Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Afghan mission is turning into a soldier's nightmare.

I'm not a big fan of the Wars to say the least. It's very sad to me that families have to be separated... let alone lives destroyed for this screwed up mission... that really is for nothing. Only a few will advance, a few career military officers will get promoted and billions upon tens of billions will be thrown away... sprinkled with lives. Not just killed, some wounded, many wounded on the inside.

Several recent articles have pointed out the unmistakable stench of what is next. Sending soldiers into battle... but just like in Vietnam... not letting them do their job. And to me this is the final straw of how to break the morale of any fighting force. You can't ask the guy on the bottom of the totem pole to put his or her life on the line when the guy on the top is only worried about PR points.

According to this first article, CNN is reporting that nightime raids will be curtailed and the requirements for use of force have been beefed up after a recent incident that killed 27 civilians.There's no doubt this is a bad deal but this is really not a operational fault... this is supposed to be a War... it's a leadership fault. They should either be there or not. A leader that sends his unit into battle better take it seriously. And one that sends his troops in half-hearted is courting for disaster.

The second article is in regard to the state of the Afghan forces. Supposedly they were to take the lead on a particular operation... yet failed miserably. After nine years and billions upon tens of billions ...upon hundreds of billions you would think you could have trained these units to a razors edge (I mean most combat arms training for a typical recruit in the USA is 12 to 16 weeks). They might be green but their at the minimum combat effective. Nine years??!!! And nothing??!! Trained by the Green Beret... and this??!!!

I would love to talk to the guy in charge of training! Just a casual conversation over a few beers... I bet by the end of that conversation I would know definitively what our course of action should be... and I don't need a coin flip to know what I think I'd be concluding. Just as in Vietnam, this War will ultimately destroy the morale and effectiveness of our military. Especially those on the ground. I fault the command for this...every staff officer that allows this charade to continue... is doing a disservice to their uniform and those under them. And it's very disappointing to me to watch this happen. There's just no need!

Initially I was for the Wars. Being a soldier at one time... I volunteered to enter a War zone. I didn't have to but I had trained long and hard for it... and I knew I could make a difference. So when 9/11 occurred, I had an idea of what the typical soldier was facing this time around. I followed each of the initial battles closely hoping for a quick victory... which to my happy surprise I thought we got. However... when the WMDs didn't turn up... and Saddam was captured... and I started to hear some of the haphazard planning and execution by the civilian authority... I started to grit my teeth. And by 2005 I had had enough of the political bull. I knew soldiers didn't make good policemen and asking them to do so in a foreign country... with a language barrier was setting up for failure. And the rhetoric... of the chickenhawks (those who during the Vietnam War cowered when duty called but were now directing soldiers into battle) ... really got my blood boiling.

Many in the real world... and apparently in the Pentagon as well don't understand why the military does what it does. Soldiers who are professionals don't look at this profession as something they want to do. It's something the have to do. Many civilians have never thought about hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. The worst rarely happens. So why worry? But a soldier is there for that very reason... to prepare for the worst. Needless to say... when the worst does happen. You want to deal with it quickly, effectively and efficiently. And that is what our military did and did it well up until these wars were extended indefinately...

War, like most violence is a last resort. It represents the failure of man to think creatively. To communicate properly. And to value the lives of those potentially lost and injured. So, when that line is crossed... the leadership better have done their job. Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

So someone... somewhere is going to have to. Someone in the chain of command is going to have to suck it up and their going to have to say...'Wait a minute!' 'Hell NO!' Otherwise the espirit de corps is going to be lost and our military is going to be broken.

As a veteran, I have to speak for the soldiers. The one's at the bottom that can't speak for themselves.

Pat Buchanan on Liquidating the Empire.

Michael Scheuer on When Troops and CIA Officers Die for a Fantasy.

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