General News and Politics By Jim Barber, Camp Verde, Arizona Current news and political discussion
Thursday, January 19, 2012
BE CAREFUL WITH THE KNIFE
At the end of WorldWar II, as our country rushed to disarm - the Air Force having assured theAmerican people that, with the advent of nuclear weapons, ground forces were practically obsolete except as occupation forces - talk was renewed that the Marine Corps should be disbanded. Many politicians and other-service brass didn'tlike the idea of sharing the defense budget with "specialty" units. Marineleadership, used to "step child" status until the chips were down, hunkereddown to weather the storm as the Corps was cut to a single, spread out,division. Luckily, they had sense enough to preserve large quantities ofweapons in storage depots (instead of disposing of them as did the Army) for arainy day.
In 1950, untrained Marine reservists who hadjoined but not yet been to boot camp, were learning to fire basic weapons onthe fantails of troop ships rushing them to Korea. They were to fill out budgetdepleted units fighting for survival on the South tip of the peninsula. On thejob training cost many lives before the tide turned.
In 1958 we were eatingWWII era C rations discarded by the Army in favor of the new field rations. Ourmess halls were receiving beef rejected by the other services. The Corps wasthe only service returning unspent funding to the treasury because it was "expendable"in budget fights. Today? "Déjà vu' all over again." Only this time all the services face theknife. Will they be capable to meet the challenge in case of another "Korea?"
In order to protectentitlement spending, the president wants to cut the military first - a familiarstory throughout our history. He believes that he can protect the country withour naval and air forces, special operations units (Seals, Green Berets, etc.),drones and cyber technology, and still be capable of waging war in two separateregions of the world. Can he?
In the 1990s, theClinton administration decimated the CIA, all but destroying itshuman-intelligence (HUMINT) capability in favor of spy satellites. It isarguable that on-the-ground intelligence may have prevented the 9/11/01terrorist attack.
For the last decadewe have waged two wars, simultaneously, in the same region. By all expertopinion, our military has been stretched to the breaking point, even with theuse of National Guard and reservists, with troops facing deployment afterdeployment with little interim rest from combat. Yet Obama proposes manpowercuts from as few as 50,000 to as many as 100,000. At the same time, R&D cutswill allow enemies to match our current technologies. Navy cuts will reducemodernization of aging vessels and our ability to project force in any crisis.Cuts in procurement and design of new generation aircraft will affect AirForce, Navy and Marine air ability to maintain air superiority against future aggression- aggression which is almost always spurred when this country is seen to weakenits resolve to lead the free world. North Korea launched its invasion after ourArmy was reduced from 8 million to 500,000. They and their benefactors,communist China, believed we would not fight. In the decade we have been tieddown in Afghanistan/Iraq, Russia has reclaimed, by force when necessary, mostof its old USSR Empire while Iran has spit it the face of the Western world,working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.
The worstconsequence of disastrous cuts? The one thing we have avoided since the dawn ofthe nuclear age. Reduced force equals reduced options. Reduced options may leadto greater crisis and panic - which could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
All governmentdepartments can stand some cutting. Defense, as a percent of outlays, in 2010was less than it was in 1992. Gates and Panetta have already made billion incuts at Defense. Let's don't gut the one thing that makes all else in thiscountry possible.