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30 March 2007


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So what do you make of this PL? What is the reaction going to be around DC to this? Et tu Scales? What must Rummy be thinking right now? AH, what am I writing? It will just be one more piece of unpleasant information to be, initially, rationalized, and then ultimately discarded.


Undoubtedly much of what MG Scales says is accurate. This Army will fall apart for many of the same reasons the 1970s Army did. One of the most egregious and fatal is careerism, whose footprint is "management" rather than "leadership." There is a strong suspicion that at a certain level officers direct their loyalty to political leaders rather than remaining focused on the institution itself.

But the midlevel leaders Scales speaks of are not "deserting" the Army. They are abandoning it.


thanks Gen. Scales. Just where the hell were you in 2002-03?....note he says NOTHING about the fact that he supported the war from the beginning. Nope, he just wipes his hands and walks away. And notice he also says "I'm afraid your Army is broken, a victim of too many missions for too few soldiers for too long." Notice he says "your" army? Now that its broken, it's "ours" I guess.
no integrity there........................

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

He was probably drinking kool-aid somewhere.

The problem with an all volunteer force, beside the recruiting issue at times such as this, is that it prevents the pain to be felt by the civilian population (excepting the families and relations of the soldiers).

This contributes to the feeling of immunity and complacency of the population. It akin to having a surgeon cut the nerves to your hand and then you stick your fingers into the fire; "Look Ma, it does not hurt one bit!".

Really, US should have military draft for both young men and young women so that fantasy projects such as this are at least seriously considered.



Seems that MG Scales forgot one of the most important tenents of command, a tenent that you have stressed on more than one occassion -- command is a sacred trust. And Bush and their propaganda outlet Foxnews do NOT know the first thing about 'sacred trust'. Scales/Rumsfeld/Bush/Foxnews - they are the blind leading and following the blind.


Funny - it almost sounds as though he's suggesting this kind of 'war math' was obvious.

Makes it sadly ironic to find out he was one of the people pushing this forward with Rummy.


Convert or rat off a sinking ship, what about it, folks who know: will the army break before '08?

Tim Ryder

Col. Lang,
Mr. Scales took a long time to recognize the obvious. Over forty years ago when I was a Captain, it was said that the Marine Corps was run by Captains and Staff Sargeants. Certainly no senior officer can be surprised that the point of the spear has broken once again.


Col. Lang: Clearly, somebody ultimately will be responsbile. Maybe you: because you criticized the handling of the war too early! Weren't members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, who fought in the Spanish Civil War, still shunned post 1945 for being pre-maturely anti-fascist?

Cloned Poster

No new helicopters coming online soon also:

The U.S. Army has lost 130 helicopters in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about a third to shoot-downs, its aviation director said Friday. He complained that industry is not replacing them fast enough.

"While the military may be on a war footing, our nation's industry is not on a war footing," said Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt.

He said it takes 24 months to get replacement aircraft built and delivered and that replacements for the early losses are just now arriving.

"The U.S. is not at war, the military is at war," he told a group of Defense Department reporters, also complaining about the timing of how money flows from the government to pay for the purchases. "Industry, you have got to get to the point of where you're producing ... faster."

Mundt did not have a further breakdown of the losses of aircraft except to say that in addition to shoot-downs, helicopters fall prey to dirt, dust and the rough terrain and conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.



The people responsible for bringing the United States to its knees should be punished.

Shouldn't they?

John Howley

Remember that Scales and Rumsfeld and all the rest expected "success" -- not the quagmire we seem to have fallen into.

As I understand it, the general rule is that the patience of the American people with any major war lasts about three years. At which point, public support collapses (unless the effort is clearly at the point of victory as in Dec '44.)

This time limit seems to work for the Civil War, WWII and Vietnam (from escalation in summer of '65 to early '68 when LBJ quit).

It also works for the current disaster as public support tanked in early 2006.

Right or wrong policy, wise or stupid leader, it's finish up in three years or get out.

Now the only question is how to get out but make sure the crap sticks to the other guy.



Thanks for posting that book review done by Scales. I hadn't seen that one and I can now say I have no respect for Scales period. WWII was a well though out war for the most part, particulary the Pacific Theater when the counter offensive began. OIF has been a charlie foxtrot from the get go. Bush and the neocons remind me of Alcibiades.

Cobra II, like Fiasco are superb books.


I still go back to the the Weinberger/Powell Doctrine . Never again. No more Vietnams. That was supposed to be the "Lessons Learned."

All the bullcrap about overwhelming force, exit strategy, broad coalitions.

And Powell himself betrayed the doctrine and gave that infamous U.N. speech for "Sonny."

All of it as Webb says "Predicted and Predictable." So what will be the new lessons learned from this one. Powell Doctrine, Deja Vu again.

Or don't do ZioCon Lobby bidding. No that lesson has not been learned.
Iran=Irak Redux

Dick L.

Having served in Vietnam, and then stateside in the early 70's, I can attest to the fact that captains and senior noncoms were green and in a learning mode, for the most part. But that didn't detract from our aggressive pursuit of what we had to do. It was more the mission itself that subverted our sense of purpose, and the support thereof by the American citizenry. Argue all you want of the detractions a long and unpopular war has on a volunteer army. But in the final analysis, when the general populace is forced (i.e. drafted) to participate, then the electorate ultimately decides. Bush and Company would never tolerate the re-institution of the draft: they will decimate our armed forces before that happens.
Aside note: your linked book review by MG Scales is one of the most ludicrous and irresponsible analogies I have heard yet by a supporter of this Administration.

knut royce

Geez, Col. Lang. I note from the picture that Maj. Gen. Scales does not wear glasses. Maybe that's why in his book critique last year he couldn't distinguish apples from pears. What in heavens name are the similarities between WW2 and Iraq, other than the shedding of blood?

