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US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level

 
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US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 12:44:07 AM   
tomcat666

 

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How would wargamers here appraise US military performance on the grand strategic level since the end of the World War 2?

There have been four major conflicts since that period: Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf war and Iraq.

It is looking at the moment that the result will be 1 draw (Korea), 1 victory ( Gulf War, an easy victory, with Iraqis helplessly exposed in the desert to US air power and technology), and two defeats , Vietnam and Iraq (beginning to look that way).

Hardly an exceptional performance.

So while Nimitz and Marshall were able grand strategists, since the end of the war, US high level leadership has become poor, engaging in conflicts that are not needed and due to the restrictions that a US democracy has to fight under (popular support, a critical media, lack of tolerance for casualties and high impatience) not winnable.

Lets take Vietnam for instance, south east Asia was of strategically little importance, no resources and minimal GDP, if it went communist so what. The resources that US put in there were totally out of proportion with the value of the region.

(US paranoia of communism became irrational, and clouded good clear strategic thinking)

The US seems to confuse civil wars these days with wars of liberation and to support people who are ungrateful of US help and are unwilling to fight or are too corrupt or immature to take advantage of US help.

IT WOULD BE WISE TO LOOK AND EXAMINE THE PEOPLE IT IS FIGHTING FOR.

In future the US should only engage in conflict that is absolutely necessary and are winnable, and were the strategic significance justified the expenditure.

here is the end result of Iraq, American will be there for a decade at least, spending 2 trillion dollars, while at home it infrastructure deteriorates as shown by katrina and the bridge collapse and there are major social security problems in future , not to mention a decling education system (very poor science and maths achievement levels at the senior level, which will have major ramifications for the future if not corrected).

All this while borrowing heavily from China a potential enemy of the US to pay for such expenditure.



This will provide the Chinese great leverage over the US in the future if this process continues.


One further question does the US have the ability to tolerate high casualties these days, or has it become soft?

Could it fight another Okinawa?


< Message edited by tomcat666 -- 9/1/2007 12:48:17 AM >
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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 3:27:30 AM   
Neilster


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Hey, c'mon man! The US leads the world in Creation Science! Well, except for the Muslim world perhaps. They seem very keen on Iron Age (with Bronze Age bits) mythology too.

Cheers, Neilster

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 3:34:13 AM   
Michael Dorosh


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Korea wasn't a war, it was a police action, and Vietnam was a counter-insurgency. Gulf War was a victorious war and so was Iraq. Unfortunately, the US is now losing the counter-insurgency there, too. I don't know that 'grand strategy' is necessarily an apt description. Sometimes fighting a losing counter-insurgency wins you the war - namely, the Cold War. In that regards, whatever happened strategically in Vietnam, it represented a victory, albeit pyhrric.

< Message edited by Michael Dorosh -- 9/1/2007 3:35:38 AM >


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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 3:36:58 AM   
Terminus


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Nice bit of revisionism there.

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 3:58:36 AM   
Zap


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To answer your question the US military is a good performer when politics is left out of the mix.

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 4:14:55 AM   
Halsey


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap

To answer your question the US military is a good performer when politics is left out of the mix.


That was well said Zap.


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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 6:39:04 AM   
tomcat666

 

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First of all a counter insurgency is a war, it is just another term for guerrilla war, when you have parties utilizing force to achieve an objective, it is war, whether it is unconventional or not.


Counter-insurgency, commonly abbreviated COIN, is a type of military campaign used in an occupation or a civil war to quell rebellion. Counter-insurgency is usually conducted in conjunction with conventional military operations, propaganda, and psychological operations.



Malaya and the Boer wars were guerrilla wars which I may add the British won, showing that such was are winnable, IN SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES, this was before CNN and TV.




I like the use of the term "police action" to describe Korea, Korea was a war, by any definition of the term, interesting that police action involves fighter jets, artillery, invasion by sea and tanks?

Vietnam was a financial and PR disaster for the US, to say that Vietnam helped win a cold war is tenuous to say the least, there is no hard core empirical evidence to suggest it help communism collapse in the USSR. One could make an argument that in fact it prolonged the cold war, by weakening the US and giving moral support to the communists. The USSR would have collapsed anyway due to the inherent weakness of the system.


