2004 December 15 Wednesday
US Army Sends 70 Year Old Doctor To Afghanistan

Think maybe the US Army is having a hard time finding enough people?

Dr. John Caulfield thought it had to be a mistake when the Army asked him to return to active duty. After all, he's 70 years old and had already retired - twice. He left the Army in 1980 and private practice two years ago.

"My first reaction was disbelief," Caulfield said. "It never occurred to me that they would call a 70-year-old."

In fact, he was so sure it was an error that he ignored the postcards and telephone messages asking if he would be willing to volunteer for active duty to "backfill" somewhere on the East Coast, Europe or Hawaii. That would be OK, he thought. It would release active duty oral surgeons from those areas to go to combat zones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But then the orders came for him to go to Afghanistan.

I admire and respect Dr. Caulfield for his willingness to serve again at his age. At the same time, what is striking about this story is that someone in the US Army actually thought to approach a 70 year old doctor who left the Army in 1980. Doesn't the Army sound a bit desperate for people? They just sent a 70 year old doctor to Bagram Afghanistan!

Thanks to TangoMan for the tip.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 December 15 02:48 AM  Military Capabilities


Comments
Invisible Scientist said at December 15, 2004 1:34 PM:

It is possible that the 70 year old doctor had a rare kind of specialty and he was dlegated due to
his experience in that sub-field.

But seriously, US military machine is stretched to the limits of global deployment, a mile wide but
an millimeter deep. Globally deployed to police the world, some more soldiers and hardware can be
relocated to the Middle East, but this would create new weaknesses elsewhere and encourage unexpected
attacks those new places. It must be that all these weaknesses of the US military machine were
foreseen and calculated in advance by the anti-force that was planning to provoke the US with the
manipulative provocation of the 9/11/2001 attack.

Stephen said at December 15, 2004 8:56 PM:

Invisible, apparently he's an oral surgeon - certainly a speciality but I wouldn't have thought of it as being a particularly special speciality. (I'm not trying to imply that oral surgeon == dentist, I assume they are different fields)

Your comment about the enemy's planning doesn't feel right - I don't really think that they engage in planning in the way we in the west think of military planning. I think the current attacks are more likely targets of opportunity - along the lines of, "Hey, lets go out and drive around until we see someone we can blow up". That said, there is clearly some greater planning behind some of the attacks in Saudi - closer to a 70s style Barder Minehoff or Red Brigade modus operandi. Oh, **not to mention** the significant planning for 9/11.

Your comment about the US opening itself up for new attacks if it weakens troop numbers elsewhere highlights what I (yes, an armchair general) thinks is the fundamental problem with the military response. That is, the US is fighting a different war than the one being fought by Osama and his mates. The US is trying to hold territory, while Osama doesn't care about territory, he only cares about destabilisation of governments. Indeed, by holding territory the US plays into Osama's hands by giving him fixed targets to pick off at will.

Invisible Scientist said at December 16, 2004 12:39 AM:

Stephen wrote:
--------------------------------------------------------------
"Your comment about the enemy's planning doesn't feel right - I don't really think that they engage in planning in the way we in the west think of military planning. I think the current attacks are more likely targets of opportunity - along the lines of, "Hey, lets go out and drive around until we see someone we can blow up". That said, there is clearly some greater planning behind some of the attacks in Saudi - closer to a 70s style Barder Minehoff or Red Brigade modus operandi. Oh, **not to mention** the significant planning for 9/11."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The "planning" I was talking about was that the anti-force accurately perceived that the US military machine was
inadequate to win a global guerialla war against Islam. I feel that the 9/11 attack was motivated bythe latter
assessment of the US military capability, combined with the absolute certainty that the US would take the bait and
enter the trap of the century by taking diffuse military action against Islam.

The gang of Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof was very different from the current anti-force that is aligned against the US.
The Baader-Meinhof gang was a left wing extremist gang, but it was not interested in displacing the US totally in order
to create an Islamic empire.

Stephen said at December 16, 2004 12:58 AM:

re the various terrorist groups modus operandi, I wasn't so much referring to their objectives (which I agree are entirely different from the current batch of terrorists), rather I was comparing the extent of the planning they undertake.

I'm not so sure Osama would have assumed the US would invade Iraq in response to 9/11, but if you were to say that they assumed the US would invade Saudi Arabia or at least cut off dealings with the Saudis, then I might be more inclined to agree. The reason I don't think they assumed an Iraq invasion is that of all the arab states, Iraq probably had the least relationship with Osama and the hijackers, and I would have thought that Osama might have tried to sprinkle around some incriminating evidence re Iraq's knowledge.

I think that what we do agree on is that the Iraqi invasion has exceeded Osama's wildest dreams - irrespective of whether it was Osama's plan or just plain dum luck.

Randall Parker said at December 16, 2004 1:46 AM:

The Baader-Meinhof gang was incredibly small. It was dozens of people at most. The insurgency in Iraq is in the tens of thousands of people. What tactics and strategy do they follow? Well, many tactics and many strategies. There is no unified command that they all follow. So there is a great amount of diversity in what they do.

Yes, OBL made out with the US invasion of Iraq. Iran benefitted greatly as well.

Invisible Scientist said at December 16, 2004 9:38 AM:


Stephen wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think that what we do agree on is that the Iraqi invasion has exceeded Osama's wildest dreams - irrespective of whether it was Osama's plan or just plain dum luck.
--------------------------------------------------------

But there are some cynical Wall Street analysts who speculated that Bush invaded Iraq in order to attract all
the insurgents there, so that the Al Qaeda guys have less resources to make trouble elsewhere, like less attacks
inside the US, or also the danger that the Al Qaeda will take over Saudi Arabia would be reduced by attracting
the insugents to Iraq...
The latter speculations are a little bit far off, but Bush would do anything to save the oil interests in Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Al Qaeda opens a second front in Saudi Arabia and actually takes over the oil fields over there,
the US military will be stretched to the limit to invade Saudi Arabia and to control a second country. ANY second front
will be quite challenging, it may be the breaking point for the US.

And if international trade gets disrupted, the US will be in trouble because all LCD displays, computer components,
even some machine spare parts are getting imported.

noone said at December 16, 2004 9:58 AM:

"speculated that Bush invaded Iraq in order to attract all
the insurgents there, so that the Al Qaeda guys have less resources to make trouble elsewhere, like less attacks
inside the US, or also the danger that the Al Qaeda will take over Saudi Arabia would be reduced by attracting
the insugents to Iraq..."

The cannon fodder running around Iraq wouldn;t have been used to attack us,anyway.
They don't have the training and discipline for stealthy terrorist operations.
On the other hande,smuggling a few hundred of them into the country,to do a "DC sniper" thing would have huge repercussions here(as in "pull the troops out of Iraq and put them on the border").

Randall,OT ,but Tony Blakeny(sp?) has a column in the JWR on Hillary's anti-illegal immigration stand.

Stephen said at December 16, 2004 1:53 PM:

I think Osama sees Iraq as one big tv advertisement, recruitment office and training ground. I don't think he would view the fighting in Iraq as a drain on his resources - probably more like an investment that will pay dividends in the future.

It'll be very interesting to see what will happen if Osama manages to knock-off the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia would certainly go fundamentalist, and with the US stretched occupying Iraq it would not be able to also occupy Saudi - though I think for policy reasons the US couldn't not do it.

Invisible Scientist said at December 16, 2004 2:56 PM:


It seems that we are like Romans in the back rows of the Coliseum,
watching the gladiators fight each other to death, while we are betting
who will win the fight. However, this fight is likely to spread beyond the boundaries of the Coliseum.


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