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October 23, 2012

Ships, Horses, Bayonets...and a Clueless Commander in Chief

Update: "Horses/bayonets" quip fact checked and found wanting.

What leapt out at me during last night's debate was how stunningly dishonest, uninformed, and disengaged a Commander in Chief we have. Two comments in particular cast the President's disastrous disinterest into bold relief. The first was on sequestration:

... the biggest gaffe—or deliberate evasion—of the evening was made by Mr. Obama when he denied paternity for the sequester defense cuts now set for 2013 and said they "will not happen." Mr. Obama's aides rushed out after the debate to say he meant to say the cuts "should not happen."

But the truth is that Mr. Obama has been using the fear of huge defense cuts as a political strategy to force Republicans to accept a tax increase. As Bob Woodward describes in his recent book, Mr. Obama and the White House helped to devise the defense sequester strategy—no matter the actual risk to defense.

"No matter the actual risk": if that phrase doesn't neatly encapsulate Obama's decision making process as commander in chief, I don't know what does. He acts as though there were no connection between his decisions and events on the ground. Sequestration is unpopular, therefore he simply declares that "it won't happen", leaving his aides scrambling to reframe their boss's bizarrely contrafactual assertions:

But in the real world, the truth matters and the truth is that sequestration cuts would drastically affect not only future procurement but current readiness and op tempo, risking both the lives of our armed forces and their ability to protect American interests abroad:

"Last month I visited the Central Command region had the opportunity to visit both of our aircraft carriers, our minesweepers, our patrol craft, and other ships in the region. I talked to over 10,000 of our forward deployed Sailors," said Ferguson. "At every forum, Sailors - from the most junior to our operational commanders - expressed concern regarding what sequestration will mean to our Navy and their service. The uncertainty of our fiscal future is increasingly on the minds of our force."

...[Vice Chief of Naval Operations] Ferguson pointed out that sequestration implementation would potentially impact mission accomplishment for the Navy.

"With existing forces, we are already seeing longer deployments. Carriers are operating at about 8 months, ballistic missile defense ships (operating at) 9 months, with very rapid turnaround to go back on deployment. We would not be able to sustain that going forward under sequestration. You would see less presence forward, and you would see less ability to surge," said Ferguson.

To the long list of things our Commander in Chief apparently does not know about the military he commands, add the fact that (contrary to his sneering jibes) bayonets are still an integral part of every Marine's basic training. British troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan still use the bayonet to good effect:

Just last month a British soldier was honored for a bayonet charge on the Taliban that he led in 2011. This charge was reminiscent of another British bayonet charge in Basra, Iraq, in 2004. In 2011, Col. Muammar Gaddafi was also reportedly killed by a bayonet stab to the rear.”

A Commander in Chief should know that. But this is a man who thinks wars can be fought by unmanned aerial drones like the ones that watched impotently from the sky as over 30 Americans were attacked in Benghazi:

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

... The Pentagon says it did move a team of special operators from central Europe to the large Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy, but gave no other details. Sigonella is just an hour's flight from Libya. Other nearby bases include Aviano and Souda Bay. Military sources tell CBS News that resources at the three bases include fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships, which the sources say can be extremely effective in flying in and buzzing a crowd to disperse it.

Rick Nelson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Navy pilot who worked in counter-terrorism, says such missions can be very risky. "A lot can go well, right, as we saw with the bin Laden raid. It was a very successful event," he says. "But also, when there are high risk activities like this. a lot can go wrong, as we saw with the Iranian hostage rescue decades ago."

Add to the controversy the fact that the last two Americans didn't die until more than six hours into the attack, and the question of U.S. military help becomes very important.

It's entirely possible that the military could not have arrived in time to save Ambassador Stevens or the three other Americans who lost their lives in the Benghazi attack. But they could have secured our consulate and driven home the message that the United States will not passively sit and watch as our Ambassador is murdered and our consulate and sensitive documents looted.

What kind of message is sent when the President of the United States responds serious questions about military readiness with ignorant and dismissive quips about ships being as antiquated as horses and bayonets?

What kind of message is sent when the press are not only able to gain access to our consulate, but retrieve sensitive documents left lying around but the President of the United States can't manage to get his investigators into the country?

What kind of message is sent by a President whose first instinct was to blame a movie no one has actually seen for the Benghazi attack - who, years after the disastrous attack on our troops at Fort Hood, is still hesitant to label it a terrorist attack?

