While the press and politicians are distracted by another national security crisis, its business as usual in the Pentagon, with extra cash for all insiders. Fears that unnecessary weapons or units would be cut have faded as the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) was finally released. This is THE BIG report required by Congress every four years to force real change in the Pentagon bureaucracy. Most newspapers in the nation simply reported the Pentagon's press release that the QDR was an outline of changes to come. However, anyone who follows military affairs closely knows that this QDR shows a total breakdown of leadership. Unlike previous QDRs, it proposes no real changes; nothing. David Fulghum of Aviation Week provided the best insight when he wrote:
"Senior military officers who produced the QDR say it is devoid of analysis and has avoided answering any of the questions asked by Congress. Frustrated by delay and the unwillingness of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to make key decisions, the authors finally adopted the Hippocratic admonition to at least avoid intentional wrongdoing. 'The report is a pabulum at best', said one of those involved in preparing the QDR. 'The chairman's [General Hugh Shelton] guidance was just do no harm, and we adopted that as as our role'."
Apparently, Shelton doesn't care that taxpayers are harmed when billions of dollars are wasted on unneeded programs. He does care that servicemen are harmed when money is unavailable because most of it goes to massive communist job programs. He doesn't care if terrorists can simply walk across the undefended American border. He doesn't care that Special Forces units are undermanned while thousands of tank crewmen sit in Germany waiting for the Soviet ghost armies to appear. Tom Clancy's new book "Special Forces" includes a flattering interview with Shelton, but later notes the Special Forces "Green Berets" planned to cut their number of teams by 30% because of a lack of manpower. During his four years as the "leader" of the US military, Shelton ensured that everything was preserved just like when he took charge in 1997; nothing closed, nothing canceled, nothing moved, nothing eliminated, nothing changed. Fortunately, Shelton retired September 30th after four years total inaction, which is why he is highly respected in Congress.
Despite the need to focus on "Homeland Security" almost nothing has been done over the past four years, and very little since the 9-11 attacks. Citizens and Congressmen have complained for years about the flood of illegal immigrants, which is now a greater concern since terrorists can enter the USA mixed with the estimated two million illegal immigrants who cross our borders each year. The obvious solution is for some our nation's 1,400,000 troops to help the 9000 US Border Patrol agents watch the border. This would also cut the flow of illegal drugs and reduce the influx of foreign criminals and diseased persons who often harm American citizens. However, the Pentagon refuses to consider this idea, claiming it would violate of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act which prevents the military from enforcing US law. This is absurd, the Posse Comitatus Act is just a law, its not the US Constitution. Congress authorized the US troops to guard the border last year, thus amending the 1878 act to erase any concerns.
The US Army once had a series of forts along the US-Mexican border. Patrolling the Mexican border was a primary mission of the US Army until the US Border Patrol was formed in 1924, and remained a secondary mission until 1945. During all that time, no one considered stopping foreigners from invading the USA to be in conflict with the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. Some Generals have asserted that soldiers are not trained for such missions. This is absurd; watching the border is simple. Teams of soldiers can sit on high ground overlooking the border. When they see a group of people sneak across, they run over and detain them until a Border Patrol van can pick them up. This would free Border Patrol agents to perform law enforcement tasks like operating checkpoints, processing arrestees, and pursing illegal aliens who have made it past the border. However, defending the border itself is basic infantry work, and participating in real national defense is rewarding for soldiers. Unfortunately, the United States has the only Generals in the world who think guarding their nation is not their role. They think its more important to guard the borders of Korea, Kuwait, Germany, and Macedonia. Perhaps they will soon argue that National Missile Defense should be turned over to the Border Patrol because intercepting incoming missiles is domestic law enforcement.
Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld proved that he is just a dancing clown, full of talk and humor, yet totally unfit for his job. For several months Rumsfeld boldly spoke of major changes. In his numerous press interviews, he suggested that Cold War monopolies would be crushed and a modern efficient military force would emerge. People became impatient as Rumsfeld repeatedly delayed public release of his bold plan. However, September 30th became "put up or shut up" time for Rumsfeld as the QDR was due, and the 9-11 attacks clearly showed the US military was overdue for major change. The QDR process was created to allow the Secretary of Defense to represent the taxpayer and challenge the communist bureaucracies in Washington DC. In this case, it was Congress criticizing Rumsfeld for failing to offer any changes during recent hearings on the QDR, which Rumsfeld skipped.
The current conflict in Afghanistan highlights some things that need to be done. For the past ten years, American airpower has been hampered by a lack of intelligence and electronic warfare aircraft, such as: E-3 AWACs, EC-130s, EA-6Bs, U-2s, and RC-135s. However, Rumsfeld refused to shift funding to fill this critical shortage, while funding thousands of new fighter-attack aircraft like the now obsolete F-22. Many studies have detailed the need to improve vital overseas bases like those in Guam, but this is ignored while billions of dollars are spent maintaining unneeded Cold War bases, like Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the extravagant naval headquarters in London, and most bases in Germany. Rumsfeld and Shelton refused to do anything, possibly because it would endanger the millions of dollars in kickbacks from the military industry which men in their position traditionally receive upon "retirement".
