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Lawrance G Lux

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Fortunes of War, Chapter I
By Lawrance G Lux
Last edited: Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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This is the first Chapter of my upcoming work, and holds relevance to the consideration of current US foreign policy in Afghanistan.

War joins Crime in being the only two activities completely associated with destruction of human endeavor. The cost of War must consider much more than the loss of property; there is the expensive preparation for war, the loss of Manpower devoted to production during this preparation, the purchase of weaponry, the disruption of productive schedules, the property loss, the Manpower loss along with it’s long-run potential, the loss of the productive potential of battle areas for long periods, and the diversion cost of recapitalization of property losses. No one actually wants to fight a War, though there are substantial elements who thrive on the preparation for it.

The Military, itself, is the primary beneficiary of the preparation for War. Officers and Men gain continuous employment, promised housing and annual income, medical and retirement benefits. The effort demanded is not onerous, unless War looms. All enjoy the benefits of belonging to an extended family simile, none presented with great burden. War admittedly alters the scene, bringing heavy duties with potential loss of life or form. This change in responsibility reflects in the difficulty Command often has in transferring personnel to hazardous duty stations, especially those who have attained some rank. The aura of military service diminishes with the approach of War. Military service, nevertheless, promises a predictable income with training opportunities for all alike.

The military/industrial complex also gains; the words designating the modern term for military suppliers. Most Economists assert these suppliers presently absorb almost Four percent of the total industrial production of the United States; this Author believes this estimate to be low. Military suppliers always complain military contracts are too constrictive and unprofitable. Study reveals another story: military contracts historically and today offer a Profit approximately 40% higher than Private Sector contracts, and 12-15% higher than other Government contracts. Military Research and Development contracts provide a doubling of normal military supply contracts profits. Heard comments by military supplier spokespersons of potential leave-taking because of Profit insufficiency remain totally fraudulent.

Another element addicted to the preparation for War resides in the Services sector. The Military is one of the largest Employers of Civil Servants. They provide a wealth of support duties, almost all of which were done by military personnel thirty years ago; all of which will have to be done by military personnel, in the advent of a major War. The United States Military are pampered today; the Author advises the Readers check out and view a movie titled, ‘The Sand Pebbles.’ These Civilian personnel cannot, and would not be, transferred to a War status with hazard duty, though demanding continuation of employment.

Preparation for War provides real difficulties to the business of fighting a War. The greatest injury is provided by the military structure itself. Success in military life demands advances in Rank, and thereby Pay. This holds true among both Officer and Enlisted compliments. Advances in Rank mean extreme competition between Personnel, if the number of Units stay fixed. Actual Combat Units retain an unattractive appearance for all career personnel, who find Support or Base Units of greater appeal. Pressure comes for perpetual aggregation of Combat Support units, while Combat units are left depleted of Personnel. Capricious Command transfers find much resistence from Careerist personnel, desirous of a safe niche in times of trouble. Indication of the problem comes from study of the numbers of Transfer requests of Returnees from Bosnia or Afghanistan, which exceed 60%; all requesting transfer to a Combat Support unit.

United States military forces integrated Du Picq’s ‘moral support of mass’ far too well; huddling together at any sign of danger, to wait for bombardment assets (artillery, gun ships, and bombing runs) removing the threat. American forward movement today, calls upon Infantry and Armor for the sole purpose of finding and fixing the Enemy. Their role has been reduced from actual combat. The difference can be most easily witness in the fictional movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’, which was based on historical circumstances. A attack against a machine gun emplacement by Infantry was accurately presented, with the resultant cost. The elemental grain from the movie serving Our purpose, consisted of the proper method for destruction of machine gun emplacements. The gun emplacement was destroyed within a short framework of time, with minimum cost and utilization of munitions.
American military procedure today would require three gun ship rocket attacks, with the expenditure of $40,000 worth of munitions per run, requiring at least Two hours of duration, and a Fifty percent probability of the Enemy’s escape with gun and ammo. The end result is more often American casualties from the initial attack, and escape of the Enemy to set up further blocking attacks.