Iraq is a war of stages, the resistance were never going to fight the US head-on, with US firepower and tech superiority that would have been suicide. Instead they did what the Russians did against napoleon, they melted away, buying their time, deciding when and where to attack in circumstances that were favorable to them. The so called blitzkrieg of 2003 is an illusion, as the last 4 years have shown.


You sound like the type of guy who would have said back in World War One, if you were German, we did not lose the war, we were stabbed in the back (pride for your military is good, but when it causes you to live in a fantasy world then there is a problem).


< Message edited by tomcat666 -- 9/1/2007 6:41:18 AM >

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 11:17:25 AM   
Twotribes


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I suggest you recheck MILITARY facts on Vietnam. The US had accomplished its goals militarily by 1972. In 1974 the US Congress cut off all major funding to South Vietnam and in 1975 refused to honor its commitment to aid with artillery, airpower and naval support. Vietnam did not fall to an Insurgency, it fell to an external Invasion of 25 Divisions of North Vietnamese troops.

An Invasion that would not have happened if, when they probed in force, the US had honored her commitment to an ally. Do not believe me? Read what the North Vietnamese Generals have to say about it.

As to current day Iraq, we only lose if we chose to lose. Again by abandoning an ally and forfeiting our commitments.

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 12:10:29 PM   
timtom


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Halsey


quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap

To answer your question the US military is a good performer when politics is left out of the mix.


That was well said Zap.



What's that famous Clausewitz quote again?


< Message edited by timtom -- 9/1/2007 12:11:30 PM >


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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 4:38:59 PM   
Sarge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tomcat666


In future the US should only engage in conflict that is absolutely necessary and are winnable, and were the strategic significance justified the expenditure.




The American Revolution was un-winnable

Maybe the farmers at Lexington green should have weighed out their risk to profit ratio and cut a run



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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 4:54:09 PM   
Michael Dorosh


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tomcat666

First of all a counter insurgency is a war, it is just another term for guerrilla war, when you have parties utilizing force to achieve an objective, it is war, whether it is unconventional or not.


And you point you so blindingly missed is that you can't fight them in the same ways. Not sure why you would want to discuss them in the same thread, that being the same case, or think that they involved the same types of strategies.
quote:


Counter-insurgency, commonly abbreviated COIN, is a type of military campaign used in an occupation or a civil war to quell rebellion. Counter-insurgency is usually conducted in conjunction with conventional military operations, propaganda, and psychological operations.

This is correct.
quote:


Malaya and the Boer wars were guerrilla wars which I may add the British won, showing that such was are winnable, IN SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES, this was before CNN and TV.

This is correct also.

quote:

I like the use of the term "police action" to describe Korea, Korea was a war, by any definition of the term, interesting that police action involves fighter jets, artillery, invasion by sea and tanks?

I don't think your sarcsasm serves you well here; you missed the larger point that Korea was a UNITED NATIONS OPERATION, not an extension of US foreign policy.

quote:

Vietnam was a financial and PR disaster for the US, to say that Vietnam helped win a cold war is tenuous to say the least, there is no hard core empirical evidence to suggest it help communism collapse in the USSR. One could make an argument that in fact it prolonged the cold war, by weakening the US and giving moral support to the communists. The USSR would have collapsed anyway due to the inherent weakness of the system.

To say the communism would have collapsed anyway "is tenuous to say the least, there is no hard core empirical evidence to suggest" it. :) Neat turn of a phrase, huh?

quote:


Iraq is a war of stages, the resistance were never going to fight the US head-on, with US firepower and tech superiority that would have been suicide. Instead they did what the Russians did against napoleon, they melted away, buying their time, deciding when and where to attack in circumstances that were favorable to them. The so called blitzkrieg of 2003 is an illusion, as the last 4 years have shown.

If that's how you choose to interpret it. Many of the so-called insurgents are foreigners who just want to kill Americans, others are more interested in fighting a civil war and carrying out old vendettas than they are in changing the flag flying over the local post office. The army of the nation of Iraq was militarily defeated, and soundly, in 2003. There's nothing illusory about that. What followed will be a matter of controversy.

quote:

You sound like the type of guy who would have said back in World War One, if you were German, we did not lose the war, we were stabbed in the back (pride for your military is good, but when it causes you to live in a fantasy world then there is a problem).

How fortunate I happen to live on the planet Earth. I don't claim to be expert in these matters; just a bachelor's degree in military history like you I presume, and whatever I've read along the way or conversations I've had with other scholars and hobbyists and soldiers I've served with. Germany lost the First World War on the battlefield, incidentally, but if you're really keen on not only typing out your own take on the world, but also my own, there's probably no reason for me to be here at all.

