“Thanks For Your Service These Past Ten Years…”

“Especially all that combat and stuff.  Now pack your things and security will escort you out“.

The Pentagon plans to cut 67,100 soldiers from active and reserve Army units and the Army National Guard in the five years starting Oct. 1, as well as 15,200 from the active and reserve ranks of the Marine Corps as part of an effort to save $487 billion over a decade, according to the budget sent to Congress today. The Navy and Air Force would lose fewer people — 8,600 and 1,700 respectively — because of their role in a strategic shift toward the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.

I wonder if the Department of Labor will file a disparate impact suit?

28 thoughts on ““Thanks For Your Service These Past Ten Years…”

  1. If you accept the liberal talking point that all of us in the military are poor and had no other choice in our sad lives, then doesn’t a large RIF disproportionately affect the poor?

    I’m sure someone would be claiming racism by now if this were a conservative president.

  2. This is SOP. They used to call it “demobing” Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are winding down. A democracy should not have an army larger than it needs for defense or to fight an active war.

  3. The strategic shift towards Asia-Pacific is important. The downsizing was always going to happen, regardless of who is President. It’s convenient to rip Obama for this, but the bottom line is that he has listened to top military advisors far more in 3 years than George W. Bush did in his first 6 (think Rumsfeld and Bremer). Efforts to help our returning soldiers have been largely nonpartisan and largely inadequate.

  4. >>the bottom line is that he has listened to top military advisors far more in 3 years than George W. Bush did in his first 6

    That is an absolute fabrication.

  5. And in combination with the upcoming RIFs we also see the administration betraying retired veterans by increasingly gutting the commitments to them for medical care.

  6. Obama’s “top military advisers” told him not to agree to a withdrawal from Iraq without leaving a significant number of troops to provide training & security. He ignored them.

  7. And the knock on Rumsfeld prior to that awful September day in 2001 was that he was going to downsize combat troops, and move to a lighter, faster military. It was thought then that a drastic reshaping of the Department of Defense was needed. History tends to get in the way.

    We used to be accused of preparing to fight the last war. With the amount of threats building again, and this current downsizing effort, we aren’t preparing to fight the last war, or the next war.

  8. I am glad I struck a nerve. Bremer was no diplomat. He was head of the Provisional Authority, and he has authority over Iraq. His actions and inactions caused a lot of American deaths and a whole lot more Iraqi deaths. Disbanding the Iraqi Army left a few hundred thousand armed men with nothing to do, so they took payouts to kill American and British soldiers. Of the teams of Americans assigned to the Authority; many of them had experience helping in political campaigns in America, but few had experience managing the rehabilitation of a country. 6 years of Rumsfeld meant 6 years of pursuing policies that lead to where: “When they stand up, we will stand down.” I would say that the Iraqis are standing up as much as they ever will; it’s a 3-headed artificially drawn country we had no business entering. Rumsfeld had us so prepared that over 40% of the US troops on the ground in Iraq were National Guard, including Minnesota Guard artillery units turned into, ahem, convoy security after a few weeks at Fort Dix. They served admirably and more, as they did in WW1, WW2, and Korea. Obama is not a military leader in any whatsoever, but it is more than time to leave Iraq. And outside of a few Kurds, don’t ever expect a thank you, because we’re never going to get one.

  9. Oldjohnnie, you are completely missing the point. Bremer was not a military adviser, he was a diplomat. State Department, not DOD. He held no military rank. That does not mean he was a good diplomat. He was not a “military adviser”, he was a special diplomatic envoy.
    Because you agree with Obama that a complete withdrawal from Iraq was the best move does not mean that Obama did so because the military advisers told him to do it.

  10. OldJohnnie is happy his fabrication elicited a response. How nice.

    Looking at L. Paul Bremer’s biography, I see no military experience. Wikipedia (Weak sourcing acknowledged in advance) categorizes him as a diplomat.

  11. Here’s an idea, how about throwing some burecRATS out on their asses first from the dept of labor, education, commerece, before slashing the DoD budget?

  12. Kare 11 did a story last Friday “934th Airlift Wing Faces Uncertain Future”. I am employed at the Fort Snelling Officer’s Club. Last Friday, I was told that the club is (probably) closing Summer 2013.