It is hard to believe this is still in dispute:
Nearly three years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, many of those affected are urging the U.S. government to declare it a terrorist attack, saying wounded soldiers and victims' relatives otherwise won't receive the same benefits as those in a combat zone.

This was ruled a "workplace dispute". Really? A guy running through an area yelling "Allu Akbar" who we find out was radicalized by a Muslim Imam who preached jihad against the US? Sounds like the administration's description of the Benghazi incident. "Spontaneous protests that got out of hand". Yeah, Ft. Hood was as much an "act of terrorism" as was Benghazi (as it is now recognized).

This is a president who likes to think of his leadership style as cooly cerebral and dispassionate. Like an unmanned predator drone, he hovers over world events from a safe distance, taking it all in.

And doing absolutely nothing.

****************

UPDATE: Commenter Joseph W. makes a point wrt the Hasan attack:

One thing I don't blame the President for is keeping quiet about the subject of a court-martial, such as MAJ Hasan's. Doing so would give the defense an "unlawful command influence" issue from hell to keep raising on appeal for years to come, to try to invalidate the conviction. There's no need for it.

I hope that President Romney, if such he becomes, is also careful in what he says, if anything, about MAJ Hasan's rampage. If he gets a death sentence from a court-martial, the President will be the man to approve that personally. At which point actions will speak louder than words.

In the comments, I asked him how a simple statement from the President acknowledging the connection to radical Islamism could be construed as unlawful command influence. He responds here:

It's a tangled area of military law. Have you ever heard of U.S. v. Brice? It was a USMC case back in the 80's -- a Marine got tried for selling dope. After the first day of trial, everyone on base had to attend a lecture by the Commandant of the Corps on drugs.

At the next session, the judge admonished the panel members (i.e., the jury) not to let the speech influence their votes, all the members swore up and down that they wouldn't be influenced by it -- and yet the Court of Military Appeals (which is now the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces) ultimately overturned the conviction. They did so without even examining what the Commandant actually said - because of the "confluence of the subject and timing as they affect the minds -- however subtly and imperceptibly -- of the triers of fact..."

Hasan can't plead guilty, because that's not allowed in military death penalty cases. So for the President even to say "MAJ Hasan killed these people" would be problematic -- it would be someone in the members' chain of command, right at the top of it, expressing an opinion about the facts. Saying, "MAJ Hasan did this because of radical Islam" or even "Somebody, God knows who, did this, but it was someone of a radical Islamist stripe..." (like this MAJ Hasan fellow) runs into exactly the same problem.

Given the way death penalty appeals drag on, it would be unwise to add yet another for the appeals - especially not an issue that might actually have some traction. So, frustrating as it might be, Obama is doing well to hold his tongue on the subject. It seems weird, because the facts in this case are so clear-cut, but it actually does make sense.

As the blog princess is not a lawyer (nor does she pretend to be one in cyberspace), this seems like a reasonable point. I will say, however, that Obama certainly wasn't worried about the appearance of unlawful command influence in this case:

On Thursday, April 21, 2011 in San Francisco, a group of Bradley Manning supporters raised their concerns directly to the president in song at a fundraiser. Logan Price, from the Bradley Manning Support Network, was able to question President Obama directly afterwards. During the discussion the president declared that Bradley Manning “broke the law.” The video can be viewed below.

Below is a full transcript of the discussion, previously unreleased. The statement about Manning’s guilt could interfere with a fair trial.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor later told POLITICO.com that, “The president was emphasizing that, in general, the unauthorized release of classified information is not a lawful act…He was not expressing a view as to the guilt or innocence of Pfc. Manning specifically.”

“I approached the President to speak with him about Pfc. Manning’s case.” Says Logan Price, in response. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we were speaking exclusively about Manning. It was not a conversation based on hypothetical assertions, nor did the president say anything that qualified it as such. Any witnesses to the conversation, and there were many, could affirm this.”

MSNBC coverage:

Obama responded that what Manning allegedly did was "irresponsible, risked the lives of service members and did a lot of damage." But when Price persisted Obama shot back, "He broke the law."

A military legal expert says the president himself crossed a legal line with that statement.