So why did you start this thread? Because if its simply a means to have us bow down to your expert knowledge of all things mortal and beyond, you'll have to demonstrate some. I happen to disagree with your interpretations; that you should choose to make personal attacks in response only suggests a bankruptcy of logical thought on your part. Surely you can do better.



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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 5:00:39 PM   
Michael Dorosh


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus

Nice bit of revisionism there.


Not that one liners and smileys are ever really worth anyone's time in responding, especially if one is unsure whom is being addressed to begin with, but if this is somehow aimed at me, my suggestion in return is to ask yourself what the difference between critical thinking and revisionism is. For what it is worth, the viewpoints I've offered aren't revisionist in the least. The original poster seems well off base as far as Vietnam goes, though to be fair the importance of the war is still being debated among historians. Twotribes has some very important things to say about the war in his post - if you want a model of how to contribute to the conversation, his post was a good place to start.

If you have something substantial to add to the conversation, by all means, I think everyone involved would be delighted to read it. When your sigline takes up more room than your post, it should be an indication that your response really isn't furthering the discussion in any significant way.

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 5:01:28 PM   
dutch08

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: tomcat666
How would wargamers here appraise oranges on the grand strategic level since we enjoyed the great Red Delicious Apple?

There have been four major oranges since that period: The Korean orange, the Vietnam orange, the Gulf orange and Iraq orange.


tomcat666, are you comparing apples and oranges again?



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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 8:05:16 PM   
ilovestrategy


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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 8:19:44 PM   
ezz

 

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How is Korea not a win ?
Wasn't the objective to prevent the takeover of South Korea by North Korea ?

Surely by virtue of the fact that there are still 2 Koreas then the operation was a success and should rightly be considered a victory.

As for Vietnam, both arguments are correct. Military goals sort of achieved while domestic and political appetite  for the war collapse.

But the war AIM  was to prevent the spread of comunism througout the region and this obviously failed with the invasions of cambodia and laos.







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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 8:23:23 PM   
mjk428

 

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I'm curious why our activities in the Balkans and Afghanistan were left out, unless you wanted to slant the scoreboard. They were major operations.

Since you specifically are talking about the US, in all fairness the Gulf War could also be left out. That was an international coalition standing up to an aggressor.

Looked at another way, you could say that the US has had 2 great strategic conflicts since WW2, "The Cold War" and "The GWoT". They may both still be ongoing, certainly the latter won't be ending anytime soon. The latter may also be the offspring of the former. So since WW2 the record is at worst 0-0 and at best 1-0 for major strategic conflicts.

edit -

I think it's also important to note that, for better or worse, maintaining the status quo has been the frequent objective in US foreign policy since WW2. If winning was all that mattered we could be 100-0 since WW2.

< Message edited by mjk428 -- 9/1/2007 8:38:30 PM >

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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/1/2007 8:28:49 PM   
Michael Dorosh


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ezz

How is Korea not a win ?
Wasn't the objective to prevent the takeover of South Korea by North Korea ?

Surely by virtue of the fact that there are still 2 Koreas then the operation was a success and should rightly be considered a victory.

As for Vietnam, both arguments are correct. Military goals sort of achieved while domestic and political appetite for the war collapse.

But the war AIM was to prevent the spread of comunism througout the region and this obviously failed with the invasions of cambodia and laos.


The mandate of the UN forces in Korea was met; whatever the US had in mind for grand strategy in that region, I think it had to be subordinated to the desires of their allies. General MacArthur was keen on pursuing goals somewhat different than President Truman's. If the American strategic vision included a communist-free Korea, that is one thing, but viewing success or failure in the Korean War becomes a separate issue. US forces weren't there to pursue such goals; if they had, perhaps General MacArthur would have been given his opportunity. The mandate was to restore the pre-invasion demarcation line. This was later altered to allow an invasion of the north to destroy the North Korean military.

quote:

The Korean War was filled with lessons for the future. First, it demonstrated that the United States was committed to the containment of communism, not only in Western Europe, but throughout the world. Prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, the Truman administration had indicated that Korea stood outside America's sphere of vital national interests. Now, it was unclear whether any nation was outside this sphere.

