Free Markets, Free People

Interview with former SecDef Rumsfeld

This past weekend was the 6th Annual Milblog Conference.  I attended and it was the best one yet.  Our headliner was former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld and since I’d met him previously, I was asked to introduce him and facilitate the Q&A, which I was honored to do.

It was a fun 45 minutes as you’ll probably see if you’ve the time or desire to watch the whole thing.  I start the questioning with the shakeup in the national security arena where Petraeus is going to CIA and Panetta going to SecDef.  Secretary Rumsfeld reminded me that Ryan Crocker is also included in that as the new ambassador to Afghanistan.

He’s definitely right to point that out and it plays even more into the theory that we’re going to fight the war differently than we have.  Petraeus and Crocker had a very tight relationship in Iraq and there’s no doubt in my mind that the relationship will be reestablished with Petraeus at CIA.  It again emphasizes the probability of a more covert, SOF, “secret ninja” type of war in the future, vs. the way we’re waging it now. 

And, with the demise of bin Laden, many are now going to call on us to pack up and leave claiming our mission is complete and encouraging us to turn Afghanistan over to the Afghanis to sort out.  I see the pressure to do that building over the coming months (remember July is the month of the scheduled withdrawal from A’stan).   About all that might dampen those cries is if al Qaeda strikes somewhere in retaliation for the bin Laden death (and I fully expect they will, however they may not mount any sort of reprisal in the next few months).



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5 Responses to Interview with former SecDef Rumsfeld

  • I just made a similar comment a few stories below but that article is probably stale so I’ll repeat it now.
    The reservation I have is that Democrats believe in ninjas.  They believe that small elite surgical teams can replace a full military and effective foreign policy.  Like when Carter expected to ninja out the hostages in Iran.  Or Clinton tried to use special forces to go after a warlord in Somalia when overwhelming force was necessary.

    I believe Bin Laden was a special case because the compounded wasn’t run by a true military force and was trying to keep a low profile and not a fully alert force in military mindset and some combat experience (if not professionally trained).  But that will validate the ninja military approach regardless.  This is where we shrink our military and put more of the heavy lifting on the more elite units instead of looking at those units as a compliment to main sizable military force.

    • I agree.

      What people don’t think about when they yap about “we just need more ninjas” is “hidden costs”:

      — Cost to recruit, pay, train, house, feed, and care for the thousands of sailors and Marines in the SEAL teams as well as the Carl Vinson task force and their dependents (a bit hard to stage a raid like this from a Coast Guard cutter!);

      — Cost of the task force ships and aircraft, and their maintenance

      — Cost of recruiting, training, and paying the various intelligence analysts and officers who worked for years to track OBL

      — Cost of the “physical plant” where those analysts and officers worked

      — Cost of satellites and other electronic surveillance equipment used to track AQ suspects

      — Direct costs of building the SEAL’s practice compound

      It might actually have been cheaper to use B-2 bombers with PGM’s, actually.

      But a WHOLE lot less satisfying!

      Just as a SWAT team is an elite adjunct of a police department, so the SOF are an elite adjunct of the military.  Just as a small police deparment can’t field a SWAT team, a small military cannot field a very capable SOF.

      • I saw the story today about the alternative of using B-2 bomers to drop at least a dozen JDAMs.  Obama must have been taking Community Organizing 101 during the Iraq War not to realize that the house would be left in rubble., and small pieces of rubble at that.

        • But that has its own drawbacks when the Pakistanis claim that only a poor family of Pashtuns died and you can’t get access to the site to prove it was Bin Laden.

    • Plus the “ninjas” have to come from the farm team of the regular military. Its not just the trigger pullers. You need the intel officer who now speaks Dari who transfers over to spec ops, etc. You don’t get those guys directly off the streets of Bakersfield.