Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 14, 2022

What Might A Lame Duck Biden Aim For?

These are a pretty bad days for U.S. President Joe Biden.

Wednesday: Quinnipiac poll shows Biden with 33 percent approval rating

The poll found 57 percent disapproved of Biden's handling of the economy, 54 percent disapproved of his handling of foreign policy and 55 percent disapproved of his handling of the pandemic, which was once a consistent bright spot for Biden.
---

Thursday: Kyrsten Sinema Backs Senate Filibuster in Blow to Joe Biden Amid Voting Rights Showdown

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has delivered a major blow to President Joe Biden as she reiterated her support for the chamber's 60-vote filibuster—the biggest obstacle for Democrats in passing voting rights legislation.
---

Thursday: Biden all but concedes defeat on voting, election bills

All but conceding defeat, President Joe Biden said Thursday he’s now unsure the Democrats' major elections and voting rights legislation can pass Congress this year. He spoke at the Capitol after a key fellow Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, dramatically announced her refusal to go along with changing Senate rules to muscle the bill past a Republican filibuster.
---

Thursday: Supreme Court blocks vaccine rule for companies, allows health care worker mandate

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule for businesses with at least 100 workers, but granted a separate request from the Biden administration to allow its vaccine mandate for health care workers to take effect.
---

Thursday: Producer price index increased by 0.2%, up more than 6% for 2021

---

Friday: U.S. Retail Sales Slide Most in 10 Months on Inflation, Omicron

The value of overall purchases decreased 1.9%, after a revised 0.2% gain a month earlier, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, suggesting price-adjusted receipts were even weaker than the headline number.
---

Friday: U.S. Consumer Sentiment Drops More Than Expected Due To Inflation Worries

Noting inflation's regressive impact, Curtin said consumer sentiment among households with total incomes below $100,000 slumped by 9.4 percent in early January, while sentiment among households with incomes over that amount increased by 5.7 percent.
---

Losses on all fronts. The midterms will likely be devastating for the Democrats. Afterwards Biden will be a lame duck.

The only field where he will still be able to show political initiative, and maybe have some successes, will be in foreign policy.

What could he aim for?

---

This week Moon of Alabama is asking you, dear reader, to support this site. Please do so as well as you can.

Posted by b on January 14, 2022 at 17:57 UTC | Permalink

Comments
« previous page

@ c1ue
the Vietnam era anti-war movement as a social movement.
What finally ended the US aggression against Vietnam was a mutiny in the army ranks. This included mission refusal, fragging (hand-grenading) of superiors, and generally contesting the war, which created a 'broken army.' This is what mandated a US withdrawal, not civilians marching in US streets. It also led to a termination of the draft, a guarantee that young army men will now obey their orders.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 15 2022 20:56 utc | 101

If somebody said it I missed it, but there is a lack of democracy in the US. There is no governance via representatives. Instead the ruling powerse peddle the idea that elections are democracy. A choice between Hillary and Trump (just one example) constitutes democracy!. . . No. . . .What is needed, for one thing, are referenda, votes by the people which now sometimes take place at the state level but never at the federal level. Let the people vote on what medical programs they demand, with the congress-critters working out the details. That's democracy, not the full divide we now have with Congressional job approval at 22%.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 15 2022 21:06 utc | 102

Don Bacon @102--

I hit that note in my comment that garnered zero discussion. Domestic policy aims at continuing the status quo for as long as possible until some change is forced, although there're movements afoot is several states, like the single payer health care bill in California. In fact, the states can do a great many things to forward the interests of their citizens if they were to try since their democracy hasn't been completely stifled--yet. Seattle's anti-corporate money elections act is another I've mentioned before that ought to be easily adopted by all the states since it aims to keep foreign monies from influencing elections. Very few are aware that Milwaukee was governed by Socialists from 1892-1960. It is possible for the local to supplant the national, but it's up to the locals to make it work that way.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 15 2022 21:28 utc | 103

@Don Bacon #101
While what you have written did happen, it is far from clear (to me) that it was the primary reason why the US left Vietnam.
From my view, the ongoing and manifest failures of American politicians' and generals' pronouncements about Vietnam culminating in the "surprise" Tet offensive was the real problem.
Credibility up and down the line is destroyed when repeated pronouncements of "mission accomplished" or "1 more strong push" are followed by clear "oops".
There's a reason why the US military and politicians have been far more careful messaging about Afghanistan etc etc.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 15 2022 22:37 utc | 104

2024 will be a write-in election...for Ed Snowden.

