On 4 SEP 2006 the Democratic Party Leaders in Congress decided it was high time to rebuke the President on Iraq. Again. So, let us take a look at some of their sticking points and see what they are fussing about:
Over one month ago, we wrote to you about the war in Iraq. In the face of escalating violence, increasing instability in the region, and an overall strain on our troops that has reduced their readiness to levels not seen since Vietnam, we called upon you to change course and adopt a new strategy to give our troops and the Iraqi people the best chance for success.Care to clue us in on this evaluation? The military does have standards to keep to and one of them is the peacetime SORTS rating system that uses the unit-based C-Rating system so as to tell overall unit capability. The GAO in looking at this system back in the 1990's gave a good overview of it, its pluses and minuses, but the primary part is this:
C Rating system Historically, readiness of U.S. military forces at the unit level has been measured using the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS), under the sponsorship of the JCS. Under SORTS, units report their overall readiness status as well as the status of four resource areas (personnel, equipment and supplies on hand, equipment condition, and training). The readiness status of a unit is reported by assigning capability, or “C,” ratings as follows:Now that is really quite a spread, but necessary to cover the entire realm of readiness from units just being stitched back together like, say, after Normandy, to one that just had a major off-base brawl fight and one of the commanders got landed in suspension for it. The former would be a unit at C-5 as it is basically having to start from scratch and restore its equipment, restock its supplies, integrate new personnel to get itself up to higher combat readiness. The latter could see a unit drop from C-1 to C-2! Yes, one transfer, one minor but vital piece of equipment going out, anything that is not in the very topmost of condition and the entire unit could get downgraded. From reading around the military traditionally, in peacetime, has a very tiny percentage of units at C-1, anywhere from 2% to 5%. Getting a unit up to C-1 status is highly coveted and gets an achievement medal to demonstrate unit competence, effectiveness, preparedness and morale.
C-1—Unit can undertake the full wartime missions for which it is organized or designed.
C-2—Unit can undertake the bulk of its wartime missions.
C-3—Unit can undertake major portions of its wartime missions.
C-4—Unit requires additional resources and/or training to undertake its wartime missions, but if the situation dictates, it may be required to undertake portions of the missions with resources on hand.
C-5—Unit is undergoing a service-directed resource change and is not prepared to undertake its wartime missions.
While SORTS still provides the basic underpinning to readiness assessments, both OSD and JCS have established senior oversight groups in recent years to focus on readiness issues at a higher level and provide a more comprehensive assessment of readiness.
One thing that has a direct effect on unit readiness is Opstempo: the number and frequency of missions a unit performs. Even in peacetime a high opstempo for peacekeeping missions degraded unit readiness by throwing it into roles it was unprepared for their morale and readiness declined. This was seen in Kosovo when two of the US Army's divisions fell to C-4 in Kosovo due to not getting rotated out, not getting resupplied and not getting reinforcements. A high level of morale was lost there due to negligence on the part of the higher command structure on the continuous use of previously high capability units. It was so bad that there had to be a press briefing on it from the Army to explain why the entire command structure had let these two divisions fall to C-4 status. Believe me, if a unit drops to C-4 you HEAR about it.
The wonderful thing about this system as it stresses competence, capability, unit cohesion and unit morale to work towards a group goal. It is so good that the New Iraqi Army has implemented it so that they can have a 1:1 readiness comparison within their sphere of capabilities equivalent to that of the US within ITS sphere of capabilities. So when ONE Iraqi division made it to C-1 effectiveness that was *damn* impressive. Didn't last more than a couple of weeks... and we heard the moaning and complaining about the incompetence of the Iraqis and so on. One division out of 10. 10% and it didn't last. And the US is very happy when 5% of its forces are at that lofty goal... and combat almost immediately degrades a unit to C-2.
To the Democrats: if you cannot gin up the effectiveness ratings and DEMONSTRATE that they are EQUAL TO or LOWER THAN the US Armed Forces circa 1976, then please be quiet. That was a force with its heart ripped out of it, harshly down-sized, at absolute abysmal morale and had huge problems in recruiting and retaining personnel. The Armed Forces of the United States TODAY has the highest re-enlistment rate that it has EVER HAD. They meet year-in and year-out recruitment goals for the active Armed Services. If you are complaining about the National Guard, then I suggest you re-align the Force Structure of this Nation and put together a slightly larger regular force and a slightly smaller reserve and do this over FIVE YEARS so as not to disrupt the excellent training and hard work put into maintaining the current forces.
And when you run down the US Armed Forces I am reminded by this quote given just a few days ago by General Pittard in a press conference:
GEN. PITTARD: As far as provinces, obviously we have Muthanna province. That is the first province with provincial Iraqi control, as we call it. We expect to see a couple more provinces over the next couple months.To my knowledge the US Armed Forces has no active combat units at C-4 readiness, unlike during the Clinton Administration which had TWO due to mismanagement. For a PEACEKEEPING MISSION.
