Trump’s Afghan speech was on point but…

I had to take a few days to reflect on President Trumps Afghanistan speech. There were parts of the speech I liked a lot and other parts that still left questions. One of the first issues is did Trump flip flop? He had on numerous occasions in the past stated we need to leave Afghanistan. But then I’ve said the same thing. My position was that if we aren’t going to actually fight then let’s leave. The people of Afghanistan are too tribal and corrupt to create and run a competent central government. It’s in the culture. If on the other hand, our primary purpose is to kill terrorists than Afghanistan is in the heart of the enemy and has prime real estate to launch attacks from.

When President Trump came into office one of the first items on his agenda was to have the “Generals” review the Afghanistan strategy. This was the correct thing to do. President Trump does not have military experience and asking for a complete review and new plan was the right move.

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Our previous plans for building the central democracy and not killing terrorist was flawed. Not only was it impractical with the culture of the region but we didn’t actually enforce democratic rules or fight the obvious corruption (see poppy eradication plan- a complete lie – fact the Taliban are the only ones willing to eradicate). We made so many compromises to our democratic ideals and rule of law that what resulted resembles neither democracy nor a competent dictatorship. It is just chaos.

Trump’s cabinet completed the review and presented the conclusion recently at Camp David. Trump makes the point that campaigning and being in office is different. This is a lesson many learn however it should not necessarily change their views unless solid evidence is produced. This review many have had that information.

Trump points out that like Iraq, should we just up and leave, a vacuum would be created most likely filled by terrorists. This would only lead to us returning at a later date after Al-Qaeda, ISIS or some other radical Islamic group has had time to build a foundation for its organization again. This is most likely true but could we not just bomb them once they congregate at their bases? We could but would we? That hasn’t really been done since 2002.

President Trump also stated that the US will not announce its intentions prior to operations. This is a great point. Something President Obama was clueless about. You can’t set a time table or pre-determined troop strength without regards to the needs on the ground. The Taliban are regressive but not dumb. They understand the waiting game and can hit and run till your timetable runs out. Trump left open the possibility of talking with the Taliban but not at this time. You must wait till they are softened up and hurting before we talk. They will be ready. If this policy is carried out the Taliban may beg to be at the table one day.

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Then there is Pakistan. Trump’s words on Pakistan have been a long time coming. Pakistan has taken millions or more and we watched as insurgents ran back across the border with impunity. Pakistan has been playing to both sides since the beginning yet we have been too weak to confront them in any meaningful way. If Trump is willing to put real pressure on Pakistan I’m all for that.

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The lifting of the restrictive ROE sounds encouraging also. Although it’s not clear just what the new ROE is. This has been a sore spot for many in the military again since the beginning. While there have been times when the ROE was less restrictive as soon as progress was made the handcuffs went right back on. The ground commander must have the authority to run his campaign. If he fails then fire him but give him an opportunity to win.

Finally we get to another potential big issue. Nation building. According to President Trump we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies. This is a good point. I’m not opposed to building democracies that are trying and have the basic culture where democracy is possible but for the most part in South West Asia you must be willing to take complete control of the country as we did in Germany or Japan. Run the institutions ourselves until they get the concept then leave. This may take decades that I would bet Americans wouldn’t be up for. So lets just stay away from nation building.

Overall I liked the speech but talk is cheap and we will have to wait and see. I, like most people don’t have a complete or even good answer for Afghanistan.  But if we are there let our people fight.

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More troops to Afghanistan?

Argument 1: #Afghanistan is falling apart. The Taliban has re-emerged and is taking hard fought ground back from the Afghan government. More troops are needed to push back the Taliban and re-assert the government’s authority.

Argument 2: The Government of Afghanistan is so utterly corruptimage that more troops won’t help the situation. The continual in-fighting and distrust of the Ghani administration will not be helped by more troops. Pakistan’s support of the Taliban using its land as a base will continue to frustrate any coalition forces.

Argument 3: If the US doesn’t send in troops the Afghan government will be over, the Taliban will regain control and the Afghan countryside will once again become a training ground for terrorism. Let the Afghan government fall. The Taliban will rebuild and in the aftermath and the US coalition forces can then attack in massive force (air), cutting off the retreat to Pakistan and destroy the Taliban. This will not fix the country but may leave it less a threat and reduce US casualties.