This supports Joseph's point about the general advisability of commenting on pending trials, but while he never argued that Obama is keeping quiet on the Hasan case to avoid the appearance of undue influence, I want to raise the question. The date on this article is 4/26/2011. If Obama was aware enough of the possibility of unlawful command influence years ago to refrain from comment after the Hasan attack, why would he say something much worse (going to far as to affirm guilt before a trial) in the Manning case?

The MSNBC article raises a plausible explanation:

Despite the president's Harvard Law degree, Fidell believes it's quite possible Obama was totally unaware of the uniform code's prohibition against "command influence," and in the spontaneous exchange with Price, simply "let down his guard."

Posted by Cassandra at October 23, 2012 07:30 AM

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Comments

Shorter Obama: My Navy leadership is too stupid to know that it's capabilities not number of ships that matter.


I really wish Romney would have countered with: If you think your Navy leadership isn't smart enough to know that, why haven't you replaced them. That's a leadership problem, and *that* starts at the top.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 23, 2012 10:11 AM

Apparently somebody told the President that the best way to leverage the dignity of the office was by talking down to his opponent and treating him with utter disrespect. I assume the theory is that if you respond in kind, they'll do the "Joe Wilson" maneuver on you; if you take the abuse in silence, you'll look weak.

I was quite astonished by the aircraft carrier/submarine moment. These are two examples of ships that actually can't be deployed without significant support from other ships. If you send a carrier out without destroyers, for example, you'll lose it. That we are built around boomers and aircraft carriers is just why we need a Navy with enough ships to support the model.

Posted by: Grim at October 23, 2012 10:13 AM

Apparently, there is room under the bus for most of the fleet.

Posted by: Sig at October 23, 2012 10:17 AM

It's difficult to believe Mr. President still gets the benefit of being characterized as coolly cerebral, and dispassionate, even in his own mind. He is none of them, even in his own mind. The man is a portrait in the abstract. His is a world where people are not people and events are not events; they are emblematic of ideas, big ideas, designs, schemes, and most propitiously, opportunity. This is not a character flaw – it's the basis of Leftism.

Posted by: George Pal at October 23, 2012 10:44 AM

I was quite astonished by the aircraft carrier/submarine moment. These are two examples of ships that actually can't be deployed without significant support from other ships. If you send a carrier out without destroyers, for example, you'll lose it. That we are built around boomers and aircraft carriers is just why we need a Navy with enough ships to support the model.

I was astonished to see an article actually argue that "Romney was using old information" (313 ships vs 300 the article claims the Navy currently says it needs).

Now my grasp of math may not be all that great but 285 is still less than both 300 or 313. The spouse worked on the QDR several years running and the idea that the services don't adjust what they ask for, based on what they think they can get is just nuts.

How does this guy think the Marines get where they're going? Aircraft carriers are important, but one of the things the spouse practiced with his battalion was packing gear to go aboard a ship.

[thud]

Posted by: Cass - Confirmation Bigot in Training at October 23, 2012 10:48 AM

One thing I don't blame the President for is keeping quiet about the subject of a court-martial, such as MAJ Hasan's. Doing so would give the defense an "unlawful command influence" issue from hell to keep raising on appeal for years to come, to try to invalidate the conviction. There's no need for it.

I hope that President Romney, if such he becomes, is also careful in what he says, if anything, about MAJ Hasan's rampage. If he gets a death sentence from a court-martial, the President will be the man to approve that personally. At which point actions will speak louder than words.

Posted by: Joseph W. at October 23, 2012 11:18 AM

One thing I don't blame the President for is keeping quiet about the subject of a court-martial, such as MAJ Hasan's. Doing so would give the defense an "unlawful command influence" issue from hell to keep raising on appeal for years to come, to try to invalidate the conviction. There's no need for it.

Admittedly I am not a lawyer, but it's hard for me to understand how a simple acknowledgment that this shooting is tied to radical Islamism amounts to unlawful command influence.

The president would not be pressuring anyone to reach a particular decision or interfering with the trial in any way to make such an obvious admission.

It's demoralizing to people in the military when their Commander in Chief pretends that a murderous attack by a guy with known Islamist ties is a garden variety "workplace dispute", as if there were no connection to the war on terror or the people we're fighting (like Anwar al-Awlaki). Apparently, we're not to speak of it.

