Soldiers grill Rumsfeld; CIA says things not likely to get better

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    I don't know, I don't recall a time, even in the Vietnam War, where America had such a morale problem with its soldiers.


    Now there's a cheery trio of articles, all from this morning's Netscape news.

    Add all this to the fact that large numbers of soldiers are refusing to show up for return tours of duty, a death tally that's still way too high, no definitive "end date" for this mission, and the possibility that elections might have to be postponed, and you've got a grim picture indeed.

    Beyond the simple issue of this war turning into another Vietnam (there's no question about it; it has), you've got to wonder how badly this whole thing is going to compromise our military for the future. Beyond the hardcore army types who'll fight any enemy, at any time, "my country right or wrong", will the military ever really be able to recruit soldiers again?

    Personally, I think that this is going to negatively affect the U.S. for a long, long, long time. Just as we thought the nation's psyche was getting over Vietnam, we've become mired in something arguably even worse. I just don't see American men and women trusting the military ever again, knowing that they could go into the service under a guy like Clinton, and end up serving somebody like Bush.

    Troops put tough questions to Rumsfeld
    US deserter seeks to stay in Canada, faces setback
    Report: CIA paints bleak Iraq picture
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #2
    I think the military will remain able to recruit soldiers from three groups at a fairly steady pace: the die-hard patriotic, especially from families with long histories of military service; the poor or semi-poor who need the military as a way to pay for college or a 'way out'; and immigrants who use military service as a path to U.S. citizenship.

    All of those (overlapping) categories are taking hits, but they will never dissappear. It's in the other categories of people who join the military for less ideological or less need-based reasons that may suffer serious declines. On the other hand, such declines and problems may only encourage more of the die-hard patriots to join up, alleviating some of the loss, and a declining economy may force more, desperate poor people into the military.

    Basically, I think the military will be able to muddle through.
     
  3. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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  4. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    I also believe the Armed Forces will have no problem with continued recruitment. In fact, I hope that we continue to keep our force-levels high (as a standing army).

    The reason for this, is that every society has a certain crucial % of males driven to impulsive physical action.

    One of the good purposes of standing armies has been to control and steer this violent element of citizenry towards a useful end.

    A decline in a standing army, which may happen regardless, as our military becomes more specialized, smaller and elite, will probably result in more frustrated, action-prone young men with no acceptable outlet for this inclination. This will likely result in an increase of gang-activity and other forms of violent behavior.

    Sorry to go OT a little, but there will always be this % of US society to draw upon for recruitment if necessary.
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #5
    Also,

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/4072467.stm
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=a9dtoXBQG2FI&refer=us#

    Just to keep things up-to-date...
     
  7. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #7
    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Maybe we could empty our prisons into the military. Though there would have to be an effective way to control them. If they serve 5 years in a combat zone or 10 years of service without mishap they get to try things out in the real world?
     
  8. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #8
    you mean like the voluntary service in the french foreign legion ?
    when you sign up you have 2 chances to get out:
    1.service the first 5 years and get the possability to start a new life afterwards
    2.death
     
  9. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #9
    I guess so, I'm not familiar with them. But I am also guessing that those are the worst of the worst.

    Your crime would dictate how long you serve.
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    Many of them were German ex-soldiers. The really nasty ones.
     
  11. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #11
    Slate's Take admittedly a biased website but a good point nonetheless.

     
  12. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #12
    I had heard they were a mean bunch though, didn't they wear Butchers Aprons into battle?
     
  13. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #13
    Well: now the issue is clouded because it appears the questions were planted.


    I say "clouded", because while it is questionable journalistic ethics for a reporter to "rig" a question that way, we also know that the Bush administration is very good at controlling, even cowing, the press. So I guess while it's dubious behavior on Pitts' part, you could also argue that Rumsfeld left him few options.

    As for whether the question itself, no matter where it came from, has any real legitimacy:


    Seems so. I just wish it hadn't been asked in this suspect manner.
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #14
    so long as the soldier was not paid or coerced, then i'm fine w/ it. whether the reporter's actions are in violation of his newspaper's ethics guidelines, i don't know.
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    I don't think the response by the other soldiers to said soldier's question was planted.
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    Anyway, he wouldn't have risked his career prospects if he didn't believe it himself.
     
