In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Do we need a larger Army?

There are tons of news articles that deal with the difficulty of counterinsurgency wars such as the one America is prosecuting in Afghanistan. I keep hearing from both politicians on the TV, and people around me, that we should abandon this war. But what I don't hear from those same people advocating quitting the war is how we should withdraw, how to deal with the fallout from our withdrawl, or what to do if the terrorists reconstitute their safe havens in Afghanistan once the United States leaves.

There's a lot out there being written about how there needs to be an Afghan government that the people can respect and trust. While this is true, I'm not sure that deals with the safety issues that the Afghan people face. How can Afghan people be expected to support their government if their villages are not safe against terrorists?

Obviously the war is straining the resources of the military. Would the overall effect be easier, and our current efforts more effective, if we had a larger Army?

Jim Talent, over at The National Review Online, points out that:

"When America fought Desert Storm, the active-duty Army had 18 divisions, or about 800,000 soldiers. Then, in the early 1990s, that figure was reduced to ten undermanned divisions, with an end strength of fewer than 500,000 men, in order to save money. The thinking then was that for the foreseeable future, the United States would not need to put large numbers of “boots on the ground” for sustained periods. That was two years before the Bosnian conflict and less than ten years before the Iraqi and Afghanistan operations, both of which — everyone now agrees — require, first and foremost, the presence of “boots on the ground” in large numbers for a long time."

I'm not so sure that we would not have spend less money, saved more military personnel lives, and had shorter wars during the past 20 years if we'd simply had a larger Army. Thomas Donnelly and Fredrick W. Kagen wrote an article that first appeared in The Washington Post on May 23, 2008 that discusses the need to grow the size of the Army.

Decisions made today will affect the Army America has ten years from now. Our current administration wants to save money on military, this is one of the areas where they are not in favor of spending increases. My concern is that we are focusing on short-term budget concerns and not thinking strategically.

What about you, do you think we need to budget and plan to expand the size of the US Army?


David-FireAndGrace said...

First - NO one likes war.

Second - We are in a war against terrorism, or we are not. If we are, we need to win it decisively. If not, we need to cut our losses.

Third - we should have learned this lesson in Vietnam (but then we had the threat of Russia who was supplying the communists and had lots of nukes)!

Forth - During the Regan years we were very powerful - it cost a lot, but save two very small conflicts; Grenada and the Persian Gulf, we were at peace.

Fifth - Republicans used to be the party that ended wars, not start them.

Sixth - It is doubtful that either Iraq (Babylon) or Afghanistan will be able to sustain a democracy because there is such a huge percentage of terrorists in both nations - with new recruits every day. With Iran, Pakistan and North Korea bubbling up and the possibility of nuclear war - not to mention China who is amassing money and arms at breakneck speeds - things are not going to go well.

That said - I would think that it should be an easy answer as to whether to add troops or not. Our military is putting more lives at risk than is necessary. If we are going to fight a foreign war, than let's apply enough military pressure to accomplish the mission.

Tracy said...

Interesting take David.

I agree totally with 2 of your premises; 1) No one likes war, 2)If we are involved we need to make it quick and win. I believe that having a powerful military can allow us to be a big enough threat that we ward off some problems, and that when we do need to become involved in conflict, we have enough power to do it more quickly.

When I questioned if we need a larger Army, one of my thoughts was that putting more troops in Afghanistan would bring security throughout the entire contested area, so that the presence of well-trained troops would assure civilians that they can cooperate with coalition forces without fear of reprisal. I think part of the reason for all the terrorist recruits is because the people are afraid not to join.

A bigger Army would also ensure that the US could sustain its other obligations in places like Korea, and would provide a larger rotational base so that the same units didn’t have to go to Iraq and Afghanistan for numerous tours of duty.

photogr said...

In prior wars where we were decisive and won but at a high cost of innocent lives ( re: WW2, WW1). We also thought nothing of carpet bombing regions behind enemy lines filled with civilians. It was also back then when the armies were more visible in uniforms and lined up on imaginary lines of battle.

Today all that is different. Other than us in uniforms, we are fighting an invisible army that blends in with the populace, not uniformed, and uses non combatants or holy places as shields. It is impossibe to determine who the insurgent are untill they fire at you first. Plus we are fighting them on their home turf which gives them a major advantage in opprotunities to score a kill.

