If a hot war broke out involving the United States would Iraq just be forgoten about

Say North Korea starts shelling our bases or Aircraft Carriers or something and the US decides that is enough and goes in. We dont have the man power to do so without pulling out of Iraq. Just how much would we have to pull out of Iraq? 80%? Would the need for man power be great enough that we would have to reinstate the draft?

I suspect the opposite; that a hot war elsewhere would cause us to retreat, so we could keep hold of Iraq.

Possibly . . . There is, after all, no oil in Korea.

More importantly, Bush wants Iraq, and he’s insane. Nothing short of impeachment or literally cutting off all funds and letting the troops starve is going to stop him from hanging onto Iraq.

I disagree. It would be the perfect execuse for extracting ourself from the Iraq quagmire. “Sorry guys, gotta go. Y’all play nice, don’t watch too much t.v., and we’ll be back before dark.”

North Korea is a bad pick for that, though. They simply don’t have the resources to threaten United States assets in a significant way. Now, India or China, on the other hand, are viable contenders that would require us to move our resources to a new major front.

Stranger

True, but I don’t think that Bush is looking for an excuse to leave, nor are his puppetmasters. I think it’s more likely that they’ll try to start a war with, say, Iran to dig us deeper in.

Judging from our past history, it would not be necessary to pull troops from Iraq.
In WWII we were fighting on many fronts in many countries with fifteen million troops. We are an even bigger and richer country now than then.

Probably transfer the tactical nukes that are alocated for South Korea and Japan, to those nations and tell the South Koreans the penisula is theirs for the taking,

Declan

I don’t disagree with that, but Bush has another year and a half before it switches over to the next Administration. And Congress can levy war and redistribute troops without executive concurrance (thought it’s unlikely that they would do so).

You don’t actually know anything, do you? Bush’s attempt to add five brigades–20,000–to the existing complement in the so-called “surge” will tax Reserve and National Guard units beyond acceptible limits of both manpower and equipment. The United States military is at its lowest troop strength since the Korean War, and recruiters can’t even begin to meet enlistment quotas. And our logistics chain is stretched to the limit now; another war would completely overwhelm our ability to acquire, organize, transport, and distribute materiel.

WWII required a massive military buildup and draft, and this was in the days when it was feasible to take a civilian and turn him into an infantryman, pilot, or bombardier in sixteen weeks. With modern equipment and tactics, building a light infantry division from the ground up would take at least a year, and much longer for armor, artillery, et cetera.

Stranger

You are not aware of the differences? The U.S. began to build up its military with a draft in late 1940. Despite that effort and other actions to ramp up war material production, it was not until August of 1941–20 months after the start of the build-up and eight months after the Pearl Harbor attack, that the U.S. could launch an attack on Guadalcanal with a single re-inforced Marine division, and not until November–eleven months after Pearl Harbor–before the U.S. could send three Army divisions to the North Africa Invasion.

If a hot war started now, with the Army and Marines already stretched thin and no current draft, it would probably take a similar amount of time (nearly two years) to wander over to some other location to have a war.

Fortunately, we have no shooting enemies likely to engage us at this time, (provided we are smart enough to not compel them to fight us).

It worked with bin Laden.

Before the buildup to WWII, the US didn’t keep a large standing army though, right? So they were building one up from scratch, while right now we now have a 1.4 million strong force ready to go and a .8 million reserve.

Of whom how many have already served multiple tours in Iraq? How much of our equipment is already suffering battle fatigue? And, barring withdrawal, what percentage of our troops are committed to stay in Iraq.

Clearly if we are again threatened by Grenada or Panama, we will be able to handle it, easily, but against Iran? North Korea? Pakistan (if we push Musharraf so far that he is toppled by his pro-al Qaida senior officers)?

There is no way we could respond instantly to Russian or Chinese aggression.

A nuclear exchange with North Korea is the last thing the South Koreans want, even if it is an exchange where they have a 100-to-1 missile advantage.

You would feel the same way if you lived there. Think about it.

Furthermore, Kim Jong Il has the capacity level Seoul with conventional long-range artillery.

There is no realistic way we could significantly reduce troop levels in Iraq at this point and even hope to maintain and degree of control or abatement of insurgent action outside of the Green Zone. (It’s quite arguable whether we have anything that could be called “control” now; it’s more like fighting a perpetual holding action.) And as tomndebbb notes, it’s not as if we have fresh troops, new equipment, and full arsenals ready to roll into another conflict; you’ll note that most troops are on second or third deployments (and preparing for more), often lacking a full complement of equipment, and many filling slots in the T.O. that they are not trained or qualified to do; we have logistics people doing combat patrols, communications techs manning artillery brigades, intelligence analysts drawn into frontline ground security, and so forth. The Army, including the Reserves and National Guard, are stretched tighter than an overinflated balloon, and there is essentially no reserve corps of NCOs around which to build new functional armies.

To increase the size of the regular Army you’d have to start from scratch, a proposition that, even if you could apply a draft, would take at bare minimum a couple of years to build up force in strength, and given the history of the Vietnam Conflict (the last time mass conscript buildups occured) we can be pretty confident that you will not get the quality of force that you will from a professional volunteer Army. You’d also need to withdraw a spectrum of NCOs and command-level officers, as well as people from various support services, to provide training and a level of experience, which would severely impact the Iraq effort as mentioned above.

The saving grace of a conflict with a really major power is that it would probably be largely strategic, and we could rely upon the application of air superiority and the threat of nuclear exchange to forestall action. A conflict with Russia will involved more European/NATO forces, and one with China is likely to be naval rather than land-based. But let’s say India annexes Sri Lanka, or Pakistan invades Afghanistan, or somesuch; there’s just no way with current and near-term capabilities that we could deal with a two front war. Anybody who thinks otherwise needs to go back and read articles over the last couple of years about how the extant forces in Iraq can’t even get the equipment or manpower they need to do their current missions.

Stranger

Yes, but I was thinking about what would happen now, which means Bush and the feckless Congress we have at the moment. Not whatever political situation we have after after Bush.

Although I seriously doubt the military’s going to be stronger after another year and a half of Bush grinding away at it. And then you’d have to add the time it would take to move troops from Iran; I doubt Bush will permit even preperations to do so while he’s in power. And if he does get us into war with Iran, that just makes it that much more difficult to get out of the region.

Its not that I foresee a nuke exchange with the norkoms , but imediately supplying South korea and Japan with nuclear weapons brings china into play. I doubt Bejing wants any sort of military adventure on North Koreas part to go hot, so make em rein in their client.

Declan

That makes it better?! :eek: China can’t “rein in” NK without sacrificing a great deal of its own historical credibility. I.e., they won’t give up their claim to Taiwan, so they can’t give up their support of NK. We’re verging on World War territory here. Let it be avoided. Let NK survive as a separate state indefinitely, in preference to every conceivable alternative, because every conceivable alternative is worse.

We want out of Iraq, we need an excuse. If there was something more serious ANYWHERE in the world we’d be hell and gone…that hour.

You may want out. I may want out. Bush doesn’t. And between the Republican sycophants and the spineless Democrats, it’s his desire that matters.