Discussion in 'West Mall' started by mchammer, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. nashhorn

    nashhorn 2,500+ Posts

    not sure about how well we could have done that. Beat the hell out of them, sure, civilized: fat chance.
  2. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    The military leaders pining for Biden makes me want to vote for Trump. No need to wipe out Iraq or Syria or even North Korea. They aren't a threat to the US. Any threat will be addressable by small scale tactics. Let's find ways of relating to them in a non-military way.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    And yet we could civilize a bunch of crazy but far more advanced Japanese.
  4. Horn6721

    Horn6721 Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth shut.

    It was because they were far more advanced .
  5. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    No, it wasn't. Look at photos of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe. It was sustained brutality and the total crushing of the human spirit. Then we did all that in one day in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and they realized that we were prepared to basically make the Japanese culture and ethnicity extinct. That's why they capitulated.
  6. Horn6721

    Horn6721 Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth shut.

    They also did not have access to weapons. Our control of day to day governing was complete. Their innate culture helped.
    Being homogeneous isolated and islands helped.
  7. horninchicago

    horninchicago 5,000+ Posts

    All the peace deals will surely bring about impeachment in the second term.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Horn6721

    Horn6721 Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth shut.

    As if on cue
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  9. horninchicago

    horninchicago 5,000+ Posts

    Comedy gold!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    If we handled Japan the way we handle enemies today, WWII would still be going on, or we would have lost. We had that level of control, because of what we did to them and because what they knew we were willing to do to them.

    And we pulled off the same thing in Germany, which wasn't isolated and was less homogeneous.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    I'm not saying we need to write them out. I'm saying that if you engage them in a war but take wiping them out off the table, that war will almost surely turn into a quagmire. If the Allies dealt with Germany and Japan the way we deal with Iraq, North Korea, and Syria, Japan would have Hawaii and Alaska today. Germany would stretch to the Ural Mountains, and there'd be about 6 Jews left in the world.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. horninchicago

    horninchicago 5,000+ Posts

    Michael Corleone agrees. Wipe out your enemies.

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  13. WillUSAF

    WillUSAF 250+ Posts

    Tread lightly ole wise one. If the media could go away we could use Gen. LeMays' theory on air power.......carpet bomb everything in sight and its over.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    Number 1, Japan had a national identity. They did what the Emperor told them. The Middle Eastern countries we are dealing with are tribal. The "President" doesn't really call the shots for the whole county.

    Number 2, your understanding of the effect of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is also lacking. Japan was ready to unconditionally surrender before the bombs were dropped. Truman called that shot not the generals and not to crush Japan's spirit. He did it to show the world, namely the USSR, what capability the US had.
  15. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    Yep. Think about the **** storm the media pitched over Abu Ghraib. Well, that was a fuckin' picnic compared to what we did to Dresden, Hamburg, Köln, and pretty much every major city in Germany and Japan.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    You must be the Kwisatz Hadderach Deez. No mere human owns that level of understanding of potential future timelines.

    That you don't see the societal difference between Japan and Germany and the ME countries is part of the problem. I think North Korea is similar enough to Japan and Germany. But who cares about North Korea? Trump went and had a friendly discussion with Kim Jung Un and he stopped lobbing missiles into the ocean and testing nukes. No need to slaughter thousands of poor North Koreans who don't even like their "King".

    One question as a possible counterpoint. Do you also believe that the USSR wasn't able to defeat Afghanistan because they limited their strategy away from complete domination? Afghanistan never had more firepower and never won a traditional war against the USSR. Was the USSR just not cruel enough?
  17. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    Didn't work in Vietnam.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Duck Dodgers

    Duck Dodgers 500+ Posts

    Notice I said 0-7 and above, which is General / Admiral grade. It's an insult to call flag grade officers spineless yes men - that is, it's an insult to yes men, I mean, they take offence to being called a General.

    There's either something that happens when an officer goes from Col / Captain to General / Admiral, such as the removal of the spine and balls, or maybe they were always like that, and now are just showing their true selves.

    My point was, don't be swayed by any "Revolt of the Generals!!!" stories, which the media breathlessly claims every time there's a Republican president who has disagreements with former military officers. Happened under Bush as well, then for the 8 years of Obama, the theme is "Civilian Control of the Military!!!", to counter any criticism of the guy they all voted for and donated money to.

    To say that the military would like Biden over Trump because he'll listen to them is a tenuous argument. At this point Biden would listen to anyone who put a pudding cup in front of him. Then he'd soil his diapers and sit there in his own filth until his wife comes to help shuffle him off.

    Trump has let the military actually fight and win, with various local support, against ISIS. Supposedly the point too far for "Maddog Karen" Mathis was when Trump then wanted to remove troops from Syria, our objective of destroying ISIS having been accomplished.