From: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=488


What Korea did was give notice that the US would go anywhere necessary to confront communism. Vietnam served the same purpose. One can see this new mandate in Central America as well, which oddly the original poster doesn't mention. He lumps in counter-insurgency in Iraq with conventional wars, but doesn't mention Nicaragua or wars by proxy.

quote:

ORIGINAL: mjk428

I'm curious why our activities in the Balkans and Afghanistan were left out, unless you wanted to slant the scoreboard. They were major operations.


Them too. The original poster seems to be picking and choosing at random those conflicts that support his assertions.

< Message edited by Michael Dorosh -- 9/1/2007 8:29:52 PM >


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RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/2/2007 4:21:36 AM   
tomcat666

 

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First don’t get me wrong I admire the US military and have actually defended it on other forums, I am talking here of high level strategic leadership.



The reason I started this thread, is that I like rigorous debate. now that may be troll like to some, but i think not. debate is good even if it gets heated.

I anticipated this reply, it gives me greater understanding of you Americans by reading your replies.

Now I don’t claim to be a perfect my any measure, another reason is to discuss this matter and in the process learn more on history and how it can be interpreted.

I may be wrong on some issues and my knowledge is further improved my reading different viewpoints.

I am pragmatic individual when it comes to knowledge, and if someone offers a better argument I will accept it.


Now back to your points, point one, the first point you made:

"And you point you so blindingly missed is that you can't fight them in the same ways. Not sure why you would want to discuss them in the same thread, that being the same case, or think that they involved the same types of strategies."

My Reply:

That is beside the issue, one could equally say the same from the insurgent point of view, because the Americans fight these days so unfairly( correct way to do it but there is no chivalry whatsoever in having technology so far superior that if they did engage Americans by similar conventional means, they would be destroyed from afar by GPS bombs dropped from 30,000 feet without the ability to hit back etc. etc.,).

Don’t get me wrong, I hate extreme Muslims and terrorists, I would wipe them out totally if I had my way. But the democracy of the US would not allow me to do this. And that is the point I am making, the US leadership consistently engage in wars, forgetting this restriction.

The simple fact is that the American high level leadership should have known that this war was going to deteriorate into a insurgency war. They were short sighted and miscalculated (I knew and so did my father). An the point is still valid if you blunder into a insurgency war, it is still a war. High level leadership failed to appreciate the high probably of this, and due to the nature of American democracy how difficult it would be to fight such a war.

So they stuffed up in high level strategic and calculation as far as I am concerned, not only this they aggravated the war on terror , by attacking a country that held those Muslim fanatics in check and where the CIA stated themselves that the terrorist threat from Sadden was minimal, plus on a geopolitical level they have damaged American alliance and respect throughout the world. And it in the end it status, if it losses, which according to the constrains of a US democracy, is highly probable.

So my point is still valid in my opinion ( and remember interpretation of war like with everything is subjective in nature, but very fact that US public is turning against the war and in my own country which has always be pro US ( bush is disliked and most Australians want out) seem to support by viewpoint. A general at the highest level should be aware of all the complexities of war, economic, political, cultural and scientific, because it is an holistic enterprise, narrow mitary only tunnel vision can lead to trouble, as shown by the German general staff actions WW1.

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/06/04/con06145.html




GEN. ODOM: IRAQ INVASION ‘GREATEST STRATEGIC DISASTER IN U.S. HISTORY’

By EVAN LEHMANN
Washington Bureau
The Lowell Sun
Massachusetts
Oct. 4, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The invasion of Iraq was the "greatest strategic disaster in United States history," a retired Army general said yesterday, strengthening an effort in Congress to force an American withdrawal beginning next year.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Odom, a Vietnam veteran, said the invasion of Iraq alienated America's Middle East allies, making it harder to prosecute a war against terrorists.

The U.S. should withdraw from Iraq, he said, and reposition its military forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border to capture Osama bin Laden and crush al Qaeda cells.

"The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history," said Odom, now a scholar with the Hudson Institute.

Homeward Bound, a bipartisan resolution with 60 House co-sponsors, including Lowell Rep. Marty Meehan, requests President Bush to announce plans for a draw-down by December, and begin withdrawing troops by October 2006.

The measure has not been voted on, nor has the House Republican leadership scheduled hearings. But supporters were encouraged yesterday, pointing to growing support among moderate conservatives and the public's rising dissatisfaction with the war.