The decay of American ‘moral imperative’ comes from two major factors. The first factor was the disastrous decision of American Command Leadership at the start of the Vietnam conflict, which called for a limited term of service in the War zone. This immediately eliminated the use of combat-hardened, experienced soldiers, except if they could be induced to undergo a second Tour. Everyone who served in Vietnam had barely learned their job, before they were transferred home. The U.S. Military lost almost half of their efficiency in combat, due to this decision. The long-term effects of this decision had even more horrendous consequences.

The Concept of a limited commitment to any Conflict was introduced. One hears today, constant referrals made by Soldiers to statements; ‘I put in my time,’ or ‘It is Someone else’s turn’. All believe Combat service is a contractual ‘limited term’, with which they have the right to protest overlong deployments. They effectively demand the rights of Mercenaries, combined with the employment of a Civil Servant. The period involved continues to shorten, with anything longer than four months considered undue duress. The Concept directly affects Combat efficiency; no one willing to risk physical threat under the condition of short service, before a return to safety. No objective assumes a value worth threat to life or limb; no daily gain is preferable to a wound.

The Combat inefficiency can be highlighted by the duration period for the mounting of military operations. It required three days of Staff planning during the Vietnam Conflict, for the U.S. Military to effectuate a extraordinary military operation, even at the Squad level. The duration today extends to almost three weeks. Vietnam era American units could assemble for a emergency response inside of Twenty minutes for deployment; the time today stands as something over three hours. Vietnam era military units could maintain a route pace of almost a klick (Kilometer) per hour. They were moving through jungle and swamp, or Saw Grass. American military units in Afghanistan make no quicker progress, though they travel through open country. Some would comment on altitude and Grade. The Vietnam soldier faced equally extreme Grades, plus a humidity and heat as unbearable as Afghani altitude. American soldiers in Afghanistan venture no further from base camps than did the Vietnam American soldier, though they face not even a quarter of the transition difficulty; especially adequate landing zones. The American soldier of today holds no great urge to locate the Enemy.

The second great factor destroying American combat morale derives from the creation of the Volunteer Force. The greatest detriment here comes from the increased pay scales introduced in the 1970s. The Military suddenly became a venue to raise a family for all Ranks. This produced several adverse results: Transfers immediately quadrupled in Cost, mobilization of Combat units tripled in time, Sea duty and Overseas deployments became immediate dirty words to be fought by barracks lawyers, and requests for transfer out of Combat units multiplied by a factor of Seventeen. The number of married men in American military service, especially in the lower ranks, probably exceeds any military in the World today, or in history. It is certain the American Medical Corps knows more about Child Care, than they have experience in combat wounds.

The second adversity produced by the Volunteer Force lies in a lack of Volunteers. The Pay of the Military cannot compete with the Private Sector; a place which contains relative complete safety, better lifestyle, and a welfare safety net. The Volunteer Force remains attractive only to unskilled, married men with large families. Signing bonuses start to approach a year’s pay, as enlistment rolls continue to drop. Military deployments repetitiously consist of the same numbers of troops, because others cannot be found for replacement; married Servicemen pressure to insure they are not among this number. The deployed Personnel thereby consist of those with the greatest ease of transference to Civilian life. The Military faces continued increases of skilled Manpower loss within a Scenario of falling enlistments; retaining only those who resist all deployments, with all the dexterity of a lawyer.

The attitude of the average American Serviceman has been most effected. They consider military enlistment to be equal to Civilian personal employment contracts. They instill the belief they can just quit, if they don’t like the Orders; something Civilian Courts help them to get away with. The Author remembers a story of a Military officer refusing to deploy to Saudi Arabia, before the Gulf War; the Man eventually served 90 days, served only on Weekends, so as to retain his Civilian employment. Remember this Man was an Officer. Soldiers pressured to deploy under such conditions, will have little likelihood of expressing diligent, aggressive military conduct against the Enemy.