The 9-11 attacks also revealed shortcomings in the massive US "Intelligence" community, yet they will receive even greater funding as their reward. This was not a total surprise as the Economist reports in its 10-6-01 issue: "In 1995 Philippine intelligence passed on plans by Ramzi Yousef, a now-convicted terrorist, to hijack an airliner and ram it into either the CIA headquarters or the Pentagon. The FBI also knew that several people with links to al-Qaeda had been taking private flying lessons. And at least two of the suspects were on a watch list". Don't expect the CIA to know much in the future. TIME magazine reported in its 10-15-01 issue "Even if the agency's directorate of operations had an adequate supply of case officers who speak the local dialects--which it doesn't--the Americans typically attach them to embassies and consulates, where their diplomatic cover makes them easy to spot, and the CIA's risk-averse ethos precludes any attempt to go native. Back home, intelligence sources tell TIME, the agency's directorate of intelligence had just one Afghan analyst prior to Sept. 11, and he's been moved to a special center near the State Department to work 18 hours a day." Keep in mind that the world's leading terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden has been operating from Afghanistan for several years.
Citizens may expect that Congress will certainly take action now. However, the 10-8-01 issue of Aviation Week noted: "The Bush Administration is in the midst of a major review of how the intelligence community is structured, but don't expect much improvement--at least that's the opinion of insiders. Guided by historical example, the House Intelligence committee suspects 'no major substantive changes will occur after these reviews are complete.' The committee added that changes are needed, and have been since at least 1996, when it presented a long-forgotten reform plan called IC21. The panel notes that the Intel budget for 2002 actually cuts human intelligence."
As G2mil readers should know, funding human intelligence operations is not popular because it produces no jobs or profits from which Congressmen benefit. Why give money to low-life foreigners when contracts for billion-dollar satellites and huge computers result in kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions? The huge communist faction in the US Congress led by Senator John Warner was gleeful that the QDR ignored the billions of dollars which flow into their "national security" rackets. In addition to massive new military spending to kill a few hundred terrorists, Congress has approved huge increases in farm aid (which aids mostly millionaires) and a hundreds of road projects. Normally passive Larry King was so concerned about this irresponsible spend-fest he asked Congressmen Max Cleland how America could afford all this. Comrade Cleland responded like others in Congress, with a broad smile, rolling eyes, and mumblings about a "war".
While the corporate media distracted Americans with the insignificant anthrax threat and the bombing of empty buildings in Afghanistan, it ignored this communist power grab. For the past several years, the federal government has been growing 5% faster than the nation's economy. Economists expect zero economic growth next year, but the federal government is expected to grow by 10%. It doesn't take a math genius to determine the nation is on the path to disaster. Congress has already borrowed (or stolen) all the nation's retirement savings from the Social Security program. Within ten years, the Social Security program will no longer produce a "surplus", so Congress will have to borrow money from the private sector to pay its bills, and borrow even more to repay Social Security. This will cause interest rates to rise, so Congress will have to borrow even more to pay interest on the nation's $6 trillion debt. Bankruptcy is the true threat to America's national security. The Soviet Union was not defeated by a powerful foe, it collapsed from extravagant military spending, government corruption, and bureaucratic paralysis. Ironically, the Soviet's clumsy adventure into Afghanistan was the straw that finally broke that "superpower's" back. Is America on the same path?
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
G2mil Editorials may be free distributed without permission
November 2001 Articles
Letters - comments from G2mil readers
Tankita - compact-heavy armor
Tank Roofs - put a shield on top of tanks
SUBSAM - SUB-Surface-to-Air Missile
KCH-53F Dragon Cow - rapid refueling for ground forces
The SSGN Cruise Missile Scandal - another submarine rip-off
Special Afghan War Supplement
Planning for a long Afghan War - go home for the Winter
Anthrax - not a threat
CNN Map - click each military base for details
Modern Aircraft Bombing Analysis - just the facts
Special Forces, not Super - US commandos face a tough job
The US and the "United Front" - backing the weaker gangsters
Black Hawk Down - an on-line book about the disastrous Ranger operation in Somalia
Inside Saudi Arabia - where average income has fallen in half
This report cannot be independently verified - an outsiders view of American news
Inside Defense - special war reports for non-subscribers
G2mil Confidential War Briefing - (library members only)
Previous G2mil - October 2001 issue
Library Tour - visit G2mil's library
Library Entrance - members only
All material in G2mil Copyright 2001 G2mil, patents pending on some items. Links to the index page (www.G2mil.com) are encouraged, other page names change often.