Afghanistan, make the call Mr. President

To understand the situation in Afghanistan you have to remember that this country is very far behind the rest of the world in terms of civilization. That may sound strange in a this modern era of cell phones and Face Book pages but this truly is a country that time forgot. There hasn’t been a central government of any consequence in Afghanistan’s history. Tribalism rules the country side. The goal to build up a stable pro-western government is a daunting task.

President Obama pronounced during his campaign that Afghanistan was the important war. We were spending too much time, and resources on a failing Iraq. He claimed he would turn his attention to the important war which had been forgotten in Afghanistan.

The President once in office removed the commander in Afghanistan and installed General McCrystal. General McCrystal was the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and had been credited with much of the success of many direct action operations that had killed or captured many of the most wanted in Iraq. A reasonable pick one would assume. General McCrystal was tasked with developing a plan / report for Afghanistan. The general did just that. The report leaked to the media stated the need for at least 40,000 more troops and that failure was likely in the event they weren’t sent.

In a counter insurgency the protection of the populace is vital. We witnessed in the past ISAF units would run the Taliban from a village only to leave and have the Taliban return and bring with it more death and torture to the locals. This doesn’t leave them many choices in who they must support. Common sense tells us that if we don’t protect the populace we will not gain their support. Without their support failure in a counter insurgency is inevitable.

The problem is that after eight years of war the American people have grown weary. The constant drumbeat of war and how we will only lose in Iraq and Afghanistan has taken a toll. While many still find Afghanistan important there are also many who simply wish to bring our troops home and to hell with the place.

There is a belief that even with our support Afghanistan cannot sustain itself, that they will be forever in our care. This is a reasonable fear. The Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP) have not shown themselves to be nearly ready enough to take on the Taliban or local criminals at this time.

The President appears to be holding off on making the decision to send troops. I’m sure the fact that his left base wants us out and probably assumed that his Afghanistan position was mostly politics. The election is over now and a decision must be made. Will we support Afghanistan or cut and run?

This is why the Presidency is so important. It’s not just about who can raise the most money, or who gives the most eloquent speeches. At times it’s about real decisions that need to be made in a timely manner. Life and death truly hangs on these decisions.

The United States must have a plan, a strategy and now is a bit late to be deciding what that policy is going to be. While I may prefer one concept over another but I’ll support either. let’s get on with making the call and moving forward before our troops truly wonder what the hell they are doing in this desolate place.

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Army ACUs what happened?

Army times report

The Army Times reported in their 28 September 2009 issue that the new Army UCP (universal Combat pattern) was less than effective yet continued on with the issuing of the new patterned uniform. Through the freedom of Information act (FOIA) they obtained a report from 2006 which showed the new pattern fared poorly against other camouflage patterns. A two year study completed in 2009 confirmed this report.

Representative John Murtha, yes that John Murtha, requested the Army to come up with a new pattern by 30 September 2009. With this request in hand the Army continued to order this pattern on other issued equipment.  As much as I hate it I have to support him on this one.

Issues with the ACU (Army Combat Uniform)

This issue in this report is with the pattern. Anyone who has worn or seen this pattern could have determined in about two minutes it wasn’t very good. But the Marines were producing a new uniform ( a much smarter pattern in two styles woodland and desert) and the Air Force was coming out with their (LMAO) Tiger stripe patterned uniform so the Army I assume thought they better come out with something too.

The fact is the new ACU (Army Combat Uniform) has lots of issues but the pattern is the most obvious. It simply doesn’t blend in. I’ve worn this pattern in the desert and it’s horrible. I’ve worn it in the woods and it’s even worse there.

Now add that to the fact that the current issue is of poor quality and wears out extremely fast and uses a zipper front which can break leaving no real way to secure the top. I sat in on a conversation with members of the 4th ID, all combat veterans, as they were discussing the uniform and they (about 8 people) all agreed it was not a good uniform and most would prefer the older BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) and the DCU ( desert Combat Uniform) to the new ACUs.

It appears the velcro was a taken from the Special Operation Units who would routinely modify their uniforms to fit their environment. The velcro was used to move into Garrison type areas with patches to appease the regular Army commanders then when they returned to their operational environment they would remove these identifying patches for combat operations. This was fine since these weren’t their day to day uniforms and were only authorized in specific areas.

Now what we have is a uniform where the patches are constantly sticking to everything from chairs to other soldiers shoulders and never seem to be attached correctly. But how can you correct the soldier when it happens to the generals?

