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Ride to the Sound of the Guns September 2, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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He graduated with the highest number of demerits and at the bottom of his class. He was the poster child for graduating by the skin of your teeth. Yet he also became the youngest Major General in American History and the man General Sheridan believed did more than any other to win the Civil War. He was a fighting commander whose standing order in combat was, “Ride to the sound of the guns!” Perhaps it flowed from the fact that while at West Point George Armstrong Custer didn’t study very much, that he had only one strategy, and only one tactic. The strategy was victory, and the tactic was charge.

Although our current crop of military leaders are made up of politicians who have learned how to pull the levers and work the system in a way they resemble the always ready for action Custer. They appear to be a one trick pony. Unfortunately that trick is kowtowing to the political leadership telling them exactly what they want to hear when what they need to hear might be the exact opposite.

For a decade between 1979 and 1989 the United States military and Intelligence establishments were intimately involved in supporting the Mujahedeen insurgents of Afghanistan battle against the invading Soviets. We supplied weapons, training, Intel, and logistical support. We had many field operatives, soldiers, and analysts who were deeply conversant with all the nuances of the military and political realities in Afghanistan.

Yet when our leaders decided to invade the country to flush out Al Qaeda and punish the Taliban for sheltering them, military leaders who should have known better presented and approved plans that even a layman could see would lead to a new insurgency against America as the next invaders. These leaders bowed to the dictates of modern America post-Vietnam strategy delivering a campaign with minimum casualties and victory in name not in fact. Instead of using the expert professional American forces needed to produce a real victory they relied on mercenary indigenous warriors who with the help of our firepower pushed the Taliban to the wall and then let them walk out the back door.

What is the result? Ten years later we are still fighting and taking casualties in a war scheduled to end like a bad movie in 2011 or 2014 or…? Having never sealed the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan we are fighting an enemy that can not only melt into the civilian population it can rest and regroup in safe havens attacking our isolated and exposed garrisons almost at will.

Even at this point, after President Obama’s surge, an army of less than two hundred thousand trying to pacify a nation the size of Texas with the most forbidding terrain on the planet isn’t going to work. After the investment of half a trillion dollars and more lives, limbs, and blood this mission teeters on the brink of failure. Our only allies in the country are hopelessly compromised and corrupt characters who have little relevance outside their palaces and little interest beyond funneling our money out of the country for their post-war retirement.

Where are the military leaders with the courage of Custer? Where are the ones who will hazard their career to speak truth to power? If an untutored armchair general with no more information than is commercially available can see that if we don’t seal the border and provide enough troops to hold the territory we capture we will never win why can’t military experts? Where are the generals who demand what they really need to win and ready to resign if they don’t get it? If General Petraeus had done this he would have had a lock on the Republican nomination and the White House in 2012.

What about our fearless media? Where are the nightly counts of the fallen that graced the network newscast when Bush the Younger was in office? Where are the anti-war demonstrators who stood guard outside his Texas ranch and dogged his speeches? Where are the American people? Why is no one asking how can it take more than a decade to train an Afghan army to protect their own country from their own people? In WWII we trained and deployed more than ten million soldiers, sailors and marines. We equipped armies, air forces, and navies and defeated all comers. Now we cannot secure one country in ten years?

I am not saying that after the sneak attack of 9-11 we shouldn’t have responded. We should have immediately devastated our enemies and their allies telling the Taliban if it happened again it would happen again. Al Qaeda had been attacking us for a decade, and we knew exactly where they were. With B-2s and cruise missiles we had the capability to decapitate them without the necessity of boots on the ground. We needed to strike hard and fast. We should have had the political and military leadership to take them out within twenty-four hours. Instead we dithered around until Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts were dispersed and disappeared. We didn’t do what we should have done and instead did do what we shouldn’t have done producing a decade long occupation in a land that has defeated or outlasted every invader.

How should we have dealt with the on-going threat of Al Qaeda: a non-state enemy? Instead of fighting undeclared wars we should have followed the Constitution and granted Letters of Marque and Reprisal which would have granted compensation and legal authority to private firms or individuals to exact retribution upon the perpetrators of the attack. Such action is not only authorized by the Constitution it is recognized by International Law. Send in the military equivalent of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Let Blackwater do the job, and see what free enterprise can accomplish.