Meehan, one of the first to propose a tiered exit strategy in January, when few of his Democratic colleagues dared wade into the controversial debate, pointed to "enormous progress."




YOU MENTIONED THE following

I don't think your sarcsasm serves you well here; you missed the larger point that Korea was a UNITED NATIONS OPERATION, not an extension of US foreign policy.


But it was still a war lead by American leadership, l Douglas MacArthur .and Truman were making the big decisions. Thus if there were failures in that war, they were still heavily influenced by American decision making. And it was an extension of policy because the US was heavily bent on inhibiting the growth of communism, the United Nations which were involved were American allies, utilized by the states to give legitimacy to their overall goal of repression of communism and it’s spread. Do you think that America would have devoted so many troops there and resources if it was not in it’s ( PERCEIVED) strategic interest to do so? There are many UN resolutions broken in Africa but the US does nothing like everyone else because it is seen as strategically insignificant .

So a rather naive statement I suggest. NEARLY ALL US MIlITARY ACTION WHETHER IT IS UNDER THE UN OR NOT IS AN EXTENSION OF US FOREIGN POLICY, FOR BETTER OR WORSE.



You mentioned

"
To say the communism would have collapsed anyway "is tenuous to say the least, there is no hard core empirical evidence to suggest" it. :) Neat turn of a phrase, huh?"



Oh but there is far more justification on inherent weakness of the USSR and its probable collapse than was your contention which is very questionable.

As this following article indicates.

http://faculty.goucher.edu/history231/Dallin.htm



you mentioned

"The army of the nation of Iraq was militarily defeated, and soundly, in 2003. There's nothing illusory about that. What followed will be a matter of controversy.

Reply:

An illusion, if you are making a big thing out of it, they chose not to fight with you tech superiority you would have won easily, but hardly do to brilliance of personnel just due to tech superiority.

According to some Franks stuffed up as pointed out below. A good general should be prepared for counterinsurgency WAR, and if the following information is correct, he was not, in fact he probably aided it’s development."

http://bowman.typepad.com/cubowman/2004/09/how_not_to_fini.html


you mentioned

" Because if its simply a means to have us bow down to your expert knowledge of all things mortal and beyond, you'll have to demonstrate some"


reply:

I will have to say the same about you.




to dutch08

reply:

All wars are unique, I would be the first to agree with you on this matter, it is still valid to appraise a countries general military and geopolitical competence by examining how it has fared in a number of wars. Because there are some similarities between the errors made in Vietnam and Iraq, in my opinion. And while WW2 and Korea are different , they still share the basic fundamentals which you can make comparisons on. It is like AI in a computer game, true all games are different, navy games differ from air strategy games. But there are basic fundamentals you can compare the AI on, is it aggressive, is it flexible, does it adapt to the player etc,etc, and finally is it challengingly




To twotribes

I thing the statement is very good

"
But the war AIM was to prevent the spread of communism throughout the region and this obviously failed with the invasions of Cambodia and Laos."


The ultimate aim of war policy is the strategic element your military efforts fail in this final determinate ,then, they should be considered a failure.

I am not disputing America’s tactical and operational competence, they are generally pretty good there, it is the grand strategic incompetence I am critiquing.

Here is part of post I put at a history sight showing I respect the US solder of WW2 AND WW1:


The American soldier (GENERAL TERM OFFICERS AND MEN, NAVY AIR FORCE ETC) consider to be superior to the Japanese, why?, because he was tactically superior, more innovative and most all far more flexible. He was able to learn from his mistakes and adapt quickly, far better than his Japanese counterpart.
The kill ratio that the Americans inflicted on the Japanese was very favorable. And this was not simply due to their overwhelming firepower advantage. It was also due to the superior skill and flexibility of the American soldier. Instead of attacking machine guns head on, they had the brains to use suppressing fire and outflank them from behind etc. The American soldier was quick to improvise, developing new tactics to handle the bocage country in France for instance.
The Japanese did not have this type of flexibility, imagination and adaptability and looking at their economy today, still don’t have. To give one telling example the Japanese had a viable submarine fleet, a fleet that could have been used to attack American naval logistical supply . Yet the Japanese stayed rigid with their doctrine that submarines were only to attack naval targets. They stayed with this policy even when the Germans and the Americans demonstrated to them the effectiveness of using submarines against merchants.

