Chief,the units in the rear view mirror make these light naval infantry types look like a darned mech infy bn on the move.jim hruska
The thought that kept occurring to me as I looked at these snapshots, Jim, was "WTF do a bunch of goddamn frogmen need with freaking Brinks armored trucks..?" The ridiculous up-armoring of everything military on wheels is...well, ridiculous.And I note as well that the SEALs got themselves into yet another fucked-up tactical mess in Yemen, this time by apparently ignoring that the people on their objective had alerted to their approach. They continued their mission presumably without fragging out any adjustment to the change in conditions and so waded into a standup firefight with an awake and alert defense. Sounds like the squids did get some intel out of it but got chewed up doing so by a bunch of raggedy-ass hillbillies.Who the fuck told these fucking mermaids they were grunts, is what I'd like to know...
I'm only kind of kidding, BTW. Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple of missions that the SEALs fucked up and got their people killed; two in Grenada (the Scoon rescue and the team dropped too far off the west coast that drowned) and the Punta Patilla fiasco in Panama. Plus they seem to get killed in Afghanistan more regularly than the Army special ops types. And was it SEALs involved in the earlier Yemen hostage "rescue" that ended up w the guy killed by his captors?Seems to me like the Navy needs to go back to surveying beaches and underwater demo...
As always I don't hold the wannabe grunts responsible, rather I hold the brass knuckleheads for sending them in.sheerahkahn
I'd buy that, Sheerah, except that supposedly:1) The final execute/hold decision was supposedly made by the maneuver unit commander on the ground, and,2) The execute decision seems to have been made even though that officer should have known that his original mission plan was badly compromised. Here's from the NYT article:"In this case, the assault force of several dozen commandos, which also included elite soldiers from the United Arab Emirates, was jinxed from the start. Qaeda fighters were somehow tipped off to the stealthy advance toward the village — perhaps by the whine of American drones that local tribal leaders said were flying lower and louder than usual.Through a communications intercept, the commandos knew that the mission had been somehow compromised, but pressed on toward their target roughly five miles from where they had been flown into the area. “They kind of knew they were screwed from the beginning,” one former SEAL Team 6 official said.With the crucial element of surprise lost, the Americans and Emiratis found themselves in a gun battle with Qaeda fighters who took up positions in other houses, a clinic, a school and a mosque, often using women and children as cover, American military officials said in interviews this week.The commandos were taken aback when some of the women grabbed weapons and started firing, multiplying the militant firepower beyond what they had expected. The Americans called in airstrikes from helicopter gunships and fighter aircraft that helped kill some 14 Qaeda fighters, but not before an MV-22 Osprey aircraft involved in the operation experienced a “hard landing,” injuring three more American personnel on board. The Osprey, which the Marine Corps said cost $75 million, was badly damaged and had to be destroyed by an airstrike."That's not a brass problem. That's not a Trump - and you know perfectly well how I feel about the Tangerine Tiddler; if I could pin this one on his fat combed-over head I would - problem, either. This was a bad decision or series of decisions made by the force commander on the ground.And, frankly, there's no way to really characterizing this as a "failure". Yes, it seems like the SEAL unit commander (since I assume that's who was the officer commanding) fucked up and led his guys into a straight-up firefight. But we don't know what intel and/or POWs that they secured. It's entirely possible that this raid yielded a bagful of S-2 treasure.That said...it seems like it's ALWAYS the fucking SEALs that end up in these pointless bloody shootouts. Just sayin'.
Chief,i can't believe that the fighters were AQ, nor do i believe the ST6 killed 14.the navy lied in the Murray and myers MOH citations. i have a cynical ear.what did the ST use as recon? do they not do sat photos?if it was an AQ post , then why not toast it?i wrote extensively on Murray and Luttrell,to wit it was all BS and proven to be by eye witness AFGH villagers.we kick the hell outta Bergdahls story, but we let luttrell prosper in his version of reality.its all rather a joke.since the pic u used was near Louisville , i think thats close enuf to the atlantic ocean to count as a maritime excursion.jim hruska
I think the idea behind going in on the ground was intel; POWs or documents or both. And it sounds as if that happened, tho we'll never know.As I discussed below, tho, my guess is that the SEAL team commander just blew on ahead even after he knew the muj were awake and in position. Obviously we don't know what he knew, so there's no way to tell if that was a tactically smart decision, tho it sure got the one CPO deader'n shit so for him? Not so good.Throwing light infantry against dug-in G's seems like a mug's game to me...but I wasn't there.
