War

WMD and the War in Syria

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As of this writing, judging from the tone in the current congressional hearings in regards to attack authority on Syria, it seems that America will soon commence open military operations against Syria.  Secretary of State’s speech seems a time-warp: He argues vehemently for military interdiction in Syria, stating the use of chemical weapons by Assad without international retribution means an encouragement to use more WMD in the future.  Unfortunately, when you draw the “red line” in the sand, you’re stuck on punching those who cross it. Words matter, especially when they’re uttered at a national level.

Largely forgotten and possibly willfully ignored by a compliant media, is the May 2013 event in which members of the al-Qaeda franchise group, Al Nusra Front, were captured in Turkey with a sarin gas canister.

Let us consider the ramifications of setting the WMD “red line”.  The Syrian rebels have been brokering for significant American military support since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.  Announcing the red line to Assad as a potential deterrent to Syria’s WMD deployment also creates an incentive for the rebellion: Utilize WMD to encourage US intervention.  Now the situation in muddled. We know al-Qaeda had sarin  gas, which astoundingly does not alarm the media to any great extant. Further confusing analysis, is the machination of several regional countries vying to affect the Syrian outcome.  Turkey wants the Assad regime removed. It has already hosted Syrian rebels for training purposes. The red line state also forced the American hand; if nothing is done at this point, the President’s words seem empty.

Turkey has for almost two years called for multilateral intervention into Syria, after failing to convince President Bashar Al-Assad to enact reforms and avoid the escalation of violence in his country. Turkey, which shelters hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and houses the main opposition Syrian National Coalition, has also repeatedly called for the establishment of a no-fly zone, or a safety zone, at the neighbor’s 565-mile border.

The Arab world has often snickered behind American backs, astounded at the US’ willingness to do Arab nations’ dirty work. It happened in the first Gulf War. Saudi military leaders knew Saddam had to be contained, and used Machiavellian psychology on the US to minimize Saudi involvement and maximize US firepower employment.

It is a Clausewitzian dictum that all wars escalate.  Present day America’s failure to decisively win its wars is largely the result of its attempt to prevent wars from escalating. Current counterinsurgency doctrine attempts to win without killing. The US government does not understand that oftentimes in war, a monumental amount of force must be applied to get an enemy to quit.  Americans, largely divorced from struggle and strife, have forgotten just how much force it takes to make a determined enemy quit.  We are guilty of mirror-imaging; superimposing our own agendas and motivations on those of the enemy. The typical American is not sufficiently enraged to engage in warfare and has a difficult time imagining the mentality required to become so enraged.  The same American does not understand, that without such a mentality, any war in question would not exist in the first place.  Consider the Iran-Iraq war. That war ended after 7 years, and not before almost 1 million people were dead. Current US COIN doctrine would have us killing a handful of “key leaders” with a drone strike, and then rebuilding schools and hospitals in hopes of pacifying militants. It’s never worked in the past. It won’t work in the future. So, assuming the war in Syria will escalate further with more US intervention, we can assume more people will die. Some of those people will be civilians. US military aid is often imagined to force the enemy to suddenly capitulate. This simply isn’t the case. I often use the arm-wrestling analogy. An arm-wrestler does not suddenly give up when he feels his opponent applying force. If he were that mentally weak, it’s doubtful he’d have come to the table at all. Instead, he applies as much force as he has, in hopes of quickly dispatching his opponent. Each arm-wrestler in turn attempts to match, and surpass his opponent’s force. Finally, the force applied by one arm overcomes the other. Throughout, the force escalated, as each person attempts to summon more and more power–if he can find it. Syria’s military has much more force in reserve. It has thus far restrained much of its military ability, because like most insurgencies, the rebels cannot muster much force themselves.  Increasing the military power of the rebels guarantees escalation by the Syrian military.  In some cases, in other wars, this is a necessary evil. In the case of Syria, we have two enemies of America fighting each other, and there is no concrete American security interest.  So the calculation reveals that non-intervention best serves America. And all of this says nothing about the possibility of Russian intervention, leading to regional escalation.