It is also demonstrated in their approach to war, while the Germans, British and Americans developed teams who devised better tactics to make their war effort more effective, such as the British scientific analysis on how to reduce U-boat sinkings by modifying convoys and their formations etc.

The Japaneses showed considerable lack of improvisation, sinking Japanese merchants was easy as infanticide, due to Japanese slack anti submarine measures. Kamikazes attacks could have been far more effective if the Japanese had the tactical sense to focus attacking one specific carrier, instead of diverting attacks to many targets.
Would Americans make similar fundamental tactical errors so late in the war. I think not. Because as Rommel said, I have never seen an allied soldier learn so much so quickly, the Americans are fast learners and improvise well. They organize and focus well. Something the Japs did not do.



Was Korea a draw or a victory, there are some who even argue that it was a defeat.

But it is generally seen as a draw, since MacArthur aims at least were initially far greater than keeping the status quo.


Sarge mentions

"
he American Revolution was un-winnable

Maybe the farmers at Lexington green should have weighed out their risk to profit ratio and cut a run"


REPLY:
The American revolution was not unwinnable, because you won it. Where Vietnam and Iraq are not do to the constraints of US democracy . You fail to see this

What a comparison, since that war was on home turff and had very great significance to America’s future, compared this type of situation to a very distant war where the strategic significance and threat to the US is highly questionable. The US of today is not the US of the 50’s, it has major fundamental problems at home that should be addressed, in war of choice where the threat factors are questionable, and where your countries has major financial problems of the future, social security for instance, it wise and prudent to do a cost benefit analysis, not to do so is stupid and amateurish.


Now that I have succeeded in alienating a number of individuals here I will leave. I love heated debate especially with decent controlled people, but have learnt from experience when arguing with an Christian fundamentalist you have to be very careful with some.




< Message edited by tomcat666 -- 9/2/2007 5:49:51 AM >

(in reply to Michael Dorosh)
Post #: 18
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/2/2007 8:00:00 AM   
Sarge


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From: the pale blue dot
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quote:

ORIGINAL: tomcat666

REPLY:
The American revolution was not unwinnable, because you won it. Where Vietnam and Iraq are not do to the constraints of US democracy . You fail to see this

What a comparison, since that war was on home turff and had very great significance to America’s future, compared this type of situation to a very distant war where the strategic significance and threat to the US is highly questionable. The US of today is not the US of the 50’s, it has major fundamental problems at home that should be addressed, in war of choice where the threat factors are questionable, and where your countries has major financial problems of the future, social security for instance, it wise and prudent to do a cost benefit analysis, not to do so is stupid and amateurish.

Now that I have succeeded in alienating a number of individuals here I will leave. I love heated debate especially with decent controlled people, but have learnt from experience when arguing with an Christian fundamentalist you have to be very careful with some.



In what context was the American Revolution winnable
Hindsight ?

If you view the threats Americans face as highly questionable your either misinformed or delusional.

you pick, I lean towards your a little of both








< Message edited by Sarge -- 9/2/2007 8:13:28 AM >

(in reply to tomcat666)
Post #: 19
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 5:03:53 AM   
SemperAugustus

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: tomcat666
Iraq is a war of stages, the resistance were never going to fight the US head-on, with US firepower and tech superiority that would have been suicide. Instead they did what the Russians did against napoleon, they melted away, buying their time, deciding when and where to attack in circumstances that were favorable to them. The so called blitzkrieg of 2003 is an illusion, as the last 4 years have shown.


Saddam Hussein's strategy was a disaster, his army melted away, his commanders failed to report the US advance, they failed to blow bridges or for that matter delay the US advance in any significant way. There is an article in Foreign Affairs based on interviews with Iraqi generals describing the total failure of the Iraqi military. The US won that hands down, the insurgency is a different matter.

(in reply to tomcat666)
Post #: 20
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 7:41:17 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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US Strategic performance has been mixed - I rate it 2/4.

the 2 are Korea and GW1 - in both cases the military/political machine had clear goals, limited themselves to those goals, and achieved them (Korea - maintenance of Sth Korea, McArthur's wishes not withstanding, and booting Iraq out of Kuwait)

In Vietnam and GW2 the mission was confused....was Vietnam a war vs the North, or a civil war in the south?  In fact it started as one, changed to the other, and the US never really got with a plan that would win either....although the bombing of the North was a clear act of war vs the Nth and achieved tangible results.....but then the politicians thought that would be good enough.....so there was no clear result - and if you don't defeat your enemy then you lose.