Ya, it probably should have been called off locally. And who was the idiot that authorized the low-flying drones just before mission kickoff. But I still lay the failure at the feet of the Toddler and his choice of amateur advisors. I surmise that Erik Prince, a former Seal, had some influence with Bannon and Mad Mike in order to get the NSC to push for this mission before its time was ripe.
My guess is that the drones were either 1) Navy assets that suffered from limited experience working with maneuver units, or 2) USAF that suffered from the usual interservice foulup (i.e. the USAF drone pilots weren't/couldn't communicate and work closely with the USN maneuver commander.
FDChief -I'm with Sheerakhan on this. And the brass knuckleheads he refers to are in the White House IMHO.Regarding the drones, the USAF drones are high altitude.
I have strong opinions on the pointlessness of U.S. troopers farkling about the mountains of Yemen. The game's not worth the candle. But I wouldn't put the shitstorm this mission ran into on Flynn, Bannon, or Trump.Sounds like the SEAL commander was an impatient dick. Trust me; we had a shit-ton like that in the airborne outfits, officers who'd refuse to use an ounce of brains where a gallon of blood would "work".It doesn't sound like this was really some sort of IPB problem. The raiding force surely had mapped this ville and knew enough of what their objective looked like...but fucking SEALs are lighter than the leanest Army light infantry platoon. Once the muj were awake and snugged down behind hard cover inside buildings and behind walls it must have been pure Hue/Stalingrad suck fighting in with grenades and direct fire. And they didn't; sounds like the maneuver commander had to scream for CAS and air extraction...I'm not saying there might not be any culpability at the political level in greenlighting this in the first place. But from the sound of it the biggest tactical fuckups happened after leaving the LZ...
Yes, the tactical fuckups are the responsibility of the local commanders. But a bigger fuckup was authorizing and rushing this mission in the first place. The Trumpettes wanted a big WOT win headline in the first month so they pushed it too fast. Plus this type of operation has Mad Mike's fingerprints all over it. It fits his MO from his time working for McChrystal in Afghanistan. He had been an intelligence officer his entire 33 years in the Army, but still does not understand the discipline. The monumental cock-up though belongs to Obama and Trump. Obama for supporting the Saudi and UAE war in Yemen, and Trump for continuing it. Why do we insist on supporting the countries where Wahhabi terrorism was born - the countries where the great majority of 9/11 kamikazes came from - the countries where thousands volunteered to be jihadi fighters in Syria and Iraq - the countries where the charity of the sheikhs is considered to be funding terrorist groups?
Black gold? Texas Tea?Plus we need the Saudis (and Egypt ..) to help moderate the Israel hate on the q.t. while stoking it upfront.You won't get any argument out of me that fighting land wars in Southwest Asia is a bad idea. As the Brits learned (but couldn't break the habit of) spending blood and treasure "slaying Afridis where they run" is a mug's game.That said...what I fear is that after sixty years as Israel's patron and fifteen playing the Game of Thrones with the takifiris the well has been so poisoned, and the American public so callous and accustomed to war that there's no more than a marginal constituency even among the public - and almost none in the political class - for a hard break with armed force in that sorry region.
the news reported that the op was conceived/approved during obama's last month or so, but since the mil brass wanted the op to take place on a moonless night, they had to punt to the trumpistas, since there were no more moonless nights left during obama,s last days as prez.....not that this changes anything.... typing with one hand = no caps.
Eddie - Yah, we have Shawn Spicer's solemn word for that. Later reports by people in Obama's NSC said it was never approved.Some other news reports are saying Trump approved the mission after being told "Obama was not BOLD enough to approve the mission. Smells like Bannon or mad Mike to me.
Reportedly the low flying drones belonged to the Emirati commandos that accompanied the Seals.The AQAP muj could also have been tipped off by lack of radio silence on walkie-talkis by the Emiratis.Or by barking dogs.Or IMHO they could have been seen by observant Yemeni goatherds who saw the teams landing and hiking in the five miles to the target?Or by a leak from someone in the UAE. How many in the UAE government knew of the operation?
