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20 August 2015


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Old Gun Pilot

At it's core the Republican Party is about big business. When its candidates talk about building the armed forces, they aren't talking about humans, they are talking about hardware: Aircraft carriers, aircraft, tanks, troop carriers and weapons, things which put dollars in the pockets of the defense contractors who in turn put dollars into the PACs and campaign coffers.



What did your selfless service get you? You got sent to a war that was mismanaged and became a political football. From the post yesterday you have long lasting orthapeadic issues from your service and lastly, from what I gleam from your posts, you were pushed out of government service for your outspoken anaylsis.

Looking at blood sweat that you have shed and how your advice goes unheeded by both the government and the media, why should intelligent people enlist?

William R. Cumming

I always remember with hairs raising on my neck candidate for Vice President announcing in various forums "Help is on the way!" meaning Active duty, retired members would get a better deal.

I always will remember my lecture to a room full of active duty Field Grade officers explaining in detail why if disabled in Line-of-Duty that they would not be going to Walter Reed and would be retired and provided VA care. Many faces in that room reminded me of JODY in basic arguing lied to by his Recruiting Sgt!

What are the real active duty service records of all the candidates? I know several are what were once called "Kennedy Fathers" during the draft.

Nancy K

Col Lang, You can bet their ideas don't include sending their sons or daughters to fight. Walker has 2 sons the right age to serve, but will they? They are such chicken hawks. Bringing back the draft may be the best thing for our country, then maybe the average American would be more interested in what is happening in the world instead of a reality TV show.

no one

Sir I wonder the same thing for the same reason every time the elephants do that song and dance - a song and dance that has become obligatory for hopeful elephants to perform. It's like a litmus test that is a vestigial appendage from bygone days when we feared the red menace and from WW2.

I don't think it means anything real, but it plays well to certain voters who are either also archaic in their perception of the world or believe Captain America could and should go about imposing virtue by military might on all of the recalcitrant nations of the world; nuclear armed ones even.

Will Reks


I think it has a lot with the mythology around "American exceptionalism" and restoring the nation's greatness. They believe the armed forces are yet another core institution under attack by the left and that Obama has weakened the military. This is a fantasy but they have to believe in it as their ideology demands it.

That's how you get these demands for more planes, ships, and so on. They fear becoming like the UK, hollowed out by defense cuts. There was a time a couple of years ago when I thought the GOP might adopt a libertarian attitude towards military spending but I was only fooling myself.


1. Their focus group reports told them to say crap about renewing the military. 2. Their pollsters told them that saying crap about renewing the military results in higher poll numbers or, at least, keeps them from going down.
3. They watched the Military Channel last night and they now feel better grounded on the subject.
4. AIPAC told them that spending on the military is good for Israel as it means they can get our latest stuff on the cheap or even free.
5. At their adviser's recommendation, the watched a You Tube video on the latest in Russian weapons and are now scared spit-less and feel the need to renew the military.


..."brought us such sterling "sojers" as the former sergeant Bales, Pat Tillman, Chelsea Manning and Bergdahl."

Pat Tillman?


Fundraising has a lot to do with it.

Oh by the way did you see that Odierno the Desert Ox has gone to work for JPMorgn? http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-20/jpmorgan-hires-former-army-general-odierno-to-advise-ceo-dimon Yup. Nothing to see here folks, just move along.


Whenever I hear "fund the military" it reads to me like "Fund the money pit called the F35" for some reason.

Richard Armstrong

Tyler - you nailed it. The list of boondoggles is astonishing. Close air support should be given back to the Army just like the Marines

Did you know that one of the aircraft proposed to do the job of the Warthog was an up armored P47 and P51. Titanium armor, Gatling on a belly pod. And you can teach a high school graduate to fly them.

Prop drive aircraft? Nah. The airforce had to spend all to spend all that money (13million) to buy a jet that was designed to fly as slow as a prop plane. Genius.

The US Air Force should have remained an arm of the Army. Let the AF keep SAC and give the tactical to the Army.



Why do you put Pat Tillman in the same category as the three other "losers"?


Tyler over the last dozen years I've reached 3 general conclusions.

