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Tuesday, April 01, 2014


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Saturday, March 01, 2014

What Could the USA have done to win the Vietnam Conflict and What Does this Tell Us About Current and Future Wars?

Vietnam was not a declared war. It was a setup by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC).

I was there as a combatant and a US Army Intelligence Base Development Planner, working with Philco Ford CAGV, Pacific Architects and Engineers, Leo Daley and other huge corporations resident in the country supplying American occupation and making billions.

The Vietnam Conflict was an incursion; one of the first setup by the Military Industrial Complex and the "Best and the Brightest" in the Pentagon. 


"David Halberstam's book offers a great deal of detail on how the decisions were made in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations that led to the war, focusing on a period from 1960 to   1965 but also covering earlier and later years up to the publication   year of the book.

Many influential factors are examined in the book:

•    The Democratic party was still haunted by claims that it had 'lost   China' to Communists, and it did not want to be said to have lost Vietnam also
•    The McCarthy era had rid the government of experts in Vietnam and surrounding Far-East countries
•    Early studies called for close to a million U.S. troops to   completely defeat the Viet Cong, but it would be impossible to convince   Congress or the U.S. public to deploy that many soldiers
•    Declarations of war and excessive shows of force, including bombing   too close to China or too many U.S. troops, might have triggered the   entry of Chinese ground forces into the war, as well as greater Soviet   involvement, which might repair the growing Sino-Soviet rift.
•    The American military and generals were not prepared for protracted guerilla warfare.
•    Some war games showed that a gradual escalation by the United States   could be evenly matched by North Vietnam: Every year, 200,000 North   Vietnamese came of draft age and potentially could be sent down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to replace any losses against the U.S.: the U.S. would be 'fighting the birthrate'
•    Any show of force by the U.S. in the form of bombing or ground   forces would signal the U.S. interest in defending South Vietnam and   therefore cause the U.S. greater shame if they were to withdraw
•    President Johnson's belief that too much attention given to the war effort would jeopardize his Great Society domestic programs
•    The effects of strategic bombing:   Most people wrongly believed that North Vietnam prized its industrial   base so much it would not risk its destruction by U.S. air power and   would negotiate peace after experiencing some limited bombing. Others   saw that, even in World War II, strategic bombing united the victim population against the aggressor and did little to hinder industrial output.
•    The Domino Theory rationales are mentioned as simplistic.
•    After placing a few thousand Americans in harm's way, it became   politically easier to send hundreds of thousands over with the promise   that, with enough numbers, they could protect themselves and that to   abandon Vietnam now would mean the earlier investment in money and blood   would be thrown away.
The book shows that the gradual escalation initially allowed the Johnson Administration to avoid negative publicity and criticism from   Congress and avoid a direct war against the Chinese, but it also lessened the likelihood of either victory or withdrawal"

The Vietnam incursion was not the last of it type. Its intent was not to be won, but to make money for the Military Industrial Complex.  

Others incursions, such as those in the Middle East,  have followed the same pattern as the tax payer goes into hock for generations.

War is a racket.

Wars cost money, treasure and make millions for corporations. 


A quote many years ago from Major-General Smedley D. Butler: Common Sense (November 1935)

" I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force---the Marine Corps. I have served in all commissioned ranks from a second lieutenant to major-general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers, In short I was a racketeer for capitalism

Thus, I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place to live for the National City Bank boys to collect   revenues in…. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking   house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican   Republic for American Sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras   "right" for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in1927 I helped   see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years  I  had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded honors, medals, promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents. War Is A Racket"


It's been 40 years since the U.S. ended its involvement in the Vietnam War, and yet payments for the conflict are still rising.

Now   above $22 billion annually, Vietnam compensation costs are roughly   twice the size of the FBI's annual budget. And while many disabled  Vietnam vets have been compensated for post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss or general wounds, other ailments are positioning the war to have large costs even after veterans die.

Based on an  uncertain  link to the defoliant Agent Orange that was used in Vietnam,  federal  officials approved diabetes a decade ago as an ailment that  qualifies  for cash compensation — and it is now the most compensated  ailment for  Vietnam vets.

The VA also recently included heart disease among  the Vietnam medical problems that qualify, and the agency  is seeing  thousands of new claims for that condition.


If  history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the  Iraq  and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and  their  families grapple with the sacrifices of combat.

An  Associated  Press analysis of federal payment records found that the  government is  still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War  veterans — 148  years after the conflict ended.

At the 10-year anniversary of  the start of the Iraq War, more than $40 billion a  year is going to  compensate veterans and survivors from the  Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the  Vietnam War, the two Iraq  campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict. And  those costs are rising  rapidly.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said such expenses should remind the nation about war's long-lasting financial toll.

"When  we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about   the cost," said Murray, D-Wash., adding that her WWII veteran father's   disability benefits helped feed their family.

With  greater numbers of troops surviving combat injuries because of   improvements in battlefield medicine and technology, the costs of   disability payments are set to rise much higher.


So  far, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the first Persian Gulf conflict in the early 1990s are costing about $12 billion a year to compensate   those who have left military service or family members of those who  have  died.

Those post-service compensation costs have totaled  more than $50 billion since 2003, not including expenses of medical  care and  other benefits provided to veterans, and are poised to grow  for many  years to come.

