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Done In by the American Way of War


Done In by the American Way of War

Tom Engelhardt

With General John Campbell’s tour of duty in Afghanistan finished, a new commander has taken over. Admittedly, things did not go well during Campbell’s year and a half heading up the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) there, but that’s par for the course. In late 2015, while he was in the saddle, the Taliban took the provincial capital of Kunduz, the first city to be (briefly) theirs since the American invasion of 2001. In response, U.S.


As always, on the nose.
What is overlooked is the corporatization of the military. It no longer functions as a classic military that Clausewitz would recognize. Almost all logistics capability, including messing, billeting and transport have been privatized outside the military chain of command.

The military commissary system was developed as the skeleton for distribution of foodstuff to deployed forces. The supply contracts provided a military benefit for members, but along with the military exchange system, it had critical wartime logistics roles. It was a rapid response, scaleable logistics foundation. Congress is proposing privatizing is completely, leaving military commanders without an in-house supply conduit.

Not only have contractors assumed a large role in military operations, they can dictate the parameters and operations, while modern Generals act as corporate managers. He who controls an asset, owns it.
You can physically punish a derelict military commander, but you can only sue a contractor. If KBR/Halliburton does not favor a deployment, the Commanding general is unable to field forces without them.

The laser like focus on 'warrior' mentality has been promoted by an officer corps whose educational expertise tends towards corporate business management. MBA degrees tend to slight the Liberal Arts historical subjects required for creative war fighting. A firm grasp of the British and Soviet failures in Afghanistan should have been enough to prevent our impulsive invasion. An understanding of the regional memories of the European Crusader invasions would have quashed the appallingly religious overtones which have sabotaged all American diplomatic and military efforts.

The post-Vietnam hiatus in Empire building saw a struggle within the Officer's Corps to compete in a peacetime military. First pilots, then fighter pilots dominated the Navy and Air Force. Being 'fighter' granted membership in an elite cadre who were afforded special privileges, promotions and opportunities. At the same time, pilots were seldom exposed to the actual military system and its daily operations. Many officers reached command positions with little understanding of why and how their command was organized.

The Army, enamored of Rambo rather than Tom Cruise, elected to make everybody 'Special.' Berets for everyone! The romantic and permissive fantasy of what constitutes a 'Special Operation' has descended into a culture of violence and brutality. which has migrated into domestic law enforcement and general society. Gitmo has followed us home.. Back in the 1990s, Special Operations were regarded with suspicion because we were on the fringes and unfamiliar. Which is where 'special' stuff should be. Civil Affairs Medcaps and dentcaps across The Far East did more for America than drones ever will.

War is easy. Especially when it is run for you by contractors. Only the poor people are dying.

It's time we take a long hard look at our JCS and military officers. Too many insist on inserting their personal faith onto their troops. Too many see themselves as managers, not sworn officers. 15 glorious years of war are 15 too many. Who profits? Why can't these military geniuses find a way to cut our losses and run? 425