Argument 4: If the US and coalition forces are unwilling to rebuild (run ourselves) an Afghan government that is at least not as corrupt as the current administration and the last, if the in-fighting between the various factions can’t be stopped, we will not be able to save this war. If the US is unwilling to confront Pakistan in a meaningful way we will not be able to win this war. If the US is unwilling to kill many people without regard to the press’s crying of innocent civilians we will not be able to win this war and more troops won’t help.

More troops to Afghanistan? To what end?

Before we send more troops we need to define what victory is. What does it look like? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it?

If we cannot answer the first two questions or the answer to the third is no, then leave.

Current reading on Special Warfare-Guerrilla Warfare

clip_image002U.S. Army Special Warfare: Its Origins: Revised Edition

~ Alfred H. Paddock Jr.

“Based on exhaustive research in formerly classified documents, Paddock examines the U.S. Army’s activities in psychological and unconventional warfare during World War II, Korea, and the early Cold War to determine the impetus for, and origins of, the "special warfare" capability established at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He describes the key role played by Major General Robert A. McClure, the "father of Army special warfare," to convince often reluctant military and civilian leaders to rebuild psychological warfare forces dissipated after World War II and to create Special Forces the Army’s first formal organization to conduct guerrilla warfare. Paddock also clearly establishes the influence of concepts pioneered by the Office of Strategic Services on the original design of Special Forces.”

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American Guerrilla: The Forgotten Heroics of Russell W. Volckmann ~ Mike Guardia

“In 1950, Volckmann wrote two Army field manuals: "Operations Against Guerrilla Forces" and "Organization and Conduct of Guerrilla Warfare," though today few realize he was their author. Together, they became the Army’s first handbooks outlining the precepts for both special warfare and counter-guerrilla operations.  At a time when U.S. military doctrine was conventional in outlook, Volckmann marketed the ideas of guerrilla warfare as a critical force multiplier for any future conflict, ultimately securing the establishment of the Army’s first special operations unit-the 10th Special Forces Group.”

Both books are very interesting so far.

Were civilians killed in Yeman raid?

If wearing civilian clothes means you’re a civilian then I suppose they were all civilians.

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The U.S. military said on Wednesday it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief.

U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the raid on a branch of al Qaeda, also known as AQAP, in al Bayda province, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. However, medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that an investigating team had "concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed" during Sunday’s raid. It said children may have been among the casualties.

Why? Because these A**holes surround themselves with their women and their never ending number of offspring.

Some of the women were firing at the U.S. force, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.

Sorry, it’s not about civilians, they are not innocent. The Raid was not botched as some media outlets are portraying it. In fact it appears a large amount of very valuable intelligence has been found at the raid site. 

This is the environment we are fighting in and have been for over 15 years. We are not just fighting the terrorist but the media and dishonest reporting.

#Raid, #Yeman, #Terrorist, #civilians, #dishonest media

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/02/trump-approved-yemen-raid-five-days-after-inauguration

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-commando-idUSKBN15G5RX

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/us-military-probing-more-possible-civilian-deaths-in-yemen-raid_us_5892bf5de4b0af07cb6b8930

Female Green Berets?

First female soldier in Green Beret training fails to complete the course

The first female soldier to participate in the Army’s initial training program for the Green Berets — side-by-side with men — has failed to complete the course this week, The Washington Times has learned.

The enlisted soldier is the first woman to attend the U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS), the first step toward earning the Special Forces tab and the coveted Green Beret. The Times reported in July that two female officer candidates have been accepted to attend an SFAS class that begins in the spring.

I’ll once again go into the dangerous territory of women in the military. The Washington Times reports that the first female soldier to participate in SFAS has failed to complete the course. First off, it appears she made it to the Star Exam. All former SFAS candidates and older SF Soldiers know the STAR. It is a tough land navigation course, unlike any other I’ve ever come across. Bones Fork anyone? So, on the surface she did a hell of a job. Many if not most don’t make it past this part of Selection.

I am not a fan of Women on Special Forces Operational Detachments (SFODA). I think the mission of SF soldiers doesn’t normally require the skills that women bring to the table and the potential downside is too high. That said I’m not against women in combat roles or Special Operations roles. But the skills they bring to the fight should be addressed and how those skills best fit into the total force or Special Operations.

I have no doubt there are women who can and probably will pass the various selection and training course for the services combat roles. But why? Is the return on the investment worth it?

