Tag Archives: War

The Cost Of A Volunteer Armed Force-It’s High!

The Unied States of America is committed to the concept of an armed force which is based on volunteers filling its ranks. According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the all-volunteer military is “worth the cost.” But, Admiral Mullen, who chairs the Joint Chifs of Staff, indicated the continuous increase in personnel costs “does not bode well for a military of this size.” Gates urged Congress to approve a “modest” increase in Tricare health care fees for woking age military retirees. Gates argues these individauls are in good health and are working so they should be able to absorb an increase in health cost which would result in freeing other money for military expenditures.

Senator Daneil Inouye pointed out that pay for active and reserve service members rose 32% and 47% respectively betwen 2000 and 2006 due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It now costs about $126,000 pr service member each year to provide pay, benefits and health care. ‘Is the cost of maintaining an all-volunteer force becoming unsustainable?” he asked. In responding to the question, Gates pointed out a volunteer army requires more attention to taking care of families whether the soldier is deployed or not. “There is no question it is expensive,” he said.

Admiral Mullen pinpointed the issue by raising the question as to whether the United States could afford the current sized armed force or would it have to reduce the size of the military at some future date. He suggested “I don’t see us as a country being able to afford the kind of cost increase at the rate they’ve occurred over the last sveral years.”

An important aspect of the Bush foreign policy is its impact on the concept of an all-volunteer armed force. Can the United States continue fighting all over the world without at some point introducing the concept of a draft?

US Tough Talk On Iran Falls Flat

Leaders in the American armed forces and the Bush administration have been racheting up tough talk regarding Iran’s support for Iraq militants but, so far, the rhetoric has not resulted in the reality that Iran is worried about a possible American invasion. Iranian Foreign Minister spokesperson, Mohammed Ali Hosseini, responded to the latest comments by Admiral Mullen last week in which he warned of consequences if Iran did not cease sending in supplies to insurgents. “We see it unlikely, said Hosseini, “that they plan to enter a new disaster which they themselves believe wlll have unpleasant consequences for the region and the world.” He said Iran smply does not believe America possesses the military power to initiate a third area of operation in the Middle East.

On one hand, the Iraq government of Prime Minister Maliki, constantly praises Iran for aiding its survival, on the other hand, the United States insists Iran is attempting to destroy the Mailiki government. Perhaps, there should be a meeting of minds to work out the story to be presented to the world.

Al Qaida To Bush-Doomsday Or Hell!

Ayman al-Zawahri, number two man in al-Qaida, released a new tape yesterday in which he sneeringly told President Bush that his options were not very pleasant and most probably there would be war in Iraq to hand over to the next American leader. “The truth is that if Bush keeps all his forces in Iraq until doomsday and until they enter hell, they will only see crisis and defeat by the wll of God. “Their alternative is “if the Americans leave they will lose everything. And if they stay, they will bleed to death.” It is apparent al-Qaida leaders have ben keen observers of recent testimony by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker before Congress.

Al Zawahri commented: “Bush declared that he will grant Petraeus all the time he needs, a ridiculous show to cover up the failure in Iraq and to allow Bush to evade the decison to withdraw the forces, which is an admission of the failure of the crusader invasion of Iraq by passing the problem on to the next president.” In an interesting aside, the al-Qaida leader mocked militant Shiite cleric al-Sadr for seeking a cease fire and termed him “the laughingstock of the world”.

There is nothing unusual in the tape, it reflects the continuing belief of al-Qaida they are embarked in a long-term fight to drive out the Americans. It is but another symptom of the need for American to organize political of forces in Iraq to combat terrorism.

Peace Or War For Israel?

Great Britain’s Foreign Minister David Miliband told an audience of his admiration for the establishment of the nation of Israel and said the sixtieth anniversary of the creation of that nation was “an opporunity for all of us to recognize its achievments-in democratic govenance, science, culture and business.” Miliband emphasized the security of Israel was best guaranteed by the creation of an independent Palestinian state. “Israel’s future depends on it having normal relations with its neighbors.” The foreign minister said conflicts in the region stem more from economic inequalities, ethnic tensions and competition for scarce resources.