Emirate "commandos"? WTF?I mean...I guess I could see using a small contingent of local Yemeni assets, or even the Bedu of the Saudi National Guard...but Emirati troops? Why? Whatever the reason it sounds like a LOT of the problems with this raid were caused by the Emiratis, so whatever the reason the results were flawed.What a clusterfuck.
FDChief -The reasons for the tipoff are all speculation. Drones, walkie-talkies, or barking doges were speculated on by the NBC article. Or by a military source who talked to NBC.The Yemeni goatherd or the UAE mole are my brainfarts. But I believe they are just as plausible as any other reason. As to your question about why use the Emiratis - the article mentioned that from the start it was a UAE proposal. So I surmise we took it over but brought them along. For local knowledge maybe, did one or more of the AQAP guys come from the UAE? For language support? We, as a country, still refuse to do anything major in the realm of language education & training. Is it a warped fear of anything foreign or foreign-sounding?
If the idea was to get local knowledge it makes no sense to rope in some sort of Gulf emirate guys.The sad fact is that the old-school SF would have been ideal for this sort of thing (assuming that we start conceding the worth of the whole notion of sending infantry into these Middle Eastern countries...). The SF of the 50s-70s were linguists who went native (I forget which group was the ME-specialist...1st?) to assemble indigenous troop units. A Yemeni mike force is just what this should have had.My understanding is that a very large portion of the Army SF is now an overpaid light infantry outfit after years of doing door-kicking night raids in Iraq and elsewhere...
Trump called the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Muhammad bin.X-axis just before this raid went down. and they agreed to work together in the WOT.
To all,the famous shepherds once again rear their ugly heads,same same Lt. Murphy.by now the seals should have figgured out that shepherds are security rings for the local fighters.all g's used simple security.as Chief would say-what dog do we have in yemen fight?jim hruska
One of the most frustrating things about the whole "war on terror" nonsense is how difficult it is for us citizens to genuinely assess to value of the blood and treasure we expend on stuff like this Yemen raid.Some of that is the secrecy: we will never know what the objective of this mission was or what it achieved. Are there groups of people trying to do damage to Americans and U.S. interests? Sure. Were these one of them? If so, how dangerous? And what did this raid do to materially help the geopolitical position of the U.S.? Did it? Was it a waste of lives and materials?We will never know.And even more frustrating is that, not knowing, there's no way of telling whether all this fucking about in Yemen may end up - as did "Charlie Wilson's War" in Afghanistan - making immense trouble twenty years from now. Who knows whether the next bin Laden is right now picking through the rubble of this ville burning with hate and remorseless obsession with making Americans suffer for his suffering...There's supposed to be a very old Japanese aphorism: before you set out for revenge, dig two graves.I can't help but think of that when I think of this seemingly endless round of tit-for-tat war.
Jim -The shepherds are complete speculation on my part. Could just as well have been listening posts by al Qaeda regulars or local militias sympathetic to them. But I agree with your statement regarding security rings and simple security. They are in a country at war, and they know other Yemenis, the Houthis, would love to take them out as well as us. So it makes sense to me they would be worried about an attack and take measures to warn them of it. On the other hand, I also like my other theory about an al-Qaeda mole in Abu Dhabi or somewhere else in the United Arab Emirates,
Mike,all G,s will have concentric layers of security. they will also have e@e routes pre selected with prepared fighting positions en route.also pre poed supplies.that is if they are worth a bean.Chief,i think that socom and jsoc have destroyed US ability to fight wars.they are the tails that wag the dog.does it make any sense to do a 5 mile approach march to an objective? why not ambush all aves of approach , in a less dynamic op?jim hruska
Jim: good point. Since they had air on-call, why not recon the ville for a couple of days and mark out the routes the locals used to move in and out - maybe even run a couple of dummy airstrikes to make them use their exfil routes - then set up ambushes on them and call in the tacair?I think the main reason that they ran this op the way they did was 1) poor local intel, and 2) overconfidence. They thought that they we so slick that they could sneak up on these muj and, if they couldn't, would just kick their ass in a stand-up fight because OMFG SPECIAL OPERATIONS SO AWESOME! Well, they found out the hard way that any dope can figure out which end of the AK the bullet comes out of...Like I've been saying, too, the thing I've noticed about the SEALs in particular is that they tend to be WAY more direct and cocky than even the USSF door-kickers. They walked into a trap in Grenada and again in Panama, in A'stan they lost three of four in the Mike Murphy fuckup in Kunar in 2005 with eight more (and 8 SF guys) blown out of the sky with the Hook sent to relieve the fireteam and 15 MORE guys in the shootdown in Wardak in 2011 (tho that might have been on the Army Hook pilots...).Basically I'm saying that for their numbers and the percentage of missions they get tasked with it seems like SEALs get their shit blown away a LOT, and this missions seems to run along the same troubled lines. Lots of assumptions that proved wrong and that got our people killed...
