Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Purges produces nuanced idiots

About eighteen months ago, Mr. Obama made headlines for firing nine general officers (not including Petraeus).  Some were relieved for inappropriate relations, others for gambling and some for reasons not disclosed (in the case of Carey).  But what caught the eye of many military officers were the alarming number of generals and admirals who had combat records and were challenging the Obama administration.  It seemed as though the Obama administration were purging those combat-proven leaders by charging them with allegations of misconduct (which conveniently surfaced in-time for Obama to divest himself of them at the beginning of his second term).  Now this is all supposition, thus far nothing has come out to support this view and frankly we may never know if this was a truly a purge.

What has happened is senior military leaders became more quiet for fear their career may be summarily ended.  If this isn't the case, then I challenge you to find the equivalent of a Patton or LeMay amongst today's senior military leaders.  The field grade officers (majors through colonels) who have the combat experience and aren't afraid to speak their minds are too disillusioned by what they see and get out or they are deemed too politically incorrect to be brought into the flag officer ranks.

Generals and admirals walk a tight rope at the best of times.  They are beholding to the higher ups (usually Washington but sometimes contractors as well) while trying to maintain good order and discipline of those under them.  Wartime leaders often find themselves in front of cameras explaining why their troops were killed or how innocent bystanders were killed.  It makes risk-taking for the senior leader or want-to-be senior leader a perilous undertaking.  One wrong move and your hopes for a star come crashing down.

The effect too often creates the ultimate yes-man (or yes-woman) who has been taught from their earliest years in uniform not to stray too far from the path lest one ends up on the outside looking in.  It is why we see the USAF allowing the A-10 to go out of the inventory with no viable replacement in site.  It is why the US Navy nuclear fleet is running out of fuel with no hopes of being refueled any time soon.  It is why the US Army is hellbent on making their shit even bigger and heavier despite dwindling airlift and sealift assets to move it.  It is why even the US Marine Corps has fallen into the trap of lowering their infantry officer course in order for women to pass it.

Stalin purged (murdered) anyone he thought didn't agree with him or MAY not agree with him.  The result of Stalin's purges was to setback the Soviet Air Force 20 years by the start of World War II.  Stalin ordered so many aeronautical engineers purged that the Soviets were flying vintage 1920s style fighter against the Luftwaffe.  Obama's purges is having a similar effect.

This rant was courtesy of an article that is out today about the apology Army General Martin Dempsey had to make after casually remarking the city of Ramadi "The city itself is not symbolic in any way. It hasn’t been declared the caliphate or central to Iraq."  Debbie Lee did not see it that way.  Her son, US Navy SEAL Marc Lee, was the first Navy SEAL to die in Iraq (2006).  Ms. Lee did not take well General Dempsey's remark and he has had to apologize as a result.

On paper, Dempsey is the kind of warrior you want in charge.  He is both a Persian Gulf and Iraqi Freedom vet.  However, he is also a four-star under the Obama administration meaning while he may look good on paper he is very much in keeping with Obama's preference for what I term a "nuanced idiot".  (Mari Harf is the posted child for 'nuanced idiot".)  Obviously Dempsey wasn't trying to disrespect the sacrifice of Marc Lee, he was trying to appease his handlers by naysaying the importance of Ramadi (translated, either Ramadi is too hard or to strategically insignificant to waste forces on).  But as a general officer, especially one who is the Chairman of the JCS, how the hell could you not have recognized "Ramadi" and got up to give a speech calling it basically insignificant to the fight with ISIS?

Dempsey may be the latest nuanced idiot guilty of "Harfing" but he is not the last.  Obama has attracted an incredible number to his fold.  Former US Secret Service director Julia Pierson was another (who was hand-picked for the job by Obama).  DEA Chief Michelle Leonhart is another.  (Secretary of State Kerry isn't a nuanced idiot, he is just a plain idiot).

What is alarming about Obama's preference for and tolerance of nuanced idiots is given the situations in the Middle East and with Russia, eighteen more months of their bumbling could lead us into armed conflict.  No, that this theater level stuff we've been seeing since Desert Storm.  No, armed conflict on a global scale could very likely be the result.

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