If and when civilians die as a result of US airstrike, (and even if they don’t), America is likely to lose yet another battle, a type of battle in which the US has proven remarkably inept: The information war.  The information war is a key component in “war among the people”.  Terrorism is only minimally effective without propaganda.

Never could the War on Terror have taken such a positive turn. But leave it to Washington to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.  Strategy, not a strong-point of DC’s intelligentsia for the last 50 years, simply eludes most on The Hill.  Two of America’s great enemies slugging it out, but John McCain and John Kerry aren’t happy.  Instead they split The Prophet’s hairs as to whom’s bad enough and who’s good enough, never realizing that the bad and the good are on the same side: al-Qaeda’s side.  The Left interprets Sun Tzu’s winning-without-fighting maxim as diplomacy.  The ancients knew this also meant letting your enemies slaughter each other, saving your energies for bad men not so occupied.

What’s the desired end-state? Testimony today indicates it’s to degrade Assad’s ability to use similar attacks in the future.  Chemical weapons cannot be bombed with any certainty on controlling the resultant poison plume.  If strikes intend to hit chemical depots, this presents a significant risk for civilian casualties.  More likely targets are the missile launch systems suspected of delivering VX on the civilians. Of course the military could try to kill Assad himself.  Syria’s attack helicopters will be tempting targets while they’re on the ground. If an attack is too weak, it will be meaningless or many even encourage more aggression from Assad. If it is moderately effective, but does not decapitate the regime, it may invite attack from Syria against US targets. Syria is not without significant military capabilities, thanks to huge contracts with Russia. Of primary concern, if the US attacks involve aircraft, is Syria’s s-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

It seems unlikely that a US attack will have any significant effect on the war in Syria. Since success in warfare is largely based on controlling unknowns through good intelligence, and since US strikes are unlikely to impact the outcome of the war one way or another (except that they are likely to bring outrage in one form or another), policy makers must consider the unknowns and not merely focus on punishing Assad. All in all, the intervention in a fight between Syria and a US archenemy seems foolish.

 

A prayer for an Army family

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Two days ago, a Soldier from my unit, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan.  SSG Michael Ollis, 24 years old, was killed when Taliban insurgents attacked FOB Ghazni with a vehicle-borne IED, indirect mortar fire, and small arms fire. The insurgents penetrated the wall of the base, and remained inside, fighting for 6 hours.  

michael+ollis

FOB Ghazni is controlled by Polish forces.  Soldiers from 2-22IN moved through FOB Ghazni on their way north while leaving Ghazni, only a couple of weeks from returning home.  SSG Ollis made it 8 months. This was his third deployment to a combat zone.

I ask that you say a prayer for his mother and father, the two surviving members of his family.

“Deeds Not Words”

Don’t Tread on Me and Don’t Nerf My World

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“He wants his home and security, he wants to live like a sailor at sea. Beautiful loser, where you gonna fall, when you realize–you just can’t have it all…he’ll never make any enemies.” ~Beautiful Loser, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band.

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.~General John Stark

In the world of video games, there is a term that denotes making something decidedly less potent or dangerous: The term is Nerf. 

My Army and indeed my country is trying to Nerf my entire world. It does this under the pretext of caring so much for my safety. Our obsession with safety is in fact making us weaker and thus less safe.

I cannot say that I expect nothing from my government. I expect it to smash the hell out of any enemy that tries to destroy our way of life. I expect it to maintain internal security so that people can enjoy their families and the things they have worked for.  Thus I expect the government to toss people in jail whom have committed crimes which harm me or my family–or any other American family.  I expect my government to defend its sovereign borders so that my country does not become what others without an American ideal want it to be.

