think we've followed any of the tenents.

I bring this up, because I fear that Baby Bush is destroying our military. Possibly the single greatest trust we put in our president is to keep America safe. How will he be able to do that, when he is successfully squandering our military might?

And talk about intelligence failures. In fact, TomDispatch does in Welcome to Bushworld reports:
Bush administration and CPA officials have been claiming forever that there are only 5,000 members of the Iraqi insurgency. Now, the reliable Jim Krane of the Associated Press (Iraq Insurgency Larger Than Thought) raises the figure to 20,000 (including part-timers) and offers the following comments, based partly on information from "a U.S. military official in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity":
"The official and others told The Associated Press the guerrillas have enough popular support among nationalist Iraqis angered by the presence of U.S. troops that they cannot be militarily defeated. … One hint that the number is larger is the sheer volume of suspected insurgents -- 22,000 -- who have cycled through U.S.-run prisons. Most have been released. And in April alone, U.S. forces killed as many as 4,000 people, the military official said, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen fighting under the banner of a radical cleric. [Yet] there has been no letup in attacks… Most of the insurgents are fighting for a bigger role in a secular society, not a Taliban-like Islamic state, the military official said. Almost all the guerrillas are Iraqis, even those launching some of the devastating car bombings normally blamed on foreigners -- usually al-Zarqawi…

"Civilian analysts generally agreed, saying U.S. and Iraqi officials have long overemphasized the roles of foreign fighters and Muslim extremists. Such positions support the Bush administration's view that the insurgency is linked to the war on terror. A closer examination paints most insurgents as secular Iraqis angry at the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops."
I found this quote Tom cites especially to the point:
In A Time of Reckoning in the American Conservative magazine, Andrew J. Bacevich makes a simple point about the intelligence war the U.S. has so decisively lost:
"In a situation truly without precedent in all of American military history, American forces in Iraq have for more than a year been engaged in a full-fledged shooting war and still do not know whom they are fighting. The reliance on generic terms to describe the 'terrorists,' 'insurgents,' or 'foreign fighters' tells the story. Exactly who is the enemy? How is he organized? Who gives the orders? What are his aims? We don't know. And as long as we don't, the enemy will retain the initiative."
Once more, a partial look at the wisdom of Sun Tzu, from III. Attack by Stratagem:
18. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Which summarizes a chapter that includes:
12. There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:--

13. (1) By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army.

14. (2) By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds.

15. (3) By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

16. But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging victory away.
Tom also points to: They throw rocks, don't they?: Scott Wilson of the Washington Post in what passes for an upbeat story in today's Iraq reports that, in the Shiite slum of Sadr City in Baghdad (In Place of Gunfire, a Rain of Rocks),
"it is perhaps a measure of progress that U.S. soldiers… are feeling the sting of stones more often than bullets… [T]he daily rock fights between U.S. soldiers and ordinary Iraqis, many of them children, highlight the mutual antipathy that has built up since the handover of political power to an Iraqi government… Candy, once gleefully accepted in this part of Baghdad, is now thrown back at the soldiers dispensing it. The military partnership with new Iraqi security forces appears to be foundering on a mutual lack of respect. The Iraqi police occasionally ignore U.S. orders, described as recommendations by U.S. commanders in the days since the handover, to conduct night patrols in troublesome districts and prohibit Sadr's militants from manning traffic checkpoints. The Iraqi National Guard has refused dangerous assignments, even when accompanied by U.S. troops…

"[On patrol in Sadr city], Sgt. Timothy Kathol, 24, of Amarillo, Tex., handed a bag of lollipops up to the gunner as the stones continued to rain down. 'They throw rocks, we throw candy -- really hard candy,' Kathol said. 'With sticks in it.'"
I am going to highly recommend that readers scan The Art of War. And it will get worse. An army with bad morale disintegrates. We've seen it happen. And as this drags on, and more and more stress is put on our military, especially if we've lost the moral high ground (think Abu Ghraib Prison), the public more and more begin to question the war, the soldiers and marines on the ground begin to question the mission (especially since there apparently is not plan), and then, you have a military fit for nothing. Corruption, drug abuse, even "Fragging" and "Combat Refusals". Oh, I just tried to Google Search: 'awol rate iraq', and find no current stats, and the old site is down. Hmmm...When the drug abuse hits (and there is plenty of herion and hashish in the region), you'll know the end is near for our domestic security, our ability to project force, or even to help bring order to a small country off our shores like Haiti, will vanish.

Really, if you want a deeper understanding of Iraq, read The Art of War. It's scannable since it's presented here as a series of bullets, and is not that long. Though, you will get more out of it, if you actually read and think.

If you do decide to read The Art of War, please keep in mind, all that has happened in the effort leading up to the war, the 'end' of the war, and the post war-war, and let me know, if you can find anything we have done well, based on Sun Tzu's sage advice.

Oh, and there are some great editions of Sun Tzu that provide alot more depth, should the reader be interested in greater depth, including histoical contexts. 
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