This is the Internet Age. Let the person-to-person communication begin to use the internet's everywhere and 24/7 broadcast lines to overcome all borders and
censorship.

Of course, Snowden will win in a landslide vote, but the Electoral College voters will choose either the Demostooge or Repubstooge...and the Second Civil War begins...better known as the 9921 War.

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 16 2022 1:09 utc | 105

Boss Tweet | Jan 14 2022 21:45 utc | 35

"Never mind who wins the next election, the United States is ungovernable as is moving forward."

I don't want to be governed. How about you?

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 16 2022 1:28 utc | 106

the Vietnam anti-war movement was a social movement...the motivation underlying that movement was the draft..what sustained it."

S Brennan

I'm sure that's why Pete Seeger or even Joan Baez were involved. The bonafide American antiwar movement preceded Vietnam though yes, they were swept up in it. Pete Seeger was blacklisted as a commie long before then.

Posted by: Bo Robinson | Jan 16 2022 2:21 utc | 107

Daffy duct 100:
Why would russ invade the cesspool of ukraine? They can destroy whatever weapon platforms without actually invading.
So why invade? The usa created this failed state of ukraine, without thinking how things might turn out. The russ have taken back their warm water port, loaned to the ukes by an optomistic kruschev. The russian predominent eastern provinces of the doncast are aalredy russ in fact, if not in law… so the russ have no further interest in the ukraine, other than insuring no offensive weapons are installed. Thats a red line….

Posted by: James joseph | Jan 16 2022 2:30 utc | 108

Bo Robinson 107,

I assume your remark is the result of oversight, if not, ignore what follows:

Bo;

I invite you to go back to my comment and review it to for "quotation marks". Try to imagine why I used them? If you do not understand what they mean, no problem, I will explain how they are used in current language.

To be ignorant is not a sin, oh no, far from it but, to be "studiously ignorant" isn't just a sin, it's a prerequisite of eternal damnation.

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 16 2022 2:39 utc | 109

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 16 2022 2:39 utc | 109

No, oh mighty one. I am black and ignorant. I didn't get the same exceptional education as white assholes like you. Read my comment biatch, which you obviously didn't. Consult the learned before you come at me. I did. I'll wait longer to call you stupid. Whitey.

Posted by: Bo Robinson | Jan 16 2022 2:43 utc | 110

Interesting … the usa vitally needs europe in its confrontation with china -russ-iran axis, but it is finding itself a penny short and two days late. Euro must have the energy and raw materials from russ, in order to flourish. The usa would have euro wither on the vine, rather than do business with the russ. One can only imagine how long before the conquored euros realize WWIi ended some 75 years ago, but the usa troops have not left. The soviets/russians left their occupied countries of europe…..why haven’t the americans?
Its all a big club, and we aren’t in it!

Posted by: James joseph | Jan 16 2022 2:48 utc | 111

Interesting … the usa vitally needs europe in its confrontation with china -russ-iran axis, but it is finding itself a penny short and two days late. Euro must have the energy and raw materials from russ, in order to flourish. The usa would have euro wither on the vine, rather than do business with the russ. One can only imagine how long before the conquored euros realize WWIi ended some 75 years ago, but the usa troops have not left. The soviets/russians left their occupied countries of europe…..why haven’t the americans?
Its all a big club, and we aren’t in it!

