Monday, April 14, 2008


"Though it garners relatively little attention, military bureaucracy poses a very serious threat to the long-term security of the [US], and its pernicious effect extends well down into the chain of command. ... Chickenshit is so called--instead of horse--or bull--or elephant shit--because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously. Chickenshit can be recognized instantly because it never has anything to do with winning the war. One reason for the ubiquity of chickenshit in the modern U.S. military is the excessively high proportion of officers to enlisted men. ... Since, in the peacetime Army, there were not enough legitimate command and staff positions for all the officers, new positions had to be created, for which new functions had to be devised. ... At the same time, the Army recognized that these essentially bureaucratic positions did not prepare officers for combat command, so there arose an insistence on frequent rotation between staff, administrative, technical, and line positions, ranging between 12 and 24 months. ... The result was predictable: officers were constantly behind the power curve, and by the time they got their bearings, they were rotating home, to be replaced by another batch of essentially clueless 'newbies.' Proficiency was never established or maintained. ... Normally, one would expect that the higher the rank, the greater the experience. But in Iraq and Afghanistan today, we have lieutenants, captains, and majors who have made three, four, or even more rotations to a combat area, and thus have more real combat experience than most of the colonels and generals who give them their orders and direct policies in the Pentagon. ... In fact, it is not too much to say that there is a fight going on for the soul of the Army today, between the old guard of the Big Army, fighting budget battles ... and the Small Army who understand that most of our future wars will look a lot more like Iraq, and who are developing the skills, tactics and equipment to fight them. Evidence of this ongoing fight can been seen in the decision to bring General Petreaus back to the [US] to sit on the recent promotion board for brigadeer generals. This was done at the behest of Defense Secretary Gates, who was anxious to ... institutionalize the changes made by the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan by advancing officers who embodied those changes", my emphasis, Stuart Koehl (SK) at, 21 February 2008.

C. Northcote Parkinson wrote about the Royal Navy and how despite the number of its ships decreasing, the number of its officers increased 5-7% per annum! I am in partial agreement with SK. How does he know what our future wars will look like? If Iraq, what do we need an Army for? It's turning into a constabulary incapable of real war fighting, like say against a real potential enemy: China.


Anonymous said...

"W" may be best buds with Putin (according to "W"), but if J.R. Nyquist is correct, Russia (along with China) may not be the USA's "friend" so to speak.
As if a financial meltdown isn't enough to consider, we probably have those two over there licking their chops in the anticipation of us going belly up.

Independent Accountant said...

I do not perceive either Russia or China to be US enemy today. We have antagonized Russia for years now for no apparent reason. Pat Buchanan has written extensively about this. However, we should be prepared for anything. Our Iraq adventure only saps our strength.

Joseph Moroco said...

One more Iraq (say, an Iran) and the army is toast.

A few more years in the current Iraq and ditto.