Monday, February 24, 2014

Barack Hussein Obama is Neville Chamberlain in Blackface! The Pentagon Plans to "Shrink" the U.S. Army to Pre-World War 2 Levels

The Pentagon has gifted the Right-wing media machine with its talking point for the week.

Of course, for the propagandized talking point Republican Tea Party GOP type mouth-breather, Barack Obama is and has always been a Communist Socialist Fascist Anti-white Black Christian hating Muslim subhuman mongrel who is also really French, not born in the United States, and was imposed on the American people as part of the New World Order with the help of ACORN and the New Black Panthers in order to take our, i.e. white folks's, guns away.

For the Right, Barack Obama is most definitely a 21st century version of Neville Chamberlain: he is actively conspiring to leave the United States "defenseless" so that a Red Dawn style invasion of "Real America" can take place.

What is the evidence for this claim? The Pentagon intends to slim down the United States Army to its "smallest" size since before World War Two.

The New York Times explains:
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

The proposal, released on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.

Officials who saw an early draft of the announcement acknowledge that budget cuts will impose greater risk on the armed forces if they are again ordered to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time: Success would take longer, they say, and there would be a larger number of casualties. Officials also say that a smaller military could invite adventurism by adversaries.
Of course, the military industrial complex will oppose any such changes.

A society must find a balance between "guns and butter". The Pentagon's plan is a mix of the realistic (acknowledging the limitations of American military power), the pragmatic (what types of weapons systems and strategies are the best fit for the wars of the future?), and the necessary (the United States cannot afford to be on a permanent war footing and these monies could be better spent elsewhere). 

However, there are some areas of concern regarding the Pentagon's planned budget cuts.

The military industrial complex is sold on the boondoggle known as the F-35 multirole aircraft. The Air Force and the Pentagon are willing to scrap a proven, cheap, and highly effective weapon system in the A-10 Thunderbolt to protect the unneeded and problem plagued F-35.

The Air Force never wanted the Cold War era close air support dedicated "Warthog". Concerns about "the budget" are an excuse to rid themselves of it.

A thought. Given that the Pentagon is supposedly trying to reorient the United States military for future conflicts, why not break with convention and hand the A-10 over to either the Army or Marines?

My second worry is how to reduce the size of the Army while maintaining the officer and non-com corps? The United States Army is now the most experienced and accomplished force of its kind on the planet: a decade-plus of combat has given its soldiers a great deal of experience that most other nations' militaries cannot match. Thus, how to find a balance between force reduction and maintaining a cohesive fighting force?

On the positive side, the United States Navy has too many carriers for a post Cold War world. The aircraft carrier is nearing obsolescence. Moreover, the emergence of hypersonic and other types of missiles, and a maturing threat from cheap and effective diesel submarines, would likely render a large aircraft carrier extremely vulnerable to attack.

Stand-off and beyond the horizon weapons systems may be just as effective as an aircraft carrier's planes in the land and sea attack roles. However, such weapons do not have the symbolic, "showing the flag", deterrence, sea lane control, and power projection ability of an old school carrier and its air wing.

How to find a balance between those assets?
 
The most important aspect of the Pentagon's evolving strategy will likely be lost on a media, public, and politicians that are fixated on raw numbers, and operate by a flawed logic which conflates the size and numbers of a given military with its lethality and effectiveness.

We saw evidence of this during the 2012 presidential debates when Mitt Romney recited tired talking points about Obama's plans to reduce the size of the U.S. military as signalling "weakness" abroad, and how the country needed a larger force not a smaller one--even though the Pentagon desired cuts.

The logic of Romney--and those who are similarly minded--is broken here: new technologies have greatly increased the lethality of military weapons; this is a constant of the human experience across time.

The Air War College details these changes in the context of the 1980s when the United States faced off against the Soviet Union:

In 1980 the U.S. Army estimated that modern non-nuclear conventional war had become 400 to 700 percent more lethal and intense as it had been in World War II depending, of course, on the battle scenario. The increases in conventional killing power have been enormous, and far greater and more rapid than in any other period in man's history. The artillery firepower of a maneuver battalion, for example, has doubled since World War II while the "casualty effect" of modern artillery guns has increased 400 percent. Range has increased, on average, by 60 percent, and the "zone of destruction" of battalion artillery by 350 percent...
The modern battlefield is a lethal place indeed. To place the increased intensity of the modern non-nuclear conventional battlefield in perspective, one need only remember that, in World War II, heavy combat was defined as 2-4 combat pulses a day. Modern combat divisions are configured to routinely deliver 12-14 combat pulses a day and to fight around the clock by night operations. A modern U.S. or Soviet motorized division can deliver three times as much firepower at 10 times the rate as each could in World War II. By these and any other historical (or human) standard, even conventional weapons have in a very real sense become quite unconventional.
We are almost four decades past that moment (with an accompanying, if not greater, increase in the lethality of the American military and where the introduction of unmanned and robotic platforms will further change the battlefield).