The enemy is also aware of us not wanting to fire on civilians and uses that to their adantage effectively. I am not sure our political leaders realize the concepts of war and are failing to let the generals in charge do their job effectively in combating a war.

I am not so sure adding more ground troops is the answer. With the weapons technology we have, a major offensive in the targeted areas of resistance is the only answer but it will come at a high cost to non combatants unfortunately as any war has from history.

Fighting a war with an enemy that has no reservations on taking innocent lives of their enemies (9-11) and their own people ( Iraq/ Afganistan) to attain an objective, we have to conclude we cannot fight cleanly in order to eliminate that enemy.

Untill we change our objectives, we are only wasting the valuable lives of our troops, our military strength, and our finances along with our resolve to win a war.

We won the second world war in 4 to 5 years. Why is it that it has taken 10 years now to fight a gorilla band of insurgents in the middle east?

My dad once said ( when we discussed the Vietnam war)that we could not win a war in the middle east or Asia based on their history of being at war with each other since the beginning of recorded history. Great Brittian, France, and Russia comes to mind on recent history.

I now think he might be right.

Mike said...

I think Photogr has some great points.

With those points in mind, I don't think we need a bigger Army, per se, I simply think we need a smaller media. The media is burning our troops, and they feel no shame in doing so. We cannot fight an unconventional army (insurgents) using conventional means. We must fight "dirty" because that's they way they've chosen to fight.

The liberal media need to strap on some combat boots and carry a rifle and experience the unadulterated hatred foreign nations have for USAmericans. Then they might change their tune once projectiles begin flying over their heads.

For an interesting read on how the media has impacted the way we do war (it's an exciting read, written by a Navy SEAL), check out "Lone Survivor". You'll finish it in less than a couple days...a page-turner.

photogr said...

I thought long and hard and prayed before I posted this section of my thoughts.

First of all Mike hit the nail on the head concerning the liberal media ( many are leftovers from the Vietnam war protest). Every time I read of our actions in the Middle East, it is blown out of proportion when innocent women and children are kiled in a confrontation with insurgents. Then our troops are portrayed as war mongers.

Muslims in general I would hope are in fact a peacfull people. However, there is this radical sect that wants every one dead that does not believe their way and are considered infidels that must be killed through a "holy war".

There in lies the quagmire of how to deal with the radical sect.

This brought to mind the Passages of Joshua with his battle at Jerico. Joshua6:20-27. Are we going to have to do the same thing to finally get peace? What happened in Jerico can only be described as genocide in modern terms.

Will we have to do the same to rid the world of the scourge we now face at the hands of a radical sect that does not value life of others as well as their own people?

Will we not be any different than the enemy we are now fighting if we follow Joshua's example?
Then again, this war has been everything but a clean and defined war.

My answer is probablty so in order that we may one day have peace again but at a high cost to our selves and others.

The big question is would God approve?

Anonymous said...


May said...

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. - Matthew 24:6

Francis R. Barbour said...

I used to believe that a large and efficient military force was the surest method of maintaining the peace - as an effective deterrent. This, of course, is predicated upon your own governmental entity being: of a noble character, obedient to its own laws, fundamentally sound, and reasonably altruistic. However, our last few administrations have seriously failed the litmus test in every single necessary area.

Consequently, I have begun to rethink this position.... What should people require [militarily] from a nation that is: politically manipulative, disrespectful of its own laws, financially bankrupt, and abusive to its own individual citizens?

How about a much smaller one, that uses the inherent cost savings to pay off its debts and provide assistance to those nations without adequate clean water and sewage treatment? How about protecting our Real Freedoms by restoring The Constitutional Foundation of our Republic - instead of protecting us from the Terrorist Boogeymen?

The amount spent upon our Military Industrial Complex is staggering, and yet I can dare no longer: speak my mind in public, assemble in the streets to picket, or demand my rights when I have committed no lawful crime. Isn't there something wrong with that - in the supposed: "Land Of The Free?"

Personally, I am ready to disband the Federal Military altogether and go back to Constitutional and Lawful State Militias once again protecting our nation of sovereign countries. The sooner the better!

~*Michelle*~ said...

I get overwhelmed with this subject.....

but I will say that I agree with photogr's comment.....

"The big question is would God approve?"

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