GW2 started with clear goals - stop Iraq's WMD programme and stop the terrorists in Iraq.....of course those clear goals turned out to be illusory because there was no WMD programme nor were there any terrorists in Iraq.  So the goals changed - depose Saddam & impose democracy........well 1 was easy enough to do once the "war" was one....but imposing democracy?  that's sort of like f**king for virginity.......  And the US had no real idea how to do it, nor are the Iraqi's sure they want it - they have no real idea what it is after all!!

the possibility of war with Iran is pretty dodgy too......stoping their suspected nuclear weapons programme.......well at least we know they have a nuclear programme, but IMO the evidence that any part of it is definitively weapon oriented is lacking - absolutely everything they are doing, AFAIK, has a legitimate civilian use and is expressly permitted by the NPT.  Iran is better armed, better motivated, tougher terrain and has a higher population than Iraq.......and look at how much fun the US is having there.....

Pandering to Israeli paranoia does not constitute a clear and achieveable goal IMO.


< Message edited by SMK-at-work -- 9/4/2007 7:42:52 AM >

(in reply to SemperAugustus)
Post #: 21
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 8:00:49 AM   
2ndACR


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 As someone who has served in Iraq, do not believe all you hear. If they allowed us the ability to really go after the bad guys, we could wrap up Iraq pretty quick. Of course alot of people are going to get squeemish about the large numbers of Iraqi and non  American casualties. We will take losses, but we the soldiers will risk it if allowed to really go after the bad guys and they people who help them, harbour them.

(in reply to SMK-at-work)
Post #: 22
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 6:11:11 PM   
morvwilson


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There seems to be a couple of points that have been missed here concerning Vietnam and the current war in Iraq.

Firstly, the first axis of attack from North Vietnam was not the twenty five divisions sent over the border. It was anti-war propaganda spread by people like John Kerry. (His picture hangs in a war museum in Hanoi as a war hero to this day)

The main exis of attack by the current opponents in Iraq is the same. Propaganda to drain the will to fight.
Every time the enemy tries to make a stand they loose. Trust me, the enemy knows this.

One of the things people seem to forget, and 2ndacr aludes to is that sentiment is a weakness. Especially in a time of war.

(in reply to 2ndACR)
Post #: 23
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 11:07:04 PM   
ezz

 

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I cant help thinking you may be wrong here.
Vietnam was really lost BECAUSE the US fought the insurgents.
They should have secured the borders and prevented infiltration stopping reinforcement of the VC and cutting supplies.
let it die on the vine.
When the NVA attacked, the US won.
US forces assets were and are Firepower and manouever. Rapid reaction with overwhelming force and no one could or can stand up to it.
The ARVN could have dealt with the insurgency.

To me Iraq is a similar [ but now worse } situation
Do you really want to tie down troops in a never ending SURGE across the entire country , while fighters and munitions seep across the borders each day.

I fully appreciate that you might want to take them on, but i personally think its better not to. You can't use your best assets to best effect in cities. Remember the 6th army bled away at Stalingrad and they were prepared to inflict and take any casualities especially civillian ones.


(in reply to 2ndACR)
Post #: 24
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 11:11:06 PM   
Michael Dorosh


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ezz

I cant help thinking you may be wrong here.
Vietnam was really lost BECAUSE the US fought the insurgents.
They should have secured the borders and prevented infiltration stopping reinforcement of the VC and cutting supplies.




Huh? The VC were wiped out in early 1968. You can't reinforce what isn't there...

_____________________________

The Tactical Wargamer


(in reply to ezz)
Post #: 25
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 11:19:53 PM   
Doggie


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From: Under the porch
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quote:

ORIGINAL: tomcat666




here is the end result of Iraq, American will be there for a decade at least, spending 2 trillion dollars, while at home it infrastructure deteriorates as shown by katrina and the bridge collapse and there are major social security problems in future , not to mention a decling education system (very poor science and maths achievement levels at the senior level, which will have major ramifications for the future if not corrected).

All this while borrowing heavily from China a potential enemy of the US to pay for such expenditure.


Golly, what insight!

You know. back in 1999 all the levees in New Orleans were up to snuff, that bridge was in great shape, the social security trust fund was just about to bust with cash, we were graduating genuises like you from public schools and the federal government had so much money they were paving roads with it.