That's a problem for me, Joseph.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 23, 2012 11:38 AM

I was truly appalled at the sneering, insulting tone in which BHO delivered his answer to a question (about Navy force levels) which deserved a serious and responsive answer. On top of that, the arrogant a** didn't even know what he was talking about. Truly I hope for change, and the sooner the better.

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at October 23, 2012 11:50 AM

It's a tangled area of military law. Have you ever heard of U.S. v. Brice? It was a USMC case back in the 80's -- a Marine got tried for selling dope. After the first day of trial, everyone on base had to attend a lecture by the Commandant of the Corps on drugs.

At the next session, the judge admonished the panel members (i.e., the jury) not to let the speech influence their votes, all the members swore up and down that they wouldn't be influenced by it -- and yet the Court of Military Appeals (which is now the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces) ultimately overturned the conviction. They did so without even examining what the Commandant actually said - because of the "confluence of the subject and timing as they affect the minds -- however subtly and imperceptibly -- of the triers of fact..."

Hasan can't plead guilty, because that's not allowed in military death penalty cases. So for the President even to say "MAJ Hasan killed these people" would be problematic -- it would be someone in the members' chain of command, right at the top of it, expressing an opinion about the facts. Saying, "MAJ Hasan did this because of radical Islam" or even "Somebody, God knows who, did this, but it was someone of a radical Islamist stripe..." (like this MAJ Hasan fellow) runs into exactly the same problem.

Given the way death penalty appeals drag on, it would be unwise to add yet another for the appeals - especially not an issue that might actually have some traction. So, frustrating as it might be, Obama is doing well to hold his tongue on the subject. It seems weird, because the facts in this case are so clear-cut, but it actually does make sense.

Posted by: Joseph W. at October 23, 2012 12:28 PM

Well stated, Joseph.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 23, 2012 12:55 PM

If Obama was aware enough of the possibility of unlawful command influence years ago to refrain from comment after the Hasan attack, why would he say something much worse (going to far as to affirm guilt before a trial) in the Manning case?

Couldn't tell you. Because I don't know. Had he dropped by my office and asked my opinion, I'd have advised him per my post above. I can now reveal that he didn't do so.

But if Romney wins, don't be surprised if he keeps quiet for exactly that reason.

Eugene Fidell is a pretty significant figure in the field of military justice, and his views always deserve careful attention.

Posted by: Joseph W. at October 23, 2012 01:16 PM

If I remember correctly, Obama said several things that could have damaged the case against Sheik Mohammed. It was when the whole hoopla was going on about trying him in NYC. Did't Obama say he was guilty and would get the death penalty? I don't have time to check on it right now.

Posted by: Susanamantha at October 23, 2012 02:18 PM

The dynamics are different with a civilian trial - because a civilian jury is not full of servicemembers subject to the President's orders. Pretrial publicity can still be a problem, but not to the same extent.

(Which reminds me of an old joke from the '90's --

"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

"O.J.!"

"O.J. who?"

"You're on the jury..."

Posted by: Joseph W. at October 23, 2012 02:21 PM

Apparently, there is room under the bus for most of the fleet.

It's a big bus. Obama didn't build it.

By the way, did anyone besides my wife notice that all of Obama's "coalition building" in the Middle East was just petty community organizing?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 23, 2012 04:54 PM

We have what is probably Mitt Romney's best ad so far... "Apology Tour":

http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com/2012/10/best-romney-ad-yet-apology-tour.html

Posted by: Steve at October 23, 2012 08:03 PM

Regarding the Ft. Hood shooting being called terrorism, it's a tricky legal problem. Terrorism is defined as an act outside the official capacity or without the writ of authority of a state, perpetrated against a non-military target. This is how we differentiate freedom fighters or revolutionaries from terrorists, and how we justify supporting them: they act on the authority of a state, and they attack military targets. We cannot and should not label every violent act carried out while shouting "God is great!" to be terrorism, or half of the shit we support in the Middle East would be terrorism.

Posted by: Big C at October 24, 2012 02:00 AM

Obama's comments on the number of the ships - and his "horses and bayonets" comment - revealed the level of ignorance he has about the use - and state - of the military.

Posted by: Bill Brandt at October 24, 2012 02:56 AM

May I ask a question here: Why does Obama keep reiterating this notion that the services haven't asked for more money?