Posted by: James joseph | Jan 16 2022 2:48 utc | 112

@ Bo Robinson | Jan 16 2022 2:21 utc | 107... unfortunately bo, brennan was quoting c1ue, but it wasn't immediately clear...

pete seeger was a young disciple of woody guthrie's... i think his parents were good friends to woody..i seem to remember petes dad, or mom - one of them as a university prof and the other came from a wealthy family background... fwiw... not that it matters, or maybe it does.. i am going on my memory from reading 'woodie guthrie' a life, by joe klein.. as bruce springstein said - its a really great book.. there might be more then one basis for the anti war movement.. i think woody was interested in the union movement and people being treated fairly.. obviously being drafted into war isn't fair... maybe they are all connected..
i got some of it right from memory, but not all of it - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Seeger

not sure where i was going with all that... we are a long way from woody and seeger...

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2022 5:15 utc | 113

What could the Biden Regime aim for?

Option 1: A true war to end all wars (and America as a nation): World War 3 and Nuclear Armageddon.

Option 2: Creating the political conditions for the rise of a Trump-style regime in 2024--who will promptly launch a true war to end all wars (and America as a nation): World War 3 and Nuclear Armageddon.

As the Americans love to say ... all options are on the table.

And the only option America understands is War.

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 16 2022 6:43 utc | 114

The word 'WAR' (conveying its actual meaning) has appeared 49 times in this not-so-lenghthy (114 comment) thread.

Posted by: blues | Jan 16 2022 8:55 utc | 115

Maynard was a head of his time

Posted by: ld | Jan 16 2022 8:56 utc | 116

Better count, about 71 mentions of 'WAR'. (In 114 comments -- excepting mine).

Posted by: blues | Jan 16 2022 9:04 utc | 117

Re: Posted by: c1ue | Jan 15 2022 1:33 utc | 53

Even if Volcker were in charge and empowered, it would take 2 or 3 months before talk translated into action, and another 2 or 3 months for action to translate into effect. As such, it won't matter even if Volcker magically replaced Powell tomorrow. And note while Volcker is still alive, the possibility of him being put in charge is literally zero: Volcker's actions would crush the stock market, which in turn would make all of the Democrat/American oligarchy angry.

FYI: Paul Volcker is DEAD. Died in 2019.


Posted by: Julian | Jan 16 2022 9:52 utc | 118

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2022 5:15 utc | 113
".. i think woody was interested in the union movement"

Hands down the understatement of the day, james.
Woody

Pete was right there too,
Pete

as were the Weavers who did as much as any to form the social anti-war movement c1ue referred to upthread.
Weavers

Posted by: waynorinorway | Jan 16 2022 9:54 utc | 119

@Cabe | Jan 15 2022 18:11 utc | 94

To some extent, I would say I am an abolitionist

@chu teh | Jan 16 2022 1:28 utc | 106

I don't want to be governed.

Have you read Lysander Spooner? If not, now is the time.

https://files.libertyfund.org/files/2194/Spooner_1485_Bk.pdf

@Cabe #94

According to the rule that things always get worse continually and never better, we might end up with Lynn Cheney for president if the oligarchy gets its way.

Imagine Nikki Haley as the next POTUS. Do you know the definitions of optimist and pessimist?

A pessimist is someone who says:

- (In a gloomy tone) It couldn't be worse.

The optimist is the one who replies:

- (In a cheerful tone) Yes, it could!

Posted by: Leuk | Jan 16 2022 10:08 utc | 120

Re: Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 15 2022 21:06 utc | 102

Don, there will never be referenda at the Federal level in the United States.

Have you ever read the US Constitution?

The States are sovereign and control most matters, the Federal Government has no power to hold referenda. The US Federal Government is a creation of the States - not the other way around.

The States could (potentially) dissolve the Federal Government - this can not happen the other way around. The Federal Government does not have such a power.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 16 2022 10:57 utc | 121

not sure where i was going with all that... we are a long way from woody and seeger...

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2022 5:15 utc | 113

Now that I think about it, there is a vast continent of US culture that was sort of left by the wayside when all the IT and Internet crap took over. Woody and Pete and unions and all sorts of stuff really, not just leftist, but all over, just dumped there and left in favor of the Disneyfied and much simplified version we have now.

