Bob Schwartz

Tag: military

The Military Parade Trump Really Wants—Putin Style

Trump is demanding a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, just like the one he saw in France.

But what he really, really wants is one like his hero Putin puts on—especially with the lady soldiers in knee-high black boots and miniskirts (not a joke, as pictured above).

From the Mirror, 9 May 2016:

Vladimir Putin’s all-female ‘miniskirt army’ display their strength in sexist military parade.

Women troops sporting knee-high black boots and starched white uniforms – several inches above the knee.

The women marched in strict formation – and bright sunshine – to the strains of martial music and the clear delight of the macho Russian leader.

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.

Afghanistan Without End. Amen.

It is time to stop expecting American leadership in either party, at any level, to reasonably articulate an achievable goal in Afghanistan. Either the conclusion they’ve reached is that there is none or it is too hard to tell us the inconvenient truth they have concluded.

So we are just going to have to take on the role of citizen policy analysts and do it ourselves.

We are unlikely to ever help establish an Afghan military capable or willing to hold back whatever insurgent force mortally threatens stability and national integrity.

We are unlikely to see the establishment of a stable semi-permanent semi-democracy in Afghanistan.

We are never going to “defeat” the Taliban or other similar threats in Afghanistan, in the sense of forever eliminating and precluding such evil developments.

That leaves one possibility. We are keeping troops in Afghanistan to help keep things from getting worse.

It’s a problem to admit that. First, because a military mission of stopping things from getting worse seems unending, which it well might be. Entropy tells us that things fall apart naturally unless acted upon otherwise. In Afghanistan that otherwise is us. It’s also hard to tell those who serve that the point of their sacrifice is to keep things from getting worse, rather than seeing a genuinely better future and having a defined endpoint.

But at least it would be honest. And on top of the war without end, that is an equally big problem. From the Vietnam War to today, there has been a lot of official and political obfuscation. Well, let’s call it lying. It isn’t that the policy makers don’t have noble principles in mind, such as freedom, self-determination, and the like. It’s just that the plans they put in place—very expensive plans—have practically no chance of fulfilling any of those principles.