From: Olympia, WA
I'm not a frequent poster despite being a long time lurker, as my post count shows. When I first came into this forum, I thought my time in service from 1987-1995 and years of intense study on all things military made me very knowledgable. Reviewing threads, I realized how wrong I was. People here have FAR more knowledge than I ever dreamed about being, and I am always amazed at the level of real world experience here as well. There are some serious people with serious experience here, and they are many, not few.
So when I see posts slamming those who served by quoting Google searches it invokes two reactions: anger and laughter in equal measure. Anger for obvious reasons, because armchair warriors can never appreciate what the people who take the oath and sail (or march or fly or drive) into harm's way have endured or experienced that reading books, watching movies and playing games can never, ever portray accurately. And laughter because those who rely on articles posted online, in open forums or sources, will never actually get a true, accurate picture of what REALLY happens in the military and what our military is capable of. Think I'm wrong? Look back through articles posted from the past century and look at all the predictions about military capabilities, weapons, strategy, projected outcomes, etc, and see how many were wrong. The only things I know we can rely on are this: our military has a very long track record of success. Despite recent failures in strategy set by political forces, the military usually prevails at the operational and tactical level, and our military has some of the best equipment and the very best human material on the planet.
Yes, you can criticize, and rightfully so, failures in weapons systems and cost overruns, etc. That's a right people in uniform have fought and died for. You won't see that coming from Russia or China or North Korea, because there is no right to criticize there, so I don't believe much that comes from their side and there are many, many sources out there lately that are way too quick to attack our military and praise theirs without the healthy dose of criticism it deserves. And yes, you can criticize command failures that led to recent collisions, etc. But anyone that has saved knows that the volunteers that take the oath and WILLINGLY put themselves in harm's way in sometimes miserable conditions, are on the whole capable, competent, and resourceful.
Chickenboy's comments are right on point here, and as others have said, the US has been on low intensity combat operations for almost 20 years now, after coming out of a Cold War where the military treated every day like a day where war could break out at any moment. I am fully confident in our capabilities. Russia, despite 50 years of a Cold War and being at least the number two military in the world, still hasn't produced a single capable and operational aircraft carrier. That should tell you something. China has been a major power since 1949, but they have a long way to go to catch up to the US in terms of capabilities. Numbers alone won't do it.
Desert War 1940-1942 Beta Tester
Agressors: Ancient Rome Beta Tester
"The greatest and noblest pleasure which men can have in this world is to discover new truths; and the next is to shake off old prejudices." Frederick the Great