I remember being told computers were going to set us all free and save lots of my time.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2022 11:57 utc | 122

@Chu Teh #105
I am 100% certain that anyone under an active Treason indictment cannot be US President.
Nor am I the least bit convinced that more than 1 in 20 Americans know anything about Snowden other than he is a traitor.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 12:58 utc | 123

@65
Have searched to find out if it is true?

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Jan 16 2022 14:31 utc | 124

I am not intimately familiar with Ukraine geography, strategic lications, etc.

If Russia moves into Ukraine, does it make sense to, once the military goals are achieved, to setup new borders for Eastern Ukraine to Dnieper River to also create a land buffer North of Crimea? Obviously, this would give/grant independence to that region.

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Jan 16 2022 14:48 utc | 125

@ Julian 121
The States are sovereign and control most matters
As originally adopted, the Constitution contained relatively few limitations on state authority. Article IV had some limitations on states. More limitations came with amendments XIII-XV to combat racial discrimination. States conduct referenda for state laws, it is common sense that referenda ought to be available for national laws. States would still be sovereign for state laws. There is no sovereignty of states over the federal government.

The US needs referenda to claim democracy, as many other nations do. All Congress would have to do is follow a series of practical steps offered by a Californian named John Matsusaka.

. . . The U.S., Matsusaka repeatedly points out, is an enormous outlier in never having allowed a national referendum in our 250-year history. A majority of countries in every region of the world—and 90 percent of countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa—have had at least one national referendum since 1980. Instituting such referenda here would hardly require a leap of faith. More than two-thirds of Americans have told pollsters that they support the idea.. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2022 15:03 utc | 126

@ c1ue 104
it is far from clear (to me) that it was the primary reason why the US left Vietnam.
It is not clear to you because you accept the common meme that street marches changed federal policy. Never happen. The elimination of the draft was a direct result of the broken army, it was a serious problem. I was in the army at the time. Were you?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2022 15:08 utc | 127

The elimination of the draft was a direct result of the broken army, it was a serious problem. I was in the army at the time. Were you?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2022 15:08 utc | 127

Yep, that is what happened. Vietnam broke the US Army. It has never been the same. Reverted to the old "special forces" model so popular when we were still fighting the natives here, with forts ("lilypads") scattered around and patrols and raids. Couldn't win those either, except with real pipsqueak "enemies". (No offense intended to the pipsqueaks.)

Colonial warfare is not good preparation for industrial warfare, and vice-versa.

We have no draft because you draft citizens, and citizens have rights, and entitlements. We want to run government like a business, where the boss gets his way and everybody else can be fired or is a consumer, either way they have no rights. Only the boss has rights.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2022 15:52 utc | 128

@ waynorinorway / bemildred.... thanks.... yes - a big chunk of the culture was lost in a way as you say bemildred... that is a good way to put it..

after reading that book - the dawn of everything - i began reading - medieval technology and social change by lynn white.. the idea that technology is going to set us free is a bit of a joke... in many ways it enslaves us too and blinds us to much as well.... it is a catch 22 type thing to be given new technology... i think it takes a good length of time before we come to terms with it and initially it appears it just swamps us... i am mostly thinking of computers and etc today and how they have sort of taken over our lives.. thanks for both of your input here!

i have noticed for the past week or so grieveds absence....

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2022 16:36 utc | 129

@Don Bacon #127
I never said street marches, what I said was a social movement.
You have yet to provide any countervailing evidence or commentary that opposition to the Vietnam war was not widespread even if the wealthier/more connected could evade direct service.

Nor is your extrapolation that "Vietnam broke the army" led to policy changes the least bit convincing.

How many times did the South crush Union armies in the Civil War? The Union army was clearly broken, multiple times, yet they kept coming.

For that matter, the Vietnamese people suffered enormous human losses: something like 1M+ people out of a total population of 40M - of which some significant percentage were not pro-Communist.

