Saturday, January 07, 2006

COULD VS. SHOULD

The New York Times critiques military readiness and procurement:

"Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Study Shows"

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/politics/06cnd-armor.html?ei=5090&en=b13c10c570c09190&ex=1294203600&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

The study, originally obtained by the military advocacy group Soldiers for the Truth, was first reported on the group's website.

First, an observation: This Nation, 34 months of war notwithstanding, is not on a war footing. The procurement issues raised in the article are inevitable when a Nation is at peace but its army is at war.

Second, a question: How does publishing this information benefit the Nation? Does it benefit anyone? Who, specifically?

It doesn't benefit the elected government or the military bureaucracy. It makes them look incompetent.

It doesn't benefit the families of the slain. It may even be the bitterest of revelations to those who are now haunted by the idea their loved ones' deaths were preventable.

It is unlikely to benefit the soldiers now in the field. Suddenly throwing this onto the table won't speed procurement. In fact it might slow it down by prodding too many to attempt to contribute to the "solution." Too many cooks...

It doesn't contribute to the general understanding of military procurement, which, as students of the military will point out, is fraught with real-world stumbling blocks under the best of conditions. For people unaware of the stumbling blocks it may in fact distort that understanding.

It probably contributes to the erosion of support for the war effort, so it can't be said to benefit the general public...

Unless it's a "public benefit" to destroy the public's confidence in this contentious endeavor...

I'm all for disclosure, and no fan of the war, but I'm having trouble finding the "societal good" in this and similar stories. Protection is really a collateral question: Any war is a race between offence and defence, the ability to protect yourself at the same difference or under the same condtions you can kill the enemy. No mater how well protected, at some point there will be fatal failures of that protection.

If the Times wants to debate the war itself, great. I think debating the tools and the toolshop is butting in to no purpose.

Other than selling papers, I suppose...

Comments:
"The Times" long ago showed it had no interest in anything other than trying to make Bush look bad.
 
The Military bureaucracy is run just like any major multinational corporation - very slow and paperwork oriented. Results take a back seat the process.

Having said that, from a practical standpoint, there is only so much hard plate armor you can put on a man before you have to give him wheels and an engine. We dont need more armor plate, we need new materials that are lighter and flexible, but provide improved protection.

The alternative is human tanks. Which sounds great, until you realize just how vulnerable that makes the troops to a small, fast, force with armor piercing, or penetrator rounds.

Agree completely, though, that the country is not really on a war footing, regarless of what the politicians say. We are still trying to fight this war, and keep the peace elsewhere, with a peacetime force.

And yes, various NY Times reporters and editors should be investigated for treason at worst, sedition at the least, and dissemination of classified information.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?