What I do not expect of my government is that it protect me from myself. I do not expect the government to worry about the minutia of dangers that  confront man everyday. The government cannot protect me from myself as well as I can.  The United States Army has become one of the most risk-averse entities in our risk-averse nation.  Soldiers must watch hours of safety videos every few months, many many more hours than they fire their rifles on a practice range, and are expected to wear a reflective belt at times, even when off duty in broad daylight, and must wear knee and elbow pads when in a war zone on patrol. Packing lists for Soldiers readying to deploy easily bring to mind a 5 year Soviet planning cycle.  Make sure you bring your sewing kit. Who the hell is Sun Tzu?  Because of the (most times) well-meaning cry for troop safety, our troops are weighed down with heavy body armor while trouncing over 8000 ft high mountains, exhausting them.  Our enemies dance around in man-dresses and sneakers. In my unit, Soldiers pulling CQ duty (a 24 hour duty in which two Soldiers sit at a desk and communicate any problems to the chain of command), have been ordered to stop any Soldiers whom leave the barracks in shorts, because it’s too cold to be outdoors in shorts.  Yes, that’s right, a military  that helped annihilate the Nazis and nuked Hiroshima is worried about people wearing shorts in the cold during their off-duty hours. Every Friday, Soldiers must endure long speeches from the chain of command about what not to do during the weekend. They must be reminded that slapping their wives is illegal and driving drunk can result in car crashes. If we have Soldiers that are so stupid they require to be told these things every week, well then, I say let them make their mistake and get them out of the Army. Because that guy will probably blow the back of my head off with an accidental discharge from his M4 carbine.  Our gown men used to be able to drink beer while deployed to war. No more. In the Vietnam War, US grunts could bye a 24-pack of beer for $2.40.  We did better in Vietnam than in Afghanistan, according to authoritative writer, Bing West… We couldn’t have that now, could we? Surely American Soldiers would go on mad rampages across the Hindu Kush, slaying everything in sight. Somehow we beat the British with many of our troops half in the bag. As far as I’m concerned, denying a man a beer while he endures war is not just cruel, it’s downright un-American.   The Puritans–those great foes of the Libertine Left– fed kids the stuff for breakfast, but then MADD busted up the party.

Here’s a quote from the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Glenn Beck’s book, Arguing With Idiots: 

Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980 after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver, but she ended up leaving her own organization. Why? Mission creep. Here’s what she said….

“[MAAD has] become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned…I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol, I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

“We humble Pilgrims give Ye thanks for our reflective belts, bike helmets, and the heavenly gun-free Mayflower. We never could enjoy this new land without our blessings.”~Quote from the only Progressive Pilgrim who made the tough trip over.

In the same chapter, Beck goes on to explain how legislation has been proposed to install devices on all cars that prevent people from driving drunk. As of now, only people whom have been convicted of DUI can have such devices installed by the government.  He goes on to make the point that if we focus on the person offending, and not the tool of the offense, we do a better job in dealing with the problem, and we don’t needlessly bother those whom don’t drink and drive, since the majority of the DUI problems come from repeat offenders. And it’s the same thing when it comes to gun control. Taking away guns from the 99% is a tyranny. Many want to do it because the modern Left simply has a difficult time calling anyone whom is not named Dick Cheney or George Bush, evil.

The true shame of this, is that in the Army, NCOs are told that they are not leading unless they are micromanaging the private and professional lives of the Soldiers that work for them. I simply refuse to live like this or lead other men like this. As a kid, I did all kinds of dangerous things, and I’m proud of it. I never wore a bike helmet, yet rode my bike everywhere. Most of my bikes didn’t even have brakes; I had to use my foot on the rotting (dangerously so) tires, to slow myself. I proudly displayed the scabs and scars on my hands from the times I went over the handlebars on the pavement.  Myself and groups of other kids engaged in rock fights and BB gun wars. We threw ice-encrusted snowballs at each others face, hoping to give each other black eyes. I carried a rifle around in the woods, unsupervised, at the age of twelve, shooting cute, furry squirrels until I could hear the weeping of bleeding-heart liberals for miles around. And I felt nothing for it except proud of my outstanding marksmanship….I endured 5 knee operations before the age of 25, all from playing that rough, dangerous sport: Backyard football. I boxed and had my brain concussed.

And every one of us boys is better off for having beat the hell out of ourselves.

