Posts Tagged ‘War on Terror’

Back in September I warned that military recruiting would nose dive over the next few years, complicated with a rise in early retirements and people leaving after their first enlistment. Given the trend starting in 2018 when the Blended Retirement fully replaced the old retirement system, my estimate was that in 2024 we would reach maximum recruiting pain, where people would be leaving and we couldn’t keep up.

A flurry of recent stories seems to indicate that this prediction is still valid.

First we have the Army openly admitting it cannot recruit enough soldiers, and its going to shrink in size instead.

Camarillo said the Army’s end strength, or total number of forces, would go from 485,000 soldiers currently to 476,000 in fiscal year 2022, which ends in September, and further down to 473,000 in fiscal year 2023.

He said the Army decided on reducing its recruitment goals instead of lowering standards.


But maybe this is just an Army problem? Or maybe the Army was told to shrink and this is a face saving measure? While that’s possible, let’s look at the Air Force.

The Air Force recruitment goal is 27,452 new airmen by Sept. 30. Halfway into the fiscal year, 9,920 new recruits are in uniform and 5,314 have signed contracts, according to Air Force data.

“We will struggle to meet our recruiting goal for fiscal year 2022,” Thomas said. “This is really the hardest recruiting environment since about 1999.”

Stars and Stripes

Oh. Guess not. What about the Navy?

The Navy is offering up to $50,000 bonuses for someone to enlist for six years. That’s unheard of in the Navy unless you happen to be a nuclear trained Sailor. The only reason you throw lots of money at a human resource problem is because you can’t get the talent with your current method.

And the Marines? They do a better job hiding it, calling it “Becoming pickier” about who they recruit, but its still right in first paragraph: “…as the Corps looks to recruit fewer and better Marines…”

Recruiting is getting tougher. That point is pretty clear. But why is it getting tougher? Well, if you trust the Army and Air Force, they say its because Americans are fatter and mentally less fit.

“The biggest disqualifying factors are obesity, fitness and mental health issues. This should not come as a surprise. Obesity in America, including among youth, continues to increase. More and more youth are being treated for mental health issues and being prescribed psychotropic drugs for treatment. Current numbers coming out of the Pentagon are that the percentage of individuals qualified to enlist without a waiver has dropped from 29% in 2016 to less than 25% in 2022.”

CDC data on obesity

Now, obesity is on the rise. Whether or not you trust the CDCs numbers, there are plenty of other graphs showing Americans, on average, being more overweight and more grossly overweight. There is also a rise in mental health issues, but I think its a problem of classifying darn near everything as a mental health issue and prescribing drugs for it. Its also not nearly as big an issue as one might think: by the CDCs data, its affecting somewhere around 6% of children.

I’d like to offer a different view here, and that is that even if the populace got healthier overnight, the military would struggle to recruit anyway, because the public no longer trusts the military.

There are plenty of pollsters that track trust in the military, often as part of a larger poll looking at trust in government institutions. If you look at Gallup, you’ll see a slight decline in trust, although Gallup lumps “a great deal” and “quite a lot” into the same category of trust when reporting numbers. It’s still a decline though, and when you look at a more in-depth breakout, we see the percentage of people responding “a great deal” declining while the “some” and “very little” crowd slowly grows.

From Gallup

Other polls also show this. This poll from the Reagan Foundation shows a massive drop in people who trust the military “a great deal,” and a large rise in people who don’t trust it “much at all.” Now, given its the Reagan Foundation, I was skeptical as to who they selected for the poll, but scrolling down to the bottom showed a pretty even split between Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters, so I’d like to think this is fairly representative of all Americans.

From Reagan Foundation

This lack of trust manifests itself in a lot of ways, from voting in politicians who actively campaign to cut defense spending to parents suggesting alternatives to their children desiring to join the military. When nearly half of parents would actively push their kids away from joining the military, that’s a pretty stark indicator that parents lack trust in the military. These actions make it much harder to recruit new members.

One of the biggest boons to military recruitment is the presence of a service member. Around 80% of new recruits have a close family member in the military, and 25% of them have a parent that served. This has turned the military into a bit of a family business, and its not a bad thing. Unfortunately, that apple cart is about to get upset because of recent military actions.

Take the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. While almost no Americans (except the CEOs at Northrup Grumman and BAE) supported staying in Afghanistan, most Americans wanted an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, similar to the US withdrawal from Iraq that left an intact government (no, not the Obama withdrawal, the Trump one). Did we get that? Nope. Not by a longshot. Afghanistan was at a stalemate, and the number of deaths and injuries had dropped to nearly zero. An orderly withdrawal over a year or two would likely have left a functioning government and a decent US and NATO victory in the region. Instead, we got a cowardly retreat.