  13. To suggest that Paul Bremer’s “year in Iraq” was as a “diplomat” is pure horsecrap. But if you wish to hide behind a cozy definition in spite of facts, go ahead. It would fit right in with Neocon Worldview. I will agree that Bremer had no military background; it showed. And I would suggest that was a large part of the problem. Part of the time Bremer tried to run a messed up place like it was a somewhat civil society, with a full staff on 20-something American “managers” who were on their first trip out of the USA. The rest of the time he invoked a whole lot of laws and edicts reserving the national treasures of Iraq to attempt to pay for the War. And to feed the Military Industrial Complex. That he did accomplish. And the book keeping was a bit sloppy.

  14. Not quite certain how ‘oldjohnnie’ takes a post about the winding down of operations in Iraq and the subsequent force reductions and turns it into a paranoid lefty’s ill informed rant regarding the role of Paul Bremer in Iraq.
    Paul Bremer was a 20+ year state department employee – according to this interview with PBS’ Frontline, a program that no one could ever accuse of being a reich-wing puppet. He also states in the same interview that the military view of post war Iraq was filled with inaccuracies that hampered the effort to stabilize the country. He also says that his chief of staff was an ambassador and 5 year veteran of Vietnam while he was also able to convince a retired State Dept. Arab expert to come out of retirement to work on his staff in Baghdad.
    Now ‘oldjohnnie’, I’m certain that at whatever Keeper Of Odd Knowledge websites and blogs you normally hang out at, there is a low standard for facts. But this is the big time, SitD, johnnie, my boy. If you are going to rant, back it up.

  15. The downsizing of the military after a war has always been American policy. It ain’t political except when a guy like Gingrich goes to Florida or a Texan wants some more Defense money spent in Texas. It would be healthy for some of the sheep who rant and rave to do a bit of homework, also known as diligence. Mitch does a lot of historical homework. I suppose if I told you that the great General Douglas MacArthur accepted a bribe of half a million dollars from the Philippine Treasury at the time the island was being overtaken by the Japanese you would say I am denigrating a great American hero. I’m not giving you “Odd Knowledge.” You just think it’s odd because you lack the wherewithal or the intellectual guts to find out the truth. My father says the biggest rabble rousers at his Legion Post are the guys who fought WW2 and Korea while stationed in Missouri. My uncle says MacArthur got airmen killed flying in luxuries for his comfort in New Guinea and got ground troops killed fighting in places they could have bypassed simply to bolster MacArthur’s ego. My nephew says that in 2003 in the first few days in Iraq, they were told to bypass vast stockpiles of visible weaponry in order to secure the oil fields. When the troops we didn’t have didn’t show up, the weapons disappeared and became the arms of the Insurgency. Go figure that on your left wing odd blog.

  16. >>The downsizing of the military after a war has always been American policy.

    But if you were a bit better informed you’d realized that has been because we’ve generally substantially expanded the military in order to wage the war. In 1989 the Air Force was over 600K in personnel strength. Now it is around 300K. Digest those numbers. When the rest of the federal government has been reduced by those margins come back and talk.

  17. “we’ve generally substantially expanded the military in order to wage the war” is like saying the sun comes up in the east. If you were a bit better informed you would remember that 8-9 years ago we went to a preemptive war with the soldiers we had. And when we miscalculated because of idiots running the show, we tossed in the National Guard to fill the gap; and they did and do a magnificent job. We don’t need 600K anymore: the Cold War is over. Today’s drone attack replaces carpet bombing the desert from Gulf War 1. That’s a big part of why you need less personnel. Actually using the stuff does promote and accelerate technological development. “When the rest of the federal government has been reduced by those margins” is another story entirely. I am all for that; not just at the Federal but at the County level. There are counties in rural Minnesota with decreasing population where the County is the largest employer and County personnel/assets continue to expand. I sure didn’t and wouldn’t vote for that nationally, much less locally. Veterans Service, however, doesn’t grow at this rate. I was dismayed when McCain came out against improving the educational side of GI benefits because he felt it would create a disincentive to re-enlist. Soldiers active and just out need and deserve the best.

  18. >>If you were a bit better informed you would remember that 8-9 years ago we went to a preemptive war with the soldiers we had.

    Yes, which is why cutting after the fact does not have any relationship to ending a war. There was no large buildup of active duty strength. Activating the Guard doesn’t impact active duty authorizations.

    Another way informed folks can tell the number reductions aren’t related to ending wars is the fact that we’ve always, since WWII, maintained the ability to fight two wars simultaneously. The administration admits that we will no longer have that capability.