And why did I do all of it? Because I don’t want to feel completely safe. I never have. I most certainly don’t want someone else making me safe from everything. I mostly want to be left alone to make my own decisions. I want to learn on my own. I don’t want to go to jail, get a fine, or get demoted in rank for failing to make my Soldiers wear knee pads. I want to live in a country that demotes me because my troops didn’t kill enough Taliban fighters, because my troops didn’t make the enemy quit. I know, I know, that makes me a brute. Yet, our addiction to safety helped us lose the war in Afghanistan. Make no mistake, COIN “warfare” is the child of an addiction to safety. It is a system designed to win wars without fighting the enemy. We hope to build the enemy stuff until he quits, we hope that he becomes as sedated with free stuff from the government as this American generation has become. COIN hopes to keep our Soldiers out of danger, but in reality it makes him so at-risk for lack of ridding the battlefield of armed insurgents, that the American fighter spends most of his time running back and forth between villages and friendly bases, instead of rooting the enemy from his enclaves. March to a village,  shake some hands and smile at people lying to you and helping safeguard the people whom will kill you, then hurry the hell back to the base before you get shot.

I enjoy danger in my life. Yeah, there are always things the government could do to make us all safer. But at what cost? Should we make a law mandating all cars be coated in 12 inches of nerf material? I’m sure the guy who gets bumped into at a crosswalk would appreciate it.  I measure my danger with what it can provide me. I understand there are some dangers we want to control. For instance, I argued quite vehemently for increased screening at Airports, but I’m against gun-free zones around schools. Why? Because I believe one does what it’s supposed to and the other doesn’t. If there were two airlines to choose from, one offering increased screening and pat-downs before boarding a plane, and one that did not, I would choose to use the one that offered increased screening.  If there were two schools to choose from, one with a gun free zone and one without, I would choose the one without, hoping the well-vetted principal with 20 years experience in education is well armed and trained. Get it? I lift Russian kettlebells. There is an element of danger in using these, which makes me enjoy them all the more. Throwing around 70 lb iron balls cannot be made purely safe. My hands get torn up, and I’m damn proud of it. They make me a better person, even if I break a wrist.

My kettlebell hands
My kettlebell hands

I don’t want to be told how to pack my rucksack, how many bars of soap to bring with me to Afghanistan, and I sure don’t want to shave my chest, wear pop-collared polo shirts or gloves while weight lifting. I want to be allowed to not wear knee pads. I want to be allowed to fight when I go to war. In short, I want to be a man and not a giant baby. Let me be a big boy so we can focus on the important stuff, and not the things that end up costing us more  in the creation of rules and their enforcement than in any protection we gain. We are a country of laws–too many of them–not of men. Why not think like Bruce Lee, and begin to take away before we add. Less is always more efficient, and maybe we can toughen up a bit and remember what a great feeling it is to be able to do things on our own without having to hope the government will protect us from all evil, and maybe fix our toilet if we whine and play the victim well enough.

Maybe we can teach our kids, again, the value of hard work, self-reliance, responsibility and toughness. A nation of individuals that values those things does not require a government that has to keep them in line.

Americans accept losing wars and mediocrity at the highest levels

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The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.~ Thucydides

Weakness provokes insult and injury, while a condition to punish, often prevents them.~Thomas Jefferson

I have complained often and loudly about the caustic culture inside the US Army. It is a witch’s brew of arrogance, ridiculous regulation, and inept leadership. There are good leaders to be sure–but there is a disturbing number of bad ones, marred by a lack of basic common sense in fighting wars, and an arrogance that would shock Commodus.

My favourite essayist, Ralph Peters wrote a scathing article in the New York Post about the ethical collapse in the Army’s officer corps. There are more frightening stories than Peters talks about in his piece.

And here’s the biggest problem with all of this: These generals could not even  advocate for the proper execution of our wars for the last 10 years.  If a Soldier gets shot while on guard duty and was found to have not worn his helmet–he’ll get in more trouble than the insurgent who did the shooting, because it’s likely no effort will be made to pursue the attacker. In every other era of American war, the command’s initial response to a Soldier being shot at the front gate would be :” The enemy is able to maneuver very closely to our base–we need to find him and kill him.” Now, the command goes for the easy target–the American trooper. I assure everyone, that insurgents move and gather quite closely to American bases in Afghanistan and never have a shot fired at them in anger. Never have terrorist had it so good.  A full-bird colonel may smile and shake the hand of a villager that is helping kill his troops, but ruthlessly belittle the American privates on his base for being out of uniform.