I am out of the loop on this, so if some you can fill me in, it would be greatly appreciated. In all three debates, Obama has said that the military hasn't asked for more money. Is that a disengenuous way of saying 'They have spent their budget and can't ask for more until the next fiscal year,' or is he saying that they are so flush with money that they don't need it; therefore it will not go to them?

Posted by: Carolyn at October 24, 2012 08:15 AM

Why does Obama keep reiterating this notion that the services haven't asked for more money?

It's another bit of circularity in Obama's pseudo-logic. They don't ask because early on in his decision to cut military spending, he instructed DoD not to ask for more; he was going to cut.

This was, IIRC, early in his term when Bob Gates still was SecDef, and when I can find the ref that supports my claim, I'll post it.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 24, 2012 09:29 AM

"This was, IIRC, early in his term when Bob Gates still was SecDef, and when I can find the ref that supports my claim, I'll post it."

That's been the main stanza in the various and sundry D.C.ites budget pronouncements since the economic roulette wheel jumped off the spindle in 2008.

Just prior to THE Ø winning his term, Gates spoke these words of caution,

" “We basically gutted our military after World War I, after World War II, in certain ways after Korea, certainly after Vietnam and after the end of the cold war,” Mr. Gates said. “Experience is the ability to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”

Sure enough, by April of 2009 it was reported,

..."the Obama administration, which plans to shift more money to counterterrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan while spending less on preparations for conventional warfare against large nations like China and Russia. "

At the time the notion of geopolitical foes was believed to be archaic with the subsequent failure of the Reset Button being claimed to be, by all accounts, the Shrubs fault.

The more things change...

Posted by: bthun at October 24, 2012 12:22 PM

BubbatheHun and Eric, THANK YOU! I had another question that got bogged down in history, and it made me look slightly silly, so I am going to wait to ask it.

Posted by: Carolyn at October 24, 2012 01:23 PM

I had another question that got bogged down in history, and it made me look slightly silly, so I am going to wait to ask it.

Fire away, Ma'am. The only silly question is the one that isn't asked.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 24, 2012 03:21 PM

One more bit of history, re horses.

Shortly after we went into Afghanistan, our special forces and the Norther Alliance allies which fought with us (or us with them) seized Mazar-e-Sharif and some of the outlying villages. We did this with the aid of cavalry assaults. On horseback.

Horses, in that terrain, have proven useful since.

While horses are, as the guy who occasionally sits in our President's chair said in the last debate, fewer in number in today's American military, they are by no means obsolete.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 24, 2012 03:30 PM

Heh. Oh, I will ask it, but it has to be worded in such a way so as not to lose sight of the original point.

Here goes: Obama mocked Romney for his views re: Russia. I haven't done any hard research to back this up; just sort of connected the dots based on what has happened in the last 60 years.

Fact: Korea went to war over the DMZ because Russia was flexing their muscles over territory, post WWII. We won the war, but the UN gave the territory back to North Korea.

Fact: We went to war in Vietnam to sort of bail the French out, but to also keep North and South Vietnam separate. That time, both the Chinese and the Russians were involved as interested parties in spreading communism (simple, but it works).

Fact: The Russians invaded Afghanistan, couldn't win there, and left.

I still think the Russians are players, but this time they have a geopolitical interest in the region due to the resources and proximity, therefore they will use terrorism against us. I am also not sure if this is not hardline communism in the guise of capitalism, or just plain greed.

What say you all?

Posted by: Carolyn at October 24, 2012 05:36 PM

I will ask it

The world view according to Eric Hines (not sure what the original point was, at this point).

Korea: the northern Koreans didn't go to war over the DMZ; it was a naked attempt to conquer the Republic of Korea. They jumped when they read the tea leaves and our own weakness on the peninsula, and it was a very near thing. We also didn't win it, we sought and fought to a draw--letting our enemies save face was deemed more important than crushing them. Given the war weariness still extant from WWII, I don't entirely disagree with this judgment drawn in real time; although with hindsight it does seem a flawed plan.

Likely we could have won that war, but we would have had to have taken the limits off and fought the total war that WWII was, and against a far more numerous enemy, with the PRC actively involved. But the war began over our enemies' perception of our weakness.

Vietnam: We also went to war because we didn't like the fact that the communists won the elections (whether they were free and fair elections is another matter). Nor the PRC nor the USSR were interested in spreading communism per se; although that made a useful excuse. They were interested in spreading their own national power. In the USSR's case, they also were looking for a route to the sea (see below) and to try their own encirclement of the PRC. Recall that by that time, the USSR and the PRC had shot at each other several times across the Amur River.

