Things were grim in Korea in 1950. As usual, our regular Army was not
prepared for the war at hand, and our troops kept getting their clocks
cleaned as retreat followed bloody retreat. Finally, Joe and Moe dug in
on the last bit of ground between them and the Sea of Japan, knowing
that if the Pusan Perimeter didn’t hold, they were in for a long swim at
Then a miracle happen. The 1st Marine Division slammed ashore at
Inchon. Their daring amphibious invasion cut the Reds in half and showed
U.S. Army units that the Communists were not ten feet tall.
The famous 1st Division was not made up of all regular Marine
supermen, either. It had a fair mix of citizen soldiers — Marine
reservists — who had been called up, and sent to the battlefield.
Reservists have played a major role in all our country’s big scraps.
They were vital in WWII, Korea and Desert Storm. Perhaps significantly,
they didn’t fight in any big numbers in the only war we ever lost —
Since Desert Storm our forces have been gelded. The Army has 44
percent fewer battalions, the Navy 40 percent fewer ships and the Air
Force half the squadrons they had in 1990.
Yet, under Clinton’s Save-the-World policy, the missions laid on
these reduced forces have increased over 300 percent. The over-committed
regulars have reached a point of such extreme exhaustion that they’re
virtually replacing themselves on station.
The Pentagon’s answer to this over-extension has been to tell the
President we’re “good to go,” salute and call up the reserves rather
than standing tall and telling him what he’s done to America’s armed
forces with his Robo Globo Cop madness.
Now the reserve forces are nearly broken trying to pick up the slack
for the badly stretched regulars. More reservists have been called up to
wade in the ex-Yugoslavia swamp than during the entire Vietnam War.
This constant mobilization is tearing up morale and causing a lot of
good people to hand in their quit slips. After all, these reservists
joined up to defend America, not to be the world’s policemen.
Reservists serve three Gods: country, family and full time employer.
Families and employers well understand that when the whistle blows they
lose their reservists. But they also expect the missions to be about
national defense, not repeated call-ups to baby sit George Bush and
pals’ oil wells or hand out propaganda leaflets in Bosnia because jerks
in Washington don’t understand how to use our military forces.
A lot of bosses and spouses are quietly saying: it’s me or the
America cannot afford to lose our Minute Men punch. Missions in the
decades ahead involving antiterrorism, combating weapons of mass
destruction and putting down civil strife in our own cities will test
them as never before.
To make the Reserves effective we should:
Tell Clinton to stop using our military as if they’re Arkansas’
governor guards. In six years, he’s continually exhausted our armed
forces with hare-brained missions that go back to the unqualified people
he’s put in charge of the Pentagon.
Merge the reserves into one force. Right now the National Guard and
Reserve units are about where they were in 1917. They hate each other
and cut each other’s throats while competing for funds, missions and
resources. We’re spending billions of dollars a year supporting a
crippled back-up force that’s organized to fight another cold war.
Convert the National Guard tank units into light infantry, police
units and anti-bug & germ teams to deal with the most probable future
combat scenarios. Since new technology precludes another WWII or even a
Desert Storm-type fight, National Guard armored units are a waste of
Lastly, the Pentagon must find out what makes Leatherneck reserve
units so good and then clone it on all the other services’ reserve
forces. Marine reserve units have proven their mettle in every fight —
they were as brilliant in Desert Storm as they were in Korea, while most
National Guard combat units were rated unfit for the fight in the
Our reserves must be ready for future wars and not, as the record
shows — except in the Marines — never ready when the bell rings.