Secretary of War

Once upon a time this nation had a cabinet position of Secretary of the War Department. Clearly misguided, the Founders thought things ought to be simple, plainly labelled, and obvious to citizens.

So we once had the War Department. Judging from its plain English meaning, it was in charge of managing war and all the aspect of that that the nation might be involved in. We fought an ugly Civil War with just a War Department. The Army and the Navy were part of it. It was the most destructive war on our soil and the largest percentage casualties of any war we have ever fought, including WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam

Then in 1947 we reorganized what had worked quite well in WWII – because the enemy of good is better. Now we had a Department of Defense.

?What exactly are we defending. ?Why do we have intercontinental missiles, B-52’s, Striker-based units that can be readily loaded onto littoral ships and taken to any “hot spot” in the world – in defense of what.

There isn’t much doubt we have national interests around the world. Yet I see none identified – and a strategy to support it/them pronounced. A War Department could be looked to to carry out such actions as may be necessary when something more than a diplomatic complaint is in order. Like when Iranian gunboats take a couple of our boats on the high seas. I fail to understand why a couple of their bases weren’t turned into nothing but pebbles. A War Department could do that; a Defense Department can’t, if English still is in effect.

So who gets to run that mess called the Pentagon is important. My choice is Gen. Mattis, a retired 4-star. Here we have a man who has “seen the elephant”, who has spent real time in foxholes and in the cold and heat. Here is a man who is concerned for his men. No wanton boondoggles like Libya. No Benghazis. An honest to goodness tough guy. Who reads Marcus Aurelius. The “warrior monk”.

May the Lord lead Trump’s hand to pick him for that position.

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35 Responses to Secretary of War

  1. MLHMLH says:

    Oh, as if words have meaning, Dev!

  2. BrentB67BrentB67 says:

    We are about to find out how freedom of navigation directly impacts our quality of life when China decides it owns the Spratley islands.

    I agree we have mechanized for wars of choice, but recall there are very good reasons for a blue water global navy when we are the world’s largest economy.

  3. AdministratorAdministrator says:

    I would even volunteer to go back to Afghanistan for an effort led to Mattis’ standards.

  4. AdministratorAdministrator says:

    And I might still appreciate leaving Iraq etc a bleeding stump just to show the contrast.

  5. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    I am not against strength. A serious blue water Navy is almost essential, as our national interests are world wide.

    I argue that we have not had a serious discussion of national interest nor a following of it for many years. Articulation of national interest makes the concept of going to war far more palatable.

    Take Iraq. The original concept was WMD’s. We should have toppled Saddam, looked for and destroyed what WMD’s there were – and left. By the same token, Iran has WMD’s yet I don’t hear any credible arguments to invade them and find the nukes everyone thinks they have.

  6. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    I would say there is an unseemly amount of talk and concern about the Mideast. ?What are our national interests there anymore. We are, or could easily be, oil-independent, and that leaves out any further need for Saudi Arabia. It’s not like they’ve been great “friends” of ours – not like Israel. They espouse an ideology that is inimical to us and our way of living. Let them eat cake!

  7. NandaNanda says:

    Amen to all of the above! Check out this Terminal Lance strip.

  8. RightAnglesRightAngles says:

    I’d love to see Mattis get this position.

    • Vald the MisspellerVald the Misspeller says:

      Me too. What’s not to like about a guy who says things like: “I come in peace…but I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes — If you f**k with me, I’ll kill you all.”

  9. SeawriterSeawriter says:

    The Secretary of War ran just the army. It was one of the original cabinet positions, starting in 1789. The United States Navy was run by the Secretary of the Navy, who was co-equal to the Secretary of War. That position was established in 1798.

    Part of the reason for the organization of a Department of Defense was the need to establish a third Cabinet-level military position: Secretary of the Air Force. Think of the Defense Department as a reaction to the Japanese overemphasis on the military in the Imperial government.

    That said, there is merit to having a Department of War, with a Secretary of War, and a Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force reporting to the Sec War.

    Actually the United States could prosper by combining a lot of departments that way. Put the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Labor, and Transportation under one Secretary, combine HUD, HHS, Education in another. Assign Veteran’s Affairs and Homeland Security to War. Keep State, Treasury, and Justice separate.


    • DevereauxDevereaux says:

      Well, if we’re going to streamline the government, we ought to get rid of several of those departments altogether. ?What exactly does a Dept. of Energy give us. I am not sure one can point to a single useful act from that department since its inception in 1967. Certainly we have had NO rational or otherwise energy policy. We have no policy to sustain nuke energy production, which would certainly clear up “carbon footprints” if there actually was a need to do such. ?Why do we even have HUD, HHS, and Education.

      Remove all those departments and you have a significant saving in budget expenses.

      • BrentB67BrentB67 says:

        The issue with DOEnergy is their responsibility of nuclear weapons and power.

        They actually do legitimate work, but have of course been politicized and weaponized by both parties. Figure out the nuclear aspect and then get rid of them.

