Eisenhower, Flynn, and Trust

michael-flynn2-article-headerA bit more than 56 years ago President Eisenhower gave his farewell speech, he left us with a warning but first he talked about who we were.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology-global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle-with liberty at stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Has anything really changed? Sure the Soviet Union is in the dustbin of history, but it seems to me we face much the same enemy now, just by another name. He also said this:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

The only thing I would change in this is to add the intelligence community and the corporate news industry to the military industrial complex.

Seems to me that is what we are seeing play out now. You all know Bill Krystal, the supposedly conservative writer, well how about this?

I hate to say it, but to me, it comes pretty close to sedition.

Particularly since by all appearances, General Michaels Flynn’s ouster was nothing less than a political assassination.

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline says this

I have a few thoughts about the resignation of Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn. First, I’m calling it an “ouster” because it appears to be the result of a campaign against him. Indeed, Eli Lake calls it a “political assassination.”

Lake quotes Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee, as follows: “”First it’s Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus.” “Put another way,” Lake adds (melodramatically?), “Flynn is only the appetizer; Trump is the entree.”

This doesn’t mean Flynn didn’t deserve to go. If there was substantial reason to believe that he intentionally misled the administration about his conversation with the Russian ambassador, this was sufficient reason to oust him. […] Trump himself has tweeted:

The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

That’s a question that goes to the heart of American foreign policy. Paul adds

Intelligence analysts began to search for clues that could help explain Putin’s move [his announcement on December 30 of last year not to respond to the Obama administration’s sanctions]. The search turned up Kislyak’s communications, which the FBI routinely monitors, and the phone call in question with Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general with years of intelligence experience.

Whether the contents of the phone call were obtained by monitoring the ambassador or by monitoring Flynn, I think Trump is right. The leaking of those contents is a big part of the story, and a disturbing one.

The media-intelligence community pipeline is a swamp that needs to be drained. But can it be?

That is the umpteen trillion dollar question. In large measure, the future of the Republic hinges on it.

Why? Because American have always in large measure been able to trust our government to act in America’s interest. This calls that into question, and then we get to what the guys at Right Angle are talking about.

What that trust is, in large measure, is the rule of law, and that is what has allowed the Anglosphere to far outpace the rest of the world in every sphere.
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Logistics, or Winning Wars

Landing craft and tanks at Omaha beach during ...

Landing craft and tanks at Omaha beach during the D-Day landings, many of which had departed from Penarth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We talked a bit yesterday about how Operation Overlord was such a near run operation. It was, but not because there was a shortage of men, nearly all the troops who would fight in Europe were already in England. The problem was getting them to battle. You see going in and across the beach is not like getting off a cruise ship, particularly since people are inclined to shoot at you.

There were (and are) a whole series of boats and ships designed to do this from the LCVP which could hold about 30 men, to the big LST which was (is)a sea-going ship which could be beached and doors in the front opened and everything up to battle tanks driven off. But where did these come from?

Mostly we got lucky, because nobody expected the French to totally collapse in 1940, even those who thought we would have to intervene were planning on sending the troops and materiél to Cherbourg and the other ports  just like we had in 1917-8. That calculus went out the window when France surrendered.

But there was a bunch of men who were thinking that we might have to fight Japan, and to do that we were going to have to invade islands. The Army had done this back to the Mexican War and again in the Spanish-American War but where horses could swim, trucks and tanks (with some exceptions, but not many) can’t.

So who were these guys? They were the United States Marine Corps. They had a problem, the army absolutely detested them because the Marine Battalion got that publicity back at Belleau Wood. One of the (very few) things that Truman and MacArthur agreed on was that the USMC had gotten all they publicity they needed for all eternity in 1918. The other problem was that other than intervening off and on in Latin America and doing some stuff in China they didn’t have much of a mission. It’s tough being sort of the second army in a country that doesn’t want to pay for the first one.

So they decided to create themselves a mission, they got some help from the Navy, after all they did belong to them, sort of an unwanted stepchild but still. Anyway in the 30s a guy by the name of Andrew Higgins, a Louisiana lumberman developed a boat for work in swamps and such by trappers and oil well people, although there were and are persistent rumors that it was fairly effective at illegally importing alcohol during prohibition as well. Anyway the Marines liked it and championed its development, including adding a front ramp, which allowed it to carry things up to a jeep and trailer along with a 12 man squad, and allowed the quick disembarkation, compared with going over the side, anyway. This is the origin of the LCVP.

Without writing a book here, you can see this was kind of a shoestring operation, remember the army was using broomsticks for rifles up till Pearl Harbor, and such, there just wasn’t any money to be had during the depression, the navy/marine corps team kept plugging away, designing, testing when they could, because they felt, practically to a man, that they were going to have to fight Japan, and so it proved. The army sort of turned up it’s nose and said whatever, and concentrated on those big infantry divisions and started to think about replacing the horses with armored vehicles and such, but in truth, they didn’t have any money either.

Then France fell, Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Philippines surrendered, and all of these calamities meant that we were going to be doing a lot of invading, if we were going to win. The good thing was that landing craft could be built nearly anywhere, LCVPs could be loaded on a truck, if you needed to (that’s how Monty crossed the Rhine) and the bigger ones could move on surprisingly small rivers, LSTs (I think) were built all up and down the Ohio River and went down to New Orleans to go to sea.

