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'surfin the 'stans - the past and future of the region and america's interests


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Posted on Jul 7, 2013 1:11:22 PM PDT
IGS says:
In an attempt to derail the BS threads and deemphasize them ... BUMP

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 7:41:59 PM PDT
patrick says:
just realized this same guy has been pushing the same barrow on PBS..but its a longer more detailed discussion, I guess...

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 7:30:56 PM PDT
patrick says:
recent discussion on the "Afghanistan surge" which came on recently..vid should be viewable all over, being public tv show..

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3540916.htm

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:58:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 7:04:51 PM PDT
Richard M. Smith says:
Darth,
For once we are in agreement. The US has a tradition of stumbling into wars like a blind giant. I disagree a little with you on Gulf War 2. The intel was there, but Secdef was enamored of tech for tech's sake and didn't think past the defeat of the Iraqi field force. Unlike Gulf War I, he had no clear objectives or exit strategy. Disbanding the Iraqi Army was just the icing on the cake.

===========================

disbanding the army set us back half a decade. I watched a documentary where several military generals(?) argued profusely with bremmer not to disband the army. Bremmer wouldn't listed. Here is a case of a highly educated man doing the most incredibly stupid thing because he has no experience or wisdom. The military had deals and a handle on it, bremmer screwed he whole thing up.

to add. I have originally agreed with bremmer's logic of disbanding the army and bath party. But it only took one counter argument a couple week later for me to realize what a disaster it would be. Bremmer simply would not listen to reason. When a general says we have cut deals and people are waiting for us, one must take that seriously. He simple wouldn't listen to any reason. To see how he now tried to weasel out of it today, is disgusting.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:54:14 PM PDT
DarthRad says:Had the US military foreseen how quickly the Japanese Navy could be destroyed with its enormous 1944 fleet, and been able to foresee the effect of the B-29 bombing raids as well as the atomic bomb, all that needed to have been done was to take the Marianas islands.

====================

yes, J. 'foresee.' A crystal ball. Too bad it doesn't exist in real life. Your looking back 60 years later in hindsight is quite meaningless.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:45:22 PM PDT
John M. Lane says:
Consider yourself duly chastised, Smallchief. LOL !!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:37:08 PM PDT
A shooting war against our boys would have done the trick. And there would have been zero compunction about using nuclear weapons to destroy their major cities. But I think they knew that, and wanted no part of a war with the US for an exhaustive list of reasons, not the least of which are those many listed above.
==================
the atom bombs are the game changer. Stalin must have been furious when he found out we had them first and use them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 2:37:58 PM PDT
Smallchief says:
I think Iraq War I was every soldier's dream of becoming the Desert Fox. A set piece; maneuver in a sandbox; no mountains; no trees; no civilians standing around in the way; no ambiguity. We were the good guys. Everybody agreed. The last traditional battle in the history of the world? Perhaps.

Speaking of the Pacific in WWII, a most fascinating and exceedingly cruel combat, I've never figured out exactly why it was that we had to invade Okinawa and spend two months killing every last Japanese on the island at a high cost. How many US dead? 10,000? Maybe the bloodiest battle we fought during the war except the Bulge. If we needed the airfield and port in Okinawa as a staging area for the invasion of Japan, why not just take that part of the island? We did that easily, with few casualties. And then we could have just bottled up the Japanese in the southern and worthless part of the island with a couple of divisions -- and let them starve. What motivated us to conquer the whole island? Bloodlust? Or something else?

Perhaps what we gained at Okinawa was experience in fending off Kamikazis -- which might have been crucial for the upcoming invasion of Japan. But was it necessary to occupy the whole island?

I cheerfully agree that I should be chastised for leading the discussion astray.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 2:10:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 2:28:14 PM PDT
DarthRad says:
Regarding China - here's a good article from the Economist:

http://www.economist.com/node/18651512

I did a two week tour of China in 2003.

Your point about the massive numbers of excess males in China is totally on point. These males are as much a threat to the regime as they might be turned to use for military purposes.

