He was given nothing but small planes and ships-fishing boats, patrol boats, that kind of thing. He kept them circling around the edges of the Persian Gulf aimlessly, driving the Navy crazy trying to keep track of them. When the Admirals finally lost patience and ordered all planes and ships to leave, van Ripen had them all attack at once. And they sank two-thirds of the US fleet.
When kids play war, they end up spending less time shooting than arguing: "You're dead!" "Am not! You missed!" It just gets worse the bigger the kids. I remember a D & D'er crying when his character got killed -- wouldn't talk to the rest of us for years, still grieving for his dead elf.
The US military has been having exactly this kind of argument, played out in the world press, since last August. They're even whinier and more of a pain about it than D&Ders, if you can believe that, with leaks and counter-leaks, planted stories, and plenty of good ol' character assassination.
It all comes out of the "Millenium Challenge '02" war games we staged in the Persian Gulf this summer. The big scandal was that the Opposing Force Commander, Gen. Paul van Ripen, quit mid-game because the games were rigged for the US forces to win. The scenario was a US invasion of an unnamed Persian Gulf country (either Iraq or Iran). The US was testing a new hi-tech joint force doctrine, so naturally van Riper used every lo-tech trick he could think of to mess things up. When the Americans jammed his CCC network , he sent messages by motorbike.
The truth is that van Ripen did something so important that I still can't believe the mainstream press hasn't made anything of it. With nothing more than a few "small boats and aircraft," van Ripen managed to sink most of the US fleet in the Persian Gulf.
What this means is as simple and plain as a skull: every US Navy battle group, every one of those big fancy aircraft carriers we love, won't last one single day in combat against a serious enemy.
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