The construction of American service units also suffer from the current construct of the Volunteer Force. Weapon systems must provide maximum safeguard for the manning personnel, else the systems be retooled. The family-oriented nature of the Military insist upon it; even though most of these options negate combat efficiency of weaponry. Consideration of the main battle tank in service, the M1 Abrams, easily show it is over thirty tons overweight; this excess nothing but body armor, specifically for the protection of Crew. The increase of Crew protection is hard to discern, but undoubtedly less than fifteen percent. Almost all would claim this added protection to be a maximum gain, but further study must be engaged.

The added thirty tons of weight lengthens the tank by about eight feet; it widens the vehicle by approximately four feet. The weight of the tank widens the radius of turn by at least it’s own length, which is the longest of almost any current tank. The width of the tank extends the tracks by almost two feet beyond both sides of a flatbed Semi-tractor trailer. This insures the tank cannot be transported on a two-lane highway, without turning it into a single lane One-way. It cannot be transported on unpaved roads, under Rain conditions. The added weight triples the fuel consumption of the vehicle, while the maintenance of the tank doubles; the added weight dislocates sprockets, gears, and wheels in the running assembly. Weight, and the respondent engineering to sustain it, requires a vehicle cost per tank some eleven to twelve times the cost of a vehicle half it’s weight. This all within the scenario of three times the fuel distribution capacity.

The Combat efficiency of the M1 tank Shows disastrous downgrades. It effectively cannot be transported through at least half the cities and villages of the World, without knocking down buildings; or finding a paved by-pass of the town. The ostensible superiority of the tank lies in it’s low profile, ability to acquire targets at speed, and it’s high speed. Each one of these properties are lost in any inter-city scene; target acquisition cannot be sustained at any speed, the low profile provides high targeting on flat streets, and speed cannot be maintained even crashing through buildings. The restriction of Forest is even greater than Cities. Broken ground slows speed to a minimum, due to potential loss of track. The additional length nullifies the value of low profile, for the purpose of target acquisition for tank disablement. The actual threat of tank destruction has increased by an estimated 14%.

The development of Armored Personnel Carriers carry the same troubles. The insistence of complete personnel protection leads to the vast increase in weight. This leads to a vast increase in fuel consumption, increased vehicle maintenance, lessened troop capacity, and personal discomfort for the troops; certain nameless NCOs claim Boxing is easier on the troops than off-road travel in the APCs, due to the rigid shock systems to withstand the weight. Speed is impossible under broken field conditions, and the low profile of the vehicles is equivalent to any Combat vehicles used in WWII; a War noted for success in target acquisition. The safety for the troops stands negated by the difficulty of exiting a struck vehicle.

Translation of the above datum carries even worse dangers.. The average American military division in transit today, would require 7 to 8 times the Fuel as did the equivalent American division in WWII. A Corps of three divisions requires as much Fuel daily as functionally does the residents of the State of Wyoming. This may or may not factor in Air support for the said Corps. The vehicle size and complement of the modern American division has tripled old estimates of the World Wars of the number of trains required to transport a division (between Twelve and Eighteen). Modern Transport facilities must be of specialized nature, unlike the mentioned Predecessors, and specially built. An Air Force capacity equivalent to the post-Normandy Luftwaffe could destroy sufficient amounts of this Transport, as to immobilize modern American divisions.

Pre-Staff planning provides no security in mobilization and transport of a modern division. The congregation of the Transport necessary, the loading of same, and the routing of same, plus the final unloading of the division each requires the planning level associated with the planning for division movement in Vietnam era terms. The American Military drove Combat vehicles into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of WWII, rather than endure the transport of said vehicles back to the United States. Transport of a M1 Abrams tank to Afghanistan and back costs more than the initial construction of the vehicle. The Time-frame for such divisional movements lengthen dramatically, drawn out by routing schedules alone; saying nothing of other failures of Staff planning.

