Our Civil War army in Iraq: people are talking

It's good to see that a public discussion of the state of our Army is beginning to take place, even in the midst of this pacification effort in Iraq. One would prefer that the mass media understand how ours is a Civil War era army. Instead, Time magazine notes simply that the force is broken.

Time's piece has elements of the oldie (but goodie) 1990s Procurement Spiral of Death meme (even Foreign Affairs picked up on it). The Spiral of Death is a natural, though perhaps not inevitable, outgrowth of a Civil War military's value system: linearity, synchronicity, alignment, red tape, and a horror of national strategy - strategy that would sort means and ends.

One can see the Death Spiral at work in military readiness - but the forces that spiral towards procurement program implosions are now complemented by bills coming due after Peter has been robbed (ad naseum) to pay Paul.

Note also, per this Time piece, that units going off to war now are about as-well prepared as the New York Heavies were prepared to storm infantry positions on foot. As undrilled as the newly recruited regiments thrown into the line at Antietam (Sears estimated them at one-third the U.S. force that day). Note that those of us in combat arms during the Vietnam War got no more training than the poor devils described in this Time piece; call that an historical continuum.
The "professionalism" cherished by Grant and Sherman has now reached its uttermost extreme in tolerating conditions no political general would have countenanced for a minute. They succeeded too well in eliminating those political generals . Here we are.