But as far as readiness levels, as you know, that's something that is between the coalition forces and Iraqi security forces. And that's the kind of information that you really don't want the insurgents to know.
But I -- again, I'll tell you that the -- generally that the levels of readiness are very credible. And they will increase over the next couple months and over the next year.
Now, I am willing to *always* listen to constructive advice on how to run the military, as there is Civilian control over it. Part of the duty of a Citizen is to understand the Armed Forces protecting this Nation and find ways to make it better for the Union. So, lets take a gander:
Although you have not responded to our letter, we surmise from your recent press conferences and speeches that you remain committed to maintaining an open-ended presence of U.S. forces in Iraq for years to come. That was the message the American people received on August 21, 2006, when you said, "we're not leaving Iraq, so long as I'm the President."Hmmm... sounds like political hot air so far... but I think most Americans realized that doing anything to try and help Iraq would take a minimum of 5 years if everything went so swimmingly and Saddam had surrendered and his military had an orderly stand-down and his police services kept at their jobs until a new government could be established and if they, basically, acted like good Germans after the defeat of Germany in WWII.
Unfortunately Saddam and his henchmen have no honor and they didn't. Plus al Qaeda in KSA and Iran all on its very own decided to back terrorists in Iraq against Iraqis, which they couldn't do while Saddam was around. So the 5 year estimate went straight to hell. After that my personal estimate started to range in the 15 year timeframe.... because it takes forever to not only stand up a New Army, New National Guard and New Police force and ensure they are competent, well trained, learn logistics, learn bureaucracies, follow the laws, and build esprit de corps. A modern military survives on its NCO's, not its General Officers. Rebuilding the US NCO structure after Vietnam took about 15 years. So I am being hellaciously optimistic on Iraq. But we still have a few folks sitting on their butts in Germany and Japan and South Korea, too. Just 'why?' we do is another story...
Well on to the Democratic diatribe... mmmm.... 'respectful letter to the President':
Unfortunately, your stay the course strategy is not working. In the five-week period since writing to you, over 60 U.S. soldiers and Marines have been killed, hundreds of U.S. troops have been wounded, many of them grievously, nearly 1,000 Iraqi civilians have died, and the cost to the American taxpayer has grown by another $8 billion dollars. Even the administration's most recent report to Congress on Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq indicates that security trends in Iraq are deteriorating, and likely to continue to worsen for the foreseeable future. With daily attacks against American and Iraqi troops at close to their highest levels since the start of the war, and sectarian violence intensifying, we can only conclude that our troops are caught in the middle of a low-grade civil war that is getting worse.Oh, my! A true spew of hatred! Now, lets get a look at what is upsetting the digestion of these Leaders. "In a five week period..." Hey can I choose ANY five weeks? Bet I can find one stretch that is much, much deadlier... and one that is much, much lighter. But they want to use the 'last five weeks' as an indication. At that point we had been there... mmmm... what? Call it 1,423 days today... less one for the day the letter had to be written since they didn't whip this up at 5am... 1422! Is that a long time, or what?
Well we are still less time between the start of operations and this day in Iraq than between 9/11 and getting a Constitutional Legislature elected in Afghanistan. So, we had actually spent more time figuring out who attacked us, fighting them, overthrowing them, and getting a Constitutional Legislature elected than we have in Iraq where we have the WHOLE DAMN GOVERNMENT STANDING UP! Yeah, its taken less time to get this far in Iraq than in Afghanistan. Amazing, huh? At this point in the Afghan timeline they were still bickering over ELECTIONS.
The Democrats brought up Vietnam so it is 'fair game'. That was 6,999 days from first recognized troops in South Viet Nam as advisors to the final Congressional mandate to cut off *everything* even AIR and SEA cover for them. Uh-huh. Iraq is so Vietnam, right?
Don't like that? Stings? We had successfully gone from Dec. 7, 1941 to the full surrender of Japan in less time. But the US occupied Japan until 1952. We wanted to make sure that their 1947 Government was *really* one that was pacified. So, in Iraq, we have gone from toppling a dictator to a democratically elected government that is fielding trustworthy troops and police in less time than it took for JAPAN to do the same.
WWI officially ended on 24 JUL 1923 with the Treaty of Lausanne. US involvement 2,300 days.
In the Philippine-American War the official part would be over but it would be at least a decade if not longer until the rebellions were put down. Yes, we are doing WAY better than Teddy Roosevelt and 'Blackjack' Pershing. Go figure.
Ending the wars against the Native Americans, cumulative: 27, 520. Can I choose a five week period, please?