As he spoke, tensions heightened on the Israel-Syria border as each side claimed the other was preparing an attack. Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem emphasized his nation wanted peace but was prepared for war if attacked by either the United States or Israel. The newspaper, Al-Hayat reported both nations are exchanging messages of peace as they prepare for potential war on the part of the other.

The possibility exists that Syria is concerned of action by Hizbullah which would drag them into a fight with Israel and that might be a major factor in moblizing some of its armed forces. Perhaps, it is time to place a UN force on the heights of Golan to serve as a warning to all sides of the danger of armed conflict.

War Looms In Horn Of Africa As Bush Stands Idly By

The International Crisis Group, a prominent think tank, warned that “the risk that Ethiopia and Eritrea will resume heir war in the next several weeks is very real” Both sides have moved thousands of troops to their borders and any incident might spark the resumption of war. If war breaks out, claims the group, “there will be no easy military solution,” since both sides are prepared to fight indefinitely. Part of the reason for the current crisis arises from the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia which was encouraged and supported by the Bush administration which wanted to crush the Islamic government which was in power. Eritrea, as a Muslim nation, opposed this action by Ethiopia which is mainly Christian. The two nations have previously been at war although an uneasy peace now reigns. President Bush has within his power the ability to calm things down since Ethiopia obtains considerable support and aid from the United States.

This is merely another example of Bush in operation. He becomes obsessed with crushing “terrorism” and in so doing only exacerbates issues, not solves them. The Somalia Islamic government was undoubtedly not a supporter of democracy, but for the first time in years some semblance of order had been established in Somalia. Now, with an invasion led by Christian Ethiopian troops (the US provided naval and air support) anger among Muslims has risen. One wonders if Bush ever listens to experts prior to supporting violence.

Kurdistan Leader Defiant And Seeks Compromise

Iraqi Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani issued a defiant rejection of Turkish demands to end terrorism while also indicating he was ready to negotiate for peace. On one hand, he said about Turkey, “You do not speak to me, then you ask me to do things against the PKK. How can this be?” Within a few moments he also said: “I am a friend of the Turkish nation, not an enemy. Let’s cooperate and open the door for a peaceful solution to the problem..” Barzani heads the Kurdish part of Iraq which, for all practical purposes, is now functioning as a semi-independent area. Barzani most probably harbors concerns that have little to do with the PKK.
Why is Turkey’s hostility toward Iraqi Kurdistan? Is it because we are the real problem in Ankara’s eyes and not the PKK? We want assurances from ‘Turkey that all these military measures are not against us.” In another flip around, he told the PKK to “give up violence or confront not only Turkey but the whole Kurdish nation.”

Barazni fears Turkey seeks to crush all Kurdish armed forces that might pose a threat to their own security. There is concern in Turkey that creation of an independent Kurdish nation serves as a beacon to Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran to also become part of that nation. The American invasion of Iraq caused Kurdistan to emerge as a semi-independent nation and we are now living with the consequences of Bush’s actions.

Iraq Leader Defiant-We Will Not Turn Over Kurds!

Iraq Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani defiantly told the world he would not give in to Turkish or American pressure about surrendering leaders of the Kurdish Workers Party. “I will not hand over any person in any regional state no matter what the cost. However, in truth, I will not allow any PKK official to use the Kurdistan region as a base or to be present here and threaten the security of Turkey.” Barzani said he was ready to defend his nation against any action by an outside power, including the United States. His statement came after talks in Ankara ended in a deadlock where Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said, “some of the proposals put forth by the Iraqi delegation were far from meeting our expectations while some were to provide results in the long run. …However, we expect the Iraqis to take immediate action.”

The winds of war grow stronger with each passing rhetorical outburst from the parties involved. The Kurds and Turks are walking gingerly down the road to war and apparently neither side understands how to halt their voyage to chaos and disorder.

