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Fair fights? Well of course not

When I saw the Op Ed today in the WaPo by retired flag officers Van Riper and Scales, I was pre-disposed to agree with their thesis that we should put enough assets into a fight to ensure we always have the advantage. But the piece they wrote fails to make that point or pretty much any other. The disjointed, incoherent missive starts off by comparing the situation SSG Giunta found himself in fighting the Talibs in Afghnaistan to the Central Highlands in Vietnam. Fair enough and even logical, both are insurgencies fighting in extremely inhospitable terrain.

After that analogy, the piece meanders through a discussion of the relative casualty rates for pilots and grunts in WWII, noting that these days our bomber and submarine crews take almost no casualties while the grunts take more.Well no shite, I am pretty sure our subs are fairly safe from Taliban IEDs since A-Stan is landlocked. Then they point out that we should have had UAVs detailing every move our enemies in Afghanistan make (which we already do pretty well) and that the Talibs have AKs and our soldiers must still use the same Armalite-15, M16, M4 that we had in Vietnam.

The manage a shot at those propeller heads who think that cyber war is worth paying attention to and of course a complaint that we should have Nostradamused a need for the most awesome body armor because obviously we knew we would be fighting an asymetric war against hidden explosives.

I could do a serious line by line Fisking of this, but I would take no joy in it. These are serious men trying to deal with serious issues. The problem is that they didn't even manage to identify any actual issues, let alone explain how they could have been made better. Picking a cute hook like avoiding fair fights is a nice start. But you gotta hang something on that hook, and this one remains embarrassingly bare.

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