Beijing in 2003 was a city that literally had a police officer on every street corner. Behind the major thoroughfares, you could see the neighborhoods, which seemed to teem with men who were just sitting or standing around, looking bored and restless.

Lots of men.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 2:08:08 PM PDT
Darth,
For once we are in agreement. The US has a tradition of stumbling into wars like a blind giant. I disagree a little with you on Gulf War 2. The intel was there, but Secdef was enamored of tech for tech's sake and didn't think past the defeat of the Iraqi field force. Unlike Gulf War I, he had no clear objectives or exit strategy. Disbanding the Iraqi Army was just the icing on the cake.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 2:03:00 PM PDT
DarthRad says:
Igs',

The planning for Iraq War I was superbly done, unlike that for Iraq War II, and definitely not at all what the U.S. military did in Korea and Vietnam and was also far better than what the U.S. did in WWII.

A big difference was that a lot of the people in charge for Iraq War I were Vietnam era junior officers, and they had seen all the mistakes of that war. People like Colin Powell and Schwarzkopf were highly motivated to prove that the US military could get the job done right, and that all the ducks were lined up properly. Consideration was given to everything, even including how to deal with the news media, which they realized had to be dealt with in a controlled fashion, unlike the haphazard process that occured in Vietnam.

Most of all, the US made sure that it had every tidbit of intelligence it could get on Iraq's military infrastructure. That's what made the war look so easy. Iraq actually did have a lot of sophisticated weapons and high tech defenses, but the US had figured out beforehand how to defeat all of them, down to figuring out the weak points of the massive concrete bunker air shelters (the ventilation shaft holes).

This massive quantity of intelligence on the enemy military, and its weak and strong points, as well as the highly thoughtful planning, was what was missing in Vietnam and Korea. In WWII, there was a lot of highly thoughtful planning, but limited military intelligence, and so a significant amount of the planning ended up based on false assumptions.

Thus, in WWII, we see a lot of wastage of men and material, a lot more major mistakes made, by the US military, because of the lack of good military intel. Lesley McNair was able to thwart timely development of the M26 Pershing tank because of his false belief in the superiority of the M4 Sherman tank, based on a lack of information on the latest German tanks and anti-tank weapons. The US bazooka could not penetrate the frontal armor of the Panther and Tiger tanks. Bradley, Hodges, and Collins thought it important to try to push through Hurtgen Woods, rather than bypass it. Montgomery kicked off Operation Market Garden, not knowing that two SS Panzer Divisions had just arrived in Holland. In the Pacific, the US made costly decisions to attack the Japanese on a number of islands, as well as the Philippines, which ultimately had almost no bearing on how the final end to the war with Japan would be accomplished. Had the US military foreseen how quickly the Japanese Navy could be destroyed with its enormous 1944 fleet, and been able to foresee the effect of the B-29 bombing raids as well as the atomic bomb, all that needed to have been done was to take the Marianas islands.

So again, I go back to a major point that I had made, which got dissed, and that was that the US had very little intel on the Soviets in WWII and afterwards, whereas the Soviet spy system gave it everything the Soviet military needed.

Highly detailed military intel was what made Iraq War I look like a colonial war against natives with spears. I'm sorry to hear about your friends who were killed in that war, but there would have been orders of magnitude more US casualties in Iraq War I had the war been carried out with the same standards of intel and planning that existed for the US military during WWII. There is simply no comparison and I think this is why it is false to assume that the US could have just as easily rolled over the Soviets as it did against the Iraqis.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 1:15:54 PM PDT
The closest I've come to India was watching IRT Deadliest Roads. How anyone survives driving in that country I'll never know. They're like Italians without the verve, but with a death wish.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 12:45:38 PM PDT
IGS says:
My deal with India is they have 1.2 billion people, the are right next door to China, they have fought wars with each other, their burgeoning "engagement" is fragile. We can use them as a geopolitical tool against China. A useful friend. Moreover, at least here, we have a huge population of Indian descended Americans, Indian Nationals, and best of all, terrific Indian food. They are much more politically similar to us than they are to China. As for the trouble with Islam, it really began in the 8th century. Part of the problem with India and Islam is that ... horror of Islamic horrors, it is being integrated with Hinduism ... polluting the pure bloodline as it were. This is an Islamic disaster of cataclysmic proportions because Indians comprise the third largest Muslim population in the world after Pakistan and Indonesia. The Indonesians are already polluted with a majority of non-violent Sufi's. It turns out that this Hindu integrated Islam (the Hindu's integrate everybody, it's inherent in their religion, Hindu moderates are a crack up) is a very non-violent strain. Even worse, it is spreading into Pakistan. Although there is some violent resistance to this from the Islamic "purists", they are losing.

