Army Improvements

There is a great article from a soldier here with a list of complaints. If Bush doesn't take this seriously, he will be making a genuine mistake. Bush needs to make sure the army is running as efficiently as it can. Let me comment on some of it.

"I am tired of every Battalion Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major I see over here being more concerned about whether or not I am wearing my uniform in the “spot on,” most garrison-like manner; instead of asking me whether or not I am getting the equipment I need to win the fight, the support I need from my chain of command, or if the chow tastes good."

This is terrible. The military should be a professional body. They should be looking for ways to improve efficiency within the guidelines set by civilians. And that means getting feedback from soldiers, not doing something as inane as complaining about their friggin' uniform.

"I am tired of CNN claiming that they are showing “news,” with videotape sent to them by terrorists, of my comrades being shot at by snipers, but refusing to show what happens when we build a school, pave a road, hand out food and water to children, or open a water treatment plant."

That's life I'm afraid. No-one is interested in seeing schools being opened. Would you watch news like that?

"I am tired of following the enemy with drones that have cameras, and then dropping bombs that sometimes kill civilians; because we could do a better job of killing the right people by sending a man with a high powered rifle instead."

Ok, Bush - take note!!! There is NO reason to be doing things like this in an inefficient manner. Assuming the claim is actually accurate anyway. Is it? Can't drones travel faster than soldiers, and mean that soldiers are freed up for other work?

"I am tired of Code Pink, Daily Kos, Al-Jazzera, CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, the ACLU, and CAIR thinking that they somehow get to have a vote in how we blast, shoot and kill these animals who would seek to subdue us and destroy us."

Not sure why they shouldn't express their opinion on that.

"I am tired of people like Meredith Vieria from NBC asking oxygen thieves like Senator Chuck Hagel questions like “Senator, at this point, do you think we are fighting and dying for nothing?” Meredith might not get it, but soldiers do know the difference between fighting and dying for something and fighting and dying for nothing."

More freedom of speech in action.

"I am tired of hearing multiple stories from both combat theaters about snipers begging to do their jobs while commanders worry about how the media might portray the possible casualties and what might happen to their career."

Ok, this is bad. There should be some way of reporting such commanders and getting them sacked. I don't mind the media circus so long as it doesn't interfere with getting the job done. Reports of Americans killing people are a dime a dozen. Any such incident is quickly forgotten, if it is reported at all. Unless you actually commit a crime. Commanders should not be analyzing newspapers etc. That circus is none of their business. I presume they don't get taught "media analysis" in their training, and I assume that they're not being ordered to analyze newspapers, so what the hell do they think they are doing? This is basically negligence.

"I am tired of hearing that the Battalion Tactical Operations Center got a new plasma screen monitor for daily briefings, but rifle scope rings for sniper rifles, extra magazines, and necessary field gear were disapproved by the unit supply system."

That's terrible. Both should be made available. There's relatively few soldiers deployed, it should be possible to equip them.

"I am tired of out of touch general officers, senators, congressmen and defense officials who think that giving me some more heavy body armor to wear is helping me stay alive. Speed is life in combat and wearing 55 to 90 pounds of gear for 12 to 20 hours a day puts me at a great tactical disadvantage to the idiot, mindless terrorist who is wearing no armor at all and carrying an AK-47 and a pistol."

Are you sure that tactical disadvantage is worse than the US lives saved? That is probably a difficult judgement to make. I would argue that the soldiers should be the ones making that decision, but reality is you need to deal with a public that can't stand seeing American soldiers killed. You need to deal with that reality. The main goal here is to just pass the job of killing off onto local allies. It's not the US's job. All you need to do is hold the fort until the locals come online.

"I am tired of senior officers and commanders who take it out and "measure" every time they want to have a piece of the action with their helicopters or their artillery; instead of putting their egos aside and using their equipment to support the grunt on the ground."