Fuel consumption schedules for the modern American division threaten disaster. Daily fuel consumption for the American military post-Normandy WWII was equivalent to the daily consumption of New York State, at the time of the consumption. An equal size American military force, as constituted today, would possess the average daily fuel consumption of all the Eastern seaboard States. Even a ten percent disruption of fuel supply would spell loss of American life in such a scenario; an Air Force the size of Israel’s current complement could double the stated ten percent loss, no matter the level of Convoy protection. Only three Submarines of a type equal to American attack submarines could do the same. The American military stands as invincible only against a technologically backward Power, without the capacity for transport interdiction.

Military novices may be enduring some dismay at this point, don’t! Any military Power would have to present a military force of equivalent size on Our coasts, for the presentation of a viable threat to the United States. Not even the combined States of Europe could do such a thing within a foreseeable Century. The U.S. could withstand a full embargo of Fuel products to Ourselves for eleven years, with the effective fuel rationing existent in WWII. It will be cheaper within thirty years to produce a liquid plastic fuel synthetic, than it is to pull Oil from the ground today. There is a four million to one greater chance of danger from Terrorist attack than foreign military intrusion; said Terrorist attack 300,000 to one less likely than Tornado or Hurricane.

The above analysis simply amplified the difficulty of exerting American military power on foreign shores, to the potential desired degree.
Understanding of the current Military structure of the World underscores the ineffectiveness of current American procedures. The United States possesses the only heavy battle force which could be easily transported outside national boundaries. Every other Nation faces issues of lack of transport, fuel limitations, and lack of munitions. The United States will face greater strictures from these factors, than now realized under the present complement structure. War as previously known to this Earth, can no longer be fought! The basic reason for this inability stipulates the basic effectiveness of weapon delivery systems and weapons capability has surpassed the ability to defend from their impact.
A Truck bomb in Lebanon twenty years previous to the current writing, destroyed an effective battalion of U.S. troops. The total cost of the Truck bomb did not exceed $20,000; the total cost of transporting a battalion of American troops to Lebanon in excess of $15 Million (note: the Author does not discuss the cost of loss of life or weaponry). The components of the Truck bomb were locally acquirable and constructed. The cost of a American Battalion: two years to train ($45 Million), supply with weaponry ($70 Million), and transport ($15 Million); Support services for said Battalion: an estimated $300 Million). Hand-held weapon systems (cost: less than $30,000 apiece), can take out aircraft (average cost: $30 Million) or tanks(average cost: $5 Million).

The difference between the potential Enemy’s method of fighting, and the current American tactical battle format, resides only in the effective use of Infantry. The American use of Infantry remains pitiful, in the face of very viable usage by Our military opponents. The average guerrilla carries a rifle of some older vintage, along with two to three clips of Ammo for this weapon. He can travel 20-30 miles per day over almost any type of terrain. He generally carries 4-6 lbs. of food on his person, with a dozen known caches of food within a day’s march. He carries approximately four lbs. of water on his person, with significant water sources known within a day’s march. He knows probably a dozen nighttime lagers within his area, most equipped with all-weather gear. The Guerrilla finally knows of at least four Escape and Evasion routes out of the area. He lastly has innate understanding of the exact flight time necessary for all American aircraft to be called into the area; determining the length of engagement with American troops, before travel along pre-planned E&E routes.

American troops are inserted to fight these Guerrillas, mostly by helicopter: insuring the Guerrillas may hear the approach, and maneuver to the entrance of their pre-planned E&E routes. The American troops land, Each weighted by an average 85 lb. pack. He carries an average of 200 rounds for his automatic weapon, never receiving any fire discipline training; this assuring he can burn up the total in his Clips within Twenty minutes. The total mass of his equipment, including flack vests, ensures his inability to utilize half of the terrain depressions and features for cover from Enemy fire. He has been trained to pour out suppressive fire, rather than semi-automatic aimed fire. He has been taught never to expose himself, even to locate the Enemy. All units have been trained to seek Cover, and remain in place, until the approach of Air support. Millions of dollars of Air support ordinance is expended, in saturation of territory already abandoned by the Enemy. The American ground unit is then extracted, flown back to a secure base area; they get to repeat the performance the following day, if not stood down for Rest.