  17. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #17
    Both of you (skunk and mactastic) are right. But even a hint of impropriety is all that professional liars like Limbaugh and Hannity need to twist the story around and call it a "liberal media" setup.

    FWIW, I did see the clip of the first soldier's question on The Daily Show, and after a moment's hesitation (I think the soldiers couldn't believe someone had the balls to ask Rumsfeld that question), there was loud approval and applause. So obviously the issue is on a lot of soldiers' minds.
     
  18. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    #18
    shoot the messenger...

    regardless of who asked the question, the point remains valid. and fwiw, it's not like the reporter was the first person to bring up the issue of ill-equipped soldiers.

    its about time rummy gets called to task...this administration has left much of the armed forces in iraq swinging in the wind. and rummy's flippant response about the armed vehicle factories operating at maximum levels has now been proven false. i wouldn't doubt that every soldier is aware of the convoy that refused to mobilize because their vehicles were unsafe...word gets around quickly about such things.

    regardless of rank, if you're on the ground in iraq, you're a grunt and you're expendable...that's what this administration is saying.
     
  19. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #19
    The US military alone has about half the worlds military budget to play with. What are they doing with all of that money?


    Seems that they are forgetting the fundamantals in order to develop futuristic weapons systems when terrorism is our biggest problem.

    Do we need robot satellites to kill brown people in turbins?
     
  20. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  21. blackfox macrumors 65816

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    I, like most people, can only guess. I would imagine much of it is wasted by bureaucratic ineffiency and ill-conceived long-term projects that become obsolete even before completion (at least tactically or strategically).

    OTOH, The US military also has to maintain functional presences all around the globe, which while often small in nature cannot be cheap to maintain. There is also some expansion of these facilities, such as into Mongolia (and perhaps elsewhere).

    There is also perhaps quasi-legal financing of governments and/or rebel groups that support our strategic interests. This, I imagine, is in the form of equipment, loans, weapons etc.

    There are also low-level direct engagements, such as continued presence in the Balkans and Special Forces interventions. In 1996, for example, the SF were responsible for 2,325 missions in 167 countries. I can only imagine that this figure is typical of today, if not a little low.

    Could be. OTOH, perhaps we are just not privy to some of the nature modern military strategy. Despite the horrendous civilian planning and equipment, the military has performed rather well in difficult and novel fighting conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is not a validation of our presence there, or the decisions made hence, as those are matters of civilian policy, which are crap.

    You could also wonder about the realization that a higher-tech army might be attractive to a democratic country, as it potentially decreases both the potential casualties (on our side) and makes coverage and discussion of the war more abstract (and palatable) in nature. Both make War an easier prospect for Politicians who are ultimately tied to public opinion.

    There is also the fact that the US is the sole remaining superpower, and probably would like to keep it that way.

    All just guesses, mind you.

    *EDIT* As a case in point, for my first assertion, there is now argument over the now-not-so-secret $9.5 Billion Spy Satellite system that is only able to take photos in the daytime and/or when it is clear-skied. I'd laugh, if I wasn't paying for it...
     
  22. stubeeef macrumors 68030

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    #22
    Not to address the mistakes and victories in Iraq, but in every war there are those in the military who dissent, flee, and rage at the slow to move "war department". There are a lot of wounded looking to get back to their units and fight by their kindred too. So while some of these stories do bring up valid, and urgent issues, I believe it to be a mistake to think they are a true indication of any massive difiance.

    As far as who and why the question was asked is somewhat irrelavant. That soldier is no innocent child, he is capable of making his own decisions. By the response of his compadres, it sounds like a valid issue, maybe one that has been surpressed on the way up the chain and has not made it to the proper people and channels. That is a problem with bureacracies.
     
  23. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #23
    I'm not being critical of the troops on the ground BF, I just want to know where all of that money is going. It's ridiculous that the troops are being imperiled when there is more than enough money to make sure they have what they need, that's all.

    I realize the need for a military, but I would like an efficient one that can take care of its troops.
     
  24. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #24
    Agreed!
     
  25. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #25
    There are plenty of things that we are going to agree on Stu, peoples needs and wants transcend current politics. Getting beyond that is the challenge.
     

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