What we need are military officers with the bravado of Custer. We need military leaders willing to hazard all, even their careers. Officers who are willing to walk into the Oval Office and say we’re fighting the wrong war, the wrong way, in the wrong place, and at the wrong time. We need officers who remember that they have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States not an administration, not a career, and not a pension.

What we need is another Custer. Without one what we may get is another Little Bighorn.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.


Half Their Brain Tied Behind Their Back January 18, 2010

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Every day to the amazement and delight of more than 20 million people across the fruited plain Rush Limbaugh performs his host duties flawlessly with half his brain tied behind his back. Anyone who has ever spent an objective hour listening to his program knows that Rush has a brain the size of a planet. The Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media assure we now have a president who is always the brightest guy in the room instead of one who didn’t have enough brains to tie his shoes.
In addition, with the exception of his Chicago handlers, casino capitalist cronies, and union dons our photogenic president is surrounded by academics eager to implement theories that worked in their labs and computer models with the American people as guinea pigs. The Cavalcade of Czars is filled with the best and brightest liberal education has produced since the Summer of Love. On the Hill Nancy Pelosi rules the house with an iron fist while Harry Reid runs the Senate with parliamentary tricks and his legendary eloquence. Together they preside over the best Congress money can buy. The question is can Alinsky’s dream team fight a war on multiple fronts with half their brain tied behind their collectivist back?
Someone might ask, “What makes you think they are operating with half their brain tied behind their back?” If they aren’t then they aren’t half as smart as they think they are. They may be legends in their own mind and secular saviors of a lost humanism but if what we’ve seen so far is their A game we should exchange the IQ scores for psychological evaluations. Because doing all the wrong things for the right PC reasons only turns into victory in Michael Moore documentaries and on MSNBC.
Let’s look at some particulars. Back in the Dream Time the Hippies used to ask “What if they gave a War and nobody came?” When our first Boomer President took office he elevated this to a national policy. The Islamists declared war on us and he sent in CSI and LA Law instead of Patton and a Band of Brothers. Someone might ask, “How’s that working out for you?” In 1993 we had the first World Trade Center bombing, in 1996 the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, in1998 the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed and in 2000 the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen.
Enter George II who cruises along keeping Clinton’s counterterrorism chief Richard Clark. 9-11 changed everything. Bush found a bullhorn and told us he heard our cry of anguish and anger and he promised us, “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” They did when we invaded Afghanistan knocked down the Taliban and chased Al Qaeda into the wilderness. Then the neo-cons convinced him to invade Iraq squandering the support of the world. Clinton never woke up. George II did but then saw a shiny object and wandered off. However, the last two administrations before the dawn of Re-Made America weren’t operating in a vacuum whistling in the wind hoping a war would just “Go away!”
For political reasons Harry Truman called Korea a police action. This new-speak mind bending never registered with the heroes who fought or the families who sacrificed. It didn’t register with the people or the historians. No one refers to the Korean Police Action. There are no monuments to the Korean Police Action. Everyone knows this was a war.
President Johnson charged into Vietnam promising guns and butter, a war in Asia with guns and a war against poverty with food stamps. America won the War in Vietnam even if the Watergate Congress later threw it away. After multiple trillions of dollars and social decay we now have the same poverty level as when we started. Burying your head in the sand is never a good way to see the path to victory.
During the campaign Mr. Obama promised the troops would come home from the wrong war in Iraq and concentrate on winning the right war in Afghanistan. Now the troops are going into garrison mode in Iraq, the generals are not getting what they say they need in Afghanistan while the enemy has moved to Yemen, Sudan and the Internet. Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary never mentioned terrorism in her confirmation hearing instead referring to man-caused disasters. Like police action these verbal gymnastics aren’t fooling anyone.
We aren’t engaged in a debate we’re in a war. Slick talk may win debates but when it comes to wars actions speak louder than words and if our leaders won’t talk the talk how can they possibly walk the walk? While Mr. Obama’s immediate response to disaster abroad is laudable his slow motion response to multiple terrorist attacks on his watch makes it appear as if this smartest of all administrations either just doesn’t get it or they’re fighting a war with half their brain tied behind their back.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2009 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

