Carry On


Corporal - USMC
MI.Net Member
Feb 22, 2006
" No nation should put the burden of war on its military forces alone "
General William C. Westmoreland, U.S. Army, retired

This statement by General Westmoreland was referring to the Vietnam War, but I believe it is applicable to our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Semper Fi, 03Fox2/1
I choose to highlight the war in Iraq.

When a war is justified, honourable and necessary the people and the country will fall into support the service folk.

There are folk on this board who have not had that support and there are those of us who have. war is a matter of perception and nowadays, "the People" do not automatically follow the nation's warriors.

In this war it is apathy more than anything else that is at the forefront of this war. Apathy to the killing of Iraqi civvies; apathy to the killing of service people; apathy to war itself. "Shock and Awe" happened: to us, so what? To the Iraqis, heads down. The West's civpop had seen over 10 years worth of "bomb eye views", The Luckiest Man in Iraq and all manner of war winning propaganda. Did the press show the Matla Ridge in '91? God forbid - it showed real dead, maimed dead and burned dead. It did not fit with the video or Playstation era of brutality.

If we choose, we can see video showing men having their heads cut off for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If we choose, we can see men being atomised by helicopter gunships, AC 130 gunships and tank rounds. These films are mercifully not in thepublic domain, freely accesable as on a tv set. If they were, the people who send their young men to war would not, I think be freely elected next time round.

Run roughshod over democratic ideals and establishments. Ignore the public who voted for the politicians who ordered war. I support with all my heart those who are there but never the bastards who sent them there!
disregard, 03Fox2/1
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03Fox2/1 said:
I thank you for your words and ideas, I value your opinion, and I do have some personal thoughts I want to share with you.
I'm not so sure that there aren't moments in the modern world, when war is both justified and honorable and agreeable to the people of a nation, without the benefit of long term agreement or commitment or acceptance by the citizens or the rest of the world. This is a democracy in action, without the legal ramifications and benefits of a declared war.

I agree with you 03Fox2/1 here; I'm sure there must be some moments - there was on September 11th. Bush at his most inspired, claiming that "...soon, the whole world will here you" at "Ground Zero". There can be very few people who would not agree that the war against the Taliban for supporting and succoring A.Q. was just.

As you say, what is perceived as a threat and what justifies a war is the perception one nation has for another. Our commitment to Vietnam and Englands' commitment to the Falkland Islands are good examples of this situation.

I can only speak for the UK at this stage but folk who were British were getting a kicking (through Foreign Office, MOD, Home Office lethargy and apathy). It was an overwhelmingly populist (and popular) move by Maggie to go for it.

There was a time, not that long ago, when if you attacked our nation, such as flying an aircraft into highrise buildings or the Pentagon or attacking a U.S. Navy ship or our Embassy, these acts of agression would be considered an act of war against the United States.

See above for an earlier comment. It was Clinton who launched cruise missiles at Afghanistan first time round after the embassy bombings in Africa was it not? The attack on Libya after the disco bombings in Berlin? Acts such as these need vengance and the "people" will declare their support for such action.

Long ago, when our country declared war on another nation, it was called for by the President and only Congress had the authority to either say yea or nay. This has changed since WW II, with the United Nations or the outdated NATO and many other mutual support treaties between allies. Also special Presidential Powers have been granted by Congress, and I believe this has led my country into wars that we otherwise would have avoided. In addition, if Congress declared war on another nation, this country would mobilize our economic and military might as quickly as possible. The objective would be to fight to win total victory, with the least amount of casualties. The entire nation would share in the risks and the people would be united to win.

Admirable sentiments but who, these days, (apart from the French of course!!!:eek: ) would want to declare war against the USA? A full mobilization of economic and military might and winning total victory? It does somewhat sound like what was achieved on this day 62 years ago. We see these local wars nowadays - the Brits would have sent a gunboat and left it at that in the old days - with no clear attacker and, politically, no clear direction. We're going to leave, we're going to stay, we're here to support the (insert) govt, we're here to prevent further bloodshed...the list is as endless as it is long.