    Old boy was quiet as a church mouse when Obama didn't get a Status of Forces agreement in place with Iraq so had to withdraw a much larger number of forces, but taking them out of Syria after doing what we were in there to do was apparently too much for him. So he ran off into the waiting and open arms of the media, ready to heap praise on him and forgive him for serving in the Trump administration, if only he'd say something bad about Trump.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  19. Duck Dodgers

    Duck Dodgers 500+ Posts

    Actually it did. Now the Vietnam war is a very complicated subject, and whole careers have been spent researching it. The American involvement can be divided into two big phases: pre and post Tet 68.

    Before then the war was both a conventional one against the Viet Cong and the NVA. After Tet, which wiped out the VC, the war was a low to medium level conventional war against the NVA. For all the bombing that the US did during that war, most of it was very targeted operations against discrete battalion sized elements of NVA, or against various choke points like bridges or railroads. There was very little widespread bombing of industrial targets in North Vietnam such as military bases, factories, supply centers, power plants, or ports from which they offloaded equipment from China.

    Indeed, it was the Christmas bombing in 72 of North Vietnamese targets by Nixon that so destroyed their military infrastructure that they came running back to the peace negotiations that they had stormed out of.

    Air power was never properly used against the North Vietnamese in that war - it would have been like we'd only bombed German targets in France during WWII, and never struck at their military industrial complex in Germany itself. Which would have resulted in a similar outcome as the Vietnam war.
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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  20. Duck Dodgers

    Duck Dodgers 500+ Posts

    "Number 2, your understanding of the effect of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is also lacking. Japan was ready to unconditionally surrender before the bombs were dropped. Truman called that shot not the generals and not to crush Japan's spirit. He did it to show the world, namely the USSR, what capability the US had."

    And just to ramble on some more about various military topics, of which I'm a buff, there is no evidence that Japan ever considered an unconditional surrender prior to the nukes. It was hard enough even after dropping Fat Man and Little Boy, with the Army attempting a coup to depose the Emperor and assume complete control of the country.

    A lot of folks try hanging their hat on the comments from a Japanese ambassador to the USSR, who made various comments about Japan's desires to end the war, but his comments were not at the request of his superiors, and were quickly disavowed.

    What Japan was interested in was a cease fire, without any surrender or placement of US troops in Japan. Basically the same deal we gave Saddam some 46 years later - we beat you, but we'll just end things as they are if you promise not to do the same thing you just did.

    Without the use of the A-bombs, the war would have continued until 1946 at least. The Russians had no amphibious capacity to invade Japan, so the idea that we dropped the bombs to claim Japan for ourselves is without merit.

    The Japanese were building up the capacity on the most southern island of Kyushu to resist any invasion force, to the point that by summer of 45 the Navy was almost ready to recommend to Truman the cancellation of the invasion, as they were still stinging from the large losses they had suffered during Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

    The alternative plan was either to invade the main island of Honshu, close to Tokyo, right from the start, or possibly further north on that island and work their way south. A more northern invasion would have not had the same level of air support as for a Kyushu invasion, and would have had weather issues during the winter.

    A very interesting and well written book about the invasion plans is called "Downfall", and goes into depth on both the political situation in Japan, and the military planning on both sides.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  21. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    And yet Duck Dodgers, the US pulled out and the Communists took over. Therefore, the carpet bombing didn't work. There were far more important factor in deciding that war than the bombs.

    I don't doubt they blew up many things, but it didn't win the war.
  22. Duck Dodgers

    Duck Dodgers 500+ Posts

    Well yes, the Commie scum did take over, but that was 2 plus years after the peace agreement was signed, and after other scum, namely the Democrat party, prevented the Ford Administration from providing even the most basic assistance to S. Vietnam, like fuel for vehicles. It was almost as if they wanted their fellow leftists to win.

    My point is that air power, for all the talk of bombing them back into the stone age, was not fully used in Vietnam, and in the rare occurrences that it was like Operation Linebacker and the Christmas bombings of 72, it produced immediate results.

    Now I was an Infantry solider, so I don't think air power alone will win a war - it's basically long range artillery, and Arty by itself doesn't win wars, you need grunts and tread heads to kick the enemy off the land and own the battlefield.

    But properly used it can destroy the ability of a country to conduct offensive operations, which is what the Vietnam war was after Tet in 68. It was never used to destroy the North Vietnam war machine, and so it's not correct to say air power was a failure in Vietnam.
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  23. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    Two points. First, you're correct that people in the Middle East are far less deferential to their political leaders, but that doesn't mean they defer to no one. They are deferential to their religious leaders. Keep in mind that groups in the Middle East have been subdued many times in the past. There's a way to do it. Modern Westerners haven't done it, but colonial powers did it from time to time. And of course, they do it to each other all the time.