Afghanistan: The USSR made a naked land grab solely for a route to the sea. They thought they could easily defeat a backward, fractious bunch of tribes, and then roll, without outright conquering, Pakistan. They were one-third right: the military defeat of the Afghani "army" was straightforward, and they promptly installed a pro-USSR government. But they couldn't conquer the Afghans. Which rendered rolling the Pakistanis moot. Keep in mind, also vis-a-vis Pakistan, that Pakistan and India were, and are, mortal enemies (flowing in part from clumsily drawn borders by Brit colonial masters a century prior), and India was friendlier to the USSR than to us at that time.

As an aside, there's this, which shows just how barbaric Russians are. The Russians jumped on Afghanistan with the forces they had in place: Asian, largely, if not predominantly, Muslem. When these forces didn't rape, pillage, and plunder with sufficient zeal (especially the rape part), the USSR replace them en masse with European Russian troops who suffered no such compunctions concerning these wogs. Rape and pillage, especially, are standard Russian fare for trying to cow a defeated population, and plunder remains today a major part of the pay of Russian combat troops and their officers. The reverse was true wrt the USSR's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The European Russian soldiers "had to be" replaced with Asian troops to get the required level of rape and pillage.

With regard to the Russians, also keep in mind their paranoia. They have no natural barriers, other than vast distances, protecting them from invasion and conquering. The Mongols rolled them up from the east like a Persian rug and sat on them for a hundred years. The French, and then the Germans, ran all the way to Moscow and nearly did for them from the west. The USSR's "republics" with which Mother Russia surrounded herself were all conquered solely to give Russia (as opposed to Metropolitan (in the French sense) USSR) land to trade for invaders' blood. Their foreign policy today flows from that need to have a buffer in lieu of a natural barrier. Hence their invasion and partition of Georgia, their 21st century conquering by rigged elections of Belarus and attempts in the Ukraine, their cyber war against Estonia, their meddling in the 'Stans. And they do these in the expectation that the relevant players in the West (read: US) are too weak and/or disinterested to respond in any meaningful way.

Our surrender to the Russians wrt our missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic played into their hands.

Bottom line (and tying this back to an original point?): we not only can't afford to be weak, we can't afford even to appear weak. Romney wasn't wrong when he IDed Russia as a "foe." So is the PRC. Correcting our weakness requires a solidly sufficient force in numbers as well as technology, and a measure of bellicosity backed by actual deeds.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 24, 2012 06:49 PM

One more thing:

Obama mocked Romney for his views re: Russia.

Which just shows how appallingly incompetent (not merely ignorant) Obama is. This is all in the histories. He has no excuse. But a man too lazy to participate in his daily intel briefings is going, also, to be too lazy to acquaint himself with any other facts.

This...person...didn't sit across the fence from the Russians for fourteen years like I did, and guys and girls like bthun and countless others did. But he has guys and girls on his staff and down the road a piece at the Pentagon and at a myriad military posts and in the civilian world who did, and who would gladly inform him.

Eric Hines

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 24, 2012 07:01 PM

Thank you again for the insight. I have a copy of a military history of the US, and IIRC it does say that we 'won' the Korean war by getting territory all the way up to the Yalu River. I will have to see if I can get my hands on it for the exact reference.

My husband was on the border for three years, and when he got command sponsorship for me, I sort of did some reading as to Why We Were There. Kind of hard to get insight when you are in the middle of it and no one is talking, doncha know.

My point was this: I agree with Romney that the Russsians are a threat, but I do not know his reasons, so I was assuming their past history will indicate future behavior/performance.

Posted by: Carolyn at October 24, 2012 10:41 PM

I have a copy of a military history of the US, and IIRC it does say that we 'won' the Korean war by getting territory all the way up to the Yalu River.

We did drive the northern Koreans back nearly to the Yalu. However, at that point, the PRC joined the war and almost literally threw bodies at the front. They drove us back to, essentially, the original demarcation line--today's DMZ--and at that point, we agreed to call it a draw and agreed to a cease fire. We are, technically, still at war.

I spent an interesting year there at a radar site on a mountain top 6 air minutes from Pyong Yang.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 24, 2012 10:59 PM

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