Are The Generals Failing Our Troops?

I will not lie to my readers….I am an anti-war proponent and have been so since the 1970’s….I see our military personnel being pushed to their limits by the multiple deployments and the multiple wars been fought and to what aim?

In the past generals have gone to the president and told him what needed to be done and what wars we needed to fight….those days are gone with the promise of cushy jobs awaiting the generals upon retirement….

We need generals with a backbone that cares more about the troops than his retirement……

September 2006. Iraq was falling apart. Nearly 100 American troops were being killed a month. The war seemed hopeless, unwinnable (because it ultimately was). So the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, convened a “council of colonels’ – purportedly some of the brightest minds in the military – to recommend new policies. Only three, reportedly, had any combat experience in Iraq, but still, these guys were sharp. The group debated endlessly and eventually reached an impasse. They had three separate proposals and the group generally divided along service lines. Some Air Force and Navy guys wanted a phased withdrawal – the “Go Home” option – but their ideas were promptly dismissed. Other (mostly army and marine officers) wanted to “engage in prolonged conflict – the “Go Long” option. Finally, the most prominent army officers – including America’s current National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster – wanted to “Go Big” and heavily reinforce the troops in Iraq with a “surge.” You can guess which side won out.

George W. Bush liked the can-do optimism of the “surge” team and doubled down. Violence briefly dropped, a couple thousand more American troops died, and the military promptly declared victory. We’re still dealing with the fallout.

We need generals that will do what is needed to keep the country from fighting unnecessary wars ….wars of profit……

Yes we now have entered into a time of perpetual wars…….the costs of these wars have made the country less safe and a falling apart infrastructure……

I’m in my mid-thirties, which means that, after the 9/11 attacks, when this country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in what President George W. Bush called the “Global War on Terror,” I was still in college. I remember taking part in a couple of campus antiwar demonstrations and, while working as a waitress in 2003, being upset by customers who ordered “freedom fries,” not “French fries,” to protest France’s opposition to our war in Iraq. (As it happens, my mother is French, so it felt like a double insult.) For years, like many Americans, that was about all the thought I put into the war on terror. But one career choice led to another and today I’m co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Our generals should remember the old slogan from the 70’s…..”War  is good business….Invest your children”……


4 thoughts on “Are The Generals Failing Our Troops?

  1. While it’s populist to diss the M-IC, it’s been just that, that has given us all the cool weaponry to bring this country to the power that it is. Of course anyone can argue about “bad” spending, payoffs for boondoggle projects, but we’ve gained far more than we’ve lost. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hammer away at the excesses of the M-IC… but I don’t wanna throw out the baby with the bathwater either.
    No question.. when it comes to wars the young guys always make the ultimate sacrifice. Having said that… because of the M-IC the average GI going into battle has a greater chance for survival than at any time in our history… from the clothing he wears, to the weapons he carries, to the logistics to get him off the battlefield and into medical attention quickly when he’s wounded. I can only imagine, chuq, how much more effective you might have been in your mission back in Nam with today’s equipment… and better chance for medical attention if needed.
    But don’t get me wrong… we ARE in a period of getting too damned involved in places we need not be… and the GI’s have to die for pretty much what amounts to humanitarian reasons in countries that don’t appreciate the help. But a lot of that is the political attitudes exhibited by our own government across many administrations.

    1. Doug the foes he faces these days are ones that after sunset all planes are stealth and using weapons left over from WW2…we do not know if the money is well spent have have fought a 21st century army….hope we never have to test my premise….chuq

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