It’s easy to fight a foe that can’t fight back.

The US Army has loads of support troops who don’t know how to use radios properly, how to use weapons optics like the ACOG, and the US is getting its ass handed to it by a growing Afghan insurgency which actually knows how to shoot, move and communicate. But the new Army’s mantra is “Right time, right place, right uniform.”  What is this, a Wal-Mart corporate meeting? Left out of any messaging is the fact that the Army has one overriding mission: To kill dead the enemies of the United States. Period.

Meanwhile, our West Point educated generals and colonels, whom the illiterate Taliban are running circles around, are committing acts of sexual assault, bigamy, and outright theft of government finances.  Generals reduced to cutpurses.

Then there is the absolute tide of political correctness to which our generals are beholden. Every time I hear an interview with a general, I walk away not feeling inspired, but depressed. Wooden, and reading from a memorized slate approved for press release, these folks would make Patton vomit.  Make no mistake about it. Today, Patton would be arrested. He admitted Americans like a good fight. Why? Because to win a fight, you have to like it, at least a little. But our current military is so risk averse, that only a fool would look for the enemy on a regular basis.

It’s really too bad that these generals are being investigated for sexual indiscretion and petty thievery  but not for their performance in our wars.  Where is the vaunted moral courage and intellectual honesty in the officer’s corp? I should like to see many more canned for not doing their job: Stacking enemy bodies.  Sound harsh? It is. That’s war. The current counterinsurgency model is so “counter-intuitive” ( term often used to mask the insanity of a bad idea), that only an intellectual could believe it.

It’s time we take a long hard look at ourselves. Frankly, I’m embarrassed.  Back in the homeland, we now accept losing. We shouldn’t. A good loser is a loser.  The personalities that used to be our generals are now our college and professional football coaches. They went where the money is and where they can tell the truth.

Les Miles would have won wars:

As Lombardi said, winning is a habit. I reached a turning point in my life when I no longer accepted defeat. When mediocre academic performance was not acceptable, when age was not an excuse for physical decline, when a bad childhood was not justification for failure in every endeavor. I don’t want a participation trophy–I want the trophy that labels me the winner. It is a sad thing to me, where we have come as a people. Looking back at my youth, I wish there were something that could have made me care, something that could have made me try. I didn’t see difficulty as a challenge, but something to be avoided, so I ran away from life.

This is where relativism, as it must, has led us. If all things are equal, winning is neither good nor bad. If all behavior is the same, then we can accept the same from a 4-star general as from a 15 year old.  The engine of our nation–its people–are in decline. I have no recipe to fix the problem. Perhaps it as Oswald Spengler believed, inevitable  like the seasons.

Our flaccid response to the humiliation in Benghazi is illustrative of the current American acceptance of defeat. I’m with Ralph Peters on this one (as usual). Our response should have been devastating. Instead, our government wrung its hands, and tweaked “talking points”. We haven’t made the world a safer place with our rhetoric. No one this side of Mother Theresa respects weakness, least of all Islamic extremists. Our collegiate theorems have not trumped the reality of war: You must kill the enemy until he stops fighting. Rest assured he’s trying to do the same thing.

Hezbollah sleeper cells and imminent war in the Middle East

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The Israeli Minister of Defense recently stated that Israel is prepared for 30 days of war with Iran. In fact, a shadow war, but a very real war never the less, has been ongoing between the two countries for months, with real people being killed by very real government-backed means.

Within the last year, at least 3 Iranian scientists who were working on Iran’s nuclear power program were assassinated.  Bombs exploded in their cars, killing them.  And there was the massively powerful cyberweapon, known as STUXNET, deployed against Iranian nuclear research facilities.  In what appears to be reprisals, terrorists targeted Israelis around the world in places like India, Georgia, and most recently in Bulgaria.  In this case, a suicide bomber walked onto a bus full of Israeli tourists and parked near an airport terminal , then detonated, killing 5 Israelis.  The bombing occurred in a popular Israeli vacation resort near the Black Sea.   Bulgarian domestic security released a video which shows the suspected suicide bomber walking inside the airport.  He is dressed in very casual western style clothing and has a light complexion.  I posted a video of the suspected bomber, below.