"but from the little I've read, despite it's claim tobe the world's largest democracy, it's largely an oilgarchy, run to benefit the upperclass."

Welcome to America, we are even more alike than I thought. They are born allies! This is but another reason gtf out of Afghanistan (and our concurrent dependence on Pakistani friendship).

The bottom line is, more than any other country in the world, Islam fears India ... it's corrupting them. LOL!

The actual situation is far more complex but if nothing else India is a fun country to become well acquainted with.

Have a good day.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 12:19:26 PM PDT
Darth,
I see both India and China as ticking timebombs. Both are affluant societies built on a base of uneducated peasants who don't have a stake in the success of their society. Neither has any real program to educate, or prevent epidemic among it's poor and that is where I think the trouble will start. China's problem is that it is basically a three class society. First, what amounts to royalty, the upper level families of the Communist elite which has become hereditary, much like the old time nobility. Second, the rich businessmen who are driving China's economy and paying the bills. And finally the workers and peasants on the bottom who have no voice in things and no hope of a better life. Now most of them can't even hope to find a wife and have children.

I'm not as familiar with India, but from the little I've read, despite it's claim tobe the world's largest democracy, it's largely an oilgarchy, run to benefit the upperclass. I have read recently that Islam is causing a lot of trouble in a country with a reasonable amount of religious freedom and a sort of religious balance of power.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 11:51:03 AM PDT
DArth,
The US and the UK did most of the fighting, but there were sizeable contingents from many countries. It wasn't just a US inititive. The UN really thought the territorial integrety of it's members was important in the rearly days. It wan't the utterly corrupt debating society it has turned into today.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 11:23:05 AM PDT
IGS says:
Darth

Re your first post, that stuff was essentially what we were going to see in Europe against the Russians with some minor inferiorities. Rather like the French in 1940 vs. the Wehrmacht. I lost some friends over there to those spears.

As for your second point, I do hope you are correct. But I see it differently. I see it as successful fascism. I also wonder what they are going to do with all those unmarried 20-29 year old men they are just starting to see. Great times to be a women in China. I do know what history tells us to do with excess males. But, I do hope you are correct. Do you know where I can get a good view of population demographic and age distributions in China?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 11:15:10 AM PDT
DarthRad says:
As for China, it is going to frustrate itself in another decade or so when the demographic time bomb it set for itself with the one-child policy starts dropping the numbers of productive young people. No more cheap labor in China. Lots of old people to take care of. India is going to surpass China as the #1 largest country in another 30 years or so.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 10:56:43 AM PDT
DarthRad says:
Iraq War I was so quick and the objectives so well defined and limited, that it was almost something like the military actions in Grenada and Panama, although it was far bigger by comparison. It was truly the epitome of "diplomacy by other means". Militarily, it was more like the old colonial wars, where a technologically inferior armed force just got completely crushed like a bug. Not quite machine guns versus natives with spears, but close.

The final chapter of Iraq War II has not been written yet. People spoke of the country breaking apart into three parts if we displaced a strong dictator like Saddam, and that looks like it is starting to happen. Getting rid of Saddam has empowered the Iranians, encouraged them to develop nukes, may have accelerated the nuclear arming of the entire Mideast. If the Iranians do get nukes, the Saudis for sure will follow.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 10:33:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 10:37:34 AM PDT
IGS says:
Hi Darth

"And that's another key point about why WWII was the last war that the U.S. really truly "won" a complete victory."

