Daniel P. Bolger Quotes
“The military could get by with fewer recruits because more in the ranks reenlisted. The quality of the volunteers turned out to be good, because the services insisted on drug-free high-school graduates with clean criminal records, criteria that ruled out 70 percent of American youth. (There is an unfortunate message in that statistic.) Smarter, tougher, and willing, volunteers trained and worked to their limits.”
“The opposition remained maddeningly opaque. Intelligence people scratched their heads. A January 25, 2004, count of detainees totaled 9,754. Casualty estimates ran to at least that number. So, essentially, the U.S. and its partners had captured and killed the entire insurgency. Yet the bad guys were still out there.”
“In 1944, B-17 bomber formations dropped 9,070 bombs in order to hit one German building. In 1967, F-105 jet fighter-bombers used 176 munitions to knock out a single North Vietnamese building. By 1991, a smart F-16 fighter-bomber could do the job with thirty bombs, or just one, if the bomb was smart too.”
“At Abu Ghraib, several prisoners mixed it up with guards on October 18, 2003, led by a detainee with a smuggled pistol. A few of the MPs chose their own countermeasure, not unlike the 1-8 Infantry soldiers at the Tigris River. That night, five enlisted MPs pulled twelve Iraqi prisoners from their cells. They stripped the captives naked and then piled them in sexually humiliating positions. A week or so later, the same guards put a hooded man on a box with fake electrodes clipped on his fingers; the prisoner was told the wires were real, and if he stepped off the box, he’d be electrocuted. Three days later, the same MPs again stripped prisoners and put them in sexually embarrassing poses. This incident also involved K-9 police dogs. A trio of military intelligence soldiers participated. These abuses were not linked to any interrogation. The soldiers later explained that they were teaching the Iraqis a lesson, the same reason offered by the soldiers in 1-8 Infantry. The MPs, however, took a lot of pictures.”
“one of the duties of the U.S. Navy, going all the way back to the early 1800s, the days of the Barbary pirates of North Africa, involves showing the flag. Safe passage of Navy ships ensures unmolested transit of merchant shipping, always the main conduit of all overseas trade whether in 1800 or 2000. Port calls projected U.S. influence ashore and kept markets open. Freedom of the seas, like all freedoms, must be exercised or it will atrophy.”
“In the armed forces, those who fight on the ground generally see those on ships as much better off. The Marines live in both worlds, and they have strong views. Major General Julian C. Smith put it well on the eve of the bloody 1943 Tarawa landing: “Even though you Navy officers do come in to about a thousand yards, I remind you that you have a little armor. I want you to know that Marines are crossing that beach with bayonets, and the only armor they will have is a khaki shirt.” As an admiral who had risen from the ranks once told an Army infantryman, the worst wardroom always trumps the best foxhole.”
“What makes armed conflict even more subject to Murphy’s Law, and renders even simple acts so difficult, involves the danger of sudden death or serious injury. When you bet your life and those of others, fear, bravery, and strong emotions play huge roles. Killing is easy, but dealing with the act is not. Punches get pulled, hesitations occur, and though most are aggressive in the first contact, few stand up so willingly under fire the second time, or the twenty-second, let alone the hundred and second.”
“The U.S. collected information superbly and everywhere, from space to dirt. They tracked all kinds of events and things and people. For long-lead-time matters, like the order of battle for the Chinese fleet, that sufficed. For short-fuse needs, it got much, much more excruciating. Of the mass of data gathered, only a small percentage (50 percent? 10 percent? 5 percent?) ever got analyzed. Only a tiny fraction of that produced the specificity to allow action.”
“Lawrence of Arabia, lionized in print and on film, lived with the tribal warriors and spoke their language. Schooled in history and archaeology, he found that the locals preferred raids and ambushes, short skirmishes, and quick hit-and-run escapades to Western maneuvers. They disdained uniforms, discipline, and stand-and-fight tactics. But they could make entire desert districts wholly untenable for conventional adversaries, demolishing rail lines, blowing out bridges, sniping, stealing, and slowly bleeding the big regiments to death. Lawrence called it “winning wars without battles.”
Daniel P. Bolger
- Date of birth: January 15, 1957
- Born: in Chicago, Illinois, The United States.
- Description: Daniel P. Bolger of Aurora, Illinois is an author, historian, and retired Lieutenant General (promoted 21 May 2010) of the United States Army. He currently holds a special faculty appointment in the Department of History at North Carolina State University, where he teaches military history.
Lt. Gen. Bolger retired in 2013 from the Army. During his 35 years of service, he earned five Bronze Star Medals (one for valor) and the Combat Action Badge. His notable military commands included serving as Commanding General of the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan and Commander of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (2011-2013); Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas (deployed to Baghdad, 2009-2010); the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq (2005–06); and U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. He is also the author of books, such as Why We Lost, Americans at War, The Battle for Hunger Hill, and Death Ground.