I believe the velcro pocket flaps came from the era of pressed uniforms as it was easier to get a flat look with Velcro pocket flaps as opposed to buttons. In a combat environment the Velcro doesn’t last long, is noisy and again sticks to way too many things leaving a unsecure pocket which may hold something vital to a mission.

One of the biggest complaints the 4th ID soldiers I talked with complained of was the fact that the uniform was just plain sloppy. It was not meant to be pressed and frankly was designed so a pressing wouldn’t make much difference. These soldiers commented that they didn’t feel like professionals in such a disheveled uniform. It also took away a teaching point of disciple from young soldiers could pull their uniforms off a pile in the floor and not care about their appearance. How could they council the soldier when they maintaining their uniforms properly could tell the difference.

So the question is with this report in 2006 why did the Army continue with the choice for a poorly designed camouflage pattern and a poorly designed uniform? I’ll leave that to the readers to figure out but I would say that this happens a lot in bureaucracies where special interests are involved.

The fact is that the BDU / DCU combinations worked and with minor uniform adjustments would have been fine and cost much less to change. How much money was wasted on uniforms that weren’t needed?  This move was like many moves where as long as we change something it looks like progress. 

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BDUs

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ACUs

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multi

Multicam probably the best.

Sarah Palin strikes a chord. humm

Sarah Palin speech in Hong Kong has ignited the usual sniping.  Which is fine.  But in this report, this particular quote caught my eye.

Another from the United States said: “She frightens me because she strikes a chord with a certain segment of the population and I don’t like it.”

So I wonder just what segment is this person refering too. 

Luckily for us the current “smart” administration is doing a bang up job on China, North Korea, Iran, Europe (not so happy with him) and Afghanistan (where decsions can’t be made).

Seems like a weak reason. I bet he wasn’t really a conservative anyway (IVAN MARTE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly and member of the Republican Central Committee says he has quit the GOP because he was embarrassed by South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s address to Congress on Sept. 9.

Wilson shouted "You lie," when President Obama said illegal immigrants would not receive benefits under his health care plan.

Ivan Marte tells The Providence Journal that Wilson’s behavior was "shameful" and "uncivilized."

Marte says he has been disenchanted by the GOP since Gov. Don Carcieri ignored his advice concerning the 2008 executive order cracking down on illegal immigration.

State party chairman Giovanni Cicione says Marte’s contributions to the party were valued and he’s disappointed by the resignation.

Now are we really to believe that a SC Congressman’s outburst put him over the edge?  I say don’t let the door hit you on the way out. 

Glen Beck

It seems Glen has made himself a target. It’s not a surprise as he does seem to be getting results. In a short time he has organized the 9/12 project along with the tea parties and he’s laid the framework for the ACORN scandals and finally taken out a CZAR.

He’s taken hits from both the right and the left. “He’s crazy,” they say, “he just tells lies,” they scream, yet it seems the lies have not been from Glen but those that despise him. They are of course jealous. I mean in a short time he has better rating than 90% of them and sure as hell has done more to motivate people to get off their asses and do something.

I’ve been listening to Glen Beck for a while now. I found him on the radio years ago then Headline news and now fox. You have to remember that Glen Beck was first a comedian. So his approach is in that vein.

I think he’s doing “good” for the country exposing corruption so I’m a supporter.

In class, sorry about the lack of posting this week.

I’m in the newest version of the Army Basic Instructors course with a follow on to the Small Group Instructors course. This is funny since I’ve been doing this for a long time with multiple instructor courses.

It’s for a new position instructing. It’s will be a nice break from operations which have been a A** kicker the last few years.

So till I get through this I’m not sure how much posting will take place but I’ll try…..

Charity: US troops stormed through Afghan hospital

KABUL (AP) — A Swedish charity accused American troops Monday of storming through a hospital in central Afghanistan, breaking down doors and tying up staff in a search for militants. The U.S. military said it was investigating.

The U.S. troops came to the hospital looking for Taliban insurgents late at night last Wednesday. Fange said they kicked in doors, tied up four hospital guards and two people visiting hospitalized relatives, and forced patients out of beds during their search.

Does this seem a little strange for a military that is hounded by the press and knows that any incident especially after the latest airstrike would cause a problem?

Update:

A U.S. military spokesman and a senior adviser to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division are now pushing back against claims made by a Swedish charity group that its soldiers rampaged through a hospital in Wardak province, Afghanistan while searching for insurgents.
A senior spokesman for Central Command (CENTCOM) Captain Jack Hanzlik said the Army did enter the hospital, but did so in cooperation with the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police, and the staff of the hospital.