Seems to me Delta Force has also had their shit blown away a LOT. I am shocked, shocked I say, to hear you former Army guys run down the Navy - snark alert!! ;)Or are you just stumped as to why Sailors are now fighting badasses ashore in addition to at sea? If so, I need to remind you that this is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on as a US Naval tradition for over 200 years. Sailors went ashore in Tripoli with cutlasses and tomahawks. Before that in the Continental Navy, Sailors raided Whitehaven in England, St Mary's Isle in Scotland, Carrickfergus in Ireland, and raided several places in Nova Scotia. (Sorry AEL, hopefully they were not going after our good Canadian friends, just the American Tory support networks and recruiting centers for King's Rangers and other Tory units fighting in the lower 13). Sailors also went ashore with the Marines in the raid on New Providence in the Bahamas to recapture stores of rebel powder and arms.It has been going on ever since in just about every war or quasi-war we have been involved in. Get over it.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that the USN shouldn't venture over the shore. My quibble is with the SEALs as apparently constituted. They seem to have tactical decision-making issues.And fuck, yes, so does "Delta". I've had problems with them ever since Beckwith decided that the SF needed to be more like the SAS. That was idiotic and still is, and you won't find me defending them.
Jim -I agree with all you say except for calling them guerillas. They are not. They are in Yemen as guests of the Yemeni government. Just like Bin Laden in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. They are tolerated because they help to fight the Houthi Shia rebels.
So we're training AQ in Syria because their fighting the government that the Saudis are hating on and killing them in Yemen where they're fighting WITH the government and the Saudis against the Houthi Shia.Ummm. Yeah. That makes fuckin' sense.
Are you believing Assad/Russian propaganda now FDChief? Drinking the kool-aid? We have been fighting against AQ in Syria as well as Daesh. Yes, our allies the Saudis, the other Gilfies, and the Turks may probably be funding and otherwise supporting them. Or if not those governments then at least some of their rich and pious citizens are. But we are not.
My understandingwas, Mike, that this wasn't so much a deliberate policy but more of there not being much alternative, that if you take out the outfits that have connections to the takifiris - so either AQ or AQ-curious you're left with about four guys and a duffelbag. My lack of skepticism largely comes from our eagerness to shove cash at any semi-plausible gomer (see "Achmed Chalabi").I'm happy to be wrong.
FWIW, I've been steadfast on not slagging off His Fraudulency for problems that troubled this raid. But...I'm on my phone so I can't link to it AND it's a single unsourced story in the UK "Independent"...IF that story is correct and the Tangerine Toddler was buffaloed into greenlighting this by taunts that, neener-neener, Obama wouldn't have had the sack, well...We know the current commander-in-chief is a dimwitted, poorly-educated, impulsive narcissist. That sucks but the republic has survived other Presidential hairbags. What I don't want to think is that this hairbag can be played by a third-grade dare. It's never good for someone with the power of the U.S. military to be making decisions out of rage, or fear. But to be making them out of...well, toddler-like egotism?That's...very-not-good. I hope this story is incorrect.
I hope so too. Unfortunately it fits his MO and his personality extremely well.
FDChief -Yes, some of our best and brightest at the CIA funded shady anti-Assad groups. "Vetting" - what is that? Or in some cases they may have vetted and passed your four guys and a sea bag, who as soon as they got in-country were given the choice of join us or get beheaded. Guess which option they took.My quibble was with your statement about training AQ.
I stand corrected. Yes, my snark was that we'd funded people who ended up going to AQ. But that's different than knowingly backing AQ, and that's how I wrote that comment. My bad.
mike and Chief,have you considered that the whole problem in theater is that the CIA/DIA, (DOD)/DOS goals and objectives are contradictory?mike ,we can fall back on the old cover all and call them=MILITANTS.jim hruska
My thought is even worse, Jim; that IMO it's entirely likely that the stated objectives are some air castle like "Eliminate AQAP from the South Arabian peninsula and region."Which, since the AQ "brand" is like "Trump"; something you can stick on anything - shit vodka, ten goatherders - means you're gonna spend forever chasing ten goatherders.I think it's entirely likely that, like the Bushies "plan" for the Middle East in 2003, the whole business in Yemen and elsewhere is just throwing shit at the wall in hopes something will stick.In one of my old infantry outfits we had a CPT like that. We called what he did "Substituting motion for direction."
