Yesterday's over the top White House rumpus over Senator Kerry's flubbed line about troops in Iraq is truly ridiculous. It was a dorky mistake but in no way merits a new swiftboating of Democrats. The calls for apology coming from left and right alike are, well, they are just silly. The idea that any variety of lip service will somehow "support" our troops--after what we've done to them--is laughable. Kerry is a conservative fist-magnet and conservatives are desperate to change the subject from our real problems the week prior to the election. Problems like the fact that our fine military institution has lowered standards to meet recruitment goals, is now accepting 42 year olds and mediocre high schoolers and that this is causing the decay of the entire institution. (did I mention the ranks of the Army being infested with white supremists?) Lots of things to apologize for. Bad jokes not among them. That the media even covered this gaffe is pathetic.
How about a collective apology from civilians for not paying attention-- throughout the 1990's-- to what our military has been doing? Like implementing the majority of our post Cold War foreign policy, from building girls schools, to AIDs prevention to (horrors!) peacekeeping and peacebuilding around the world. How about an apology for never devising a truly new grand strategy besides whup ass on the world when the Soviet Union fell apart? Now we have an Army that doesn't have enough down to Earth items like body armour or Farsi speakers but continues to be the organizational home for that space-weenie fantasy missile defense?
Only this year did the military put forward a new counter insurgency doctrine Only last November, did the DoD come out with a directive stating that stability support is as important as combat in today's missions.
BTW, an article that ran last week about the Army budget deserves major attention. Seems it has been muffled because of its lousy timing.(meaning elections) In short, Republican appointee, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has given a figure for the Army budget that is $17.8 billion dollars short of the amount Army leaders say is required to execute its part of the current military strategy. Read the whole article here. . Progressives, check out the new organizations out there that are breaking down the notion of "strong" on defense. Look who gets the F grade when defense issues focus on human resources. And jump on this NOW. The neo-cons are onto it. In his convenient revision of recent history, Joshua Muravchik at AEI makes one important coherent point about the importance of human resources in the military. That we've focussed on technology at the expense of human beings.
A lame joke is so nothing compared to this strategic blindness. The Iraq war is a mess, yes. Afghanistan's woes a missed opportunity...but our current leadership has put our very military institution in peril. Who is going to apologize for this?