Thursday, November 29, 2007

Polmar: Say No to More Ground Troops

Our grounds troops are often the most underfunded in peacetime, but the first we call on in time of war. This recurrent fact doesn't stop Norman Polmar from writing:

While some troop increases transcend the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, especially increases in special operations forces and, to some extent, in Marine units. After withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq -- as after the Vietnam War -- U.S. national leaders will be very reluctant to commit ground forces to sustained combat situations. Rather, special operations and forward-deployed Marine units afloat will be the more likely to be used in future crises and conflicts. Along with forward-deployed Navy ships, they will be the "forces of preference" for the foreseeable future.

The current crises in Africa that have led to the recent establishment of the U.S. Africa Command, the confrontations with the leaders of Venezuela and Iran, competition with China and India for resources in several parts of the world, and other problem areas will demand that the United States maintain flexible and rapidly deployable presence and combat forces. It is unlikely that those will be large Army or Marine Corps ground combat formations.

There's so much wrong with this I don't know where to start. Everytime we say we don't need ground troops, we end up going to war sadly lacking as in Korea and the Gulf. A repeating and tragic mistake in American history is when our troops have to relearn the same lessons over and over after great and often needless loss of life. I agree with Fred Thompson in that we could use a "million man army", and it should be paid for over the defunded carcases of the high-tech Navy and Air Force which are proving their super fighters and aircraft carriers increasingly irrelevant in 21st warfare.

Update-Here is yet another reason to cut the Navy's budget and give it to the Army.