Unfortunately, with the global economy and instant communications via satellite or computer, now it is difficult to stay focused on the objective and enemy propaganda and media manipulation helps to encourage apathy or a desire to quit and leave, because of casualties. "Desert Storm" was a very fast and decisive war that probably made those that had burnt out on long undeclared wars, such as Korea and Vietnam, have unrealistic expectations for all future wars to be similar in nature.

Luckily for us, we were up against the biggest tosser and useless strategist the world is likely to come across. A superior fast manouvering enemy taking on a dug in force, not to mention stealth bombers and blasted missiles that read the signposts in downtown Bagdhad (!!) and overwhelming air assets, there could really have been one result. Korea and Vietnam were fought in far different circumstances against armies of (perhaps) parity. I feel that Vietnam and today's Iraq are similar, though I do stand by to be corrected.

The complex modern world without borders, with undeclared wars and acts of terroism and religious inflamation by those that desire war, for the sake of change only, is apparently here to stay. As I've said earlier, hate the war, if you must, but don't hate the warrior. Semper Fi

My final sentence to my first post was "I support with all my heart those who are there" should not be forgotten. I look forward to your comments.
Zofo (Cirta Cito)
disregard, 03Fox2/1
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Parity and Similarities

disregard, 03Fox2/1
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03Fox2/1 said:
Might does not nessessarily make right, but neither does public opinion make a cause just or unjust. I believe that it is a most honorable idea to die for one's country, but I would much rather my enemy die for his. Semper Fi

I apologise for being away for a while, I've read your posts with some interest. The above highlight needs a bit of comment. When a war is fought and public opinion changes from support to neglect, then there are severe problems. Our fighting folk from the Falklands through to GW 2 and all the myriad of little wars (a fine site by the way) have had the support, tacit or otherwise of the country. Lose it and there would be hell to pay.
The armed forces are much more savvy now and won't be buggered about by govt or opposition. A soldier (for example's sake) will fight when and where he's told to. He may not agree but the vast, vast majority go and do the job in hand. If these people were fighting a just or unjust war, they would have my support and that of thousands of folk like me. The politicians (again) would need to lose the public support and be voted out of office. I don't want to get too political but when a party who receives less than a third of the vote throughout the country can continue in office then there is something sadly wrong. Anyway, off my soapbox!!:mad: I quite agree of course with your last statement. The more the merrier in fact!!
03Fox2/1 said:
There are similarities and differences in all wars. The common denominator is that military assets are used to achieve political objectives.

I can of course only agree - war is a contiuation of foreign policy by other means...

In the Korean War, the United States and South Korea and the United Nations, were definitely out-done initially, in armaments, equipment, intelligence, training and number of troops. There was no parity with North Korea for a long time and eventually even the Chinese out-numbered us with troops, but never armaments. The Pusan Perimeter was the end result of this and it was only with our superior naval and air forces that we were able to gain sufficient time to reinforce and break out and land troops at Inchon, behind the North Koreans, causing their retreat and the ultimate stalemate.

A good overview of the war - somehow forgotten by many people.

In Vietnam, there was also never parity with our enemies. We always had superior air assets and also our mechanized equipment was vastly superior in numbers and strength. However, at no time, am I aware of, did our actual number of ground combat troops equal or surpass our enemy in numbers. That's right, we had superior technology and the very latest weapons at our disposal but the average grunt humping through the jungle and rice paddies, was always outnumbered.

With a year to serve the experienced would be replaced by the inexperienced I presume. There were folk that re-toured, some of 'em we know well on this board(!!) but I would imagine that in terms of tactics and local knowledge, the NVA / VC would have had the edge over you as well?