US Civil War from start to CSS Shenandoah surrendering: 1,667 days. And about this point the Democrats were screaming for Lincoln's head on a platter and put the pacifist McClellan on the ticket. Bad move.
Mexican-American War, done and gone in no time.
War of 1812 a bit longer than the Mexican-American, but still over. A British side-show to *them* in any event.
Northwest Indian War: 3,846 days from initial bad peace to finally quelling the tribes involved. Our ancestors would guffaw at our timetable in absolute *astonishment*. It would be FICTION to them.
Just about getting up to the length of the First Barbary War now. Jefferson refused to pay extortion fees to Muslims and sent a reprisal force against them. And won. In 1,501 days. He did *not* install a government, give it a chance for democratic rule nor create a brand new military there, either. Piker.
Quasi-War with France, 815 days. They are, after all, French.
The American Revolution - from the 'shot heard 'round the world' to Yorktown: 2,314 days. And George Washington as CinC for about 2,000 of that. He would be disgusted with those that have lost heart of getting just a *bit* of liberty after overthrowing a tyrant. The US could *not* overthrow George III, just remove his local rule.
Now for the deaths. I will not do the Democrats the fine grace of picking and choosing weeks, I will take the whole she-bang: 2,996 deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Grim isn't it? Divide deaths by days and you get: 2.11 deaths per day.
In the year 2001 we lost the following due alcohol abuse: 2,321
Due to alcohol dependence syndrome: 3,520
Due to alcoholic liver disease: 12,210
Due to hypertension: 1,184
Due to cirrhosis of the liver: 6,719
For all alcohol and alcohol related diseases or ones mad far worse by alcohol: 34,833
That is from the Centers for Disease Control.
95 people in the US per day die from alcohol in one form or another.
In the year 2000 the leading cause of death in the US was heart disease: 710,760.
Just before you get to *other* you get Septicemia: 31,224.
Source: Common Sense for Drug Policy drawn from a National Vital Statistics Report final data for 2000.
From the NIH at the Septicemia page: "Appropriate treatment of localized infections can prevent septicemia."
Yes, you can die from a cut if you do *not* wash it and ensure it heals properly.
If you buy this *deaths* argument and have ever, once, not taken care to wash a cut or scrape, then you are courting a nasty death. By negligence.
The US Armed Forces are a totally VOLUNTARY commitment by those who are in it. If you are using their deaths as an excuse to get out of a fight that might last just a tad longer than your lifetime, then I would like to hear WHERE and WHEN and HOW MUCH BLOOD you are willing to see spent for Freedom. The decision was made to go there as a Nation. By Congress. It was a majority. If you do not like the war, then find a way to win it and ensure it will not come to Our Shores. The result of Vietnam was JUST the opposite.
There are consequences to DEFEAT.
I find the use of the deaths of the patriots of Our Sons and Daughters as an excuse for cowardice to be disgusting. Either the vital interests of this Nation are served by the GOALS in Iraq or they are NOT. The decision, by Congress was that they WERE. You cannot blame the President for asking for the ability to wage war. You can, and should, hold Congress accountable.
Then these fine leaders add Iraqi dead into the mix.
Would you like to listen to what Iraqis think on this?
Go here to witness their testimony.
Taking on tyrants is a tough job. Living with the aftermath is a tough job. Working to build something better is the responsibility of the Citizenry, as We agree to that in the Preamble to the Constitution. That single sentence that does NOT address government, but what we agree to do to HAVE government. Our responsibilities as a People.
Using the deaths of those dying due to tyrants wishing to exert their will as an excuse for ANYTHING save FIGHTING for those that are the target of oppression is despicable. And this is not the 'boutique' oppression of not having the right to marry two men. This is the oppression with a boot to the face and a high chance of fatality if you do *nothing* against it.
Why the Democrats wish to throw their honor away like this is beyond me.
I am not even done with the first sentence of that paragraph and then, then they heap in the monetary cost of the fighting. Lovely.
They have just put a maximum price on freedom and the maximum deaths allowable for it before they really, truly think that someone should get up and say: its not worth it.
Why do I say that?
Because the next sentence does not have: "We seek a greater commitment towards Victory in this struggle to help end the expansion of tyranny against those people that We needed to help from Despotic rule. We honor Our Commitments as a Nation until We are voted from Office."
I have actually read the rest of their 'proposal'.
The Democratic Party has just put an upper limit on liberty, freedom and sacrifice.
They wish us to run when We can fight well, honorably and on a battlefield of OUR DAMN CHOOSING with the great advantages that We have given Our Sons and Daughters as Free People wishing to Remain Free People.
And the most disingenuous part of the Democratic Plan?
We still, to this day, have a PEACE TIME ECONOMY!
Just how many die from scratches every year?
And how many will die by the blade of Our Enemies, that they so enjoy using, if we run now?
Because that cut is the one fatal to liberty.