Barack Obama's detractors are indifferent to the facts surrounding the Pentagon's hoped for budget reductions. The narrative frame of a treasonous black president who secretly hates America--and the military--is a ready fit for the Right-wing media and the Republican's undeserved brand name as the party of "national security".

America is an empire. It is rotting at home while wasting money on a bloated military.

National security is often over-simplified as the ability to kill, break things, and impose a country's will on others.

But what if that ability is causing a lack of long-term security by siphoning away finite resources from the real "force multipliers" that are well-equipped schools, access to health care, a world class educational system, a healthy economy, and a properly maintained infrastructure, more generally?

22 comments:

Scopedog said...

Good post, Chauncey. A small correction, though--I think you're referring to the F-35 Lighting II, not the F-23.
And I think the A-10 Warthog is a fantastic aircraft--and unlike the F-35, it's actually tough and reliable.

kokanee said...

America is an empire. It is rotting at home while wasting money on a bloated military.

National security is often over-simplified as the ability to kill, break things, and impose a country's will on others.

But what if that ability is causing a lack of long-term security by siphoning away finite resources from the real "force multipliers" that are well-equipped schools, access to health care, a world class educational system, a healthy economy, and a properly maintained infrastructure, more generally?
Hear, hear!

I'm highly skeptical that the US national security apparatus is paring itself down. More likely it is being realigned to commando raids (e.g. JSOC), mercenaries and private contractors, technology such as drones and to the US's various three-letter organizations.

The US spends as much on the military as the next 11 countries, most of them allies, by Wikipedia's statistics.

The US national defense budget is grossly underestimated and is closer to $1 trillion. See this and this. Even about.com states, "Therefore, the true cost of defense is closer to $745.2 billion."

Everything else in the discretionary budget is peanuts by comparison.

------------------

The surveillance state:

Democracy Now, today, did a good job equating the latest Snowden revelation, How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations, with the new documentary Spies of Mississippi.

George Smith said...

I seem to recall there were the usual types calling him Neville Chamberlain re Syria. And, of course, with Iran. Neville Chamberlain seems to be the only "name" they use. Why not Quisling? Too hard to remember and not quite the same meaning, probably. How many from the right do you think could locate the Sudetenland on a map?

I'm not sold on the idea that Hagel can downsize the military to any significant degree regardless of budget cuts/sequester. The national security megaplex is overwhelmingly powerful and slipped beyond real control and oversight after 9/11. We'll see but I expect it to be the same old same old next year. The ability to fight a war with China and Iran simultaneously could easily be used as a regular talking point.

The US military strategy and spending has been boiled down to using total superiority in weight of resources and technology in bombing paupers. And compared to US military spending, everyone else is a pauper. This led to the fraud called asymmetric threat assessment. It's now a decades old mythology, one that has a life of its own in the general staff and advisory types, one where the relative weakling, the David, always has a way to bring down the Goliath of the US military, very simply, by exploiting some strange Achilles' heel vulnerability, usually involving magical technology. Al Qaeda has asymmetric talent -- they were always said to be easily capable of biological weapons, making any kind of WMD really, from scratch. Cyberwar has been another. Little backward and impoverished countries, or hermit kingdoms, can strike down the US with cyberwar or electromagnetic pulse attacks.

It's gone on for over 20 years. I've seen it. It exists as an elaborate interlocking, self-reinforcing and Byzantine mythology that is the military and security complex's world view. Nothing dents it. Nothing.

It doesn't matter that other nations have almost given up completely trying to rival the US military structure.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

" Barack Obama is and has always been a Communist Socialist Fascist Anti-white Black Christian hating Muslim subhuman mongrel who is also really French and was not born in the United States and was imposed on the American people as part of the New World Order with the help of ACORN and the New Black Panthers in order to take our, i.e. white folks', guns away."

I'm having a hard time keeping up with the many personas of Mr. Barack Obama. I suppose hating America is the overall theme and the only fact of importance ;)


Wish I could say something effective and intelligent about the Defense Budget, all I can add is the federal bureaucracy is a behemoth, killing us slowly, and the right is focused on a few small welfare programs, please.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

PS: I've always wondered what McCain Palin would have done during the Arab Spring back in 2011.


At the 2012 RNC, McCain stated that Obama had missed an opportunity to support an internal rebellion in Iran and overthrow the current regime. Could you imagine being embroiled with a war in Iran at the same time as being mired in Iraq and Afghanistan?

chauncey devega said...

The machine needs to be justified. You have outlined many sci-fi military thriller novels in your post. If anyone is so inclined I have found it interesting that so many Right-wing politicians and talking head types have written crappy historical-military-techno thrillers.


The U.S. cannot be matched per se, but it can certainly be defeated in battle. I hope we do not see it come to fruition, but the Chinese sea denial strategy could give the U.S. and its heavyweight fighting approach real headaches. Then again, the U.S. can use the same strategy to bottle up the Chinese.

chauncey devega said...

Neoliberal privatized national security state w. mercs and drones. Accountability? Please...

chauncey devega said...