The new veterans are filing for  disabilities at  historic rates, with about 45 percent of those from  Iraq and Afghanistan  seeking compensation for injuries. Many are  seeking compensation for a  variety of ailments at once.

Experts see a variety of factors  driving that surge, including a bad economy that's led more jobless  veterans to seek the financial benefits they've  earned, troops who  survive wounds of war, and more awareness about  head trauma and mental  health.


Recent events involving US war "Interventions" and the incredibly out of  control nature of the Military Industrial Complex have demonstrated  their danger, their folly and their contribution to the largest national  debt ever to grace the face of the earth.

Alternatives to war in terms of scientific advancement not only are required, but are in progress. The war makers are broke and operating on world credit subject to world approval.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

What is a True Personal Story of Yours that People Have a Hard Time Believing?

Control Tower at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon after the Tet Offensive - Photo by Anthony G. Borra
On a layover weather delay in route from Washington National to Houston I began a conversation with a Vietnamese gentleman who was also delayed.  We had common interests in business and as former soldiers.  

During the course of our conversation I learned he was an executive with a casino operation in the US and had immigrated in the late 70's from Saigon. 

We further established that we had been on opposite sides of the US/Vietnam conflict and had more than likely been firing our weapons at each other during the Tet Offensive in January of 1968. 

We both had too many details of the battle near Tan Son Nhut Air Base  for it to be any form of coincidence.

Tet Offensive

When we arrived at Houston, he bought me a meal and we became friends. We are still in touch today.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quora Top Writer 2013 Award


A Neat Award from Quora. Quill and Ink badge on Quora profile and a fleece jacket with emblem.

This year's class includes 650 writers representing over 40 countries.

Click on page linked below for quill and ink badge to view details. 
(no registration required).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The US Army's Future Mission is Vague, Leaving Industry with Little Direction

                                                              Photo "Go Army. com"

As an Army Veteran, and having worked in Aerospace over 3 decades to support  Army programs, I found the below article by John Keller, Editor in Chief, "Military & Aerospace Electronics" magazine an objective and disturbing piece.  Note the references to mission vacuum and lack of civilian leadership in Washington D.C.

John highlights that as the nation is struggling with stagnated politics the services are hampered by a lack of hard information to plan ahead.

Mr. Keller introduces a historical perspective and an excellent view of the hard issues, challenges and uncertainty that the Army and industry in its supporting role are facing today.


"A variety of factors are gathering into a potential perfect storm  that could threaten the U.S. Army's future mission, the continuing  relevance of the oldest American military service, and how the defense industry can move forward to support the Army's needs.

Some of these factors are well-known: sequestration, dim prospects  for budget growth, and substantial technology research and development  that for most practical purposes has come nearly to a dead-stop.

Perhaps most serious, however, is how top military and civilian  leadership define the Army's role moving into the future, the top  threats the Army will evolve to meet, and the very relevance of a large  standing Army in an era when large-scale, big-iron military land battles  appear to be part of the past.

Here's where we are today: U.S. military forces are finishing their  exit from Iraq, where they have operated for more than a decade. Their  final exit from Afghanistan is but a few years off, or less. When  operations on Southwest Asia are completed, where does the Army go from  there?

The Army has had a clear set of missions since  the U.S. entered World War II in 1941. Although the close of the Second  World War in 1945 saw a rapid drawdown in U.S. military power, the  strengthening Soviet Union was on everyone's mind.

Less than five years after World War II ended, North Korea invaded  South Korea, which created another sudden and dire mission for the Army.  That mission grew from containing North Korean forces to containing  Communism around the world, which continued until the fall of the Berlin  Wall in 1990. One year later, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which gave rise to  Operation Desert Shield, and eventually the military ouster of Iraqi  forces from Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, in which the Army played a  central role.

For the next decade, keeping an eye on a contained-but-restless Iraqi  military, on ethnic strife in what then was Yugoslavia, and on other  simmering hot spots throughout the world held the Army's attention and  helped define its mission.

Today things are different. Counter-insurgency operations are nearing  an end in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia does not pose the immediate  military threat that did its predecessors of the Soviet Union, and  Europe has been relatively quiet.
Still, trouble spots persist in areas like Syria and Iran, but with  no open conflict yet involving U.S. Army forces. There is no immediate  and dire threat in these areas, and hence no clear Army mission-at least  not yet.

So how does the Army move forward? Counter-insurgency, certainly. Special Forces capability, of  course. But what's the role of the large Army infrastructure involving  large combat infantry units, main battle tanks, armored fighting vehicles, and other organizations designed for large ground conflicts?

I'm not sure there is a role, and I'm not convinced that the top Army  leadership today knows what its role in the future will be, either.  Maybe the Army is at a moment of transition, and leaders will get a  handle on the Army's core mission sometime soon. With the civilian  leadership vacuum we have in Washington, I'm not sure the Army will be  able to do so. If Army leaders are unable to define the Army's long-term  mission clearly, then the defense industry will have no idea how to  proceed, other than to guess.

These factors were on display just below the surface last month at  the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA). What was striking in exhibits  was a lack of direction in where we go from here. It was as though the  industry were pointing out to the Army officers walking the aisles how  far technology has led us to this moment, yet pleading for direction on  where the industry should go from here."
About the Author:

 John  Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics  magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling  electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.