A jarhead -- from the shape of their head and what's left of their hair -- is what Army soldiers call Marines. I don't mind that they're few. I don't mind that they're proud. I don't mind that they're brave. I don't mind that they tattoo themselves with always being faithful and preferring death before dishonor.
But I'd like to propose a new federal Truth In Tattooing Act: They're also fucking dumb.
This column in The National Review is by a very unusual former jarhead. In the years since he was a jarhead, he's taught himself to write entire sentences. Or at least find someone at a loopy right-wing rag who could do it for him.
e-mail to Mackubin Thomas Owens:
I knew jarheads when I was in the Army, and I knew they were dumb, but I never imagined anybody could be *this* dumb.
My tax dollars pay you to teach *anything* to *anybody* at a military college? Obviously I need to research what other kinds of crap goes on at these schools.
Yo. We lost on the battlefield. And we lost in the streets and in the democratic civilian processes in the USA. The Vietnamese didn't want us or the French or the Japanese in Vietnam. And my fellow citizens didn't want us there, either.
If you'd wanted victory in Vietnam, patriotic American military officers like you would have needed to stage a coup and impose a military dictatorship in the USA, and Westmoreland would have needed to use nukes against North Vietnam.
Ditto Iraq. Face it, Jack -- we lost the instant we launched this loopy, ignorant, lie-based, footshooting Holy Crusade. And just like Vietnam, we lost on the battlefield, and we lost long ago in the American Constitutional civilian and democratic process.
Lord, I had no idea jarheads could be so dumb. I just wish my taxes weren't paying you to shape the US military. That surely bodes nothing but bad for America, and for every one of my neighbors' sons and daughters in uniform.
SP5 US Army 1969-1971
The National Review
(conservative political magazine USA)
Thursday 23 August 2007
Maroons Rush In
Criticism of the president’s Vietnam analogy takes Chutzpah.
by Mackubin Thomas Owens
In his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday, President Bush argued that the consequences of an American withdrawal from Iraq would be similar to those that followed our abandonment of South Vietnam in 1975. Citing the killing fields of Cambodia and the executions and “reeducation” camps in Vietnam, the president continued:
Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. There's no debate in my mind that the veterans from Vietnam deserve the high praise of the United States of America. (Applause.) Whatever your position is on that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like "boat people," "re-education camps," and "killing fields."
There was another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today's struggle — those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens on September the 11th, 2001. In an interview with a Pakistani newspaper after the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden declared that "the American people had risen against their government's war in Vietnam. And they must do the same today."
His number two man, Zawahiri, has also invoked Vietnam. In a letter to al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq, Zawahiri pointed to "the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents."
Zawahiri later returned to this theme, declaring that the Americans "know better than others that there is no hope in victory. The Vietnam specter is closing every outlet." Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility — but the terrorists see it differently.
The reaction to Bush’s invocation of the Vietnam War’s aftermath was swift and critical. John Kerry called the comparison “ignorant.” Reporters interviewed several historians who were happy to agree with Kerry. Robert Dalleck called the comparison “a distortion”:
What is Bush suggesting? That we didn’t fight hard enough, stay long enough? That’s nonsense. It’s a distortion ... We’ve been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It’s a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out.
USA Today asked Stanley Karnow: “Vietnam was not a bunch of sectarian groups fighting each other, as in Iraq. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge toppled a U.S.-backed government. Does he think we should have stayed in Vietnam?”
Bugs Bunny had a name for people like this: “maroons.” And Alan Dershowitz once wrote a book about them entitled Chutzpah! Of course in criticizing Bush’s reference to Vietnam, they are comparing apples and oranges. If they don’t see this, they are fools. If they do — which is more likely — they are dishonest. Take your pick.
The fact is that opponents of the war have drawn the Vietnam analogy like a gun, seeking from the very beginning to argue that Iraq and Vietnam were analogous. Ted Kennedy famously called Iraq “George Bush’s Vietnam.”
I have argued on several occasions that the parallels between the two conflicts at the operational and strategic levels of war were nonsensical. But that has never stopped the opponents of the current war from invoking the conventional Vietnam War narrative, which goes something like this: The U.S. was predestined to lose the Vietnam War because the Vietnamese Communists were too determined, the South Vietnamese too corrupt, and Americans were incapable of fighting the kind of war that would have been necessary to prevail. Accordingly, “orthodox” Vietnam historians often act as if Hanoi had pursued a course of action with little regard for what the United States did.
