Bob Schwartz

Category: Military

Trump Van Winkle

The U.S. just dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever on an ISIS target in Afghanistan.

The president apparently believes he can “defeat” ISIS and “win” the war in Afghanistan by dropping really big bombs. The biggest. Sad that no one thought of that before.

A number of times in world situations (and in domestic situations too) it appears that Trump has been completely absent from any discussion, debate or learning for decades. It doesn’t matter, since his opinion, at least until recently, has been based mostly on what he sees and hears on the news and on his emotional gut reaction. And as with most uninformed gut reactions, subject to change at a moment’s notice

Or maybe he’s been asleep. Like Rip Van Winkle, who slept for at least 20 years, only to wake up and discover a strange but more satisfactory world. Maybe one in which he is suddenly president.

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Trump Appointments: Qualifications? We Don’t Need No Stinking Qualifications.

USS George Washington

“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927) by B. Traven, changed slightly for the movie.

The naming of Ben Carson to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development brings this to mind.

Imagine that you are a really, really rich guy with a big ego and a big yacht. You pilot that yacht all around America and some locations around the world.

You conclude that based on this experience, you are able to captain the biggest destroyer in the U.S. Navy fleet (USS Zumwalt, 610-foot, 15,000-ton, $4.4 billion to build) or a Nimitz-Class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (USS George Washington, 1092-foot, 100,000-ton, crew of 5,000).

You further conclude that in general, qualifications are overrated and unnecessary. You therefore feel free to ask anyone to do anything, no matter how big the job or small the experience or knowledge. After all, that’s how you got your job in the first place.

You’re hired!

Trump: In the Future Voters May Look to Military People for President

Highlighting what Donald Trump doesn’t know about public affairs, or history, or geopolitics, or lots of other significant matters, is fishing in a barrel. So nothing is surprising.

And yet this nugget from his book The America We Deserve (2000) is special. In it he writes:

“Voters are going to look to the worlds of business, entertainment, professional sports, and maybe the military—not to career politicians—for our next generation of political leadership.”

There’s an old comedy bit that starts out with “Any five-year-old can do that.” “Okay” is the reply “get me a five-year-old.”

Any school kid (I hope) knows that military people have always been active as public leaders in America, at the highest levels. In fact, twelve generals have become Presidents of the United States, from the first one, to most recently Dwight Eisenhower, who served during Trump’s lifetime. Of course, Trump may not have been paying attention then. Or in 2000. Or now.

War on ISIS: You Can’t Ask About Boots on the Ground Without Asking About the Draft

No poll about sending ground troops to fight ISIS—or anywhere else—is complete without asking questions about the military draft.

A recent NBC News poll taken after the events in Paris asked:

Would you support or oppose the United States sending additional ground troops to fight ISIS (Islamic militants) in Iraq and Syria?

Strongly support: 33%
Somewhat support: 32%
Somewhat oppose: 18%
Strongly oppose: 13%
DK/NA: 3%

The following questions should be added:

Do you have any family members in the eligible age range for Selective Service registration, between ages 18 and 25?

If a military draft was put in place by Congress, would you support or oppose the United States sending additional ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria?

If your representative in Congress voted in favor of a military draft, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for them in the next election?

(That age range is based on the current requirement for men between 18 and 25 to register with Selective Service. At various times, the draft has covered a much wider range, all the way up to age 45.)

If a military draft was in place, the support for ground troops would likely plummet, if respondents were honest (which they sometimes aren’t). If the mandatory service included women—as it does in Israel, the darling of conservatives—the support number might approach zero. Especially if respondents/voters weren’t sure they could pull strings to get their loved ones out of serving.

Any member of Congress who voted in favor of a military draft, men only or men and women, is almost assured of losing the next election.

This is no way diminishes regard and thanks for the extraordinary valor and service of those who voluntary choose to serve in any military action. This is simply to suggest that those who righteously support such actions in the abstract might have a very different opinion when they, to put it bluntly, crudely and literally, have precious skin in the game.