Wednesday, June 11, 2008
US Air Force-RIP
"Defense Secretary Robert Gates ousted the Air Force's [AF] two top officials after a series of gaffes, including accidentally shipping ballistic-missile fuses to Taiwan and flying a nuclear-laden B-52 over the U.S. ... The immediate trigger for the resignations of [AF] Secretary Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley, its chief of staff, was the March disclosure that the [AF] had accidentally sent four ballistic-missile fuses to Taiwan 18 months earlier, a discovery that infuriated Chinese officials. ... Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Mr. Gates said the Taiwan incident represented 'a significant failure to ensure the security of sensitive military components' and was part of 'a pattern of poor performance' by the [AF]. ... Beyond the gaffes, the firings are the culmanation of a broader dispute between Mr. Gates and the [AF's] leadership over the service's strategic direction. The biggest source of tension has been the [AF's] insistence on buying hundreds of expensive, state-of-the-art F-22 fighter jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., despite opposition from Mr. Gates, who has argued that the planes aren't needed for prosecuting America's current wars. The U.S. hasn't deployed F-22s in Iraq or Afghanistan. ... Advocates of the F-22, which costs $140 million apiece, say the U.S. needs to be prepared to fight conventional wars against big powers such as China and Russia. [AF] officials say that, because of the lead time required to build advanced jets, it makes sense to buy them now to ensure they're available when needed. That argument rankles Mr. Gates and his top aides, who have privately belittled it as 'next-war-itis.' ... Gates privately rebuked the officer, Gen. Bruce Carlson, for signalling that the [AF] would buy 381 of the planes, rather than the 183 called for in the the [DODs] 2009 budget. The [AF's] aggressive advocacy tested the service's traditonal deference to the defense secretary on such matters", my emphasis, WSJ, 6 June 2008.
"President Hamid Karzai angrily charged the [US] with being cavalier about Afghan lives during a year in which the number of [AF] bombs dropped in Iraq and Afghanistan increased to 5,019, from 371 in 2004. Similar complaints have come from Iraqi government officials as the [US] has increased airstrikes targeting insurgent bomb-making factories, safe houses, and weapons stockpiles. ... With that emphasis must come caution to avoid killing or wounding civilians, officials [in Afghanistan] add. In the [AF's] counterinsurgency-driven combat operations, casualty avoidance can be the targeting team's most time-intensive task. Says one military official: 'We're definitely in quality-control mode, especially for Afghanistan.' ... Among the 50-plus troops analyzing intelligence on the floor of the combat operations center, there's a military lawyer on hand around-the-clock. ... 'And yet it's war,' says [AF] attorney Col. Bill Carranza, the chief JAG here. ... Some U.S. Army officials complain, though, that the [AF] is too cautions and that measures to avoid civilian casualties may increase the danger to U.S. troops. The Combined Air Operations Center 'is a bureaucracy really in charge of covering its ass,' says one Army general. 'To make sure there are no [AF] prints on anything.' " my emphasis, US News & World Report, 9 June 2008.
Congratulations Hank Paulson (HP); you now run the Defense Department (DOD) too. Weren't you Goldman Sachs (GS) point man on China? For decades generals are accused of fighting the "last war". Now we have some fired for worrying about the "next war". Amazing! Gates, have you any guts? Tell your boss, HP, "go to hell". The DOD does not exist to ingratiate itself with China, or a bunch of bookkeepers. Or are you this stupid? Do you think airplanes are as simple to make as toasters? "Our" SecDef is more concerned with Bush's budget fictions than national security. Gates, you're the US Secretary of Defense, not George Bush's personal aide. Got it? You work for all 302 million of us, not George Bush. I'd rather see the AF spend $140 billion buying 1,000 F-22s than waste it in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who is Gates? He was a member of James Baker's (JB) Iraq Study Group. Imagine, Bush elevates one of JB's cronies to SecDef. Why?
Yes, "measures to avoid civilian casualties" will "increase the danger to U.S. troops". What don't we understand? If WWII was fought this way, as Michael Savage said many times, "You'd be speaking German or a lampshade". The contempt in which the DOD holds American blood appalls me. Disagreeing with you Carranza, you are not fighting a war, you're a cop, a clerk, or a district attorney concerned about "excessive force" cases. A policeman should always be aware of his backstop before firing his weapon, but a soldier at war? Amazing! Poor soldiers, poor marines!