It is clear that those who invoke Vietnam in discussing Iraq accept the orthodox narrative. But revisionists such as Bob Sorely in A Better War and Mark Moyar in Triumph Forsaken have called the conventional narrative into question. They and others have shown that Hanoi, as Clausewitz would have predicted, responded to American actions. Moyar’s thesis is that the U.S. defeat was far from inevitable; the United States had ample opportunities to ensure the survival of South Vietnam but failed to develop the proper strategy to do so. By far the greatest mistake the Americans made was to acquiesce in the November 1963 coup that deposed Diem, a decision that “forfeited the tremendous gains of the preceding nine years and plunged the country into an extended period of instability and weakness.”
Sorley argues along the same lines. Building on his excellent biographies of Army generals Creighton Abrams and Harold Johnson, Sorley examined the largely neglected later years of the conflict and concluded that the war in Vietnam "was being won on the ground even as it was being lost at the peace table and in the US Congress."
The fact is that the outcome of a war is not predetermined. Who wins and who loses are determined in the final instance by the respective actions of the combatants. Victory or defeat depends on decisions actually made and strategies actually implemented. We came close to victory in Vietnam, but then threw it away.
The 1972 Easter Offensive provided the proof that Vietnam could survive, albeit with U.S. air and naval support, at least in the short term. The Easter Offensive was the biggest North Vietnamese offensive push of the war, greater in magnitude than either the 1968 Tet offensive or the final assault of 1975. Despite inevitable failures on the part of some units, all in all, the South Vietnamese fought well. Then, having blunted the Communist thrust, they recaptured territory that had been lost to Hanoi. Finally, so effective was the eleven-day "Christmas bombing" campaign (LINEBACKER II) later that year that the British counterinsurgency expert, Sir Robert Thompson exclaimed, "you had won the war. It was over."
Three years later, despite the heroic performance of some ARVN units, South Vietnam collapsed against a much weaker, cobbled-together PAVN offensive. What happened to cause this reversal?
First, the Nixon administration, in its rush to extricate the country from Vietnam, forced South Vietnam to accept a ceasefire that permitted North Vietnamese forces to remain in South Vietnam. Then in an act that still shames the United States to this day, Congress cut off military and economic assistance to South Vietnam. Finally, President Nixon resigned over Watergate and his successor, constrained by congressional action, defaulted on promises to respond with force to North Vietnamese violations of the peace terms.
Of course the president’s reference to Vietnam did not have to do with operational art or strategy but with the consequences of defeat: the abandonment of allies to the tender mercies of Vietnamese and Cambodian Communists, resulting in the death of millions in Cambodia and thousands in Vietnam, the “boat people,” and re-education camps. This abandonment of our Vietnamese allies was a massive moral failure on the part of the United States. It is one we should not repeat in Iraq.
- 30 -
— Mackubin Thomas Owens is an NRO contributing editor and a professor of strategy and force planning at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He led a Marine infantry platoon in Vietnam in 1968-1969.
The Naval War College (NWC) is an education and research institution of the United States Navy that specializes in developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy. The college is located in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition to its degree programs, the College hosts various symposia and conferences.
The College was established on October 6, 1884 and its first president, Commodore Stephen B. Luce, was given the old building of the Newport Asylum for the Poor to house it. Among the first four faculty members were Tasker H. Bliss, a future Army Chief of Staff, James R. Soley, the first civilan faculty member and a future Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and most famously Captain (later, Rear Admiral) Alfred Thayer Mahan, who soon became renowned for the scope of his strategic thinking and influence on naval leaders worldwide. Despite Mahan's prestige, the College was long met with skepticism by Navy officers accustomed to conducting all education aboard ship.
The College engaged in wargaming various scenarios from 1887 on, and in time became a laboratory for the development of war plans. Nearly all of the U.S. naval operations of the twentieth century were originally designed and gamed at the NWC.
One of the most famous achievements of the NWC was the Global War Game, a large-scale wargaming effort to model possible United States-Soviet Union confrontation during the Cold War.
Its principal courses of study are "Strategy and Policy", "National Security and Decision Making", and "Joint Military Operations". Students from all branches of the military, as well as foreign militaries, work towards a Master of Arts.