What about the military’s COVID-19 vaccine policy? The military chose to die on this hill and forced out hundreds, likely soon to be thousands, of members over the COVID vaccine. Religious waivers were denied out of hand, to the shock of many. The military really said the quiet part out loud: they wanted compliance, and they would crush people as needed to get it.

What about the military’s increasingly woke pandering, alluded to in the Army article? The recent push to be more “inclusive,” along with extremism training, has really irked plenty of service members. While its hard to get numbers on this, many service members are voting with their feet. It is starting to show in retention numbers. The military has always been a triangle, with lots of junior people on the bottom and less on the top. But that relies on the bottom people staying past their first enlistment. And well, they aren’t. The trend is slow, but with the Navy numbers here, you can see that there are less E4 and E5 Sailors staying around. The E6 and above numbers are steady, but as those members reach 20 years, many will choose to retire, and the new retirement system doesn’t incentivize staying in the military long term, so the young people joining today will be leaving in droves after a 4-6 year enlistment.

From Statista

Let’s also look at one more statistic that is pretty shocking: the military’s use of non-judicial punishment. Most people don’t realize that if the military suspects a service member committed a crime, they really can violated the rights that citizens normally have in terms of due process. The process of punishing a service member through non-judicial punishment (called NJP) involves gathering some evidence and declaring that there is a “preponderance of evidence” to find them guilty. This legal standard means that the judge (in most cases, a military officer not trained in the law) finds there to be enough evidence that he or she is convinced by at least 50% that the service member committed a crime. Contrast this with “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which requires members to be convinced that there is essentially no real doubt that a member committed a crime.

If this sounds like it can be abused, you better believe it is. It’s hard to get data, but the Air Force released some information on the number of NJP cases per thousand airmen. If I add up the numbers, I get a rate of 45.32 cases per thousand in 2019, or 4,532 cases per 100 thousand. That seems really high, especially given that crime overall is falling in the US. Comparing it to total property crime rates in the US (1,953 per 100 thousand) and total violent crimes (398 per 100 thousand), it seems really high. Are Airmen engaging in more criminal behavior then their civilian counterparts? What kind of people are we recruiting that we get this high number? Or perhaps the system is grinding on otherwise innocent people in the disguise of “maintaining good order and discipline.” If that’s the case, how long will service members want to stay in a system like this?

The point here is that the military has become a hostile work environment, which is motivating people to seek employment elsewhere. Blaming obesity and mental health is a cop-out, because its something external to the organization that allow you to throw up your hands and say “People are fat and mentally unstable, thus I cannot reach my recruiting goals!” The SEALs and Marines have had tough standards for years, yet they always made numbers, largely due to people trusting those organizations and wanting to be there. That trust is gone due to actions the military took. Between losing wars, eliminating benefits and promoting an justice system that is broken and corrupt, the military has only itself to blame for creating a workplace that nobody wants to work in anymore.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. That should be obvious, since those organizations will tell you everything is just fine with them. If you liked this article, please consider donating to Da Blog and purchasing a book by the author for you or your friends.

Senator Tammy Duckworth took exception at the house Rep Jones statement declaring that the Democrats were “in love with terrorists” over their actions this week concerning Iran.

Duckworth loudly declared that she left parts of her body in Iraq fighting against terrorists, and this is in fact very true but not in my opinion much of an argument to anyone who knows history. Consider Benedict Arnold. He took Ticonderoga providing the cannon for the fall of Boston, led the attack on Quebec, commanded the fleet at Valcour Island that delayed the British advance by a year which led to victory at Saratoga where he took a ball in the leg took a nasty wound that left him gimpy (in fact there is a monument to that leg on the battlefield).

As a person who honors her service I concede that one can be wrong on Iran without being on the other side (see Mike Lee, Tulsi Gabbard & Rand Paul) which means voting one way doesn’t mean you’re a fan of Iran. However my training was in engineering which is data driven so having made that concession I’ll make a deal with the Honorable Senator Duckworth.

I’ll stop saying that Democrats aren’t anti-war but just on the other side when their voters , media and members of congress…

  • stop cheering when enemies attack our embassy hoping it becomes’s Trump’s Benghazi
  • Stop lionizing terrorists who have spent years killing Americans
  • Stop having American Hostage takers on the air to hit us unchallenged
  • Stop tweeting out the Iranian flag while they’re shooting missiles at our bases
  • Stop blaming America for the deaths on planes that Iranians shoot down in panic

In other words I’ll stop saying Democrats aren’t any war just on the other side when they stop acting like it is the case.

Oh and Senator when you are at least as outraged over these things as you are over the congressman’s statement call me. Until then you’ll pardon me if, your meritorious service not withstanding, I don’t take your current outrage seriously.