As a former law enforcement officer and current intelligence analyst I find the video and the overall bombing very disturbing for several reasons.  First, the bomber’s body language is staggeringly deceptive, offering no clues as to his true intent.  The man obviously received professional training, most probably from Iranian Quds Force and/or Hezbollah.  The man’s gait, posture and clothing are carefully crafted so as to defeat most attempts at profiling.  Secondly, the complexity of this operation was quite extensive.  The bomber had to penetrate an Eastern European country’s domestic security, most likely constructing the bomb there.  The bomber also looks very Western in complexion and mannerism.  Thirdly, a group of Israeli tourists had to be targeted and stalked.  This is different from an operation in which a high profile individual is targeted for assassination.  In that case it is quite simple to know where the high profile person will be, since he or she will be preceded by media reports, has a well known face, and may have an attached security detail.  This operation required extensive surveillance and testing of the existing security systems.  Also, the bomber possessed a fake Michigan driver’s license. 

Fake Michigan driver’s license found at bomb scene
Sketch of suspected suicide bomber in Bulgaria

All of this raises the question as to what Hezbollah has in store for Israel and America should Israel preemptively strike.  Readers should have no doubt that Hezbollah, sponsored by Iran, has placed sleeper cells around the world that are ready to “wake up” should they be called to action.  Though some of them already struck in response to the deaths of Iranian scientists and the STUXNET cyberweapon, it is logical to assume that Iran is holding back a considerable number of suicide bombers and saboteurs so as to control the political aspects of a future war.  It is an established fact that Hezbollah operates an organised crime ring in America, with million of dollars having been funneled to groups in Lebanon.[1]  Iran is the world’s foremost practitioner of 4th Generation Warfare.  Anyone who believes that this type of warfare is ineffective should consider the fact that Iran remained the number one state supporter of terrorism for decades without, until recently, sanctions leveled against it.  Iran has continued on the path of nuclear weapons without a single shot fired against it by the United States.  Iran has held hostage British sailors while parading them on camera against international law.  The Iranian government plotted the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the US, without any repercussions, not even a strongly worded letter.  Iran provided fighters, bomb makers and Explosively Formed Projectiles  (EFPs) capable of slicing through the toughest of American armor, to insurgents in the Iraq war.  The American government willfully took no action against Iran despite knowing its government was killing American Soldiers. In some cases, American intelligence networks were told to avoid collecting information that proved Iranian complicity in American deaths.[2]  Iran also continues to sow chaos and discord in Iraq, forcing Iraqi prime minister Maliki to form an alliance with the Iranian regime.

There is simply no other way to interpret the lack of assertive action against Iran by the United States other than that the US government  is afraid of Iran.  The fact that the most powerful nation in history is scared of a country like Iran shows the effectiveness of 4G Warfare.  Iran knows it cannot win in a stand up fight against America.  It doesn’t need to, because the American government has little real idea of how to deal with 4th Generation fighters.  American politicians are far more concerned with polls and elections than the lives of American servicemen, otherwise the Iranians would have been taken care of years ago.  Terrorism targets public opinion and every terrorist loves a polling booth.  The proliferation of useful idiots who think that America can negotiate its way out of every bad situation has done nothing but empower Iran’s 4G warriors.

The Middle East is teetering on the edge of war.  The new Egyptian government openly states it is considering violating its peace treaty with Israel, Lebanon and Syria are in chaos, and Iran rushes toward obtaining the ultimate weapon while promising the destruction of Israel.  But perhaps most troubling is the lack of commitment from America as to which side it is on.  Our collapsing culture and post-modern morals  blind our government at a time when moral clarity is imperative

[1] Emerson, Steven, Jihad Incorporated”, pages 219-227, Prometheus Books, 2006

[2] O’hern, Steven, K. “The Intelligence Wars”, Chapter 4: Iran’s Shadow Falls Over Iraq, Prometheus Books, 2008

Pictures of the dead

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Yet again, our glorious and supremely eloquent counterinsurgency strategy stands to be liquidated by the foolishness of our troops in Afghanistan.

