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Thank the Peaceniks for a Kick-Butt Military
self | 12/16/03 | LS

Posted on 12/16/2003 3:44:53 PM PST by LS

Remember the "nuclear freeze" crowd? Recall those paper mache floats of Ronald Reagan with a skeletal mask, missles in each hand?

Or, more recently, ever listen to "Meltdown" Howard Dean? Or some of his even more radical pals, like Dennis the Menace Kucinich?

Go easy on these people.

They have done us a huge favor. Unintentionally, they have made the U.S. military the most potent and efficient fighting force on earth.

No, I'm not ignoring those guys at the war colleges, or the exceptional training our troops go through at their bases and in the field.

But the anti-war crowd, in a roundabout way, is to be credited with the fact that American fighting forces are, on the whole, better trained, equipped, and motivated today than they were in Vietnam or even in the Gulf War. That's no knock on vets from those conflicts, but rather speaks to an evolution in military developments brought about, in part, by the anti-war activists.

Here's how it worked: the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s had a profound impact on the American psyche. The protest marchers were nowhere near the majority of people, nor did they represent a majority view. But the "squeaky wheel," as they say . . . . When you combine that with a leftist media, the peaceniks had a disproportionate impact on society relative to their numbers.

Yet that was bad, really bad, for them and for leftists in general.

As the peace crowd ratcheted up the costs of increasingly smaller casualty counts (from over 50,000 in Vietnam to under 150 in the Gulf War), they unwittingly reinforced one of the key components of the "western way of war" so eloquently described by Victor Davis Hanson---the notion that in the West, life is indeed sacred, and each life is valuable. Yet rather than moving the United States away from using military force to defend our national interests (their goal), instead they brought increasing pressure on the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines to take even greater precautions to ensure that our troops received maximum protection from an enemy, and, at the same time, delivered unprecedented deadliness. Keep the body bags to a minimum, in other words.

The result was a continuous "lethality feedback loop" that poured resources into strategies and equipment that un-leveled the playing field like never before in history. One manifestation of this is the commitment to destroying an enemy's radars, communication, and surveillance at the outset of a war. In the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the real "shock and awe" came when Iraqi commanders picked up their field phones and got a dull tone, or when anti-air radars detected something coming straight for them . . . the last thing they "saw" before a HARM missile sent them to Allah.

A commitment to protecting the troops has led to exponential improvements in medical evacuation and early first aid; in body armor advances; and in the availability of chem and bio protection, which thankfully was not needed.

All of this speaks to the American (and western) emphasis on the value of life, and the notion that any casualties, in the long run, are "unacceptable" at some level. No other culture has this, nor do I believe they can embrace these values without abandoning much of their world view.

The flip side of the unprecedented levels of protection and support we give to individual soldiers, sailors, and airmen is the phenomenal killing power we place in their hands. A segment from the "Discovery Channel's" Gulf War documentary called "Inside the Kill Box" brought this home: a detachment of U.S. Abrams tanks and Bradley personnel carriers engaged three times their number in Iraqi armor during one encounter. In 20 minutes, every Iraqi tank, truck, or personnel carrier was destroyed. Not one American tank was even hit.

Of course, in war, lethality is the mirror opposite of protection for your own troops. Dead men tell no tales. Nor do they throw grenades.

Certainly the armed forces would have engaged in research and development in newer, more deadly weapons and in better methods of protecting troops in the field without a peep from the "peace now" crowd. But it is a unique fact of what Hanson calls "self audit" that western governments and militaries continually assess and improve themselves. Occasionally, that assessment can go off the tracks (see France after the Franco-Prussian War, for example). But more often than not, western nations learn from their beatings, and usually don't make the same mistakes twice. Britain figured out pretty quickly during the Boer War that red coats in the age of long-range rifles and machine guys made little sense.

So what has the anti-war crowd done? Merely raised even higher the value of every service person deployed. Rather than cut and run, however, the armed forces look to combine unparalelled levels of individual safety and protection with unmatched firepower.

And therein lies the irony. The Left's hostility to the American military has created a force better-trained, better-armed, and more lethal than any that has ever walked the earth. Maybe we should send Jane Fonda a Christmas card after all.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: antiwar; democrats; iraq; waronterror

1 posted on 12/16/2003 3:44:53 PM PST by LS
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To: LS
It's also a force that's significantly smaller than it was. Even in the 70's.

The peacnik left is a danger if they manage to nominate Dean. For certian, any Dem candidate will get 30-40% of the vote, or more. Those people will be subjected to months of propaganda at the hands of the campaign and media.

This could affect the political debate for years.

Look what happened after McGovern lost in a landslide. Nixon was drummed out of town on trivial issues that wouldn't have bothers anyone in an LBJ or JFK administration. And we got decades of hard core leftist congresses that we still live under in our court system.

I hope Dean can be stopped in Iowa or NH. Or we're in for decades of even harder leftism.

2 posted on 12/16/2003 3:50:52 PM PST by narby
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To: narby
bothers = bothered (botherd??)
3 posted on 12/16/2003 3:52:01 PM PST by narby
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To: LS
I don't know what you are saying, but modern Troops are better trained now than when I was a kid. I don't like the bunching up, but I have been out of the loop for so long that I can take the cange in tactics.
4 posted on 12/16/2003 4:24:44 PM PST by Little Bill (The Bard of Avon Rules, The Duke of Cambridge was a Mincing Quean.)
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To: Little Bill
I think what LS is saying is that the United States is dedicated to winning quickly with no more protracted conflicts.
5 posted on 12/16/2003 4:29:25 PM PST by Enterprise
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To: Enterprise

And in part, it's the continued harping by the left on "preserving life" that has resulted in this.

Of course, the Left is picky about which lives it wants preserved. Unborn don't count. Soldiers in the field don't count. Only the those who "might" be called to fight count.

6 posted on 12/16/2003 5:00:18 PM PST by LS
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To: LS
I also think that the pressure to end the draft and go to a fully professional force made a big difference.
7 posted on 12/16/2003 5:24:05 PM PST by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent
The reductions of the '90s made it impossible for the Army to repeat the Gulf War build up to attack Afghanistan. Our success there led to the employment of a smaller force in Iraq. We probably could have used one of the divisions that Clinton axed to occuppy Iraq. I think, however it has taught us to avoid occupations. But we do need bases overseas.
8 posted on 12/16/2003 10:04:55 PM PST by RobbyS (XP)
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To: LS
9 posted on 12/17/2003 1:57:04 AM PST by lainde
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