Vietnam War Hero and Military Expert: US Military Embarrassed to be Associated with Obama


Major General Robert H. Scales is both a war hero and an expert on warfare. He received a Silver Star for his time in Vietnam.

Scales’ six 105-millimeter guns were assigned to fire shells across the valley, a distance of about five miles, in support of U.S. infantry units. Yet two brigades of North Vietnamese troops lurked in the valley and at intervals tried to overrun the American fire bases.  Scales won a Silver Star for his actions on June 14, 1969, when, in an attack before dawn, 96 North  Vietnamese regulars briefly overran Fire Base Berchtesgaden, lobbing explosives called satchel charges, killing 11 and injuring 43.

He was “knocked to the ground several times as satchel charges went off near him,” according to his citation papers. Yet he moved from artillery piece to artillery piece, firing at enemy soldiers, helping tend weapons and directing defensive fire from U.S. helicopter gunships. Despite the heavy casualties, Scales’ battery survived three major assaults. Throughout that summer, he said, “we were fighting for our lives.”

And he came out of that war determined to understand what went wrong.

 In the 1970s, as U.S. troops withdrew to a homeland thrown in turmoil by the war, Scales saw his Army nearly destroyed by internal strife and neglect. He felt the scorn of civilians as he pursued graduate studies at a university where decorated veterans like himself knew it was only prudent to trade uniforms for bell-bottom jeans, to keep their warrior pasts a secret.

Scales saw Vietnam sow doubts in some of the Army’s best officers, including his own father, and observed how it reshaped the U.S. military’s fundamental notions of when and where to fight. He made sure its lessons were not forgotten as he and other veterans who stayed in the Army rebuilt the shattered force over a period of 15 years. And today, Vietnam’s legacy permeates the military worldview that Scales, now 55 and commandant of the Army War College here, imparts to new generations of officers.

And now Scales has a devastating piece in the Washington Post about Obama’s Syria war plans.

The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempseywas largely (and respectfully) silent.

Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. By no means do I profess to speak on behalf of all of our men and women in uniform. But I can justifiably share the sentiments of those inside the Pentagon and elsewhere who write the plans and develop strategies for fighting our wars. After personal exchanges with dozens of active and retired soldiers in recent days, I feel confident that what follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

Scales pounds away at the empty humanitarianism of the civilian leadership.

Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.

They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president.

And that’s the ugliest part. How many Americans have to die to restore Obama’s rep?

Over the past few days, the opinions of officers confiding in me have changed to some degree. Resignation seems to be creeping into their sense of outrage. One officer told me: “To hell with them. If this guy wants this war, then let him have it. Looks like no one will get hurt anyway.”

  • truebearing

    Scales is a hero, and the kind of man I desperately wish we had as president. Obama is a Muslim changeling, a traitor, a fraud, and is evil. That the military doesn’t like, respect, or trust Obama comes as no surprise.
    I recall Castro suggesting that they were allowing some capitalism to save the revolution — triggering an irony tsunami alert. Am I stepping into Castroesque self-contradiction to suggest that maybe our military should save the democratic republic?

    • CSA

      AGREED !!!!!!

  • PAthena

    Major General Robert H. Scales is right about President Obama, but he doesn’t seem to know why his life and that of many other soldiers were put at risk and lost in the war in Vietnam. The war in Vietnam was a Hubert-Humphrey Lyndon-Johnson non-war of “messages,” which President Johnson micromanaged, ignorant as he was of war and not really wanting to wage it. He accused Republican presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater, during the 1964 campaign, of being a “war monger” for suggesting that the port of Haiphong should be mined – in the midst of a war Goldwater was a “war-monger”! When Richard Nixon became president he successfully ended the war in two (?) years, with an agreement between South and North Vietnam. Unfortunately, after Nixon had to resign after Watergate, in 1975 (?) the Democrats in Congress refused to give South Vietnam the weapons it had been promised by the agreement Nixon had brokered. The Democrats, no doubt, were persuaded by all the demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, that North Vietnam deserved to win.

    • Rami Eskola

      Yep, familiar lesson. You cannot trust democracies. Next government might broke any deal made by the previous one. Democracies have unstable regimes, risrupted by recurrent elections and the like.

  • Biff Henderson

    The professionals in America’s Warrior Class made their bones because they mastered two things. They excelled in their craft and were good judges of character of those around them who they had to depend on for their very survival. You’re better off trusting their gut than the backstabbing politicos that bring nothing but shame to the Republic.

