|Sgt. 1st Class Jason Manella, an Army Reserve civil|
affairs specialist with the 445th Civil Affairs Battalion
marches to the next evaluation during the Department of
the Army Best Warrior Competition here in Fort Lee, Va.
Manella is competing against 11 other warriors for the
title of Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
(Courtesy of Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)
Three issues reported on in the past two weeks have reemphasized just how dangerous the degradation of the readiness of U.S. armed forces has become. The three issues are: troubling developments with Iran and Hizbullah, reports indicating that top U.S. leaders don’t view nation-to-nation war as a real possibility in the near future, and a possible driver for the Chinese to go to war.
First, MEMRI issued a report on November 14 in which it translated the remarks of a Lebanese Hizbullah member of parliament. The translated remarks included the following:
“Let me give you an example. If Hizbullah engages in a war against Israel – its supporters number one or two million. In Syria, Iraq, and Iran, however, there are 130 million people. If Hizbullah can tolerate 1,000 martyrs, they can tolerate 100,000 martyrs, and if Hizbullah can tolerate 10,000 martyrs, they can tolerate one million. Israel, on the other hand, has a population of five million. Whether it confronts only the resistance or the alliance of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, it still numbers five million people.That statement should frighten leaders. People might attempt to interpret that as hyperbole or the simple wishes of one person, but the past ten-plus years of war should cause people to take it seriously. Islamic jihadists have shown a willingness to die. Furthermore, the escalating war in Syria should convince people that the coalition and numbers suggested above are not impossible. The Long War Journal produced the following analysis on Syria on November 23:
The forces of the Islamic Front, said to now embrace at least 45,000 fighters, if combined with al Qaeda-linked forces in Syria, said to number at least 15,000, amount to over 60,000 Islamist fighters. Such a force vastly outnumbers the 10,000-plus al Qaeda fighters in Iraq at the height of the Iraq war.If Sunni jihadists might be able to form a coalition of over 60,000 non-state fighters, it would seem possible that a coalition of three Shi’ite nations could put together the numbers the Lebanese Hizbullah MP member suggests (or at least something substantially larger than 60,000).
And a coalition of three Shi’ite nations led by a nuclear-armed Iran would be a very dangerous threat.
Iran, by the way, is reportedly conducting “massive” war exercises under the name, “Towards Jerusalem.”
The second issue surfaced on November 22 in a report from Breaking Defense. The author of, “Why America Got The Sequester It Deserves,” wrote:
It’s easy to blame all this on Congress, but the White House isn’t helping much either. While Sec. Chuck Hagel and his predecessor Leon Panetta have arguably forcefully against defense cuts, Barack Obama prefers to focus on domestic issues such as rescuing his health care plan.
“The Obama administration hasn’t even tried to articulate a national security narrative beyond counter-terrorism, so it isn’t a big surprise that few care about sequester and readiness,” said one Hill staffer, himself a Democrat. “There is zero public concern about military threats outside of terrorism, so when people say ‘we aren’t ready,’ the answer tends to be ‘so what?’ or ‘fine, maybe we won’t start another war like Iraq.’” (Of course, someone else may start the war instead).”Is it actually possible that American leaders really do not think that a conventional war is a real threat? If true, that’s a frightening level of willful ignorance.
And the third issue emerged on November 23 when Breitbart analyzed, “The Truth Behind China’s Changing One-Child Policy”:
Although there were a number of exemptions to the one-child policy, Chinese population growth was cut by 200 million as the birthrate dropped from 4.77 children per female in the 1970s to just 1.58 in 2012. However, the strategy also resulted in massive female infanticide, and now a ticking time bomb from millions of unwed young men threatens to ignite revolutionary violence.”There might be many reasons for why China would go to war, but how often have people discussed the possibility that it would go to war over its need for women?
Even if China wouldn’t directly go to war for women, what would happen if its young men became involved in revolutionary violence inside its borders as the author of the Breaking Defense article suggests? Would China possibly go to war to ease pressure on its own government? It wouldn’t be the first time a government turned its people to an outside enemy as a way to deflect anger.
The bottom line is that the longer American leaders continue believing that they can degrade the readiness of U.S. armed forces without consequence the greater the national security threat becomes.
The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College published, “The New Aztecs: Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations,” by Dr. Zhivan Alach in 2011. Among other things, Alach discusses the danger of a nation that is unprepared to fight total war against a nation that is prepared to fight one. All contemporary military and civilian leaders (public and private) should be required to read this.
American leaders need to realize just how important it is to have its armed forces be ready and able to fight war against a brutal and determined enemy nation. The threat of total war remains as real today as it ever has been.