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The Commander of the Air Force Mobility Command (AMC), General Mike Minihan issued a letter to his troops telling them that this country would be at war with China in 2025. The letter, more or less, told his troops to buckle up their helmet straps and be ready to fight. (A link to the letter is below.)
Reactions to the letter were mixed. In most of the MSM, the letter was forgotten after a day. Within the Department of Defense, there was some indignation followed by disdain. The official DOD response was that Minihan’s remarks were “not representative of the department’s view on China…The National Defense Strategy makes it clear that China is the pacing challenge (?) for the Department of Defense…”. Many in Washington’s civilian intelligentsia were derisive, saying that Minihan’s letter “…confuses and stokes tensions with China unnecessarily” and “there’s no benefit in saying a conflict could occur.”
Within the hallowed halls of Congress, reactions were predictably split along party lines. Most Republicans were supportive of Minihan’s remarks. The Democrats recoiled in horror. Most interesting to me were the remarks of Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), “…when anyone starts talking about war with China being inevitable, Generals need to be very cautious about saying we’re going to war.”
Actually, Smith gave away the game during his remarks on FOX when he admitted that U.S. military readiness was a “huge problem”: “…we don’t have the industrial base…and we don’t have the ability to ramp up the industrial base.” He went on to explain that without a “demand signal,” manufacturers don’t want to make a “major investment” in increasing production and that American taxpayers “don’t want to spend a ton of money on weapons that we don’t need.” Hmmm.
Even within his own command, Minihan’s letter was met with concern. One officer (rank, name, and job not given) huffed that the letter was “inappropriate.” Others groused that airmen shouldn’t be tasked with requirements such as weapons qualification and warfighting. Many felt their job was to haul material from place to place and nothing more.
So that’s where we’re at today. Our generals are expected to be careful and not alarm our largest and most belligerent enemy. Our Congressional leaders appear to be saying that America doesn’t have the wherewithal to fight a war and never will have. And, some in the ranks of our military seem to believe that their jobs don’t involve defending themselves and the nation.
How did we get into such a sorry state? The reasons are too many to be covered in this post. (In fact, I believe I’ve dealt with most of them in other posts.)
But just to reply to some of General Minihan’s detractors. For his superiors in DOD, I would suggest that they give careful thought to his words. Do you really believe that China is a “Pacing Challenge” (whatever that is), or should you begin to think about China as a mortal enemy? To those defeatists in Congress and think tanks who believe it is useless to even try to get on an immediate war footing; What is the alternative to building up our national defenses? To those of you in the ranks of AMC who believe that it is not your job to fight the enemy: What did you expect when you raised your right hand and swore an oath? Perhaps it is not your job to be a trigger puller; however, that does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to pull a trigger. Maybe the General’s aiming point was 18 inches too high but that does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to hit a target with some proficiency.
Perhaps I’m too old. Perhaps everything I learned in 27 years of military service is now passe. Or, perhaps, our country’s leaders simply don’t care.Published in