Female Engagement Teams (FET) or Cultural Support Teams (CST) which served with Special Forces and SEAL teams in Afghanistan Do seem to be a good idea. The Marines have their version also. I didn’t work directly with any FET teams so I can’t say from experience how it worked out. But I can certainly see how they could be very useful and with additional training in Unconventional Warfare a very important tool in the total toolbox.

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Remember many women were key players in the French resistance, granted that was more out of necessity.

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I feel for the women of today’s military and how the political class is using them for their own agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/14/first-female-soldier-in-green-beret-training-fails/

https://www.sofx.com/2016/09/15/first-female-soldier-green-beret-training-fails-complete-course-washington-times/

Are journalism degrees real?

The media can be pretty funny.  Take the Sun.  It has a report with the headline:

ENEMY IN THE RANKS

German army reveals more than 60 ISIS militants have secretly joined its ranks

Senior military officials said all applicants should now be screened by the intelligence services for jihadist links

But that’s not the funny part. That part is just sad.  This is the funny part.

“The German Army trains all of its members in the handling and usage of weapons of war,” a leaked report said, “[terrorists] could use those skills acquired in the army to carry out well-prepared acts of violence at home or abroad.”

Umm.  No shit, it’s the ARMY….. I doubt most people would need a “leaked report”, to deduce this little fact. The “weapons of War”, part is hilarious.  I wonder if the German Army is trained in the Battle Axe, because that is a really cool weapon of war. 

And yes Germany, you might want to screen your Military applicants a bit.  Not that you’d be allowed to ask them tough questions though. Just like us Americans. We all must be sensitive.

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Note:  I’ve worked with the Bundeswehr and found most of them pretty competent.  Unfortunately, for the most part, they were not allowed to fight in Afghanistan. 

Fight against ISIS? 1 tank and 2 vehicles!

Headline: US opens new front against ISIS with airstrikes in Libya

"I don’t want to predict the pace" of any future strikes, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters at a news briefing. He denied the U.S. was leading from behind, describing the strikes as "providing military support for a partner on the ground."

Fayez Serraj, the head of the U.N.-brokered presidency council, said in a televised statement that American warplanes attacked the ISIS bastion of Sirte, "causing major casualties," adding that no U.S. ground forces were deployed. The precision strikes targeted an ISIS tank and two vehicles, officials said.

I sure hope the attacks didn’t waste million dollar munitions on just one tank and two vehicles.  Although, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Image result for f-15

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/08/01/us-launches-airstrikes-targeting-isis-in-libya.html

Apple Refuses US Government’s request to open IPhone.

 

Opening a phone is one thing. Creating a backdoor is another. It must be made clear what is really being asked by the government.

When the Government takes terrorism and security serious I’ll think about endorsing a backdoor. Well actually no I won’t. When the Government takes security serious we won’t need that backdoor.

We know how terrorist operate, we know where they operate, and we know most if not all of their leadership. We know how they infiltrate into western countries and where, once in these countries they recruit and train. Yet we open our borders with little or no supervision and refuse to allow law enforcement to investigate places and people with known terror ties out of fear of being called phobic. We allow terror training camps to flourish with little to no consequences.

No, I won’t endorse giving up citizen’s right to privacy or a company’s right to maintain their client’s privacy, when we can’t take the steps we already know will make us safer, steps that are already available to our (US) Government. Beside, our Government has proven it’s not capable of keeping our own secrets and information of its own employees protected. Do you really think your information will be kept any better?

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/is-law-enforcement-crying-wolf-about-the-dangers-of-locked-phones/470055/

US Soldier dies, but no boots on the ground

When Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler died Thursday in combat in Iraq, the Obama administration took great pains to prove the U.S. was not involved in combat in Iraq.

U.S. forces are not in Iraq on a combat mission and do not have boots on the ground," Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of U.S. troops fighting the Islamic State, said earlier in the day.

A http://www.hood.army.mil/leaders/images/s_CG.jpgUS Soldier dies fighting in Iraq and Lt. Gen. MacFarland says no boots on the ground. Same commander of US troops fighting Islamic State.

Umm..

George Orwell himself would be scratching his head.

V-E DAY

When we knew how to win wars and what Victory was.

Thanks to those the did their part.  There aren’t many left. 

They came from a generation that understood good and evil and could call it by name.