  • Naresh Krishnamoorti

    I think there’s more than amateurism, incompetence, foolishness, and stupidity going on in the Obama Administration. Norman Podhoretz gets it right in the Wall Street Journal: there is malice at work here.

    • ziggy zoggy

      Podhoretz is right, as usual but he missed something. Since his coronation, Obama has done all he can to strengthen Islam around the world – particularly Sunni Islam. He allows Islamic theocracies to thrive and refuses to help their people overthrow their dictators, as in Iran. He helps to overthrow secular regimes in islamic countries and install terrorist jihadis h&llbent on establishing theocracies, as in Egypt and Libya.

      He is trying the same thing in Syria under the same ploy he used in Egypt and Libya: A phony humanitarian mission. As if the American abortion mongrel cares about any children but his own. Before he was awarded the Presidency he used to rail about evil selfish America refusing to fight for humanitarian causes in Black Africa. What has he done to prevent the genocide and slave trade in Sudan or elsewhere? Absolutely nothing. His only foreign policy is to strengthen Islam.

      Major General Scales is right too, of course. It is obvious that Obama wants to bomb Syria out of vanity. He he issued his idiotic red line ultimatum out of pure bluster and now he wants toto to try and prove he isn’t really

      • ziggy zoggy

        …….a pu$$y.

        Damned Apple IPad. I wouldn’t even use it if it weren’t a gift. Apple sucks huge a$$ and Steve Jobs was the most overrated “innovator” to ever head an overrated and crappy country. It took me twenty minutes to type this short comment. From now on I’m sticking to my phones. Nokia and LG programs/apps actually work – and I can make phone calls!

  • Biff Henderson

    Be prepared –

  • Biff Henderson

    Protect your sanity.

  • Lord Howard Hurts

    The evidence is in…………but what are we going to do to resolve the issue of America being run by an Usurper President? It seems that all the military minds know that B.H. Obama, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, have corrupted the Spirit of the American Constitution and yet they have taken no action. They don’t seem to know that the Constitution has given them the supreme role in protecting The Constitution from all enemy’s both foreign and domestic.

    There is only folly in believing that a citizenry, bought and paid for by perks such as “Food Stamps”, will remove the “Golden Goose” who showered down these taxpayer goods. It is time that the U.S. military do their duty to this Republic and it’s Constitution, and remove these traitors from office. Unless some positive action is taken this great experiment in human freedom and responsibility will be just another footnote in the big book of World History. Lord Howard Hurts

    • lomake


  • Keith

    I doubt General Scales is only 55 as he would only have been 11 years old in 1969; hardly old enough to serve in the Army.

    • Gee

      Agreed – I was too young for any of Vietnam and am in my 50s.

      He was born in 1944 making him 69 years old

  • onecornpone

    LOL, … embarrassed to be associated???

    This is only the beginning… WHAT will high ranking career military officers DO when the Clown Prince orders them to ignore the U.S. Constitution?

    WILL they retire, en masse, to embarrass the Amateur-in-Chief?
    Call 1-800-MUTINY!!!

  • AlexanderGofen

    US Military Embarrassed to be Associated with Obama?.. Unfortunately, it is embarrassed not near enough! In 2008 and 2012 the entire US active military (except for only 3 individuals) has violated their oath to protect the Constitution (rather than the asses of their superiors). The army in fact committed a silent coup by backing the usurper, impostor, and a fraud as their Commander-in-Thief. The US military betrayed America and dishonored themselves literally replicating the role of the Red Army in the 1917 coup in Russia:

  • herb benty

    By George, I think the Obama Dems have put to rest the erroneous notion that ” elite intellectuals are needed to run America”. BS. America is great because of the common sense of it’s clever citizens who now realize the importance of the Constitution. The Framers of America saw the Totalitarians like Obama/Dems coming, and warned about them. They are now here, when the vaunted American Military distrusts and dislikes their Commander-in-Chief- the officers and grunts know what they are talking about. Rebuking a military Chaplin for discussing Christianity, erasing “jihad”, “terrorist” and “Islamic threat” from the books and minds of soldiers! Placing girls in front line and elite combat outfits, while bowing to diversity, inclusiveness and gender equality. Take this treasonous Orwellian Obama and, well, retire him and his ilk at the next election.