Friday, April 21, 2006

As those caissons go rolling along

The rebellious Generals are generating lots of ink. Many, myself included, have griped that they should have spoken out sooner. Of course, there at least two sides to that issue. At least some folks with some serious military gravitas have openly criticized The Global War On Whatever The Hell We Want To Invade, and we welcome them to the grown-up's table.

Sara at The Next Hurrah has an interesting take on military planning, and how the USofA might have missed a few details about running an occupation:
What's important to comprehend is that George Marshall comprehended this in the early 1920's -- and from his "Major" position he worked to deal with what he understood as problems. He pressured Pershing to do what became the "Hunt Report" -- the history of American Military Occupation 1775 -1922. When he taught at the War College -- he used Hunt as textbook and problems to resolve -- how do you do an occupation and accomplish political objectives? By 1934 he was more influential, and got the Army to commission a drafting commission to take up Hunt, and write a military doctrine and then an Army Manual for how to do it. Between 1934 and 41 it went through five editions and revisions. What happened in Germany post 1945 was according to this 5th revised edition of Marshall's plan and one must understand that is not referenced to post 1948 Marshall Plan matters.

Doctrine: Marshall believed that no officer or soldier who had been blooded in combat should be used in occupation. For Germany in 1945 he trained 6000 officers, about 3500 NCO's and about 120 thousand troops specifically for the "Military Government of Germany" and none of them were combat soldiers. If you look at the charts, the two top folk are Ike and Bradley, but below that, there are no cross-overs. Yep, some transport companies got transferred and so did some engineers, but virtually none of them were "blooded" -- and I would suggest that this insight that Marshall gained watching the occupation of the Rhineland in 1919 by an unprepared. untrained, doctrine lacking but fully blooded American Outfit, is perhaps somewhat equal to what currently serving Generals have encountered in Iraq -- and that they have been encountering it now for three years with no relief in sight.

I think using the military to further a political agenda is craven. And to ignore history, to use the military so foolishly and wastefully is really criminal.

American soldiers deserve to have better bosses than they have now. Ones that, you know, actually study world and military history, not just the Weakly Standard, EZ-Reader edition.


As a side note, as I was checking the lyrics to Caissons Go Rolling Along, I found this site, where among the patriotic songs listed are Abraham, Martin & John, and This Land Is Your Land, with the often ignored openly socialist last verse. At the bottom of each page is the slogan:
We are free because of patriots, not weenies

and this quote:
"Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly." - T Roosevelt - 1918
Kinda cool.