I tended to think me and my guys did very well in 1991.
And the same in Iraq now. It all depends on your objective. In Korea, I am not really sure what it was. And Vietnam is a loss. I also have no idea what Afghanistan was/is. I thought that the goal, was to dump the Taliban, kill bin Laden, and nail as much of the hydra headed "Al Queda" and go home. That was done on May 2nd of last year and I am wondering wtf Mr Obama is doing. Dufus, bring the kids home!

"They truly were an evil force that threatened not only the world, but the very existence of the United States."

In a way so was the USSR.

As for much of what follows, we are on the same sheet of music brother.

"And so short of an outright attack on the United States, it would have been hard to justify war with the Soviets."

A shooting war against our boys would have done the trick. And there would have been zero compunction about using nuclear weapons to destroy their major cities. But I think they knew that, and wanted no part of a war with the US for an exhaustive list of reasons, not the least of which are those many listed above.

"their proxies (as did the United States), but never reached the threshold of actually provided casus belli."

On both parties that was very intentional, nuclear weapons were a definitive game changer.

"Lying to justify war with the Soviets? That's a sure loser."

I would generally agree.

"The truth would come out sooner or later, and Americans would lose faith with their leaders, lose faith in the war"

Not with 10,000 dead Americans, lie or no lie, this is the extermination mentality of 1940's America. They weren't even very happy with their erstwhile Allies, the French and English.

"and Iraq."

I think that one's in the W column.

But really, you are not going to hear an argument from me. We only got three foreign policy issues of any concern to me. a) how to become better friend with INdia; b) how to truly enjoy a relationship with the burgeoning powers of South America; and c) how to contain and frustrate China. All the rest of this piddly crap, f it. Iran, who gives a $?!#?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 10:15:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 10:18:52 AM PDT
DarthRad says:
Igs',
"In the end, a major motivator would have been needed. It could have been contrived, but I think a fair amount of lying may have been required. But once the shooting started ... "
____________________

And that's another key point about why WWII was the last war that the U.S. really truly "won" a complete victory. The U.S. government did not have to lie about why we were fighting the Japanese and Nazis. They truly were an evil force that threatened not only the world, but the very existence of the United States. Pearl Harbor was a very real attack and a very real threat, about which no lies were needed to justify atomic bombing the perpetrators in the final act of WWII.

Thus, it was not that hard to do the war bond drives. Still, it was not as easy as Richard M. Smith would believe. The Truman administration was looking at a historical record deficit in 1945, and really desperately needed a successful bond drive to ensure financing of that spending. Read "Flag of our Fathers" about the role the Iwo Jima flag raisers played in this last big bond drive.

Contrast this with all the other wars that the US has gotten into since then. No real existential threats in Korea or Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin resolution was based on a phantom attack, and LBJ lied and lied to justify escalation of the Vietnam War.

The 911 attacks were very real, and I am sure most Americans would have thought nothing of nuking the Tora Bora Mountains to wipe out bin Laden and al Qaeda when we had them on the run in the early days of the Afghanistan war.

Instead, Bush and his neo-cons let bin Laden slip away and lied about 911 and twisted the facts to send us into a war in Iraq, his personal pet peeve, and a country which absolutely had nothing to do with 911 or Al Qaeda.

You cannot lie about the reasons for going to war in our free thinking democracy which holds the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as the greatest goals. The reasons for going to war and giving up those pursuits have to be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR CUT AND TRUE.

And so short of an outright attack on the United States, it would have been hard to justify war with the Soviets. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviets threatened and blustered and did bad things behind the scenes with their proxies (as did the United States), but never reached the threshold of actually providing casus belli.

