Four Star General Conway, Commandant of the
U.S. Marine Corps, spoke at the American
Legion Convention yesterday. We have heard
that military leaders are concerned about the
readiness of the U.S. military. General
Conway brought these concerns to the front in
Now, Conway was the speaker prior to John McCain.
The very first point Conway made was about the
turn around in Marine deaths in Iraq. As McCain
emphasizes that it was the "surge" of 2007 which
has been the real cause of the dramatic fall in
death rate, Conway, as a loyal General, would be
expected to fall in line with that neoconservative
Republican interpretation. However, Conway
emphasized that it was not the "surge" that led
to the decline of marine deaths. The marines were
and are mainly stationed in Anbar Province, one
of the most dangerous for U.S. military personnel.
Conway says that the deaths started to decline in
Fall, 2006, long before the "surge" began in
Spring, 2007, because 2006 was when the Shieks
decided to turn against Al Qaeda. It was the
Shieks who came to the U.S. marine commanders and
offered their support. Obviously, for certain
considerations, and we know that those considerations
were mainly money and arms. Here is the top Marine
General speaking to an ultra-patriotic organization
openly refuting McCain's propagandized slogan that
it was his "surge" that changed Iraq, his successful
"surge." And, he is saying it just before McCain
took the speaker's dias. As we recall, Obama recently
said the same thing, and McCain called him uninformed,
out of touch, immature, and even questioned his
patriotism. I hope Obama's advisers will make use of
this in the upcoming debate, and Obama can say, "Look
a four star general says that it was not the'surge', but
self-preservation Iraqis in Anbar that led to the
dramatic decline in military deaths.
Conway went on to say that the U.S. military cannot be
in Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously. The Corps is
depleted of arms, armor, and soldiers. He criticized
sharpley the length of tours in a war zone, many are
in their fourth or fifth tour of service in either
Iraq or Afghanistan. He said the present seven months
on duty and seven months back at home is intolerable.
Jokingly he said, a marine now does not have the
chance to be with their spouse from conception to
birth, they are either there for conception or birth,
but not both. He said seven months doesn't do it.
He wants the normal rotation between the war zone and
home, seven months deployed and 14 months home.
Noting the shortage of troops to carry out the orders
of the Commander-in-Chief, he reported that it was
good news that Congress just approved a bill to add
27,000 new marines to the Force. 96.2 of marines are
high school graduates. The reason he gives is that
they join to defend the country. He spoke on the
suicide and desertion rates, which he said were high,
also the divorce rate. The lack of home time was
given as the reason, the stress is too high.
He is concerned that the marines have ceased to be
"an expeditionary" force. The philosphy of the Corps
has been rapid deployment; they go in first, and
then the army comes in, and the marines leave. He
showed this was no longer the case. He said that
the marines 'have become a second land army.' His
description, "We are too heavy." Can't move quickly.
He says the mind set is wrong. He is critical of
the training, that it has fallen by the wayside.
There is little co-ordiantion with the Navy.
He concluded by giving his estimate of what the
military situation would be out to 2020-2025. He
talked about numerous 'incendary' areas. Places
that could erupt over the poor wanting more wealth
and power, over religion, and the growing power
of China and India, and he even mentioned Europe as
a possible adversary. He stressed that by 2025 wars
will be fought over water, having a fresh supply.
Control of water sources will be a cause for war.
To be in position to intervene in many world trouble
spots he wants foreward basing of the marines because
swift action is needed to counteract extremism.
These notes were taken yesterday, and I am even
more impressed today with Conway's frankness. Again
though the question comes to mind: What are we
doing? We had our revolution; we had our civil
war; let other countries have theirs. This is just
one branch of our imperialistic foreign policy and
carried out by all branches of the military. And,
Conway said there were many more reforms needed in
the Corps, but these were the ones he had time for.
Just think of the funds need for these concerns,
foward basing, 27,000 new recruits, etc. This is
a few items of one military branch, just think of
what the total cost for all branches will be!
With his open analysis, Conway may be retiring