Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tough times for US Army in one corner of Afstan

A major and gloomy article in the Sunday NY Times Magazine that should be read; one just wonders how typical this one unit's experiences are:
Battle Company Is Out There


Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

Going WAY back, there was a popular pop song that started out-
"ACCentuate the Positive,
DEcentuate the Negative..."

Regarding the Global War on Terror, the New York Times consistently, unfailingly does the exact opposite of that tune. They don't believe in the Global War on Terror, they despise President Bush and his Administration. That's hardly news. What else is new, right?

So, I don't need to read the Times' propaganda disguised as objective, honest journalism, to know they've probably cherry-picked a US Army unit that has serious challenges in a very problematic area of Af-stan. And the Times "journalists" have drawn the bleakest picture they can. No doubt, it's tough for all our Western combat troops over there. That's why they call it a WAR!

For some perspective, let's use a historical analogy: In December, 1944, in the Battle of the Bulge, the US Army endured the worst defeats and losses ever in the whole European Theater. Many thousands dead; tens of thousands wounded; whole divisions chewed up by the last great offensive of the Nazi regime.

Sent back in a time machine, the Times of today would surely be raising bloody hell, crying the war is lost and unwinnable, the whole strategy of the US and Allies is a failure, and demanding we pull out NOW or, certainly, NO LATER than six months hence! "Let's have dialogue and negotiation with the Germans!"

Well, the US Army and Allies couldn't pull out in six months because, by then, as we know, Nazi Germany had unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. The Times of today wouldn't then have been able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

HOWEVER, they and their ignorant defeatist fellows in the West's MSM today, are doing their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory today in Afghanistan (as well as Iraq).

And our Allied combat forces haven't even lost ANY battles against the Taliban. Our casualties have been, compared to previous wars, miniscule. The Taliban doesn't have a country, an industrial base. All they have are thousands of ignorant cannon-fodder thugs led by a small core leadership that is steadily being itself liquidated at every opportunity.

And this battered thugocracy is going to chase the Armed Forces of the Western Allies out of Af-stan? They CAN'T win. We can only choose to LOSE.

That this desired defeat and retreat would condemn 25 million Afghans to reimposition of a brutal Islamofascist dictatorship is tough! It's also too bad that the UN Secy Genl last week wrote a column articulating the necessity of perseverence to military victory, else reconstruction of Af-stan is impossible.

Instead of the NY Times propaganda, I recommend everyone read in today's Washington Post, the column "Two Winnable Wars", by Anthony Cordesman.

He starts, "No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States."

In other words, we the peoples of the Allied nations fighting the Islamofascist enemy are NOT getting the truth back home about this global war.

Why we're not is a matter, in both North American democracies is, IMO, due to squeamish, cowardly leftist ideological opposition to fighting the War on Terror and Opposition parties wanting, at any cost, to be back in power.

The URL for this excellent, articulate and thought-provoking article is:

8:21 p.m., February 24, 2008  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Thanks Dave--just trying to present a range link to Cordesman.


8:28 p.m., February 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

Yes, I know that Mark, and I (and no doubt all who visit this blog) really appreciate your objectiveness and the time you and your colleagues spend doing so, making this one of the best blogs around.

(Sometimes, I get pretty steamed up. The New York Times does that to me regularly! If I ever get a bit over-the-top on that, please let me know. :-)

8:57 p.m., February 24, 2008  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Dave: I've been wondering about the Gray Lady before:

"Discord between Brits and Americans in Helmand province?"

"Afstan: Differing takes on essentially the same story"

More relevant links at the second post.


9:04 p.m., February 24, 2008  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Dave: To amuse you (and others one hopes):

"The Yanks are coming!"


9:10 p.m., February 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave in Pa. said...


On the first question, on Brit-US differences ref. US Special Forces aggressiveness, I don't think it's the common thing for US troops to be overly aggressive, "trigger-happy". However, in all fairness and objectivity (your own word, damnit! :-), there have been a some incidents. (I've read about them at various US blogs where GIs "hangout".) I guess when you have tens of thousands of troops in the field, Murphy's Law says there'll unavoidably be X number of mistakes.

One I read of actually was a complaint FROM US Special Forces. This was from a Green Beret team regarding some regular US infantry. An A-team of Berets spent some time getting in tight with a certain remote tiny hamlet in Af-stan. The Berets have been heavily trained in respecting local customs, i.e. at least some language skills; dealing with-respecting the local male leaders; DON'T touch, DON'T even look at their women!; as much as possible, show respect and appreciation to the locals for their hospitality, etc.

Well...after the A-team had spent months building up a very productive rapport with the folks of this hamlet, they went on a long patrol and some regular US infantry moved in for the interim.

While their role was to protect the hamlet until the A team returned, apparently, the infantry platoon came into the hamlet as if to secure a combat zone, breaking in a few doors, some furniture getting smashed, roughing up some of the males, frightening the women and children, etc.

Of course, that immediately ended all hospitality and cooperation from that hamlet. That infantry platoon had just destroyed months of effective Green Beret work.

On returning from that lengthy patrol, that Green Beret team found out about that and the officer commanding the team made a formal, written complaint up the chain of command. That's somewhat unusual, as they normally do such complaint/corrective things off the records. He was understandably pretty pissed.

As most of us military vets know, when necessary, enlisted men, even junior officers, can be the recipients of serious attitude corrective measures without it necessarily going onto the record. If the aim is unforgettable education, rather than a punitive measure.

That sort of unnecessary clumsiness by that infantry platoon is the sort that does NOT help win a counter-insurgency campaign. I don't know what the outcome was but I bet at the very least, the officer commanding that infantry got an ass-chewing he'll never forget for the rest of his career. Hopefully, his men did also. No more so than in a counter-insurgency "winning hearts and minds" environment, that's really stupid, counter-productive behavior.

Hopefully, (or so it was said at that blog) this sort of thing is the exception, not a frequent happening.

(A tangential thought: When you think about it, being a combat platoon commander is a helluva lot of responsibility for a young man probably in his early or mid-20's, only a couple of years out of college.

The infantry platoon commander in the above incident went through a lot of screening and challenging training from the point he walked into a recruiting office, all the way to the point of being given a platoon of combat soldiers in a war zone. The Army has a lot of time and money invested in him.

He probably has a lot of potential and just really F****D up in that case. Nobody was actually killed or harmed. Were I his CO, I'd take the unforgettable educational approach and, if he responds, keep it off his record. I know when I was that age, I did more than my share of stupid things.)

12:20 a.m., February 25, 2008  

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