Tonyt Blair Unbound-Story Of A Man Who Gave In To Fear

Anthony Seldon, in his new biography of Tony Blair, Blair Unbound, reveals that Colin Powell and Jack, Straw, the former foreign secretary, attempted to control the two leaders from their failed venture in Iraq. Powell told Seldon: “In the end Blair would always support the president. I found this very surprising. I never really understood why Blair seemed to be in such harmony with bush. I thought, well, the Brits haven’t been attacked on 9/11. How did he reach the point that he sees Saddam as such a threat? Jack and I would get him all pumped up about an issue, and he would be ready to say, ‘look here, George,’ but as soon as he saw the president he would lose all the steam.” Seldon claims two of Blair’s senior advisors, David Manning and Baroness Sally Morgan argued against the war. It appears Britain’s ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer also argued against entering the war.

The Seldon book is a sad commentary on the man, Tony Blair, and his failures in leadership. One can only wonder at what might have happened if Tony Blair had taken a decisive step to defend the world against the impulsiveness of George Bush.

US Train And Iranian Train Headed For Collision!

Two trains are headed toward one another on the same track, each driven by an out-of-conrol engineer who is convinced the other train will somehow get out of his way. One is driven by a religious fanatic, Ahmadinejad, who has been confused by praise from the Muslim world, into believing he can actually triumph over the United States in a war. The other is driven by Dick Cheney and his sidekick, George Bush, who do not intend to go down in history as allowing Iran to become a nuclear military power. Renaud Giraud, writing in Le Figaro, raises these metaphors to illustrate the madness now enveloping the United States and Iran. He cites three factors as propelling Bush/Cheney: their fear of Iran’s military capabilities in the future, strong bipartisan support in Congress for tough action against Iran, and Saudi Arabian and Israel lobbies which emphasize the dangers of Iran to Middle East stability.

The ironic aspect of the current conflict is that in 2001, Iran publicly condemned the 9/11 attack and in 2001 gave quiet assistance to American military forces in their Afghanistan campaign. The Iranian government in December, 2001, supported American efforts at the Bonn conference to implement political and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan. After offering these supports, President Bush in January, 2002 listed Iran as one of the “axis of evil” threatening the world. The recent resignation of Larijani both as negotiator on nuclear issues and as secretary general of the Iranian Security Council reflects growing strength of hard liners.

A sad aspect of the current presidential primary campaigns is failure on the part of any Democratic candidate to articulate an intelligent Iran policy. They fear being accused of “weakness” just as they feared in 2003 of refusing to back the Bush invasion of Iraq. America need voices of reason about Iran, but they appear muted in the face of media taking them to task for being weak. On the other side, Ahmadinejad is bewitched by his seeming popularity for standing up to America and may have come to the wrong conclusion about Bush and Cheney. They will resort to military action regardless of the cost to their nation. After all, isn’t Ahmadinejad doing the same to his country?

War Chants Heard In Turkey As Diplomats Try For Peace

Thousands of Turks marched through the streets of their nation shouting for war with Kurdish rebels even it if means invading Iraq. In the meantime, Turkish leaders were holding meetings in London, Washington, and Baghdad in a last minute effort to avert a new Iraq war. Prime Minister Erdogan told his counterpart, Gordon Brown, in London that an attack might come at “any time” unless the Iraq government was able to control Kurdish rebels of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Baghdad informed Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that war was the last resort of his nation because, “we do not want to sacrifice our cultural and economic relations with Iraq for the sake of a terrorist organization.”

Four years ago President Bush in his usual tough talking way persuaded the American Congress to allow an invasion of Iraq in search of WMD because diplomacy had failed. Today, more mature leaders like Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey are trying the diplomatic route despite having over two dozen of their soldiers killed by Kudish insurgents. It is unfortunate for America that it lacked leaders with diplomatic skills in 2003 who could have worked hard to achieve our foreign policy goals without resorting to war.