Really?  Photos, published by the LA Times,  depict soldiers posing with the remains of a suicide bomber who’d just tried to kill them.  Is it the burning Korans and photos of dead terrorists that’s causing us to lose this war, or is the strategy itself the problem?

Let me be clear that the soldiers did wrong.  The photos (2 years old, I may add) should not have been taken for the purposes of personal collections.  Why? Because it’s the rule.  Mostly, just because it’s the rule and soldiers follow orders.  A breakdown in the ability of troops to follow the rules results in a mob, not a professional army.

But it was not the soldiers who killed the dead terrorist.  He killed himself while trying to kill them.  Do we feel the same way about photos photos taken of dead robbers and criminals in the Old West?

How about photos of gangsters and miscreants from the 20’s and 30s? Remember Bonnie and Clyde?

Michael Yon wrote an article saying we shouldn’t blame the media.   He’s right.  The Soldiers are the first cause of this problem.  But how big of a problem is it?

American soldiers in WWII mailed the skulls of dead Japanese back to their ladies:

And frankly, the sight of the dead insurgent is the historical tool used by rulers to crush uprisings.  Ask the Romans and Vlad Drakul.  Hiding the results of being a terrorist doesn’t help our cause.  The message to all young Afghan and Pakistani males should be that this is what you look like when you strap on a bomb and try to murder people.

Let’s get real.  This is not an atrocity.  This is soldiers breaking an administrative rule.  There should be no talk of kicking them out of the military.  And, the soldier who gave the photos to the LA Times is a weasel.  If he were so concerned, he should have given the photos to his chain of command–years ago.  We need a little more outrage aimed at the culture that breeds these self-immolating haters.  In any event, don’t ask me or other soldiers to like the people that are trying to kill us.  Blog and talk bravely of our philosophy, and cultural sensitivity and all that, but just don’t ask us to hug the dude trying to take me from my kids.  Maybe 10 years from now, but not now.

I’ve spent more time in Afghanistan than most.  I worked along side young soldiers every day.   I never once saw anything like this.  I did not witness any heroic deeds, though there are many in the last ten years that have become heroes.  But I did witness an incredible adherence to duty, to getting the job done, day in, day out, under very uncomfortable circumstances. 20 year old men doing whatever was asked of them, going without real sleep or hot food for days, sleeping in trucks waiting for a car bomb to drive up.  Being dirty for a week at a time.  To say that these photos depict some sort of evil culture within the military is just plain stupid.

The Shaming of American Defense Intelligence

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Some in the  American Defense Intelligence community and Apparatchiks at the State Department have reduced themselves and their trade to a criminal activity.  Not by upholding their oaths and performing the expected duties of true US Intelligence Professionals, but by ignoring the oaths they swore, the creeds they were forced to memorize, with little to fear from the system that granted them the right to see secrets that protect people’s lives.

The Military Intelligence Corp’s Creed states, in portion, the following:

To find, know, and never lose the enemy.
With a sense of urgency and of tenacity, professional and physical fitness,
and above all, INTEGRITY, for in truth lies victory.

The last few years have seen a deluge of intelligence leaks, many from senior sources.  The Bradley Mannings of the world sit in solitary confinement for breaching America’s trust and breaking the law.  And so it should be.  But as the saying goes, Privates get into more trouble for losing their rifles than Generals do for losing wars.  A series of leaks from the Pentagon and State Department regarding the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities likely has purely political motivations: The current administration does not want to be drawn into another war before the next US election.

Whatever the motivation for the leaks, Americans should be concerned.  Not about black helicopters, CIA assassins, and 9-11 conspiracies, but because many in the intelligence community don’t care about their oaths or the lives of Americans or their allies.  For votes and political sway, secrets are sold–and no one goes to jail but the Army Private with a lot of personal and psychological problems.  I want to see the GS-15 analyst from the Pentagon, or Colonel, hauled off in chains for giving away secrets.  I’m not even sure there’s an investigation to try to weed out these creeps.  But if they were E3s who inserted a thumb drive into a government computer–to the gallows!

If these people will give secrets to the media, either just to get a thrill of seeing their deeds in the news or to ensure the success of their man in the upcoming elections, imagine what they’d do for a large chunk of change offered by a foreign spy.