Clifford Kiracofe

On wonders how he obtained command of the US Army War College.

From the two pieces posted it appears he doesn't bother keeping up to date with some of the thought provoking products of the Strategic Studies Institute at the War College such as:
Antulio Echevarria II, "Fourth-Generation War and Other Myths" (November 2005)
Hendrickson and Tucker, "Revisions in Need of Revising: What Went Wrong in the Iraq War" (December 2005)
Terrill and Crane, "Precedents, Variables and Options in Planning US Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq" (October 2005).
Dan Reiter, "Preventive War and Its Alternatives: The Lessons of History" (April 2006)

Scales goes into my Alcibiades file...


I'd give an "OooAhhh", but I want to cry and be younger. This is a tragedy.

anna missed

(I don't watch Fox News, so) He sounded pretty reasonable and on the point, until I read the WaTimes piece. Man, that guy gets the award for the most complete about face yet. If anybody should have warned about the dead end scenario killing his lovely little war, it should have been him! This never occurred to him? Talk about that headlight beam at the end of the tunnel!


Look, what has happened is that the United States has been hijacked by a plutocracy.

A plutocracy who wish to install plutocracy across the planet: China, Saudi Arabia, France (the Sarkrazy candidacy), Britain (Blair), etc. etc.

Think the French Revolution with a different outcome.

Think George Bush looking out the window of Air Force One at New Orleans and thinking, "Let them eat cake."


I saw no mention of http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070328123954129>growing privatization of the services. Service men and women have families to feed and there has to be resentment that the US instead of finding a solution to servicemen and women leaving in droves, turned to outsourcing what was the exclusive province of the military. Quote from the last link, “No wonder so many former military personnel are signing up with a private employer instead of re-enlisting.”

The situation at Walter Reed was reflective of the desperate state servicemen and women are in the military.

The damage that has been done to the military is not repairable.

michael savoca

If our armed forces are “near the breaking point” they may not have long to hold out. Contained within the recent legislation that appropriates over 90 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan and sets a date to begin troop withdrawal, there is nestled deep within, a requirement that the Iraq Government approve a hydrocarbon law that grants several American and British Oil companies 4/5th rights to all the oil and grants the Iraqi people 1/5th. This has been hidden from the American people. A hydrocarbon law pending before the Iraqi government allocates the oil revenue by this formula and is justified as the necessary to defray the cost to the oil companies for exploration and building oil infrastructure. This argument for the invasion as “blood for oil” is set forth in an essay by Richard Behan in an article published at the Common Dreams web site.


If Mr. Behan’s allegations are correct then President Bush will NOT veto the legislation despite the threats. (The senate version only suggests a withdrawal date) The oil is the key and informs us about exactly what the president means when he says “win”, And when he says, “we will stand down when they stand up” and when he says, “when the Iraqi government is able to defend itself” . Against whom you might ask? Why that’s simple. Defend against any party who would gain control of Iraq and rip up the oil agreement. The several huge permanent military bases and the 100 plus acre US embassy is there to prop up the oil “agreement”

Richard Behan is a natural resource policy analyst, and author, and was a consultant to the BLM, the Forest service, and served as the Dean of the school of forestry at Northern Arizona U., and elsewhere as an educator.


And yet, Pace and Petreaus continue to insist that what they're doing is working, and everything's going to be OK.

The march of reality has just about caught up to them. I wonder how they, as honorable officers, can continue to repeat the bullshit handed to them via the offices of Chimpy.

semper fubar

Breaking the army is a feature, not a bug, of this illegal invasion and occupation.

Pretty soon, the military industrial complex will assert that we have "no choice" but to complete the privatization of the whole she-bang.

Of course, it may cost the taxpayers a just little bit more, eh?, to have Blackwater and the like defending our sacred freedom -- but there's so, so much more money to be made, and so, so little of that dangnabbed inconvenient accountability to the taxpayer to be feared.

It's the perfect plan.


In the second piece he accurately lists the largely forgotten terrible catalog of failures that the US experienced in WWII before the its conclusion. The Italian campaign alone contains examples of spectacularly awful American generalship that makes the current mediocre crop shine in comparison.

The vainglorious http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Wayne_Clark on the Road to Rome springs to mind.

The lesson to take Americas brief, bloody involvement in that war is not however that catastrophic bungling is the normal friction of warfare. The US mobilized with remarkable speed in WWII. It's inexperienced, untested and very reluctant conscript army learnt from hard lessons at an incredible pace. It rapidly excelled its seasoned Western allies. This is the true quality of American greatness; not innate excellence but quick study and startling innovation under pressure. It has been nowhere to be seen in this war.

In Iraq the US has had a small, well motivated, extremely professional army conducting what should have been a comparatively simple constabulary operation. Broadly it can be criticized for trying to fight a big kinetic war and a refusal to accept that the reality on the ground demanded more subtlety. It has suffered most from being under the command of a dogmatically single-minded and breathtakingly incompetent executive branch. The mission it was given had muddled objectives and was fatally flawed in its political conception. The contrast with the agile minds of FDR, Ike and Marshall could not be more stark.

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