by Steve Lancaster 3/1/14
Recently the administration announced a RIF (reduction in force) for the military. The army will take the bulk of the cuts with the force reduced by 70-100 thousand men. The plan is to retire the A-10 warthog by 2020 and smaller cuts in Marine and Navy personnel and a slowdown in ship construction. Currently there are about 15 army divisions on active duty this RIF will further reduce the ability of our generals to project force. No doubt the progressives and faux libertarians will cheer this change and ask for more, unfortunately so will many conservatives.
In the 1970’s with the end of American involvement in Vietnam the nation was exhausted. Our institutions public and private were strained by the Nixon resignation, the Ford transition and the election of the second worst president in the history of the US. The military like the rest of the country was worn out. Uncle Sam’s big green killing machine had become a lawnmower.
If the Soviets had wanted to invade Europe in the 70’s there is nothing short of massive thermonuclear war we could have done to stop them. Germany would have a radioactive glow for the next 300 years and German would be spoken only by academics. I participated in the REFORGER III & REFORGER IV in 71 and 72. The intelligence mission was to simulate a massive Soviet intelligence operation in Germany followed by invasion through the Fulda Gap. Nixon was still president and the ability to move armored divisions to Europe, match them with their in place equipment and field the divisions did not scare the Soviets, scared the hell out of us in our bunkers at Ramstein. This was my first reading of the unabridged SIOP (Single Intergraded Operations Plan) which was even scarier than the thought of Soviet troops in Paris.
In the mid 70’s the only thing that kept the Soviets at bay was the triad of long range B-52’s, ballistic missiles, and submarine launched ICBM. Our weakness was evident for the entire world to see and during the Jimmy administration; this weakness, perceived and actual was taken as a go-a-head for Iranian militants to exile the Shah seize the government and later take Americans hostage in their own embassy. By any standard the seizing of an embassy and the taking of hostages is an act of war. The response from Jimmy was, at the best tepid. The entire world knew that we would not war with Iran. It was only the election of Reagan that changed the situation.
We now are living through the same type of conditions with the current president. His disgust for the military is evident, his namby-pamby handling of foreign affairs is disturbing and at worst treasonous. Almost 100, 3 and 4 star generals and admirals have been forced into retirement during this administration; now we are continuing the trend line reducing forces to dangerous levels. Obama is making the world more threating, more insecure and more dangerous.
Today, there are Russian Spegnatz in the Crimean peninsula. The US actually has no vital interests in Ukraine and Russia does, however, Russian adventurism un-countered by US resolve will in the end result in more demands from Moscow. Will Obama do anything if the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania are taken next? How about a military takeover of Poland? Seems to me that caused some concern some 70 years ago. The bear continues to push and the eagle has become an ostrich.
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