American Infantry face the physical threat of the first pre-planned ambushes of the Enemy. American Infantry generally suffer an average 3% Casualty rate from these exchanges. They do not have the reciprocality of set ambushes because the Enemy always knows their approximate location, and Command decision to withdraw from the field at night. American troops no longer lager in an unprotected site. They have not conducted a roving Night patrol since the Korean War. They have not conducted Night ambushes since Vietnam. Night probes by the Enemy at secure base areas lead American troops to fire off approximately four thousand times the ordinance, as does the Enemy. This Author estimates the Enemy suffers less Casualties than does the American troops, though Enemy Casualties are deaths at a rate almost 12 to 1 to American losses.
The real tactical problem for the American military resides in the fact Civilian casualties can easily exceed Guerrilla losses; who do not kill Civilians. The loss of Afghani Civilians to American fire has to be set around 2000, somewhat higher than expected losses to the Taliban or Al Quada. Americans wonder sometimes at the animosity expressed by Civilians in an American area of military operation; the above Casualty figures go a long way in explanation. American military operation in the Korean War often draws criticism for American fire killing Civilians. Casualties to Civilians were far lower in Korea, than in Vietnam; and probably no higher than in Afghanistan. We Americans wonder why some Afghans wish for the days of the Taliban.
The Author chooses to digress from the general discussion at this point; the period of writing being May of 2002, and appropriate for discussion of U.S. aims in Afghanistan. Control of Afghanistan has been wrested from the Taliban, with both Taliban and Al Quada both driven into the mountains of the region. American presence in Afghanistan already begins to chaff private Afghani citizens. Tribal warlords once again seize their personal fiefdoms, starting to resist central authority. This leadership was chosen by the leadership of the Western Powers; his sole criteria for nomination being his ability to speak a cultured English with the Westerners, and a base of power as a tribal warlord in his own right. Resistence to his control comes from the other tribal warlords, and it is certain this Western-nominated Leader could not win a universal election in Afghanistan. All tribal factions remain heavily armed, though both the nominated leadership and the West demand disarmament.

Some fighting has already broken out between the tribal warlords, and the purported tribal leadership. The Western-nominated leader calls upon the Western nations to use their superior military technology in suppression of this tribal dissent. This use of Western military might will incite all of the Islamic world, with protest of interference in the internal affairs of an Islamic nation; culminating in a Afghani civil war. Current American foreign policy along with the rest of the West, desires to engage in ‘nation building’; a loose concept without clear outline, mainly suggesting the establishment of a central, national Government. Said entity purported as utility for the advancement of the Afghani people.
The situation must decree examination from the viewpoint of Geopolitics. Geographical features describe a real segmentation of Afghanistan. Armed tribes each control particular sections so geographically defined. Intrusion of any segment by elements of another segment is restricted by all tribes being armed, though no tribe has a military technological advantage over any other. Invasion routes limited by terrain feature, no tribe or warlord possesses the military power to assert authority over any of the other tribes. It will require an outside superior military power to unify Afghanistan.

The Geopolitical implications reviewed; the value of Afghani unification fails. The region exists at a high altitude, with relatively poor infrastructure; it stands a great physical distance from any industrially developed area. The population consist almost universally of Muslims, with differentiation only of tribal elements native to the Islamic world. The area was first settled by land pirates, who raided the Caravans of earlier years; passing along the traditional trade routes through the mountain passes. The Afghani tradition dictates foreigners are prey, to be taxed or murdered for their possessions. This practice has been abandoned since investment by the British Army in the Nineteenth century, but foreigners in isolation still occasionally disappear without trace. The modern utilization of Transport make the traditional Trade routes defunct, with little inclination for foreign visit to the Country.

Afghanistan stands at too great a physical distance, with primitive infrastructure, for any great shift of Capital stock to the Region. Any efforts to raise the standard of living for the Afghani people will devolve into the supply of Foodstuffs and Consumer Goods. The injection of Capital stocks for industrialization remain restricted, due to the short and long-run costs of Transport into and out of the Country. This means the import of Foodstuffs and Consumer Goods will never be internally funded; with an incumbent reduction of Afghani standard of living, after foreign funding drys up. Long-term benefit from foreign intervention contains only false hopes for the Afghani people.

