JD Johannes on the Afghan CMD Change

JD has hit the nail on the head here.  This is what must be done in Afghanistan.  I don’t know if we are doing this at all but I know this is what our team basically did in Iraq.  Not that we took a census but we knew who was where and who they supported.  You have to have this information in order to effect a strategy to change things.  This means being as JD’s website name states, outside the wire.  That is everyday.  Everything you see, hear, touch or smell is noted and tracked.  Read his whole article.

Outside the wire:

The problem is nothing new. Insurgency is as old as the first empire. The solution is not new either. In fact it is so old fashioned, boring and dull that most military officers over look it. But it works and every time I have a seen a census data-base built by an infantry battalion, the war promptly ends in their area.

The Talibs and their day-laborers can hide in plain sight because US and ISAF forces do not know who everyone is. (This concept shocks some Afghans who think the American surely have some gizmo that tell them who everyone is in a town.) The local Afghans know who everyone is and use that as leverage on the Americans. Relying on local intel is necessary, but you should not rely on the locals to be your phone book.

The best census is very old fashioned and does not use the HIDE system–the HIDE sytem may be used along with a mundane access or even excell spreadsheet, but is just a supplement, not a replacement for a real database. (A good iPhone App could probably do it all with the integration of the photos.)

 Soldiers and Marines need hit the streets constantly knocking on every door getting the names of everyone who lives in a house. The GPS grid of the house is noted and used as a street address. A picture of the house is taken with a digital camera. Pictures of the adult males are taken with a digital camera. The file number of the picture is tagged along with the names of the residents and the GPS grid. All of this is added into an Access database. The pictures are on corresponding power-point slides.

Bingo. You now have a clue as to who is supposed to live at that house. When you go on patrol again, you can check and see who is supposed to be in the house and confirm the data. It will take an entire deployment to get a significant database, but once a unit gets enough names, the enemy will have a hard time hiding and move on.

Other info can also be gathered like age, occupation, vehicle license plate numbers, etc.

This old, slow, boring, dull approach to fighting an insurgency works every time. But I rarely see it employed in Afghanistan. Why? It is a lot of work. It is a lot boring, dull, work and a lot of commanders are too smart and sophisticated to understand how such a boring, straight-forward tactic can work. It also looks very un-sexy on a powerpoint slide. (These operations were used more often in Iraq than I have ever seen in Afghanistan.)

Using a census takes advantage of how little Afghanistan changes. Most Afghans live their whole life within a 30 mile area. Most of the extended families have been rooted in an area for centuries.

 It does not take long to start putting together what families go together, what clans go together and sub-tribes. The social networks are not complicated.

McCrystal out

General McChrystal is out and Petraeus is back.  This isn’t a surprise.  Rarely does a general critisize the President or his administration without stepping down.  Well unless the President is Bush.  The fact is McChrystal had to go.  While I probably agree with everything he and his aids said (nothing was that serious) the contempt was evident and to continue would not work.  Beside President Obama owns the war now and I’m curious to see if he follows suit with removing the other problem players in this mess. ( Eikenberry and Holbrook).

Now I feel for General Petraeus.  I mean he’s already been in this position before and it’s a tough one.  If I were General P I’d just retire.. 

I hate to say it but things don’t look good here.

Gen. McChrystal what’s that interview all about?

Rolling stone will be publishing an article / interview with General McChrystal the top US General in Afghanistan.  In this article the General seems to let out a bit of frustrations while his aids do even more.  In the article the General feels betrayed by Ambassador Eikenberry and the administration.  This would be a very public way to address these issues and not the way a General who wants to continue in his position should act. 

I have met Ambassador Eikenberry as a Special Forces Operations SGT in Afghanistan way back in 2002-2003.  I can understand fully General McChrystals feeling toward this Ambassador.  He did not leave a very good impression on any of our teams leadership.  In fact then General Eikenberry became very upset that any of us would question his decisions at all.  SF teams tend to be very upfront when you ask them questions. 

Now General McChrystal is being recalled back to Washington for a little sit down.  I wonder if the General is simply ready to come home.  Will he be fired?  Will he resign?  I guess we’ll know in a few more days.

My opinion of General McChrystal is still up in the air.  I believe in unconventional warfare, that’s my field, but I am not sure about the rules of engagement (ROE) we have put ourselves under in Afghanistan.  The various reports coming from soldiers seem to indicate the rules are affecting tactics that require action. 

Whatever the outcome of this mess it’s clear this administration’s war front is in chaos.  That isn’t a good thing.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/mcchrystals-real-offense-96873364.html

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/21/mcchrystal-says-ambassador-betrayed-criticism-afghan-war-strategy/

http://davidbellavia.com/new/2010/frustrated-mcchrystal-lets-his-guard-down/

http://www.blackfive.net/

presand M

DOL, illegals should be paid fairly?

Yes all illegals should be paid a fair wage, in their own country.  In our country you should not be earning a wage at all. 

Hope and change, hope and change.  What a deal……

Do you still think the past associations and past ideology of a potential president don’t matter?  Do you still think that lack of executive leadership doesn’t matter?

Afghans leave US Air force Base

Alert Issued for 17 Afghan Military Members AWOL From U.S. Air Force Base

A nationwide alert has been issued for 17 members of the Afghan military who have gone AWOL from an Air Force base in Texas where foreign military officers who are training to become pilots are taught English, FoxNews.com has learned.  

The Afghan officers and enlisted men have security badges that give them access to secure U.S. defense installations, according to the lookout bulletin, “Afghan Military Deserters in CONUS [Continental U.S.],” issued by Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Dallas, and obtained by FoxNews.com. 

“I can confirm that 17 have gone missing from the Defense Language Institute,” said Gary Emery, Chief of Public Affairs, 37th Training Wing, at Lackland AFB. “They disappeared over the course of the last two years, and none in the last three months.” 

Well isn’t that nice.  Did you get that part “over the course of the last two years”?  WTF.  Who’s running this program?……… unbelievable.

UPDATE:

As I looked a little deeper into this article one sentence stood out. 

…A senior law enforcement official said Friday that the Afghans’ disappearance was more of an immigration violation than a security threat, saying there are no “strong indications to any terrorism nexus or impending threat.” …

While I believe this LEO may be correct to some degree, in this day and age aren’t immigration issues also national security issues?  Besides that fact, this is a national security issue since the US government brought these people here and gave them documents to access military bases then lost track of them.  That’s a pretty damn big national security issue and some heads should be rolling.