Saturday, February 2, 2008

and now, for some news commentary

I was on my front porch, sipping my morning latte and reading my copy of The Washington Post, when I couldn't help but feel some annoying, gnawing uneasiness come over me. I tried to put my finger on it and couldn't; as I skimmed over the article I was reading again, it hit me - everyone has gone insane.

Or, quite possibly, I have gone insane, seeing as how there is no front porch, morning latte, or hard copy of the Post. I did, however, read some articles today that are just making me scratch my head in bewilderment.

I started with this piece* about some mythical debate on a pause in troop cuts. (*warning - link opens in a new tab or window) The article talks about military leaders assessing this and deciding that, and blah blah blah my ADD prevents me from reading for long periods of time when nothing important is said, and then we get to this, a quote from Gen. James Conway, Marine Corps Commandant:

"Admiral Fallon has a larger responsibility. He's fighting two fights in his area, and one is going pretty good, and one -- according to some sources -- not so good," he said, referring to Afghanistan.
So I guess what your trying to sell me is that Iraq is going pretty good and Afghanistan is going not-so-good. Sorry, I'm, not drinking that Kool-aid just yet. Another highlight:

Military leaders are debating whether to move forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, Conway said. "Now . . . the discussion is going to become: As things continue to improve in Iraq, at what point do we shift focus into Afghanistan to try to create the same margins of success there?"

But he said there is disagreement within the military over security trends in Afghanistan and the proper strategy there.
To that, I say - let things really improve in Iraq before trying to re-create our "success". January - not such a good month here. And how exciting is it that military leaders disagree with each other on strategy?

Ok, enough on that one. Soon after reading that, I stumbled across this little gem, which makes some surprising claims about our Reserve and National Guard readiness. Rather, their lack of readiness. Does it really surprise anyone that the NG and Reserves couldn't defend our home turf right now? IRR, anyone? Money quote from that article:
“We looked at their plan. It's totally unacceptable. You couldn't move a Girl Scout unit with the kind of planning they're doing now,” said Punaro, executive vice president for Science Applications International Corp. in San Diego.
Finally, to tie all these heart-warming articles together, I read this tear-jerker. McCain and Surge, in the same headline. As the wise Hans Solo once said, "I've got a bad feeling about this."

I'm not saying good things aren't happening in Iraq. I am saying a few good months don't a good strategy make. I guess this should be expected in an age of instant gratification, where we need to have our answers now, even when the answers might not always be right.


Deutlich said...

This is pretty much the biggest reason behind why I couldn't understand the US' decision to go to war with Iraq. We were already in Afghanistan and things weren't improving there at the time, so why splinter the military and make it even harder to succeed in either place?

And the national guard thing? Like, duh. Just. DUH.

I swear to goodness, if some organization wanted to come bomb the hell out of this country today, they could. We're not even remotely safer than 7 years ago.

ex-soldier HOOAH! said...

If they would really worry about keeping America safe I don't think you'd have the turnover in the military that we have today. I could have been a 20 year retiree had they not sent me to a country that has nothing to do with our national security....

Gooseberried said...

I know! I would rather just do that too! :)

Bag Blog said...

I'm always amazed that people are still whining and debating whether we should have gone to war, when the debate now is what to do next. But if we are going to still whine about the first decision, it could be debated that we did go to war to protect the US. It seems to me, Ex-soldier, that you were not "a 20 year retiree" material.

What the heck is "gravtis"?

David M said...

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Joe Donato said...

...........To bag blog,... My sentiments exactly.

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ex-soldier hooah! said...

I think I made it known that I was "20 year material" when I signed the dotted line, and made it through Army training. People helped me realize that I don't have to spend twenty years policing the International community to protect our citizens from enemies foreign and domestic...I am hooah!

Jason said...

My point is just that we (as Americans) are a little too quick these days in jumping around about whether "it worked" or "it didn't work". I remember last summer, right after the infamous surge, and people were saying it was a disaster. Now the consensus is about how well it worked.

The other point I was trying to make is that our military strength levels are abysmal right now, but still all we hear is about "timelines" and "to stay, or not to stay". There are alot of conflicting reports being used for and by the candidates and its enough to drive someone (me) insane!

Bag Blog said...

Jason, I really think the conflicting reports are a result of the truth being reported by some and "what they want to happen" being reported by others. It is a manipulation of facts and statistics. Depending on where you get your news, effects what you know or believe you know. It is confusing.