    I know Truman called the shot. So what? I don't doubt that we wanted to use the nukes in part as a show of force for the Soviet Union. We could have done that by showing them a film of the Trinity test. To suggest that we affirmatively didn't do it to bring about the surrender of Japan is absurd. We can do things for more than one reason. And Japan was ready to surrender? They didn't even surrender after the first bomb. Put down the Howard Zinn book.

    Yes, there is a difference. Never said there wasn't. However, ultimately people of all kinds generally want to live, and that's true in the Middle East. If everything you know is destroyed and you have no food and water, you'll be pacified. And if you're not, you'll be dead inside a week. That's quite a motivator to play ball.

    I'm not suggesting we destroy North Korea. I'm suggesting that if we were going to go to North Korea as we did in the early '50s we should have finished them off.

    Only in part. The USSR was brutal by modern Western standards, but they were lightweights by Islamic standards. However, the brutality factor is only part of a broader factor. There was a price the USSR wasn't willing to pay, and there was no price the Afghans weren't willing to pay - just like the US in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. That spells quagmire. Almost always does.

    Afghanistan fought the USSR like the USSR fought Nazi Germany.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  24. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    What you don't get is that it's an "all of the above" thing. Strategic bombing alone doesn't work. We bombed the hell out of Germany. Did it work? By itself, no. It had to be followed up with a massive invasion, the forcible destruction of the aggressor regime, and the forced realignment of the culture - all of which was backed with millions of troops whose political leadership was willing to do whatever it took. (This is why the Luftwaffe's bombing of the UK failed. It was a ferocious bombing, but they couldn't make Operation Sea Lion work.) We didn't do all that in Vietnam. We bombed, but we didn't invade and remove the bad guys.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  25. WillUSAF

    WillUSAF 250+ Posts

    Too much media and you have to bomb the right crap
    • Agree Agree x 1
  26. Horn in Corpus

    Horn in Corpus < 25 Posts

    Sorry this is really long. But, I find the in-weeds-excursion this thread has taken into military leaders' political credibility and, now, total vs. limited warfare very interesting. A few thoughts:

    - Other than Eisenhower, the typical American attitude towards retired Generals becoming involved in politics is luke-warm at best and often ends up with some foreign policy miscues and/or domestic drama. Haig, Powell, Clark, and now Mattis and Kelley are examples in my mind. We like our military to be apolitical and I think most military leaders IN UNIFORM try hard to keep it that way ("we'll follow all the legal orders"), at least within reason.

    - Having worked fairly close (close enough to get a feel for their true character) with a few 4-stars in the last 7-8 years of my career (Mattis, Kelley, Dunford, McRaven, Berger, McKiernan, Neller), I found them to all be good men and thoughtful leaders with the best interest of "the mission" and their commands' at heart. But, per the law of the land, all took the civilian control of the national security policies (and by default, the military) very seriously; some would say to a fault ("yes men"). Civilian control must be a heavily emphasized portion of the Capstone course all GOs take upon pinning on the first star... In my opinion, I found Dunford to be the most talented and capable of the group I interacted with. Interestingly, my take on Mattis is that he is much more alike with Trump in his personality and leadership style. Both have large egos (Mattis' public humility is a bit of an act IMO), both defer to gut instinct/personal experience in their decision making, both will fire a subordinate in a heartbeat when performance is deemed lacking, both believe they are the smartest person in the room, both like aggressive action to alter the staus quo. No surprise the relationship ended the way it did.

    - The other dynamic in play when it comes to 4-stars is that they often achieve the rank because of things they did when they were Cols/CAPT/BG/MG. In Mattis' case it was the TF51 USMC support to the early days of OEF and as 1stMarDiv CG in the march up to Baghdad during OIF. Both were historic successes for the Corps, but were at the Operational level with max support from the Regional Combatant Commander. The point I am attempting to make is that operational and tactical success/talent does not automatically translate to national/strategic level military competence. All-american quarterbacks don't always make the best coaches/GMs...

    - The WWII comparisons to subsequent US military conflicts are like comparing apples to fire trucks. I am with Mr Deez on this. In every conflict after WWII, the military action was governed by a set of limited objectives established by civilians. I believe that uniformed military pushback ("the generals should have told them what to do!") to those objectives was effectively ended by the MacArthur vs. Truman event in Korea. I suspect that episode is also discussed at the GO Capstone course... That said, while not always pretty, the military has ultimately achieved those civilian-set objectives with the exception being in Vietnam. So to suggest the military lacks credibility in getting things done since WWII is BS in my opinion. The military gets done what it is told to get done.