But there were never enough, because they were a bit of an unloved stepchild, they got little advocacy, and had trouble getting the priorities they needed, but soon the lack started telling everybody what they couldn’t do, they limited the landing in North Africa, in Sicily, at Overlord itself, and in truth, what they wanted to do was invade the south of France (Operation Dragoon)at the same time. Can you say Cannae written really, really large.

Of course, Rome fell on 05 June, and it had only been a few weeks since the Anzio lodgement had been relieved thus free up the landing craft that had supported that beached whale. Some of those craft went to England but, most supported Dragoon. And if you look at the war there were no more big assaults until the Philippines around the 1st of November. Why? because the Armies in northern France were being supported across the beaches, when they finally took Brest, the port was quite thoroughly destroyed, and when 21st Army Group took Antwerp they failed to clear the Scheldt Estuary thus the port remained useless. Marseilles was used of course but worked better for direct shipment from the US than transhipment from the UK.

There were bright spots, the British designed a rapidly deployed underwater pipeline that helped a lot with fuel, but the success of the air campaign, which was essential to get the troops ashore also meant that the French railroads were pretty much useless. Thus almost all of 3d Army’s supplies roared all the way across France by truck convoy. It’s interesting to note that at this date in late 1944, the German and Russian armies were still mostly horse-drawn while the British and Americans were pretty much completely mechanized. And that’s what stopped 3d Army, it ran out of gas.

Did it matter? I don’t know, Eisenhower wanted to bring his armies up more or less evenly, and I’m inclined to think it was a good idea considering what happened in the Ardennes that winter. Could the shock of an American army taking a German city in November have ended the war? In my judgement, No, not as long as Hitler lived. Eisenhower was right, I think.

There’s an old saying, “Amateurs study tactics,

Professionals study Logistics”

 

Saddle up, America, it’s time to get to work.

Illustration from High School textbook printed...

Image via Wikipedia

This is not Leadership (with an example)

I talked last night about Eisenhower. He’s not the best example of leadership, actually he was more of a manager, but when push came to shove, back there on Monday the 5th June of 1944 he put it like this: “OK, Let’s go”. Pretty hard to beat for a timely, succinct, and courageous decision; especially when based on not particularly good information and you are betting the very lives of millions of your countrymen.

Now let’s talk about one of Eisenhower’s friends, George Patton. There is not much that we don’t recall about him with pride. He was the personification of the hell-for-leather cavalryman, taking his inspiration from Custer and Sheridan (and probably Hannibal).  What you don’t hear so much is that he was one of the best military historians in (or out of) the army of his time, He knew war and he knew men and he trained himself to know how to lead. Here is the kicker, 3d United States Army, in the western campaign took more land and cities, inflicted more casualties on the enemy, and lost fewer men than any other like size unit in the European war.

OK, that’s enough nostalgia (for now) about the good old days when America had a mission and was determined to win through to total victory. Those days are gone.

Now the mission is to provide everyone with such a wonderful life and make sure nobody has to work for a living. Let the rich pay for it all. And unicorns and rainbows, of course. And if we don’t win well, gee those terroristic hobbits with their flags with snakes stopped us. They are an evil conspiracy. They won’t let us win, Mommy, they only have a few US Reps; but they ruined our dream. They want to cut our allowance and they even complain when we take our private jets on vacation twice a month and golf every week.

And that pretty well sums up our liberal friends. Now what is their leadership style? It is summed up as ‘Run in circles, Scream and Shout, If we don’t Win, It’s your Fault’. Oh, George Bush and Racist. I’ve disagreed about something with every US President since I had enough sense and I’m old enough that that includes LBJ. I admired something about every one of them, too, even Carter at the beginning, after all; he was a naval officer and a nuke at that, and Rickover ran a tight ship.

But this crew, it’s hard to even describe them without being seditious enough to expect a visit from the Secret Service. Finger pointing, whining, making (illegal) threats, open the borders wide, sell drug dealers guns, tax the producers till they quit, do every possible thing to kill any productive enterprise and such a rigid ideology that they can’t turn it 15o between New York and Miami. Then the President who spent every waking moment for the last 6 years (at least) scheming and dreaming about how to get to be president has the pure unadulterated gall to complain the job is too hard. He’s damned lucky Harry Truman isn’t around to tell him what he thinks. Damn, Sonny, why don’t you and your buddies just quit and we’ll find a man (or maybe a woman) to do the job?

Crap, how did we ever get here? Never mind, wrong question, How in the hell can we get back to America, without too much damage? Now all you nice people (I mean that, what we do, we do for you) whose idea of a workplace hazard is a paper cut, can understand why those of us who are engineers, firemen, policemen, railroad crews, electricians, linemen, soldiers, (and pretty much anybody else who works with things that can quickly kill you dead) detest, almost to a person, affirmative action. Because, now you have seen the ultimate affirmative action hire: none other than Barrack Obama.

Ok, America, we have one hell of a mess to clean up, so let’s get started. Because if we don’t, we are going down. Because of what America has become to the world, we’ll take western civilization with us, or we will restore it better than ever. Those are the only two outcomes possible.

Saddle up, America, it’s time to get to work.

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