Duh. All of this is pure talk now. Will the Senators and Congress people ever let the budget be closed and a plane retired?

kokanee said...

I do not understand what you mean. Please elaborate.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

"privatized national security state... accountability?"


but the free market is self regulating. if the citizens rights are trampled they can take it up with the security firm ;)

Myshkin the Idiot said...

damn, how could I forget about the anti christ one?!

DanF said...

The F-35 is simply insane. What's more, these costs were predicted by people within the military. Here's an article from Air Force Magazine in 1986 discussing the ever-increasing costs of fighter craft coinciding with the decrease in variety: http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/1986/December%201986/1286dive.pdf

The "Advanced Tactical Fighter" that is spoken of in the article was supposed to break the cost curve and come in at $40m a plane, but ended up only reinforcing the model with yet-another-data point. Just like the F-35. We'll get to the point where we're spending the same for one fighter jet that we do for a carrier group.

Like my wife always tells me, "Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing."

chauncey devega said...

Much of the military's services are being privatized. Thus, there is no accountability on the part of elected officials because those forces operate outside of the system, very often in the "black world" and if they are private contractors they do not have to be supported by the VA and the public can say "they asked for it".


Once you add in the drones, and the outsourcing of essential State services we take several more steps toward Inverted Totalitarianism and the open mating of the Corporate and Military State.

kokanee said...

Uh, yeah. And all under the authority of the executive branch.

George Smith said...

"I have found it interesting that so many Right-wing politicians and talking head types have written crappy historical-military-techno thrillers."

Yes, haven't they! There's no corresponding anti-genre on the left. It's entirely its own thing. You also briefly wrote yesterday on the fascination with apocalyptic scenarios, prediction and story-telling and that also connects at the edges with the techno-thriller genre. They're property of the right white mythology and world view. Much of it is a strange romance fiction in which the mightiest civilization, the military, the entire country is struck down in one click. What then commences is a ritual of purification in which the prepared, the just, the real Americans, survive while everyone else perishes.

Hollywood chooses to duplicate some of this but they smooth off the problematical edges. The zombie movies, World War Z, the remake of Dawn of the Dead, others, are pretty benign compared to the grass roots. The Walking Dead isn't filled with toxic ideological survivalists. It even paints one of the rednecks, the biker, as someone gone through redemption. The old techno-thriller and alt-history genres -- well, let's just say there were generally no progressives, Democrats or anyone with less than white skin in the bunkers.

As for any military strategy versus the Chinese. Hmm, the US is an economic symbiosis with that country the like of which hasn't really existed before when other major wars erupted. It's difficult for me to imagine a conflict but I can't say it absolutely would not happen given today's leadership. I would think the Chinese military, as would any other nation, would not look forward to a war with the US juggernaut because of any perceived advantage in counter strategy or tactics. The big carrier battle group is vulnerable, it's time is almost past. But we've also moved beyond that. DoD spent a lot of the war on terror preparing to wage global war from big forward operating bases, distant from foes but still convenient for US strategic forces: Diego Garcia, Guam, a couple others, the build-ups were remarkable. That indicated the development of a strategy that was going to depend a lot on global strike by strategic bomber forces for which no conventional enemy would have a counter, other than nuclear weapons, after their national air defense had been destroyed in peel-the-onion operations. B-2s and B-52s have remote strike, so does the submarine force, and they're largely invulnerable. Once your air defense is gone, your conventional military, or at least the visible hardware, is lost, given time.

I think the adversarial key may be in figuring out how not to fight any component of the US military.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Carrier groups do come in handy from time to time, and not just for chastising misbehaving tropical countries with conveniently long coastlines. Think of the 2004 Banda Aceh tsunami--the Navy, along with the Australians, mounted a relief effort that was a marvel of logistics.

aprescoup said...

National security is often over-simplified as the ability to kill, break things, and impose a country's will on others.

National security is whatever the elites come up with to distract the peeps from equating National Security with economic security:

Preventing Sexual Violence Is a National Security Imperative - John Kerry/William Haque - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johnkerry/preventing-sexual-violenc_b_4856070.html

aprescoup said...

McCain and Obama seem to be on the same page in fomenting and funding unrest in Syria, the Ukraine and Venezuela.

chauncey devega said...

Have to cosign that one. Also the great book and documentary "Why We Fight".

chauncey devega said...

Smart point. The roles will evolve. The Chinese are trying to develop that capability as a form of soft power.

chauncey devega said...

Showing my age--and maybe yours too. Remember how the F-16 was supposed to be a cheap single purpose fighter?

chauncey devega said...

You don't think that Diego and other bases are horribly exposed? Beyond the horizon strike can light them up to. As others have discussed, I worry that if a carrier is taken out then "U.S. territory" has been hit. What escalation is next? There are undoubtedly gentleman's understandings about not hitting mainland China or U.S. carriers because the spiral of escalation is just too extreme...I hope.


As others have shared too, using repurposed ICBM's for conventional strike is madness.