    And the idea that drones replace large scale air operations as were seen in Gulf War I and II is simply nuts. Drones are useful but not anywhere near the point where they could mount a significant air offensive. More balderdash.

  19. Gosh, oldjohnnie, looks like I struck a nerve. My response, with a link to a legitimate piece from a news organization disputing your information regarding Paul Bremer has brought back — a, er, criticism of Douglas MacArthur.
    So I mustered up some ‘guts’ and searched “MacArthur Phillippines Bribe” (aka-did my diligence). I learned: It is believed that the General did accept ‘payment’ from the Phillippines – but it is in dispute as to whether it was for services rendered and returned to the US Treasury or was money that was spirited out ahead of the invading Japanese forces. It is also in dispute as to whether or not MacArthur personally benefitted from the money. As for me, I’m more critical of MacArthur based on the fact that he defied both his military superiors and more importantly, his civilian commanders. But, to each his own.
    A criticism you lay on MacArthur – that he fought unnecessary battles for the sake of his own vanity actually had more to do with the then fashionable notion that you fought linear battles (eg; took each objective – in this case, island – in line). These days, military commanders use intelligence – such as it is at the time – to select targets and assets believed to be of strategic use for the enemy, and try to capture or destroy them, bypassing what they believe to be non-strategic targets and assets.
    The oilfields were considered more of a strategic asset for Saddam than weapons caches that were dispersed throughout the country. A choice was made to secure one and not the other. Mistake? Certainly, in hindsight.
    With regard to what your nephew told you – Who is your nephew, again? What is his expertise and where might I find his scholarship on the subject? I’d like to read what your nephew has to say about this (aka – do my diligence – if I’ve got the guts). Be a lamb and post a link for me or direct me to his publication(s) so I can get his perspective, would you please?

  20. You’ll just have to take my nephew’s word for it. He was a turret gunner, not an author or a diplomat on a rewrite your own history book tour. You’ll have to accept my uncle’s word regarding MacArthur: he was a corpsman/medic patching up soldiers in the New Guinea jungle. I guess it didn’t happen, since they returned to civilian life.

  21. >>You’ll just have to take my nephew’s word for it. He was a turret gunner

    Did they really brief turret gunners on detailed operational planning and the directives underlying such planning?

  22. Oldjohnnie – I am taking your nephews word for it – it did happen – but also backing it up with ‘research’ – reading contemporary and after action reporting of the decisions made at the time. I honor your nephew and uncles service. But I question anecdotal accounts from grunts – whether it be your nephew, your uncle or my own dear departed Dad – who served with the Jungle Air Force (the 13th Army Air Force) during his time in the Pacific (1942-1945) when General MacArthur was the commanding officer of all forces in the region.
    Much of the MacArthur bribery stuff I found was from people who had some kind of axe to grind with MacArthur. Not saying it didn’t happen – it’s just in dispute.
    A bigger deal to me is that MacArthur disobeyed his military and civilian superiors. Maybe that’s not a big deal to you – but it’s important to me that we have civillian control of the military, including force increase/reduction decisions. The fact that some politician can manipulate the process is sad, but that’s the way our system of government works.
    Trust but verify, johnnie, my boy; trust but verify.

  23. OK, Mr. Gray, I agree it’s up to the officers way up the food chain and not getting shot at to decide what happens and why. Next time you drive by a trailer load of artillery shells on the side of the road and ask for 2 minutes permission to explode the stuff, and are denied because you’re told the follow up forces will take care of it, and you need to keep driving to Baghdad, and the follow up forces don’t show up because they aren’t there, and then the artillery shells become IEDs, then, fine, I will believe that “detailed operational planning and directives” trump a good smart soldier.

  24. Seflores: take a look at John Costello’s The Pacific War and Days of Infamy. Look up Executive Order #1 from Quezon. Stranger yet is that FDR and MacArthur were distant cousins; you really couldn’t find more opposite political views. It is a good thing Truman fired MacArthur; Harry had it right when he said [sic] “I didn’t fire MacArthur because he was a stupid SOB, which he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President of the United States.”

  25. >>I will believe that “detailed operational planning and directives” trump a good smart soldier.

    What does trumping have to do with it? You’re simply asserting that somebody has knowledge that they don’t have access to. That has nothing to do with trumping.

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