Last night twitter was all abuzz about the Iranian attack on our bases. All kinds of reports were flying hither and non but after a short period of time it became clear that what we were seeing was a giant propaganda exercise where Iran launched about 15 missiles with more than 20% of em blowing up on the way and then hit large US bases without managing to harm any Americans.

This not withstanding they put out a bunch of photos from previous events pretending that they were from tonight, and plenty of video and news of a great Iranian victory which our Trump hating media lapped up while loudly proclaiming that if we left them alone from this point on they’d leave us alone.

As can be expected the Iranians are talking big. I rephrased the statement of the Iranian diplomats thus:

Or as Kurt Schlichter put it:

There might be an explanation for this bad bit of aim.

If this is true than despite the breathless (and disgraceful) cheerleading for Iran by the American left and the media this might in fact be an Iranian peace feeler in the sense that they can tell their own people they won a great victory while backing down thus saving face, it doesn’t have to be true (for example Egypt still pretends they beat Israel in 1973) and their own people don’t have to believe it but they can pretend that they do. A very Arabian cultural solution keeping their pride while letting the US know they have backed down.

But regardless the President had three options at this point all of which I’m willing to support.

Option #1 Point and Laugh

Option one is to point out that if this is the best the Iranians can do it’s a giant joke and a sign that they are not a threat. He could even confirm the above possibility I just mentioned pooh pooing Iran’s claims as face saving drivel. He can back up his claim by the ineffectiveness of the Iranian action and say his base warning still stands. A few mega hawks will be disappointed and the left that was so worried about escalation will call him cowardly and of course he loses the change to completely erase the Iranian threat but he would avoid a war he doesn’t want plus in the end all the bluster and propaganda won’t bring General jigsaw back together again.

The bad part about this plan it is doesn’t put a further crimp in Iranian plans and the government could just wait for a Democrat to be elected before they start killing Americans again.

Option 2: Tat Tat Tat for Tit

Because the President promised a disproportionate response to any attack instead of laughing at the Iranians he could take several options that are damaging but not mega lethal. This would be within his MO because he doesn’t seem to want to respond to a non-lethal attack with a lethal one. He could take out several oil rigs, blow up some parked jets or even hit a refinery although that would likely risk civilian lives.

He could even seize an Iranian flagged ship, capture the crew paddle and release them (fun but risky).

All of these things have the advantage of being bigger than the attack, particularly in terms of how it would hurt Iran without being lethal and it would once again put Iran on the spot forcing them to either publicly submit which they really don’t want to do or go to a non asymmetrical war which they want to do even less.

The bad side of course is keeps the risk of a larger war on the table that he doesn’t want and of course it’s a half measure which tends to increase uncertainty. While uncertainly in Iran is to our advantage, uncertainty at home is less so, plus we don’t know how Europe or our enemies will react.

Option 3 52 putdown

This option is to treat this as a full fledged attack and to respond with the promised overwhelming force, destroy their navy, destroy their airforce, destroy their refineries and generally leave the country a wreck.

If the Iranians had managed an actual attack that killed someone this would in fact be the only option on the table.

The advantage of course is to clean up the trash that should have been cleaned up four decades ago and crush the power of the terror state to the point where revolution will almost certainly succeed. Frankly this should have been done in 1979 and if it had been a lot of the problems of the last 40 years would not be. Furthermore the lack of Iranian support would crumble terror networks all over the world and would put a lot of bad guys on notice that from this day on, none of them is safe.

While those a big rewards this option also comes with the biggest risks.

  1. If Iran falls we don’t know what will actually replace it. It could become a Persian Libya.
  2. Such a move would almost certainly cause attacks from any sleepers they have here (which might actually be good in the sense better to root them out when they’re not ready vs letting them plan) and cause some terror attacks in the middle east and possibly Europe.
  3. Russia & China with Iran neutralized will have to find a new proxy to counter us which could get really interesting.
  4. While we don’t need Iranian oil the flow stopping will make Europe more dependent on Russian energy
  5. Once the threat of Iran is gone the incentive for the Arabs who were scared of them to make nice with us and Israel goes with it
  6. It’s the equivalent of blowing up your neighbor’s building for trying to step on your toe and missing.
  7. The MSM will blow out of proportion the small amount of naval & air casualties that such a move would cost.

Biggest risks, biggest rewards

Given what we’ve seen from the deep state I hesitate to give a lot of credit to the Government however I do presume they know more about this than me and from what I’ve seen from Donald Trump I trust him to make the right choice from this list (or a different one that I haven’t thought of) based on what he considers in the best interest for the country given the realities on the ground.

The only think we really know for sure is that whatever the President does the Media will denounce him for it as either a failure, a coward, a warmonger or a butcher under the overriding principle of Orange man bad.