To say 50K US casualties broke the US Army but 1M dead didn't break the North Vietnam and Vietcong forces - well, that's American exceptionalism.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 16:46 utc | 130

@Bemildred #128
That's one way to look at it.
The other way to look at it is that the US military evolved doctrine such that it believes it didn't need large masses of bodies to conduct war; that the LeMayian bombing strategies would be sufficient to compel military victory, later upgraded with special ops raids.
From my view - this military posture isn't incorrect with respect to 2nd and 3rd rate opponents. And when I mean 2nd and 3rd rate, I mean measures of determination, not economic or military capability.
We have seen numerous examples of both successes and failures: successes where the opponent nation's oligarchy was so divorced from its population that decapitation was trivial (Panama), but also plenty of failures where the population either supported the government (Vietnam) or the US' blundering "democracy formation" led to resurgence in opposition (Iraq, Afghanistan).

But all that is largely irrelevant now.

What is facing the US now is an alliance of the strongest non-US military (Russia) coupled with the largest non-US economy (China).

The 2 countries combine for more GDP and 5 times the population.

Note this excludes Iran and numerous other de-facto allies, whereas actual warfighting allies of the US are all very suspect (Western Europe, Japan).

I don't know if it is political posturing, stupidity, myopia, incompetence, decadence, or some combination of the above - but US geopolitical actions are unquestionably flying in the face of economic and military reality.

The US vs. Russia+China is like the South vs. the North in the Civil War, except it isn't even clear that the US has superior forces, man for man.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 17:15 utc | 131

The US vs. Russia+China is like the South vs. the North in the Civil War, except it isn't even clear that the US has superior forces, man for man.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 17:15 utc | 131

Well, I don't think you are wrong about that. And I'm no expert. But I did work with a lot of vets in the 70s, best friends, and two brothers in the "service" at the time. Uncles were in Korea & WWII. Father in WWI. Nieces & Nephews in Iraq & etc. after that. About 17 years in defense IT business. And I know the military we have today is nothing like what fought WWII.

I think the current behavior of the government here is crazy, for sure.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2022 17:47 utc | 132

"To say 50K US casualties broke the US Army but 1M dead didn't break the North Vietnam
and Vietcong forces - well, that's American exceptionalism.
"
Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 16:46 utc | 130


You can bomb them to their knees,
With the possible exception of the North Vietnamese.

I don’t much, if at all, disagree with c1ue but I think it’s not possible to attribute the American withdrawal from Vietnam to just a single factor.
The social movement against the war had become strong by the end of the ‘60s but had reached a point where it
was leveling off. If people weren’t against the war by the early ‘70s, they likely were not going to change their minds.
It was a fairly even split as I recall.

As for military dissent, I see that as a weakening of the ability to wage the war against Vietnam but as a minor factor in the US getting out. The military would have handled that dissent, and indeed it began tapering off after about 1970. The fact is a fully gung-ho US military would not have had success either.
(Btw I was there 1969-70 for what that’s worth, which in my honest and humble opinion isn’t much.)

I think the #1 reason the US ended their invasion was that they were going to lose. It was not like Afghanistan where they could have remained in a stalemate.
By withdrawing they were able to claim that they did so of their own volition, which of course is a lie in support of American exceptionalism.
They did in fact lose, but to this day the whole evil affair is called a 'mistake'.

After all exceptional does not mean perfect. Nor does it mean that you ever have to say you are sorry. It was simply a mistake. Excuuuuuse ME!

Further, I would argue that the MIC was fairly maxed out just making bombs and conventional war products. It was necessary, as in all capitalist sectors, that they expand and Vietnam was a hindrance to expansion. The tremendous increase in the MIC since has been off the charts. Anyone wanna buy an F-35?

Posted by: waynorinorway | Jan 16 2022 18:49 utc | 133

For the record, I received my college funds from the GI Bill for 1.5 years of enlisted, active US Army service with six years of reserve duty that saw me activated twice. This occurred during the post Vietnam/draft era Army.