        Education, HUD, Commerce, EPA, make ICE cabinet level and ax DHS. Nobody would even know that crap is gone.

        • DevereauxDevereaux says:

          ?Is there not another way to deal with nukes than have a whole cabinet-level department, which basically does nothing. The nukes part may be legit, but note that NO regs have come out about how to go about building a nuke plant to produce electricity for ages and ages. ?What else do they do.

          BUT they cost us something like $18 billion a year in budget expenses.

        • DevereauxDevereaux says:

          I would totally agree that DHS has become just another boondoggle. TSA is part of DHS, and they recently came out with a statement that there are still threats out there. I assumed that was only as a ploy to preserve budget; someone may have been noting that the threat has radically changed (in lo these 15 years!) and we might well do with a significantly smaller TSA.

  10. NandaNanda says:

    Bring on the “Chaos”! PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!

  11. EThompson says:

    Are you two thrilled about “Mad Dog?” :)

  12. NandaNanda says:

    YUT! (And it’s “Chaos”/Gen. Mattis to anyone who didn’t serve with/under him…Others haven’t earned the privilege, btw.) :-D

  13. EThompson says:

    I’m only quoting the President-elect re: “Mad Dog.” I voted for the Donald-twice-so I’ve earned the right to refer to his appt as he did!

  14. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    Oh, I am totally thrilled! So are all my classmates (except one leftie curmudgeon lawyer-type). I even sent him a congratulatory e-mail – and he sent me back a reply lickety-split.

    The new Patton! And in a Marine uniform.

  15. EThompson says:

    What do you think about his abilities to deal with the highly entrenched bureaucracy of the Pentagon and cut through the bs? BTW, this is a fear I have for the next SoS because the state dept is an equally daunting nightmare.

  16. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    Mattis understands the DOD; he’s been a part for a lot of years. Yes, the Marine Corps is kind of different (?ya think!) but they, too, have REMF’s and garritroopers (to steal Bill Mauldin’s nomenclature). There are ways to harness the bureaucracy rather than allow it to hamstring you.

  17. EThompson says:

    I had no idea what REMF meant until I just googled. Whoa!!

    So what are your thoughts on Petraeus for SoS or even his old job at CIA? I realize he’s Army, but … :)))

    • DevereauxDevereaux says:

      Overseas we referred to the grunts/combat troops as WestPackers and the “office pogues” as REMFs. Sorry if I used terms not in common knowledge, but apparently you figured out what it stands for. Military acronyms tend to be like that.

      • DevereauxDevereaux says:

        Probably should clarify that, too.

        Navy/Marine Corps divides the globe into segments of duty. USMC had Fleet Marine Force Atlantic and Pacific, known more colloquially as FMF Lant and FMF Pac. The subsection of FMF Pac that comprised Vietnam was WestPac. So those with combat attitudes (don’t sweat the regs, get the job done) were referred to as WestPackers, and those who were bound by the letter were State Siders. As you might imagine, I was a WestPacker.

        • EThompson says:

          Thanks for taking the time to explain terminology; my “computer geek” who keeps my laptops and PCs free of viruses and explains the infuriating and irrational changes in new software is a former Marine with 4 tours of duty under his belt.

          He is an incredibly efficient and lovely gentleman, but chuckles at my stateside questions about his experiences overseas modestly claiming “I didn’t do anything but shoot” (oh, is that all?) so I can’t wait to use these acronyms next time we speak! I’m sure he was delighted about Mattis as well.

          I think it’s a positive thing for civilians to know as much as we can about the savvy intelligence and competence of the people who protect us.

  18. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    Never been much of a Patreaus fan. But I think he was treated poorly by Obummer. He retired and no parade and not even Paneta (Sec Def) came to the ceremony. Pretty shoddy for a 4 or 5 star who has spent his life in the service.

  19. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    ?Why not just give it to Guilliani. He wants it, he’s politician enough to do well, he understands how to clean out a vipers’ nest. All things needed at State.

  20. EThompson says:

    I’d be delighted with the choice of Mr. Mayor and as an added bonus, he is quite close with Netanyahu. We need to close the wound Obama has opened with Israel.

  21. EThompson says:

    @ D:
    Just spoke with my Marine computer analyst and asked him what he thought about the Mattis appt. His response:

    “I knew him personally; I was his driver in the Middle East and I can tell you there isn’t a Marine alive on this planet right now who isn’t as excited as I am.”

    I’d call that a ringing endorsement from the people who know, no?

  22. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    Like I said, I know of almost no Marine who isn’t thrilled Mattis is up for SecDef. He will go down in history another O’Bannon or Chesty or Louis Walt or Dan Daley (“Let’s go you f—-keys! You can’t live forever!” Charge into German lines, but the language kept him from a 3rd – or was it 4th – MOH) or Krulack (the first). These are the legends of the Marine Corps, and most assuredly Mattis will be in that list.

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