By Robbie Watson (Fort Benning, GA)
One of the biggest threats facing the US Military today doesn't lurk in the Middle East…it's here on the home front where according to Army Brass…deep financial cuts are threatening the readiness of America's Armed Forces. Fort Benning's Commanding General shares those sentiments.
"We have to guard against the development of flawed and simple solutions to the problem of future war that are driven not by an understanding of threats to national security and what sort of capabilities we need in the army to fight as part of a joint force but is driven instead by trying to get answers to the budget problem and so what I think is happening is that some defense experts are putting forward solutions to the problem of future war that are fundamentally flawed and could lead us to decisions that create vulnerabilities in our force."
The Military has taken other hits too…like a self induced blow to it's image after a number of high profile scandals involving current and former General Officers including McMaster's own mentor David Petraeus..
"We have to understand that for us as leaders in the military the standard for us are higher and they have to be higher than in any other profession and that's because the stakes are really high in war. War involves killing and the prospects of death. It causes you obviously to make very tough moral and ethical decisions in environments of persistent danger so I think it's right and necessary even for our society to keep expectations of military leaders very high."
But the Commander adds Americans should also hold themselves to a higher standard and take the time to educate themselves about who exactly is fighting in their name.
"I think that really one of the biggest misunderstandings or problems in terms of understanding the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq is that e never talk about the enemy....who are we fighting? How many Americans could name the three main Taliban groups right now let alone describe what their agendas are and what they say so you know back in World War II we had these reels why we fight, why we're fighting, who we're fighting"
And the General offers a clear picture about who we are fighting today.
"What is happening in Iraq is you have I believe the Iranians pursuing a strategy of keeping a weak dependant government in power so they can have control of a certain degree over that government but also to continue to create militias that lie outside of the government's control so they can be turned against the Iraqi Government if the Iraqi Government takes action that's inconsistent with Iranian interests. This is what you call the Hezbollah model, this is what they are doing in Syria"
Because of that continued threat Fort Benning's Commander circles back to the decisions being made at the nation's capitol and a plea..
"We can't compromise on training standards, on training and readiness and of course we're under budget pressure today and that's one of the key things I think all of us as leaders have to remember and that we have to ask help from our leaders in Washington to make sure we maintain the resources we need to make sure our units are prepared for future conflict and prepared to continue the fight today in Afghanistan."
For WLTZ First News, I'm Robbie Watson.
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