Lying to justify war with the Soviets? That's a sure loser. The truth would come out sooner or later, and Americans would lose faith with their leaders, lose faith in the war, and would want out. That's what happened in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 9:57:15 AM PDT
DarthRad says:
Richard M. Smith,

Eh, no. The U.S. did the vast majority of fighting in Korea. The UN was there just to provide cover that this was an international "police action". That the US was able to even get the UN involved was because the Soviets foolishly did not understand how important the UN was to U.S. foreign policy goals, and so were in the midst of one of their tantrum throwing boycotts of the UN and the US took that opportunity to put the "police action" in Korea to a UN vote. The Soviets thus foolishly missed their chance to veto, and that was the last time they boycotted the UN.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 8:40:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 8:40:59 AM PDT
IGS says:
Small

I am not sure that an invasion of the Soviet Union would be required or would be the objective. It is possible that the Red Army would collapse in Poland. Without the Army Victorious and without all that soldiery returning to Russia to farm, Stalin and his GRU and NKVD may be under too much pressure to keep the nation together. Especially in Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakistan, and a few other regions. I think in the end, militarily, they (the US) were more than capable of doing it. Politically, it may have been out of the question. That, of course, would be THE dispositive issue. The Russian would have to attack first. They were too exhausted to do it. They knew it. But this is a strictly hypothetical.

But madness, one wonders in view of the 50 years that followed. Would it have been in the best long term interests of the US? Maybe it would.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 7:43:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 8:41:27 AM PDT
Smallchief,
Without proocation, I agree with you. But if the Soviets attacked the western allies first, I strongly disagree. By 1945 the Soviet Union was a house of cards dpending on the Nazis for an external enemy to focus internal dissatisfaction on. With a little deft diplomacy, which the English were very good at, the Soviet Republics could have been turned against the Russian Republic. That in itself, would have ensured the destruction of the Communist system. You have to remember that very few people in the Soviet Union were committed comunists. Most were held in place by terror, or lack of hope for anything better.

The western allies wouldn't even have to invade Russia, just enter the Ukraine, and Byelorussia as liberators, which even the Nazis almost managed to do in spite of themselves, and encourage the locals towards self-determination. It would spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the Soviet Union. With the Red Army destroyed in Germany and Eastern Europe, there would be no force to suppress dissent and rebellion.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 4:52:12 AM PDT
Smallchief says:
Everybody has agreed that in a heads up battle in which the Soviets were the aggressor, the US would win. What we were discussing was whether the US could successfully invade the Soviet Union, defeat its army, and destroy the communist system.

I say no. Emphatically no. To attempt to do so at the end of WW II would have been madness.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 9:26:38 PM PDT
Darth,
The American people might not have supported an unprovoked invasion of the Soviet Union, but that's not what most of us are talking about. We are talking about a response to an unprovoked attack by the Soviets on the western allies. In that case the American public would not only support a war against the backstabbing aggressors, but would demand it. Also the US didn't fight the Korean war, the UN did. We were using surplus weapons just as the North Koreans, Chinese and the Soviet "advisors" did. Why not? There were large stocks of perfectly good, brand new equipment left over from the war. The Soviets were still producing WWII vintage equipment to give away to anyone who espoused communism. Other than jet aircraft, everything used in Korea was WWII vintage.

Up until the defeat of Japan, the American people were still buying war bonds at the same rate they had all along. They were still sacrificing their lifestyles with rationing and working large amounts of overtime for the war effort. Fighting the Soviets in the scenario we have been discussing would not have been a long war, a year at most, probably a matter of months. Then we could have gone back to destroying the Japanese empire. You keep ignoring the points that Surfin and I have been making about the logistical facts of life in 1945. I don't know where you have gotten your ideas of how the world was and how the American people believed back then, but both were very different than today. There was no peace party in the US, only a victory party. The US population was COMMITTED to unconditional surrende of both Germany and Japan, and in this case after an unprovoked attack by the Soviets, that would have been extended to Stalin and the communists.
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  224
Initial post:  Feb 8, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 7, 2013

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