FDChief -Regarding SEALs and Delta Force "tactical decision-making issues":My guess is that too many of them turned to the big bucks in the contracting world - or hollywood or the publishing world. Or even politics, Ryan Zinke the valentine of the pipeline pushers and the Malheur Morons is now in line to be Secretary of the Interior. Zinke is a former SEAL, but has some blots on his record book: Interior Nominee Promotes Navy SEAL Career, While Playing Down ‘Bad Judgment’Roy Boehm must be spinning in his grave.I would bet Delta Force has the same issues.
I seem to recall several minor scandals in the SOF community over abuse of the TDY system including stuff like travel pay. Didn't that asshole who called himself something like the "Rogue Warrior" get nailed for having some sort of slush fund culled out of special pay and allowances? Anyway, no surprise this Zinke gomer did something similar.My guess is that the high-end special ops outfits - ST6, SFOD-Delta - tend to be inflexible tactically because 1) their operations tend to depend on lots of interlocking tasks going right on a rigid schedule and 2) that often happens per plan.A regular infantry mission - let's pick a generic combat patrol - is fundamentally similar...but the concept of opns is more flexible and the consequences of failure less punitive. The grunts walk into an ambush...bigtime suck...but with luck and some fire support work out of the kill zone, regroup, try again later or try something else.When the special ops mission goes to hell, tho...usually in worse conditions and further from support. Chance of catastrophic failure much higher.
Marcinko. It was for kickbacks. But he cashed it in with a best selling autobiography. And then later with a series of motivational books for business and corporate leaders. WTF? Was he teaching them how not to get caught?
jim -You are right on about the contradictory goals,
Looks like Erik Prince has been deeply involved with Abu Dhabi according to this article from the Times. He has been involved in setting up shell companies to send mercs to train up Emiratis in the finer points of fighting terrorism. I have to wonder if those bozos he helped train were part of the Yemen raid? Or maybe the Columbian mercs that are mentioned in the article were the ones that did the ride-along with the SEALs? Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder
Great. That's just what the Middle East needs; more undisciplined fuckups with twitchy trigger fingers.Christ, but these idiot Trumpeters are making Bush's CPA regime in Iraq look like a monument to competence and I can't imagine how that could be possible...
According to what I know about the UAE it's almost impossible that those "Emiratis" were actually citizens/subjects from the UAE.More likely they were Pakistani mercs.
SVEN -Or Columbian perhaps?
Good point; the Gulf Arab sheikdoms are fairly notorious for the lack of local enthusiasm for martial glory. My understanding is that even the Saudi regular army (as opposed to the Bedouin "national guard") is a pretty worthless melange of foreign hires led by minor Saud nobility. So very likely the "emiratis" were anything from local Yemeni hires to ex-gurkhas...
IMO. This is what happened to the raid (latter part of the article). CIA/Saudis vs Pentagon/UAE is the name of the game, Same Same Syria. The general reporting on Yemen in the rest of the article will make you hurl major league chunks about the shitty on the hill of democracy and liberty and freedumb. Enjoy!http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/02/its-foreign-greed-and-delusion-that-kills-yemeni-children-.html#more
I'm always a little amazed at the way bureaucrats find ways to fight over the fiscal spoils even as the house burns around them. It'd be funny if it weren't so infuriating.The larger problem I see is that I don't know how you stop this farkling about in Middle Eastern problems. Between the U.S.' link w Israel and the ill-will generated over the past 15 years even if every U.S. troop was pulled back to Texas and every dollar diverted to infrastructure the enmity we've built up will pursue us for another two generations...
The other problem, FE, is that the U.S. has seldom been the Arsenal of Democracy we like to pretend we are, but we're very reluctant to admit that. That's been the bog-standard since 1781, and I have no idea how you change that; my guess is that if somehow a news source started reporting our imperial expeditions as such you'd discover at least half the U.S. public would openly celebrate imperialism...