DEFENDING AMERICA
David H. Hackworth
15 Oct 96

THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S REPORT CARD: 1992 to 1996

Now that Bill Clinton's four year term is over, it's time to grade him on his national security courses:

SOMALIA "F";
HAITI "F";
MIDDLE EAST "D";
KOREA "A";
BOSNIA "INCOMPLETE".

Freshman Clinton started out badly, his performance hurt by security advisors with little or no street smarts. Consequently, our forces waded into futile and often bloody swamps. While firing Secretary of Defense Les Aspin was a good move, he then should have replaced his complete national security crew with people who had heard the zip of a body bag first-hand and wouldn't be afraid to tell the boss when he was about to do something real dumb.

His grades did improve when he dealt with the problems he inherited in Iraq and Korea; our president did about as well as anyone would do with the loony-tune Middle Eastern Hatfields and McCoys.

Contrary to expectations reinforced by his peace trips to Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the Balkans and other hot spots where he could do his peace dance, Clinton has not been a peace president. In fact since Vietnam, when he was really anti-war, he's acted more like Teddy Roosevelt than ole' "big stick" Teddy himself.

Now the sun never sets on Clinton's military legions. Under Clinton, America has become GLOBO-ROBO-COP. Since 1992, Clinton's stuck our forces in 62 troubled countries. U.S. commitments have ranged from Green Berets in Cambodia, Rangers in Somalia, navy battle groups off Taiwan, a division in Haiti, fighter squadrons in Turkey, a division in Bosnia and multi-service battle formations in the Middle East.

Morale throughout our armed forces is as low as whale dung because these fast-paced deployments came exactly as the forces were shrinking, leaving too few to do too much. These commitments -- few having anything to do with defending America -- have cost a high price in blood, a fortune in dollars and stretched our armed forces to the breaking point. They have bent, chipped and dulled America's readiness spear.

Too, the politically correct assignment of women to combat positions has gutted fighting spirit, discipline and unit cohesion throughout the force. By attempting to provide opportunity for women, Clinton and dorks like Congresswoman Pat Schroeder have done more damage to combat efficiency and fighting spirit than the Japanese attack did at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Our military fighting machine is sputtering, and the heart is being ripped out of our senior NCO Corps -- the backbone of the U.S. military -- as well. These pros who train our young officers and warriors are quitting in droves.

Meanwhile, Clinton's top brass seem unable to recognize the signs of a force unraveling under siege. Precious few are warfighters who understand that military necessity must prevail over political expediency if our brave warriors are not to be doomed to more massacres like Mogadishu.

Even though the force has downsized by a third, there's been no peace dividend. Instead, Clinton's up-sized the Pentagon's budget, which is now gobbling up more tax dollars -- with no enemy in sight -- than before the Soviet Union keeled over. We're still buying obsolete systems designed to shoot down the already crashed Sovs, a peachy maneuver for Clinton's pals in the corporate defense welfare community, but bad for the rest of us.

During the four years of Clinton's "Peace-during-our-time" administration, the U.S. has spent more on war preparation than the rest of the world combined!

Clinton has been running scared of his senior generals and admirals. Just look at the $300 billion annual Pentagon budget which he's afraid to cut. His nagging worry about being remembered at election time as a draft dodger has caused him to be a less-than-forceful commander in chief. He said "I cannot afford a rupture with the service's senior leadership." But to be effective, our commander in chief must treat the top brass forcibly, like one would a strong willed horse, or they'll run wild.

Overall, Clinton barely gets a passing grade. To do better next term, he's got to get a new national security team, take charge of his top brass and rule with the wisdom of Sun Tzu.

America and its fine warriors deserve a President with straight A's, not one who just scrapes by.