In any army there is a certain amount of insubordination and tall tales of insubordination, soldiers often have too much time on their hands without any entertainment, it's natural they turn to bullshitting to fill the void. My senior enlisted and officers who had served in Vietnam assured me that if half the stories of fragging were true we'd have lost twice as many men. It did happen but, it was very, very rare and largely to overly eager butterbars that got somebody killed unnecessarily, never to guys who had been in country for any length of time.

The widespread fragging stories conveniently fit the narrative that working people were unworthy...it was the draftees that lost the war. Those stories conveniently exculpated those in power that either assassinated Kennedy or, secretly approved of murder; all so they could have their fucking war. Those that herded so many to the abattoir needed to be cleansed of their great sin. Their sin, was/is so broad and wide that it still visits itself daily upon this great nation. Who better to scapegoat than the drafted enlisted?

I hadn't thought of my US Army experience as being the result of "white privilege" as approximately 40% my fellow soldiers that held my MOS where partially African in ethnicity...and many were there doing the same thing I was, getting funds for University. My command structure was just shy of 50% partial African ethnicity, all had college prior to service and I never viewed my command structure as "privileged", white or otherwise. Yep, we were a mixed bag of Americans and we got along because we all knew, due to our common fate, we all had a longer roe to hoe.

And honestly, due to that US Army experience...of working daily with highly educated people of partial African ethnicity, [on those extremely rare occasions I associate race with the writings of others], through my learned bigotry, I tend to associate ignorance and bad manners with those of partial European ethnicity. As such, it's a worthy thing that a poster would go out of their way to announce their unbeknown race in order to quite visibly demonstrate a counter-point to my belief system, I appreciate the extra effort that entailed.

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 16 2022 18:55 utc | 134

regarding the vietnam war, a key factor may have been nixon taking the usa off the gold standard in 1971... i don't know how it played into all that, but i am sure it did.. i met a number of draft dodgers in the early 70s in vancouver where i grew up... they were coming to canada in droves... i was supportive of them too...

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2022 19:46 utc | 135

@james #135
There is no question that the massive cost of the Vietnam war was part of what drove the US to close the gold window.
However, I personally believe the writing was already on the deep state wall by Nixon's election in 1968 - that the US wasn't going to win in Vietnam and should exit in a deniable fashion.
Look at the timing:
Tet offensive: January/February 1968.
Nixon election: November 1968. LBJ had already announced he wouldn't run for re-election.
Peak of protests: around spring of 1969, coinciding with the peak in US troops there.
November 1969: announcement of the "Vietnamization" policy - specifically

In the previous administration, we Americanized the war in Vietnam. In this administration, we are Vietnamizing the search for peace

Contrast this statement with previous statements about fighting Communism in Vietnam.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 21:45 utc | 136

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 21:45 utc | 136

Yeah, that's about right, everybody who was not in the War Party could already see we were not going to win by '68, that's what that election was about. LBJ quit because he knew he would lose. The first of many elections the Democrats would throw rather than do something for their "base". The Borg has still not forgiven the "deplorables" for not winning that stupid war for them.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 17 2022 0:32 utc | 137

"The US vs. Russia+China is like the South vs. the North in the Civil War, except it isn't even clear that the US has superior forces, man for man.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2022 17:15 utc | 131

Well, I don't think you are wrong about that. And I'm no expert. But I did work with a lot of vets in the 70s, best friends, and two brothers in the "service" at the time. Uncles were in Korea & WWII. Father in WWI. Nieces & Nephews in Iraq & etc. after that. About 17 years in defense IT business. And I know the military we have today is nothing like what fought WWII.

I think the current behavior of the government here is crazy, for sure."

More recent veteran here that wouldn't have any faith in our armed forces man for man, especially against Russia. I started college the month before 9/11, so my entire adult life has been shaped by it. Being from MO and therefore immersed in right-wing propaganda from birth, I was practically camping at the recruiting station to heed the call. I even joined the Chemical Corps (CBRN) because that role seemed like it would need the most support. Of course, when WMDs were never found that broke the spell for me and I had to face the idea that I'd been deceived.

