I don’t agree with a lot of the authors conclusions, but some of his criticisms of the current military culture are dead on.
As for our armed forces, though most Americans don’t know it, within U.S. military circles much criticism exists of an officer corps of “tarnished brass” that is deficient in professionalism; of generals who are more concerned with covering their butts than leading from the front; of instruction at military academies that is divorced from war’s realities; of an aversion “to innovation or creativity… [leading to] an atmosphere of anti-intellectualism” that undermines strategy and makes a hash of counterinsurgency efforts. Indeed, our military’s biting criticism of itself is one of the few positive signs in a fighting force that is otherwise overstretched, deeply frustrated, and ridiculously overpraised by genuflecting politicians.
I think we certainly have the most versatile, capable military in the world today. That much is pretty well beyond argument. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t deep flaws in our current military. And while I am second to none in my respect for our services, I’m always a little leery of putting them on a pedestal. After all, when you set ‘em high, the fall hurts that much more. And the services are very much human institutions, made of the same flawed humans as any other part of our society. And when mistakes happen, there are those out there who take obvious relish in using those mistakes to either attack the institution, or advance their own agendas.
And on the topic of cuts to the military… I’ve cruised several different blogs to get a feel for what people in the services think. NepLex is just one example. From the comments:
I can sort of live with a cut to our military, even a fairly substantial one (we can be very inventive in our workarounds if we need to be) but NOT JUST SO THEY CAN GIVE AWAY THE MONEY TO THE UNIONS, ILLEGAL ALIENS, AND OTHER SELF-ENTITLED BOTTOM FEEDERS OUT THERE. This whole thing only works if the money saved goes to paying down the national debt, and not just moved to other areas to buy more votes for the pond scum sucking politicians.
That’s a fairly typical response. The folks in the services can live with the budget cuts. It will make their lives and their jobs harder to do. But they are angry at the perception that the DoD alone is being asked to make a real cut in spending, while the rest of the government will continue to spend money on causes outside the clearly defined role of the government.
ELP notes that even then, some of the “cuts” in defense spending are more notional than real…
I’m starting to remember the grand old days, at the end of the Reagan era when units couldn’t afford toilet paper.