1. Equipment acquisitions that do not directly help a front line enlisted person are usually a waste.

2. Don't initiate wars not worth risking your own kids life to win.

3. Fund no military program that take longer than WWII to complete.

Allen Thomson

I should probably know better than to engage in this, but WTH.

> What the hell do they mean?

A most excellent question. What military force does the US need for current and reasonably foreseeable problems?

I'd offer a couple of pieces, but solicit better-informed opinions about things of which I know little:

- First of all, a solid nuclear deterrent force consisting of maybe 12 Ohio-class or better SSBNs and 100 heavy, long-range modern bombers. I think we could get along without land-based ICBMs.

- 50 modern SSNs.

- SEAD capability. What that might mean is left for discussion.

- Special forces and supporting logistics. What that might mean is left for discussion.

- Conventional precision strike ability (like JDAM).

These are not orthogonal to each other, particularly the last three.

So, where would you put your money?



IMO he was much ado about nothing. He was KIA in a very routine action. Killed by friendly fire. It happens a lot. His dear mom made a hell of a fuss about it but IMO she sent the two boys into the army to have Kerry style agitators available when they left service. pl

Will Reks


I agree that one of those is not quite like the others. No one had any issues with Tillman's performance. It wasn't Tillman's fault that his death became a cause celebre for the Code Pink types. His family was obviously bitter towards the Army but that is understandable.


Communicated a fair amount with his father during the troubling period and he was reasonable and intelligent. Don't know about the mom, but think you are selling the family short on this one.



Ok. Just to play nice. I will delete his name from the hall of phonies and nuts. pl


Thanks. There are still plenty of deserving nuts left in the bowl to choose from.


Marketing has been based on causing fear and inadequacy at least for the last 50 years, see excellent discussion in "The Story Wars". Fear & inadequacy drive sales. Armed forces have since had little to do w/keeping homeland safe, and much to do w/ extending ambitions of imperial politicians, oligarchs, and the military/industrial complex IMHO, see "Addicted To War". Cui bono.

There is also groupthink. Congressmen make wars but by and large have no comprehension of warmaking. Thus they do it because, wearing the hat, and watching much TV, it seems like the right thing that a Congressman would do; and everyone else is doing it. Everyone knows that everyone knows that Congressmen make wars and kick righteous ass when our honor has been insulted. This was especially evident with Iraq.

God help us we are already getting a generation whose main exposure to life, death, and conflict resolution has been Grand Theft Auto. Thus it's OK to kill cartoony people on video screens in cold blood without trials, because. Karma payback takes a long time coming but is a bitch.

For these reasons, I fear the immanent robot revolution. Robots are cheap/highly cost effective and can be used as great defensive tools. As "The Clone Wars" shows, robots can also easily be used for fascist subjugation upon whim. Israel, as usual, is already in the lead on this one, see "mowing the grass", a curious euphemism for slaughtering civilians like cockroaches.

But, mostly, it's a marketing dog whistle for the militaristic industrials.

Trump promises to add jobs. Peace is cheaper than war, as it pays exponentially-compounding returns /not flattened/cratered ones/ when invested efficiently/wisely, in USEFUL infrastructure etc. Any ideas how to increase effective investment/jobs in "butter" not "guns"?



Thank you for the answer. From what I know he enlisted with honorable intentions but thought the invasion of Iraq was illegal and stupid. I agree with bth on the rest.


optimax and bth

I never doubted the honorable service to the republic of the Tillman brothers. I, too, rejected the justification for the Iraq War, but IMO the shaming inflicted on the US Army was not justified. pl



With all due respect...

He gave up an NFL football career to volunteer. To me, that says a lot in this day and age.

If I remember correctly, the criticism against the US Army was for covering up the fact that he was killed by friendly fire.

Thanks for removing his name from the context that you were discussing.


There is so much to say. Perhaps a cold beer one day. In this forum let's just say there was one DoD under Rumsfeld and then a reformation in integrity under Sec. Gates.

different clue

The Republicans also do it so they can all unanimously call their Democratic opponent(s) "soft on defense" if those opponents call for any less. It is the present day equivalent of "soft on Communism" now that there is no longer any Communism left to be soft on ( little backwaters like North Korea aside).

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