From the Soldier side: Every now and then, I have a reader who post very good comments. I think this dude should do a blog...so I'm going to post his last comments. Like I often said, we did our jobs despite the lack of equipment and leadership. In many cases, we had to purchase our own batteries from the PX to use issued equipment...then found the equipment didn't work anyway.
1. Have no brief for Mr. Rumsfeld.
2. Know a fellow who served as one of his military secretaries. His description of Rumsfeld's behavior towards his subordinates is beyond belief.
3. His statement: "You go to war with what you have," is simple truth.
4. His minimalist notions of war fighting haven't served us well.
5. We didn't go to war with what we had -we went to war with what he thought was necessary. He was wrong.
6. The notion of heavily armed young men wandering through Afghan villages as peace ambassadors isn't right either.
7. Let's face it. Once you see people you know get hurt, you want to get some back. Did forty years ago. Do now, too.
8. Takes strong leadership to keep that from happening. The leaders down in the trenches are young and feel the same way as the men they lead.
9. Most of the Afghans are ignorant peasants, but they are not stupid. They know the score. Same same for VN.
10. Back to going to war with whatever.
11. Had this notion that the light weights I trained and shipped out with would be replaced by Sgt. Rock and his men when it came time to go outside the wire.
12. Was surprised to find myself patrolling with the same weak lot I knew all along.
13. The troops I see today are a lot closer to my ideal than my reality of long ago.
14. Part of that is factual and part of that is knowing what to look for in a good troop.
15. Standards are higher, no doubt, and quality is better.
16. You want better, still.
17. I'm just damn glad we're better than we were.
18. You got around Iraq more than anybody I know of. The professional knowledge and behaviors that you describe or allude to helped that to happen successfully