There weren't any homeless people either, and damn it, if only Al Gore hadn't lost the 2000 election, Christopher Reeve would be doing River Dance right now and all the Arabs would love us. It a sure bet there wouldn't be any such thing as Global Warming.


What was thst turned America from a Utopia where everything was hunky dory to a scene out of Blade Runner where even the bridges are falling down, all in a few short years?

I need somebody really smart who's better than me to explain it all.



< Message edited by Doggie -- 9/4/2007 11:21:32 PM >


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(in reply to tomcat666)
Post #: 26
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 11:36:20 PM   
Doggie


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From: Under the porch
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quote:

That is beside the issue, one could equally say the same from the insurgent point of view, because the Americans fight these days so unfairly( correct way to do it but there is no chivalry whatsoever in having technology so far superior that if they did engage Americans by similar conventional means, they would be destroyed from afar by GPS bombs dropped from 30,000 feet without the ability to hit back etc. etc.,).


Yeah, that must be why there's 3,000 plus American casualties.  All that "unfair" fighting and dropping GPS bombs on poor innocent goatherders from 30,00 feet. 

You sure you aint a product of our declining education system?  You sound way too smart to be a college boy.


_____________________________

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(in reply to Doggie)
Post #: 27
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/4/2007 11:47:59 PM   
blam0

 

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To only answer your last question Tomcat, the US could not fight another Okinawa if for no other reason than we simply no longer have the industrial base to support it.

Even theoretically considering media/public support, the US can no longer fight a war of attrition with any signficant miliarty power in the world, much less take on the Chinese or the Russians. Take a look at the list of Frontline equipment that is no longer manufactured: M1a1 tanks, A-10 Thunderbolts, B-52 Bombers, F-15 Fighters (correct me if I'm wrong on this). We don't have sufficient reserves, or a means to create one quickly.

Suggesting that the US had any Strategic Genius in WWII is a bit of a stretch for me as well. Didn't the US support two (roughly paralell) lines of advance through the Pacific? Why? So that both the Army and Navy could have their share of work. Real Genius there

< Message edited by blam0 -- 9/4/2007 11:57:56 PM >

(in reply to Doggie)
Post #: 28
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/5/2007 12:05:42 AM   
ezz

 

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The VC were largely wiped out and REPLACED BY NVA REGULAR UNITS. Exactly the point I am making

(in reply to Michael Dorosh)
Post #: 29
RE: US Military performance on the Grand Strategic level - 9/5/2007 6:05:44 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

Posts: 3222
Joined: 8/28/2000
From: New Zealand
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: morvwilson

There seems to be a couple of points that have been missed here concerning Vietnam and the current war in Iraq.

Firstly, the first axis of attack from North Vietnam was not the twenty five divisions sent over the border. It was anti-war propaganda spread by people like John Kerry. (His picture hangs in a war museum in Hanoi as a war hero to this day)


Err..AFAIK the only photo of Kerry in a museum in Hanoi is one of him meeting Vietnamese politico's while on a mission with many others that was looking for the remains of US servicemen MIA.

Not sure how that makes him a hero?

However the idea that propaganda was the first line of attack is nonsense. the Vietnam war is oft called the "ten thousand day war", because it lasted 10,000 days - more or less - 30 years from 1945-1975. the first 10 years were against the French, the next 10 eyars were a civil war, an the last 10 years were those where the US had activey presence/support of Sth vietnam.

There had been an awful lot of shooting going on before any anti-war propaganda was directed at the USA....!!!!

quote:


The main exis of attack by the current opponents in Iraq is the same. Propaganda to drain the will to fight.
Every time the enemy tries to make a stand they loose. Trust me, the enemy knows this.


Of course they do....so what?

I would have thought that Vietnam would ahve shown that fighting a war in the "hearts and minds" of the American public is a damned good tactic......why would you expect them to do anything else?

quote:


One of the things people seem to forget, and 2ndacr aludes to is that sentiment is a weakness. Especially in a time of war.


I disagree. If you want to be seen as bringing peace and justice to teh world then the worst weakness is not knowing what peace and justice consists of, and not having a ratinoal plan of how to get there.

It doesn't matter how dedicated you are to your cause if your cause is bankrupt - something we can be damned grateful for in the case of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

It's sad to see the US deciding that the fact that they are fighting is enough justification to keep fighting.

(in reply to morvwilson)
Post #: 30
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