From a personnel perspective, the US military isn't ready for a real war. I know that it's a cliche that every veteran will say "these new soldiers", but I watched the Army culture degrade in real-time. In the early years of service, misled as we were, nearly everyone was there for the mission. It wasn't about us, but something bigger. Then came the surge and with it, true mercenaries that joined for $50k for 3 years. Their motivations and character were drastically different. The "Army of One" took on a whole different meaning as the new wave skewed sociopathic. I don't have the data readily available, but anecdotally I witnessed a true surge in crimes committed, rapes, gross negligence, harassment, and many other surprising actions cross my desk for processing in HHC.

Toxic leadership was rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception, with weak "leadership" accomplishing goals through intimidation rather than inspiration. Missions and even basic functions became an absolute nightmare, in garrison and in theater, once the culture changed. Think people hoarding responsibility for crucial duties and then not even remotely fulfilling those...extended across a service branch. I can't count how many times I had to say "I don't care about any of this. I'm just trying to do my job. Can you help me or do I need to go around or above you?". It was all about politics, back-stabbing, and shortcuts to get bullet points for annual reviews without actually earning them.

Notable examples:

Every single officer in a medical unit getting a Silver Star...for spending a year playing Bejeweled and sleeping at their desks in the operations center.

The commander and first sergeant of a signal unit throwing a temper tantrum during training, forcing an unnecessary deployment reset in category 5 (deadly) heat that sent 5 soldiers to the hospital with heat exhaustion without consequence.

The commander, first sergeant, and supply sergeant of the same signal unit planning poorly and dropping literal truckloads of uncleared communications equipment on the side of the road and dumpsters in Iraq so they could go home on time.

In a near-peer conflict, our armed forces will fall apart from the inside. The new leadership froze and often got their entire squads killed in training exercises. That's okay as their deficiencies, to include physical fitness, would get pencil-whipped and they'd move on to command companies regardless. Equipment was deployed outside calibration, in disrepair, and designed to fail periodically. That's also okay as most soldiers won't even bother bringing or using it if it's inconvenient unless explicitly commanded. The enlisted women would be distracted, always having to watch their backs to avoid being raped by those sharing a uniform (we issued rape whistles to them, no joke) while dodging sexual harassment/assault and quid quo pro from superiors.

This is from my experience ending in 2013, when there were still some of the old guard attempting to reel in the worst aspects. At this point, those who might retain an orderly fighting force are injured, retired, or dead. Those in charge and their subordinates are undisciplined, unprincipled, and in service for entirely selfish reasons. The new wave of soldiers have moved up the ranks and fundamentally shape the culture now, so I have no doubt it's much worse.

Posted by: Dystopian | Jan 17 2022 16:08 utc | 138

Replying to Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2022 17:47 utc | 132

Meant to include this in the last post, but failed at copy/paste.

Posted by: Dystopian | Jan 17 2022 16:17 utc | 139

@Dystopian #138
Thank you for sharing your experiences.
I know there are a lot of dedicated, patriotic people in the US Armed Forces; I also know that there are a large number of sociopathic, nepotistic, incompetent and ambitious chairborne commandos.
The reality is that the US Armed Forces has not gone up against a technological peer, probably since the Civil War.
It has been said that every military organization is a struggle between the bean counters and the warriors; too many warriors and the logistics/infrastructure fall apart. Too many bean counters and you end up with a warfighting organization that can't fight.
Actual combat is how you find the warriors.
So many years without a peer competition, I imagine mountain ranges of beans.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 17 2022 20:08 utc | 140

Replying to Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2022 17:47 utc | 132

Meant to include this in the last post, but failed at copy/paste.

Posted by: Dystopian | Jan 17 2022 16:17 utc | 139

Thank you for your testimony. I retired and stopped paying attention around the time you were just coming up, but it's what I would expect, it was already very political by the 90s and always corrupt. The vast inundation with money was bound to start a race to the bottom. I don't think we are ready for much of anything, but not really in a position to say anymore, so appreciate your sharing.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 17 2022 20:21 utc | 141

« previous page

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Working...