What happened to our Armed Forces this past decade?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by hapaboy, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. We're committing, I understand, half of our Army's divisions to Iraq. With worries about possible hostile interventions from Syria and Iran, and N. Korea on the other side of the world, my feeling is we're spread a little thin.

    From the newspaper:

    At the beginning of Desert Storm, the US had:

    18 Army Divisions.

    165 Air Wings.

    580 ships.

    706,000 Army troops.

    Now we have:

    10 Army Divisions.

    91 air wings.

    306 ships.

    476,000 Army troops.

    How did this happen? Who's responsible? Is it as simple as blaming it on Clinton as Limbaugh has done? Are we truly capable of fighting two wars on different continents at the same time?
  2. rs7


    (While it may not surprise you to hear me disagree with Rush Limbaugh....LOL!!!)

    Here's my guess. Semi-educated, as my son has quite recently enlisted in the Navy. Goes to boot camp June 30.

    The military is just far more sophisticated now. The selectivity of enlistees is enormously higher, and the need for size has been decreased by quality in both personnel and weaponry.
  3. Again, best of luck to him! :)

    There's no doubt that technology has played a part. But at some point doesn't it become a matter of numbers? High-tech bombs are all well and good, but it's common knowledge that at the end of the day you have to have troops on the ground to fully defeat an enemy. Battles may be decided by air power and missiles, but wars are decided and victory ensured by men on terra firma.

    With half of our divisions in Iraq, what would we be able to commit in N. Korea should the situation arise? AND we of course have to maintain enough troop strength on the US mainland.
  4. rs7


    Maybe, maybe not. At least as far as the number of men goes.
    The preparedness of our troops in not only Vietnam, and Korea, but even more so in WWII was laughable compared to our guys today. No conscripts, no generic grunts. All of them are highly trained and indeed an "Army of One" as they advertise. (regardless of branch...they each have their own slogan).

    A good question. Asked the same one myself in another thread within the past few days. Cause for concern. Hopefully the Generals are as well prepared as the enlisted guys.
  5. Quote from hapaboy:

    Battles may be decided by air power and missiles, but wars are decided and victory ensured by men on terra firma.

    Don't know why the "maybe not" comment is applicable in situations we're discussing, i.e. N. Korea. That is a country we would have to commit large numbers of ground troops for a variety of reasons, some of which are the sheer numbers of N. Korean ground forces, the terrain (mountainous and hilly - very different from a flat Iraq), the elaborate network of "dug in" fortifications there, and the ensuing humanitarian crisis which is already horrific (millions are starving).

    Air power and bombing are fine in certain cases (the Balkans), but I don't think N. Korea qualifies.
  6. rs7


    Like I said, I hope the Generals are prepared. Ground troops may be critical in a place like Korea. But not as critical as planning.

  7. IMHO our forces have been cut too much. There has been debate about the issue before among top officials and military strategists, so I don't think it's simply a matter that all the powers that be decided quality over quantity and then made cuts to this degree.

    Let's get Ken Starr on this case so he can dig up some dirt on Slick Willy! :D
  8. Babak


    I think quality is replacing quantity (but you can't extend that to boots on the ground). Look at the JSF. It can do air to air, air to ground/sea, it can do vertical lift-off, it is stealthy, etc....

    For one stealth technology will be used in almost all aircraft, ships and even drones. I believe Boeing is developing stealthy drones which can carry double the ordinance of current airplanes in leu of a pilot. There is a lot of very neat technology that is still classified.
  9. The JSF is all fine and dandy, but will it be available if we need it in the near-term i.e. w/N. Korea?

    It will take years to have the newest technology widespread. Do we even have that window of time before Round 2 begins?

    Bottom line is you do need boots on the ground, and LOTS of 'em. If our technology was indeed that great, we wouldn't be debating if Saddam was deep-fried or not on day 1.

    I think a lot of generals are wishing we had those 8 Army divisions, 100 air wings, and 350+ ships right now.
  10. Rush is wrong. He has a mindless agenda. That's his job he dutifully attends to each and every day.

    I could and would debate Rush on any topic any time under normal debating rules where he does not get to hit the mute button. I'd clean his clock, like everyone has who he has debated not on his radio program. That's why he is not allowed to venture forth unprotected anymore.

    To make $20 million a year while pontificating to loyal "dittoheads".... well, the possibilities for success in America are truly remarkable. That's why I love this country.

    (Are you a dittohead hapaboy?)

    Anyway, on to your question:

    706,000 Army troops? At the beginning of Desert Storm? You mean after the large call-up of reserves? Maybe that accounts for the difference. What were the troop levels prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait?

    And how is Clinton responsible for the current troop levels? Bush and Gin Rummy have had the Defense Department for 2 years now. Is Rush saying these morons did not have the sense to fill out the forces before starting a war? How can he insult his heroes like that?

    Every Republican administration likes to blame the prior Dems for Defense attrition, even though the greatest % growth periods in troop strength since 1916 have occurred under Democratic Presidents.

    Incidentally, I don't know how old you were in 1991 but if you were past your teen years then you might remember Cheney's openly touting the "Peace Dividend" following the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the Soviet Union. He felt the threat level had been so radically reduced that military spending would shrink by 1/3 over the 1990s.

    PS What's this? http://www.hapaboy.net/ "yeah freakin George bush is the gayest guy alive. He should not attack iraq because I need to go to Japan and people shouldnt die because your dad couldnt get him out 10 years before...."
    #10     Mar 30, 2003