I’ve detailed before why I think that Bush has made America less safe by unnecessarily thrusting it into war in Iraq without suitable international partners.
The argument basically looks like this:
1. We aren’t in control in Iraq, as evidenced by rising bodycounts.
2. Our troops are stretched thin. The fact that troop assignments are being extended means that we can’t sustain the levels we have now, much less build up to the levels we should have had in the first place.
3. Other countries know this. Iran knows it, North Korea knows it. We’ll be hard pressed to use military force against them. They may even be taking advantage of it — Iran and Syria are likely supplying munitions and may be sending in men.
4. This appearnt weakness could embolden our adversaries in the mid-east to disrupt the oil supply on a large scale. The resulting uncertainty would drive prices up even higher, putting the breaks on our already lethargic economy, and even hamstringing our oil-powered military.
Lots of people seem to ignore any of this, and so I’m sure they’ll end up ignoring the fact that the army is converting one of its elite training units into a combat unit, thus decreacing its capacity for renewal. This isn’t the act of a military with capacity to take on additiona threats. This is an act of desperation, akin to eating ones own limbs to keep from starving.
INTEL DUMP –
The Los Angeles Times provides a long report in Sunday’s paper on the deployment of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment … The regiment has long served as as the opposing force, or “OPFOR”, for units from other installations coming to train at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Now, with the Army stretched to practically its breaking point over the Iraq and Afghanistan missions, the Army has turned to the Blackhorse regiment for help.
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The article misses the most important point: deploying the OPFOR is like eating your seed corn. This unit is responsible for training other units and raising their level of expertise and combat readiness. The 11th ACR is being replaced by a National Guard unit. That’s like replacing the Dodgers with a high school baseball team. Sure, they can both play baseball and wear the uniform — but one is a whole lot more proficient and experienced at its job. The OPFOR has a reputation as a tough enemy, and that’s a good thing because it forces units training at the NTC to become better themselves. By replacing this unit with National Guard troops, the Army has hurt its ability to produce good units for Iraq in the future. Suffice to say, National Guard and active units that go through Fort Irwin aren’t going to get the same tough experience they would have with the Blackhorse regiment as OPFOR — and that means they’ll be less ready for combat when they get to Iraq. This is a desperation measure, and I think the Army will come to regret it.