Please Mr. Custer, We Don’t Want to Go! November 23, 2009

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When the neo-cons, a group of liberal democrats realized Margret Thatcher was right in saying, “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money” they decided liberalism is as Michael Savage contends a mental disorder. In the 1970s and 80s they abandoned the Good Ship Democrat proclaiming themselves Born-Again Republicans. Generally they still carry the baggage of their former psychosis when it comes to social issues but when it comes to foreign affairs and military matters they sound like Errol Flynn playing George Custer in They Died With Their Boots On, “Don’t wait for orders from headquarters. Mount up everybody and ride to the sound of the guns.”
These neo-cons not only flew high into the circles of on-air talking-heads they swirled through the Bush White House leading us into Iraq. Now they’re beating the drums for massive reinforcements in Afghanistan.
The War in Iraq was a preemptive war, meaning we hit them back first. Preemptive war has a long history, the Romans and the Germans used it but this was the first time America climbed on the get-in-the-first-whack bandwagon. The mission of rolling the big rock up that steep hill has not yet been fully accomplished. Due to the tireless and valiant sacrifices of our heroic military the Iraqi theater is winding down into a perpetual garrison to make sure our now friendly ally remains friendly joining the list of American military garrisons in over 63 countries.
The War in Afghanistan is a completely different situation. The Taliban managed to subdue most of the country once the Soviet armies retreated in defeat. These purveyors of religious purity and peace killed tortured and maimed anyone with the chutzpa to disregard any of their religiously inspired rules such as little girls who tried to learn how to read or women who dared to leave the house without a male escort or without wearing a tent. Unable to curb their enthusiasm they didn’t forget to kill torture or maim any man who didn’t grow a long enough beard, boys who didn’t memorize their rule book fast enough and of course any member of the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered society who happened to be trapped in their society. Under these turbaned and bearded fascists Saturday night soccer games were transformed into ritual be-headings and mutilations. Then for fun they would destroy historic works of art and crush people under walls as they waited for the Sunday stoning.
Stoically we considered all of these barbarous atrocities their own affair and never made a move to clean up this cesspool of 13th century evil until after the 9-11 war crimes. Then we politely asked them to kick the culprits out and we would let them go back to their celebration of depravity but they wouldn’t listen. They stood by their man and in retaliation we sent in the Special Ops, bribed anyone who would take a dollar in the hand in place of a bullet in the head and in short order drove Omar, Osama and their disciples of peace into Pakistan to fester and plot an encore performance. A confusing post-invasion coalition eventually morphed into the corrupt but pro-American Karzai regime.
Then our friends the neo-cons expressed their belief that the mistake we’d made after the proto-Taliban Mujahedeen we supported defeated the Soviets was that we didn’t stay and do some nation-building. So this time we stayed to do some nation-building. Today the regrouped Taliban are using the surge strategy to overwhelm our scattered troops. We’re trying to build a nation where none exists. Afghanistan is a fiction of western minds. We created it as single entity instead of a region. We drew it on a map and piously repeat that it exists like a mantra or a fever dream. To the medieval tribal people who actually inhabit the region their loyalty is to their family, their clan and their tribe.
It is apparent to everyone except seemingly the people American presidents ask for advice that no matter how much we want a nation to be built we don’t have the raw material as in identifiable citizens of a nation, the treasure or the patience to invest another decade or two to get electricity outside Kabul or democracy in Kabul. The whole world knows we are going to eventually bail-out, either declaring victory à la Nixon or admitting defeat à la Gorbachev and coming home. Why should one more American lose their life for a cause that has been stretched out way past our initial victory into our present morass?
On the campaign trail Mr. Obama claimed this war for himself. Since his inauguration he has repeated Afghanistan is a war of necessity. He’s installed his own commanders and almost immediately sent more troops. Now he hesitates to the point that everyone can see he doesn’t have the desire or the will to do what would be necessary to win. Let’s hope he has the political courage to withdraw before Afghanistan becomes the Little Big Horn with our brave troops as the Seventh Calvary. Please, Mr. Custer, we don’t want to go!
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. Contact Dr. Owens http://robertrowens.com/, http://twitter.com/Drrobertowens, https://drrobertowens.wordpress.com/ © 2009 Robert R. Owens

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