The planned centralization of Afghanistan by Western leadership ignores geographic features, the long-term potential damage to the Region, the reaction of the Islamic world, and the total cost of the effort. The current tribal leadership expresses relative effectiveness in care of their own people, at the level sustainable by Afghani society. This care, along with standing off other tribal factions, consumes the attention and effort of the tribal leadership. The injuries perpetuated upon them by Taliban and Al Quada, forestall these elements from return to central power in Afghanistan. Terrorist training camps for the attack of Western nations seem doubtful in Afghanistan, for the near future. The level for individual foreigners inside Afghanistan also seem as high, as can be implemented. The realistic military objectives of the Western nations have already been realized by the recent conflict.

Western analysts need to stop judging conditions by Western societies. The different Afghani factions will keep all factions occupied, without time to engage in a Holy Jihad against Christianity. The Afghani already possess a standard of living sustainable in the Region. Western leadership proclaim a need for a central leadership for purposes of negotiation; the question to be asked, what negotiations? Western nations cannot viably raise the Afghani standard of living in a internally financed medium. Any intrusion will arouse the Islamic world against the West, with claims of Colonialism. Western educational efforts will be frustrated by incompatibilities of Language, and the religious outrage of the mullahs. Further military activities in the Country will bring Afghani civil unrest–resistence movements. Afghanistan must stand or fall through Afghani efforts; the West has done what it could, under limited circumstances.

This Author now calls for the unilateral withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan; a Withdrawal no greater an unilateral action, than was the initial intrusion. Humanists would call for the reconstruction of the destruction by Western military power; this should be accomplished by the sole expedient of Cash payment to the leadership of each damaged area, reconstruction expenditures to be allocated by them in manner consistent with Afghani lifestyle. There should be no attempts to suppress traditional tribal leadership, or impose a central authority by Western support of a factional leader. The fractionalization of Afghani society should be utilized by Western foreign policy, to advance the interests of the Western nations.

Western Commentators will proclaim such a policy to be inhuman and cold-hearted; it is not! Further in-Country persecution of Taliban and Al Quada elements will inflict equal persecution on the Afghani people. Taliban and Al Quada survive because of support from Afghani social elements, coupled with aid from the Islamic world. Further attempted destruction of these elements leads to heightened Western casualties, without relevant reduction of these Terrorist forces. Islamic outrage remains limited, solely due to the greater outrage felt in the Islamic world, over Events in Palestine. Continuing Western interference internally of an Islamic nation will bring only Islamic religious reaction, without appreciable advantage accruing to Western positions. The fractionalization by tribal elements afford a viable negotiation medium for Western Powers, playing the factions off against one another–providing safety inside Western society. The Afghani people, themselves, will be allowed to rebuild their nation in conformance with their own cultural ethos.

The Author justifies the above tirade on basis of it’s relevance to the current state of military affairs. The overkill capabilities of military technology enjoy blockage from use, due to the public revulsion to such usage throughout the World. The advantage of technology is nullified completely by Journalistic feed to this public opinion. ‘Smart bombs’ and air attacks lead inevitably to rejection of the User’s position, no matter the justification. Resistence will always decentralize in the face of overwhelming technological advantage, and extended weapons systems exhibit poor performance against decentralized resistence. Organized Military once again must fall back on Infantry and light Armor elements. This Work intends to examine the response of organized Military to this challenge, their failure in strategy, tactics, and training for this response, and the need to revert to traditional military tactics; as developed prior to the Nuclear Age.


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Reviewed by Claywoman 9/28/2002 facinating as this sounds, you really need to proof read it and do something about the
Reviewed by Dennis Michels (Reader) 9/11/2002
Very well written.
Reviewed by Dennis Michels (Reader) 5/8/2002
Lawrance, your first sentence convinced me of the books revelance. I pray it will be a powerful aid in the healing of our nation. Until there is peace in The Middle East, there will be no peace in the world.

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