Monday, May 30, 2005

General Krugman Returns

Some quick vacation blogging, while the Mrs is out fetching Starbucks and I can take advantage of wireless access at my hotel. A quick check on the news shows that General Krugman is back. Done for the time being predicting a depression era scale collapse of the economy, he is predicting a Vietnam era collapse of the US military. I sense a theme.

One of the more bizarre aspects of the Iraq war has been President Bush's repeated insistence that his generals tell him they have enough troops. Even more bizarrely, it may be true - I mean, that his generals tell him that they have enough troops, not that they actually have enough.

Of course in Krugman logic if anyone says anything in support of the administration they are cheats and liars, if they say anything which could be construed as being against the administration’s policies they are truth tellers.

The article tells the tale of John Riggs, a former Army commander, who "publicly contradicted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by arguing that the Army was overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan" - then abruptly found himself forced into retirement at a reduced rank, which normally only happens as a result of a major scandal.

Of course this phenomenon can be taken to even parts of a sentence. Take this example.

The truth, of course, is that there aren't nearly enough troops. "Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys," a Marine major in Anbar Province told The Los Angeles Times.

According to this, we have plenty of equipment, but not enough troops.

But only a few paragraphs later, apparently this Marine Major does not know what he is talking about. Because now the administration is depriving the troops of equipment in a “pathological” manner.

The other is the way in which the administration cuts corners when it comes to supporting the troops. From their foot-dragging on armoring Humvees to their apparent policy of denying long-term disability payments to as many of the wounded as possible, officials seem almost pathologically determined to nickel-and-dime those who put their lives on the line for their country.

Then to top it all off, Krugman, not being able to rely on the facts, simply speculate once again, that doom is near. He cannot claim that there is an exodus of military professionals, since there isn’t, but he can always hope.

Much more serious, because it would be irreversible, would be a mass exodus of mid-career military professionals. "That's essentially how we broke the professional Army we took into Vietnam," one officer told the National Journal. "At some point, people decided they could no longer weather the back-to-back deployments."

It is Vietnam all over again! Quagmire! Who is this officer, by the way, who claims that back to back deployments broke the professional Army in Vietnam? I have heard a lot of complaints about the way the military was managed in Vietnam, but that is normally not one of them. So General Krugman, stick to the the bad economics, so you can have sycophants like Brad DeLong tell you how brilliant you are, leave the military stuff to people who know what they are talking about. Even if you touch on serious issues that need addressing, your rabid Bush hatred obscures your point.


J. said...

The Mrs should really choose a coffee shop that supports fair trade!

James B. said...

All trade is fair trade. If they could get more for their products and services then they should sell it to someone else.

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Semper Fi!

Bill Adams