Friday, October 13, 2006

Webb and the contradiction of deployable forces

I don't normally point people to the Allen blog, I figure anybody reading here is probably reading over there first anyway.

But I thought Jon raised a point that I wanted to expand upon here. His comments of note were embedded in a post about answers given by the two candidates to a written questionaire. As a prelude, I like these types of exchanges, because it gives the candidates lots of time to think through their answers, and give responses that should completely and accurately reflect their thinking.

This mirrors how our legislatures operate, with plenty of time to evaluate problems and formulate policies. Not at all like a debate format. There's no "gotcha" games in legislating, you should be able to do your best.

That's why I find it particularly funny when a candidate messes up the answer to a written question.

Anyway, in the post Questioned Jon notes:

Meanwhile, a couple of Webb’s responses are a bit mystifying. For example, Webb cites a successfully thwarted terror attempt, and calls it evidence that we need our troops to be mobile, rather than “bogged down in Iraq”.

As evidenced by the failed terror plot in London this summer we need to be able to fight terrorists wherever they may be. This requires our troops to be a mobile fighting force, something that cannot happen as long as we are bogged down in Iraq.

But exactly who does Jim Webb want US forces to invade?

I could picture us running an amphibious landing in London. But I'm thinking a few thousand troops tops, and with over 600,000 troops and only 150,000 in Iraq (and those not really a rapid deployment force now), we certainly could pull off a deployment.

In fact, the thing that could most prevent us from having a deployable force to go anywhere in the world would be if we tied up most of our "deployable" assets somewhere stupid, like say the middle east, instead of using fixed assets.

Except that is exactly what Webb WANTS us to do. He is totally opposed to our fixed bases in Iraq (where we are actually fighting) and wants us to redeploy to other countries, from where he says we could "rapidly deploy if necessary" back into Iraq. In other words, he wants us to replace our fixed fighting assets with a very large rapidly deployable force in the middle east -- which would surely put a strain on our ability to rapidly deploy to other hotspots where we DON'T have a country offering us large fixed bases like Iraq.

I know Webb is a genius and former Navy Secretary, and I'm just a lonely blogger, but maybe deployable means something different to a navy guy....

The problem Webb has is that even those of us who would be open to new ideas about how to win in Iraq can't get on his side, because his ideas are senseless.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Webb's answer matches a post I made not ten minutes before I read this post. They were talking about a plan to attack North Korea with a full range of nuclear weapons if NK gets a nuc and the U.S. gets hit. I opined that this would work with a republican in the White House. Put a democ'rat in the white house and we get attacked by nuclear weapons from NK, they (democ'rats) would attack Iceland or a boy scout camp in Alaska with nuclear weapons. Something in their make up is crazy.

Janie said...

I found it very ccurious on that interview the information that Webb gave about his family. One wife,Hong, one son, Jimmy in Iraq. Does not mention his 3 daughters, at all. What does that say about how he feels about women? His own daughters, totally forgetable. That must warm their hearts.

Citizen Tom said...

Webb does not have a plan to use military forces; he has a plan to run. All you have to do is check "Iraq" in the Issues secton of Webb's web site.

http://www.webbforsenate.com/

For Webb, “The key question facing us is how long we should be expected to occupy Iraq.” If you are not for cutting and running, then the key question is: How do we get the job done?

Like too many Democrats, Webb cannot even figure out why we are in Iraq.

Lo Scrivano said...

Webb seems to think, that if elected he will change the way the war is run...but in fact there are a large number of senators that have to agree on one "plan" to make it a course of action. Where is Webb's plan, that will convince all of the senate, or a majority, that his way is the best way? All i have heard is vague statments, like, "we need leaders, not followers" course a good leader must be able to follow, otherwise he will not understand those under him.
Webb, has declared Allen a follower, which is a good thing, and since Allen, has been gov. and senator, i am pretty sure he can lead...
Thus Allen has my vote.

Ragnar said...

If you would listen to the SECDEF, 150,000 is all we can muster right now. That's it. Amazing that 5 years after 9/11 when we were told this was a struggle for survival, this administration has weakened the military rather than strenghtened it. If you want the real reason why Rummy fired all the generals who disagreed with him and threw away the original CENTCOM war plan it was because he wants to continue shrinking the size of the military and needed to justify it (his original proposal for an invasion of Iraq only included 60,000 troops, the CENTCOM plan called for 400,000+, because of the worry about post-invasion instability. The generals that Rummy didn't fire, and the SECDEF settled on 120,000), and more importantly, because the military just wasn't big enough to actually carry out the original plan.

