With a name like "Antidisestablishmentarianismesque" I feel some obligation to be negative (anti-,dis-). But as I mentioned here I also want to include some positive articles where I lay out what I think we should be doing. So in this article I'm going to make some suggestions on how the U.S. can alter its military policies to adapt to the ongoing struggle against Islamo-thugs.
First it is important to recognize some of the realities. The war in Iraq is expensive, in both men and material (I'm using men in the human sense, and I'm not talking about large numbers of death but that many are tied down there). It is causing an immense strain to keep ~130,000 people stationed in Iraq out of a total force of over a million. That should not be; it clearly implies that the basic organization of our forces is out of balance. What can be done?
In the short-term it would be advisable for Bush to make this reality clear to all Americans. We are in a state of war and it will require some sacrifices. As a temporary measure and one of these sacrifices I believe that we should mobilize or adequately equip to mobilize a large portion of our Reserve and National Guard forces. This would send a signal that we are in a serious war that we intend on winning. As a corollary to this the defense budget should be vastly increased to replenish our stocks of equipment and ammunition and ensure there is sufficient funds to allow the high-level of training that is our military's greatest strength.
In a more medium or long-term sense, it appears likely that we will be engaged in this type of low-level, manpower-intensive conflict on a fairly regular basis. We should re-structure our forces to be better prepared for this type of conflict. We should keep a smaller, mechanized force capable of the type of maneuver warfare practiced in Iraq, capable of defeating any possible threat from a threat countries armed forces. But we should also have a large cadre of light infantry troops trained for guerrilla warfare, peacekeeping, reconstruction, counter-insurgency type operations. This would allow us to handle future threats with whichever force is most suited to that threat. Currently we compromise our ability to handle these types of conflicts by primarily training to fight other armies. By maintaining two parallel force structures we could handle either type of conflict equally well. That is my theory anyway. I do not expect it to come about but that is what I think we should do about that.