The Naval War College has two international courses, Naval Command College (NCC) and Naval Staff College (NSC), specifically prepared for the naval officers of other nations. Graduates of these programs include numerous chiefs of the maritime forces all over the world.
Despite the extensive international presence, the Naval War College, unlike certain other U.S. military staff colleges, has never granted a master's degree to an officer of another nation. The Naval War College declines to grant degrees to its international graduates because some officers from other navies have no undergraduate credential, generally an essential requirement for conferring a master's degree in the United States.
The NWC Press has published a number of books, and has put out the quarterly Naval War College Review since 1948.
Buildings and structures
Over the years, the Naval War College has expanded greatly. The original building, the former Newport Asylum for the Poor, now serves as home to the Naval War College Museum.
In 1892, the structure now known as Luce Hall opened as the college's new home, at a cost of $100,000. At the time, the building housed lecture rooms and a library. Wings at either end provided two sets of quarters, occupied by the president of the College and members of the faculty. When the Naval War College was enlarged in 1932, this original building was renamed Luce Hall in honor of the institution's founder and first Superintendent (later President), Stephen B. Luce. The building was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 1972.
Mahan Hall, named for Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (NWC President from 1886–1889 and 1892–1893), was completed and opened in 1904, and encompasses the historic Mahan Rotunda and Reading Room, as well as student study areas. The Mahan Rotunda also serves as an impromptu museum of gifts and artifacts donated by graduating international students over the years.
Pringle Hall (named for Vice Admiral Joel R. P. Pringle, NWC President from 1927–1930) was opened in 1934, and was the principal site for war gaming from the time of its completion in 1934 until the Naval Electronic Warfare Simulator was built in Sims Hall in 1957. The exterior facing of the building is pink Milford granite, similar in appearance to the ashlar granite of Luce Hall, to which it is connected by two enclosed bridges. Pringle Hall contains a 432-seat auditorium, the Quinn Lecture Room, the Naval Staff College, the Graphic Arts Studio, and the Photography Branch.
In 1947, the NWC acquired an existing barracks building and converted it to a secondary war gaming facility, naming it Sims Hall after former War College President Admiral William Sowden Sims (NWC President from Feb. to Apr. 1917 and again from 1919-1922). In 1957 Sims Hall became the primary center for the Naval War College's wargaming department, serving as such until 1999.
The 1970's saw the War College's most active expansion, with the opening of three separate buildings. In 1972, Spruance Hall, named for former NWC President Admiral Raymond A. Spruance (March 1946 - July 1948), was completed, housing faculty offices and an 1,100 seat auditorium.
In 1974, Conolly Hall was opened and named in honor of Admiral Richard L. Conolly, Naval War College President 1950–1953. It houses the NWC Quarterdeck, Administrative and faculty offices, numerous class and conference rooms, and two underground parking garages.
1976 saw the opening of Hewitt Hall, one of two Naval War College building not named for a War College president, this time taking its name from Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt, an advisor to the NWC during his tenure as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe following World War II. Hewitt Hall is home to the Henry E. Eccles Library, the Trident Café, the bookstore and barbershop, and student study areas and lounge.
In 1999, the state-of-the-art McCarty Little Hall opened, replacing Sims Hall as the War College's primary wargaming facility. The other building named for a non-president, it is named after Captain William McCarty Little, an influential leader and key figure in refining the techniques of war gaming. This high-tech facility is used primarily by the Center for Naval Warfare Studies to conduct war games and major conferences, and for research and analysis. The building features the technology necessary to support a variety of multi-media needs essential during multiple and simultaneous war games.
Notable U.S. Graduates
* Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, 1942-45
* Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Chief of Naval Operations 1945-47
* Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.
* Admiral Raymond Spruance
* Admiral Kent Hewitt
* Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
* Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations
* General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
* Admiral Robert E. Kramek, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1990-1994
* Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda, 25th Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.
* Rear Admiral E. Crosby White
* Captain Gerald F. DeConto, Commanded USS Simpson (FFG-56), one of only two currently commissioned vessels in the US Navy to have sunk an enemy ship.
* Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Government of the United States
* General Michael Hagee, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps
* Admiral William Fallon, Commander, U.S. Central Command
* Admiral James G. Stavridis, Commander, U.S. Southern Command
Labels: jarhead National Review Vietnam Iraq Naval War College dominos bloodbath stop Communists stop Jihadists Islamofascists noble crusade our democratic allies