There was a finite number of men committed to battle, the majority of people in Vietnam were in some sort of support role. Whether a lawyer or a supply clerk or a military policeman, I believe the support to combat ratio was four or five to one, in 1968, the peak of our manpower in Vietnam. So we had them beat in technology and amount of armaments and firepower and they had us beat in number of combat troops. Their equipment was also modern, especially their SAM sites in North Vietnam, which took a heavy toil on our air assets and I believe through the entire war, North Vietnam had better and more accurate real-time intelligence. The only parity was because we allowed them to dictate the perimeters of this war to us. It was our choice to fight them on a level of combat that they were capable of, far less then what we were capable of.
The main ingredient to our lack of parity with North Vietnam was the many restrictions placed on our military by our political leaders, especially the Secretary of Defense and the President. Because of these restrictive rules of engagement and untimely answers to battlefield considerations, that required instant responses instead of the many, many layers of command, each level passing it up the chain until too late to matter, the advantages that we possessed were rendered ineffective. It is well known and easily proven beyond a doubt that the American military was not allowed to prosecute the war in a manner to win, by either invading North Vietnam with troops or bombing their deep water harbors or by bombing major public works such as dams and hydroelectric facilities.

Do you have an explanation for this? This is not a hardball question, just a query for more information from your viewpoint.

Certain near-by countries were also off-limits for most of the war to American forces (or most of them?) and provided sanctuary to our enemies. No such restrictions were placed on our enemies, parity... I don't think so, they had advantages.
This is exactly why a super-power like America, was content to withdraw and achieve a semblance of victory, with a negotiated peace with North Vietnam, with guarantees and safe-guards for all parties.
I believe the only thing that Vietnam and Iraq share are the many political considerations taking precedence over military decisions. There is also an obvious comparison made because of the unpopularity of both wars and the power of the media to enfluence and manipulate popular opinion. More so than in any other war at any other time.

The Iraqi army was soundly and resolutely defeated by the coalition forces, with the least amount of colladeral damage and civilian casualties as possible. These same in-country coalition forces are now the target of "terrorists" from all over the middle east, not only Iraq.

I think we have accomplished our objectives of removing the dangerous leadership of Iraq

I believe the leadership of Iraq were a danger to their population and at worst a major irritation to the West. We know the Brit Govt lied through its back teeth and went along with what GWB wanted. This page is quite interesting...,,2087-1593607,00.html in showing just how far the govts thought they could go.

and have verified all weapons of mass destruction are gone or weren't there in the first place .

I believe it is in our best interests to give the new Iraqi government a short amount of time to get their act togeather, and then to pull our military ground forces out of Iraq and go back to monitoring their actions with both air and satellite assets and ground inspections. If we remove the troops, we remove the opportunity to attack us and the casualties will stop. Semper Fi

Re your last, I 100% agree!
disregard, 03Fox2/1
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It gets my goat (so to speak) how the fighting forces are either betrayed by the swine that sent them to fight or manipulated for the politicians own purposes.

The Falklands War is a strange case in point. The country was 99% behind the move to recapture the islands. Jingoism (not always too far below the British skin) went to an all time high. I remember watching the ships sail out of Portsmouth and Plymouth; the heat; the cheers and tears of the crowd and the intrinsic belief that we would win. Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister - new, inexperienced and with a very new team who wanted nothing better to do than concentrate on domestic policy, slash budgets and rectify the economy.

Maggie supported the troops to the hilt. There was no hint of appeasement, displeasure or anthing like a lack of support. The country followed suit and pitched in to get the forces to war. We went (I counted them all out and I counted them all back) and we won. The tumultuous welcome at the return was incredible.

We won on a shoestring budget with Caspar Weinburger assisting where and when possible. Jean Kirkpatrick trying to stymmie us in the UN and Regan, bless him, didn't really have a clue what was going on.

With the war won, the Tory govt won a landslide general election - something that would have been practically impossible before the conflict. Reading the various biographies there was a genuine regard for the troops and getting them back again. At the same time the situation was ripe for exploiting politically. I personally don't think it was but there was some spin involved (HMS Conqueror's log book disappeared after sinking the Belgrano for example) and of course it could have gone disasterously wrong if we had lost. I think that, should we have lost, we wouldn't be in Iraq right now!
disregard, 03Fox2/1
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