    - Speaking of Vietnam, I had the opportunity to tour some battlefields there with the CO and vets from 1st Bn, 5th Marines in 1999. In preparation for this trip, I did a lot of study on Tet and the Battle of Hue. It was a great experience for me and a couple of other young officers/SNCOs to walk the ground with the Marines that fought there. While in Hanoi, I was struck by the almost total absence of middle aged men out on otherwise very busy streets. Lots of 40 and under males and a few of 70 +. I attribute this to reports I'd read that the Tet Offensive was truly the last gasp for the NAV/VC in terms of available manpower. The "war of attrition" was working/had worked immediately following the US beat down of the NVA and VC during Tet. To Mr Deez' point, the failure in Vietnam was the civilian decision to take the foot off the gas and press home the advantage. The troops on the ground at the time did not have a say on that, or even know Tet was being spun as a strategic US defeat until later. Here is a tactical level example: The 1/5 Bn CO, Bob Thompson, (on the tour with us) was assigned to retake the "Citadel" north of the Perfume river in Hue. The NVA had been flying a large flag on the southern edge of the old city. Johnson saw that flag, on the news daily, as evidence the North was "winning". Johnson wanted it gone ASAP and wanted the head of Thompson for not making happen per his timeline. Meanwhile, Thompson told me that despite being outnumbered and hampered by bad weather/no air support that he was proud of his Marines and their ultimate success in retaking the Citadel. It was not until he received a letter from his wife (also on the trip) saying how sorry she was that he had failed and that she still loved and supported him, did he start to realize that what he perceived as a victory through destroying 3 NVA battalions and retaking key terrain, was actually being described as a failure for taking 25 days to remove the NVA flag. Col Thompson retired a few years later with little fanfare while his peers on the south side of the perfume river, Cheatam and Christmas, became celebrated heroes of the Corps and retired as General Officers. The point of this long drive down memory lane is to underscore the difference between success in total war (destruction of the enemy and control of territory) and limited war (be perceived as "winning" through political symbols and sound bites).

    - Last, Vindman (sp?) as an O-5 staffer is total POS and should be court marshaled for conduct unbecoming, dereliction of duty and treason. He is no where close to upholding the idea of uniformed support to civilian leadership decisions and a disgrace to the officer corps. He is not entitled to his opinion while in uniform. Those retired GOs (and every other service member), out of uniform/office, are entitled to theirs, but they no longer should be seen as speaking "for the military" only themselves. Uniformed/active duty military have only one option when it comes to political action: voting.

    Again, sorry for the length but I had to get these thoughts off my chest.

    Hook 'em.
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  27. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    First, your post was outstanding. Keep coming around.

    I agree, and I think it's worth noting that though he entered politics, Eisenhower was pretty apolitical and non-ideological for a politician. He ran as a Republican, but that was almost random. He could have run as a Democrat and likely would have won the nomination and the election.
  28. Horn6721

    Horn6721 Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth shut.

    Thanks Horn in Corpus
    You have walked the talk.
    i have known and worked with enough at that level to appreciate your insight.

    One General, McChrystal, who really shocked me when in a discussion with I think the LATimes outlined the ROE explaining that in order to follow them and win the hearts and minds etc there would be some of our own troops killed.
    I had to read it several times to be sure I was reading what it said.
    I think it has since been deleted .
  29. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    They are deferential to tribal leaders first and foremost, and the tribal loyalties many times can be very granular. I am sure there is a way to subdue these them but I don't want to be guilty of the gross amount of sin it would take to do it.

    Nukes absolutely were not required to get unconditional surrender from Japan. They had nothing to do with it. Even Eisenhower, Nimitz, and MacArthur didn't agree with dropping the nukes. I have never read Zinn by the way. My comments are from The Decision to Use the Bomb by Gar Alperovitz. He uses extensive quotes from those on the inside at the time.

    The actions you describe are appropriate in a very, very limited set of circumstances. I don't think the US relationship with any country in the Middle East is anywhere close to that set of circumstances. You are talking about basically killing everyone military or civilian, women and children, loyalist and dissident. That is scary stuff.

    Yeah. I think I agree. However, I am not that familiar with exactly what the USSR did or the magnitude of the attack. In my opinion that country isn't worth the effort.
  30. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    You should really go back and read what WillUSAF said and how I responded to him. He said basically that carpet bombing is sufficient for winning a war, "carpet bomb everything in sight and it is all over." I disagreed with that. I think it is nitpicking to say "oh well we didn't bomb "everything". Several of you have disagreed with me while actually agreeing with my comment. Carpet bombing can have significant effect in a war but it isn't determinative.

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