That’s why they can be safely ignored.

Update: Always trust the opinions of an Elder who has experience:

Still, at this time, it looks like Trump let Iran know that they can no longer assume that they can act with impunity in the Middle East, and Iran blinked – hard.

The honor/shame culture is what runs the Middle East. To Muslims in the region, appearances are more important than facts. It appears that at least some people in this much-derided administration understood that and the response was calibrated to allow Iran to maintain its honor.

All the while, in the reality based world, the US has won this skirmish hands-down. Iran’s major architect of terror is gone and Iran is backing down. The US has shown the Iranian leaders that direct conflict would be a very, very foolhardy move.

Again keeping in mind that it is too early to say for sure, but so far it looks like the “experts” and fearmongers have been wrong, and the White House has achieved an unqualified victory that not only hurt Iran because of their loss of Soleimani, but also has forced them to re-think all of their offensive moves in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.

Amy: [storming into Leonard & Sheldon’s apt] Sheldon Cooper, I’ve got a bone to pick with you, and I’m about to do it in front of all your friends!

Penny: Yeah, you pick that bone. You pick that bone clean!

Amy: I’m gonna publicly shame you, and then sit back as societal pressure compels you to modify your behavior.

Penny: Ooh, burn!

The Big Bang Theory The Weekend Vortex 2012

I had to laugh when I saw this story at PJ Media about Iran’s big retaliation:

At around 8 p.m. Saturday, hackers breached and defaced the website of the U.S. Federal Depository Library (USFDL), posting a graphic image of President Trump being punched in the face and announcing, “This is a message from Islamic Republic of Iran.”

U.S. officials have not confirmed that the attack on the website of USFDL, a program created to make federal government publications available to the public at no cost, came from Iran, but the hackers claim to be avenging the death of Qasem Soleimani, the brutal Iranian terrorist who was killed in a U.S. airstrike at the Bahrain Airport in Iraq early Friday morning.

About an hour after the attack on the little-known USFDL website, the Iranian propaganda had been removed and the website was offline

I like to think of myself as well informed but I’d never heard of USEDL and I’ll wager that if you asked 1000 Americans 999 wouldn’t have any idea who there were either.

But if you read what the Iranians are saying this is a big deal.

“Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleymani) reward for years of implacable efforts. With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incident,” the message read. “Hacked By Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS…  This is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability! We’re always ready… to be continues… We Are: Iranian Hackers… #Hard revenge… #ICG – #SpadSecurityGroup.”

But that’s not all guess what they’re chanting in the Iranian parliament:

“Death to America,” almost all of the 290 members of the Iranian parliament chanted over the weekend.

“Mr. Trump! This is the voice of the Iranian nation. Listen!” Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said as lawmakers chanted.

Oh NO! You mean the Iranians instead of chanting “death to America” like they were doing before are now doing it for a completely different reason! But it gets worse!

Iranian state television reports that Iran will no longer abide by any of the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.

The announcement came Sunday night after another Iranian official said it would consider taking even-harsher steps over the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday in Baghdad.

OMG you mean the Iranians are now publicly declaring that they will ignore a deal they likely didn’t keep anyways and might do something even harsher! If that’s not bad enough here is the corker:

Iran has placed an $80 million bounty on Donald Trump’s head and threatened to attack the White House in response to the president’s warning that any strike on American interests in the region will bring massive retaliation.

An organizer for a funeral procession for General Qassem Soleimani called on all Iranians to donate $1 each ‘in order to gather an $80million bounty on President Trump’s head’. 

The organizer made the remarks during the procession in Mashad.

emphasis mine

They’ve got to raise that bounty a buck at a time, I guess pallets of cash don’t stretch as far as they used to.

So let me get this straight, for all the bluster that Iran is making their big retaliation is a web hack, a telethon a bunch of chanting jihadist “lawmakers” & ignoring a deal we didn’t trust them to keep?

What is this: South Park?

Now here in the west such “retaliation” might bring the following reaction:

But I expect Iran to play it up big internally (and further more I expect our media to do so too along with this meaningless vote) because if all this stuff is a big deal and fitting revenge then there is absolutely no need to do anything that might get any of the leader of Iran, or their navy or their air-force or their oil refineries blown up.

It will be just one more face saving lie that they tell to themselves and President Trump will be happy to allow them to do so because that lie will inform the entire Middle East who is running the show.

Hint It’s not the Mullahs anymore.

Now in fairness it is possible that the Iranians will decide to risk destruction either by misjudging Donald Trump or because culturally they believe in it (think Japan just before the end of WW 2) so we should be alert and not be reckless.

But make no mistake the initiative has now shifted and as long as Donald Trump is president it will remain so.