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Hanson: On Our "Broken Military"


Diamond Member
Nov 22, 2003
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Can he write or what?


Myths About the US Military

There is often voiced pessimism about our current military, to such a degree that it is termed broken or exhausted. But how true is that?

The traveler to Iraq is struck not by dearth, but opulence—everything imaginable from new SUVs to Eskimo Pies. Internet Service there was far faster than from my home in rural Fresno County.

So far recruitment levels are being met. No one in the military has warned that it is a bad idea to create more brigades of ground troops. Such a caveat about the current proposed expansion we would expect if we could not even meet our present manpower targets.

We have a tripartite military—air, sea, and ground. While the Marines and Army have rough going in Iraq, there have been very few Air Force and Navy material or human losses. Surely our air wings and ships are not “worn out” from patrolling in Iraq. There might be thousands of trashed humvees and worn out Bradleys, but not frigates, F-16s, or carriers. This is not 1943 when the US military was fighting in Sicily, as B-17s fell from the sky, as our merchant marine was under U-boat attack.

After Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, the mantra was that the Army and Marines were not getting their fair share of service in Rumsfeld’ revolution in military affairs that envisioned Special Forces on donkeys zeroing in GPS bombs from 20,000 feet onto clueless Taliban. But suddenly after a little more three years in Iraq, we are supposed to believe that a few thousand insurgents have “ruined” what until 2003 was an underused force? It would be interesting to trace the origins of this pessimism that now appears in the columns of op-ed pages: does it arise from tired and demoralized officers, or anti-war critics eager to see something again like the 1976 American military?


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