Webb is right, for years the GOP and the President have been telling us we've been in danger, but it took the Democrats in Congress to force the administration to accept a "temporary" (that was the only way the administration would accept it) elargement of the Army and USMC by one battalion each. Oh, FYI, it was also the Dems who voted to keep hazardous duty pay when the administration proposed to eliminate it in the year after we invaded Iraq.

It is amazing the kind of tripe people like you and those that visit your site believe. You seem to forget it was a Democrat who got us into and won WW I and WW II, and a Democrat who decided that Vietnam was worth fighting over. Although it was a Republican who decided to give it up... Hey, I guess that is cut and run? Right?

Ragnar said...

I forgot to mention President Truman, another good Democrat, who not only saw fit to be the only American President to drop the Atomic Bomb, but also stood up to Soviet agression in South Korea.

Gee, what a terrible cowardly tradition... Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK... Don't worry, you can ignore the facts and go back to Rush and Fox News now.

Charles said...

Ragnar,

"If you would listen to the SECDEF, 150,000 is all we can muster right now. That's it."

This is the number of troops we have that are appropriate for the mission in Iraq, allowing for troop rotations. Iraq has a large "police-type" component, it's not a heavy artillary/tank war, for example. It's misleading to suggest we only have 150,000 troops left.

"Amazing that 5 years after 9/11 when we were told this was a struggle for survival, this administration has weakened the military rather than strenghtened it."

By it's very nature, war weakens your military, because the troops get tired and injured and killed, the equipment gets blown up or worn out, we use the munitions.

Clinton did very little replenishing from his wars, we are doing better but it's a strain on the military fighting so long in Iraq.

"If you want the real reason why Rummy fired all the generals who disagreed with him and threw away the original CENTCOM war plan it was because he wants to continue shrinking the size of the military and needed to justify it"

Except that Rumsfeld didn't "fire" all the generals. Shinseki was already retiring, and he left on his retirement day. Other generals also retired when their retirement came up.

Rumsfeld did have a plan to change the military, and it was probably wrong to continue that once we got into the post 9/11 world. I think his plan is a good long-term plan, but during war we should have de-emphasized the harsher parts of his plan and focused on keeping the troops happy.

"(his original proposal for an invasion of Iraq only included 60,000 troops, the CENTCOM plan called for 400,000+, because of the worry about post-invasion instability."
Shinseki's first claim for 300,000+ was that the Iraqi army was too strong, NOT anything to do with the post-invasion instability.

"The generals that Rummy didn't fire, and the SECDEF settled on 120,000), and more importantly, because the military just wasn't big enough to actually carry out the original plan."

The final plan was for over 250,000, not 120,000. We went in with fewer, because Powell couldn't deliver Turkey on troop transport so we had to send those troops around and didn't wait for them.

"Webb is right, for years the GOP and the President have been telling us we've been in danger, but it took the Democrats in Congress to force the administration to accept a "temporary" (that was the only way the administration would accept it) elargement of the Army and USMC by one battalion each."

I don't see how increasing the troop levels has anything to do with Webb's claim that our mobile expeditionary force is compromised by having fixed base troops in Iraq, or how converting those existing fixed base troops to a mobile expeditionary force tied to protecting Iraq from neighboring countries will somehow make it EASIER to do mobile deployments elsewhere, rather than making it impossible.

"You seem to forget it was a Democrat who got us into and won WW I and WW II, and a Democrat who decided that Vietnam was worth fighting over. Although it was a Republican who decided to give it up... Hey, I guess that is cut and run? Right?"

Actually, it was a democrat congress that cut off the funding for Vietnam. I haven't seen anybody post here suggesting that in the past there haven't been good democrat leadership. Although to be fair, North Korea is still a major thorn in our side 50 years after Truman "took care of that" for us.

Citizen Tom said...

Charles, please give Ragnar some credit. The comment about the Generals being fired was funny. Ragnar knows all about the military. Of course he knew that the longest even a four-star general is allowed to serve by law is 35 years. He is entirely aware of the fact that all officers work their way up through the officer ranks -- leaving them relatively few years to serve as general officers.

Charles, I am afraid it is readily aparent you need a good reference. Here you go. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Shinseki