Not quite sure I understand. Is it dickheads in the air who just like to bomb people to make themselves feel tough? That is atrocious. This is not a theatre for people to play "Top Gun" in. You need to instead use the available resources strategically. Cold, hard calculations need to be made. Not bombing people because you're bored. Professionals are required. Professionals who check bombing coordinates in case they made a typo. Twice.

"I am tired of senior officers and commanders who are too afraid for their careers to tell the truth about what they need to win this war to their bosses so that the soldiers can get on with kicking the ass of these animals."

This is bad. We can only improve by having honest feedback and debate. I'm glad you sent this letter out anonymously.

"I am tired of Rules of Engagement being made by JAG lawyers and not Combat Commanders. We are not playing Hopscotch over here. There is no 2nd place trophy either. I think that if the enemy knew some rough treatment and some deprivation was at hand for them, instead of prayer rugs, special diets and free Korans; this might help get their terrorist minds “right.”"

It is strategic to pretend that this war is not against Islam and that the US respects Islam. Doing so has allowed 2 countries to be converted into allies with minimal fuss. And the enemy you face won't be fazed by potential rough treatment either. Just as you are not fazed by rough treatment at the hands of the enemy. Nothing is being lost strategically by current policy, and I believe much is gained.

"I am tired of seeing Infantry Soldiers conducting what amounts to “SWAT” raids and performing the US Army’s version of “CSI Iraq” and doing things like filling out forms for evidence when they could be better used to hunt and kill the enemy."

That's very funny! But someone in the comments section says you are wrong about that. It's above my pay grade too. :-)

"I am tired of senior officers and commanders who look first in their planning for how many casualties we might take, instead of how many enemy casualties we might inflict."

Both things need to be taken into consideration. You must understand that it is the Iraqi's job to win this war, not the US's. The US is merely there to hold the fort and provide assistance when it is cost-justified to do so.

"I am tired of begging to be turned loose so that this war can be over."

I'm sorry, but I don't want to see western soldiers dying doing a job that can be done reasonably competently by locals. People have a responsibility to fight for their own country. We need to keep you alive so that you can do something in the next theatre (Iran) that the locals are UNABLE to do.

"Those of us who fight this war want to win it and go home to their families. Prolonging it with attempts to do things like collect “evidence” or present whiz bang briefings on a new plasma screen TV is wasteful and ultimately, dulls the edge of our Infantry soldiers who are trained to kill people and break things, not necessarily in that order."

I'm sorry, but this war can't be rushed. We need to give the Iraqis a chance to stand up and free themselves. It is not strategic to do all the work for them. We need to observe them doing it themselves and working out their own problems. Yes, it means you're in theatre longer, but it also means you stay alive. It also means we avoid a Muslim vs infidel clash.

"We are not in Iraq and Afghanistan to build nations. We are there to kill our enemies. We make the work of the State Department easier by the results we achieve."

Sorry, but nation-building is part of winning this war, and you're the person who can do that. It is not your job to kill your enemies. It is the job of your local allies to kill your mutual enemies. This is both deft use of resources and gives the locals a stake in their own freedom.

"It is only possible to defeat an enemy who kills indiscriminately by utterly destroying him. He cannot be made to yield or surrender. He will fight to the death by the hundreds to kill only one or two of us."

And there are Iraqis who totally agree with you. And they will happily take care of their own countrymen so long as you empower them to do so. They hate them even more than you do. They're not killing your relatives, they're killing theirs.

"And so far, all of our “games” have been “away games,” and I don’t know about the ignorant, treasonous Democrats and the completely insane radical leftists and their thoughts on the matter, but I would like to keep our road game schedule."

The schedule was adjusted according to new information that was found in Iraq. The new schedule is fine.

"So let’s get it done. Until the fight is won and there is no more fight left."

It is being done. As fast as it is wise to do. With the long-term objective of freeing the entire world and the US having no enemy governments or even enemy people.

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