Monday, June 20, 2011

Thought for discussion

I wanted to slip in the side door for a moment to toss out a possible topic for discussion based on these two articles: Richie Lowry's plea to stay the course in Afghanistan versus this survey article from Al Jazeera pointing up the almost insane level of difficulty for achieving much of anything there.My personal favorite graf is from the AJE piece; "US foreign assistance to Afghanistan currently constitutes an astounding 97 per cent of that country's gross domestic product; when it declines, as it inevitably will, an economic depression is likely to result."




  1. Chief,
    Here i go again being disrespectful lambasting the troops , and worse - from a photo.
    Stupid me.
    They appear silhouetted.
    One dude has his rifle on the ground behind him.
    Their shown weapons don't command the ground that they occupy. Look at their pathetic little 5.56 mm carbines in a really big 2 way rifle range.
    They are bunched up, an ideal mortar indirect fire target.
    But hey, it's a grand day for sight seeing.
    Pls excuse my inability to adapt to the new milpub sensitivities.

  2. Yeah, jim, but they're wearing camo and being really still...

    Seriously, very depressing on how the Very Serious People in the Beltway can go on ignoring reality as it slaps them in the face. I would welcome a "Pentagon Paper" that would show at least that someone in the Building understood how screwed our position is. But fat chance, no one is that honest or naive to print an assessment such as that.

  3. The thing that depressed me about the AJE piece was the raw numbers and the sheer monstrosity of the task.

    I mean, when you think about it, we're trying to do something more challenging than what the British tried to do in India; relative to the various Indian states in 1757 the Afghans have a lesser (and worse) experience with central government, their military skills are further behind the standards of the day, and our physical presence is a fraction of what the HEIC had relative to the locals.

    And yet it took the British tens or hundreds of thousands of lives, trillions of rupees (and that was when a rupee WAS a rupee) and nearly 200 years to bash India to fit a 20th Century model, and even then, what they managed has proven to be in many ways deeply superficial. A hell of a lot of India is as much 1911 as 2011...

    And we expect to do this in ten years with less than 100,000 men...why?

  4. People always think that the drivers of war in Afghanistan have some relationship to Afghanistan itself. They then get confused trying to relate developments in Afghanistan to the decisions being made.

    When you spend 120 billion dollars a year for a war in a country that has a GDP of less than 20 billion dollars per year you realize that the vast majority of the action is well beyond Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan itself is irrelevant. And when the ongoing contradictions and lies implicit in this war makes continuing the masquerade too burdensome, the hungry ghosts will simply move over and feed on another poor and irrelevant country. There are a few other countries already being groomed ...

  5. ael,
    I used your link to Dyer and he's saying in 2011 what we've been saying at RAW since we started writing.
    Why were these things not intelligently discussed in 2002? The same reason we don't want to think about them today.-Because we're in a dunce hat.
    Too many lives have been wasted on both sides.

  6. Here's another look from the Afghan side:

    WTF, guys? We've been "training" you since 2002. You've had eight goddam years. The entire US Army that drove to the Elbe was created in four. In eight years the revolutionary rabble of 1789 was crushing the professionals at Jena and Austerlitz.

    Christ, what a fuckin' mess.

  7. Chief,
    And while we've been training them OUR READINESS HAS GONE TO HELL.
    We've reconfigured our Army to satisfy Rummies fantasies.

  8. Oh c'mon, this again!

    How do you know that they aren't on the military crest of the hill, on a false hilltop with terrain/vegetation behind them? Okay, sure, it does look like a bald spot, but hey, whatever.

    But one thing I did notice, that does bother me, is that we don't camouflage anymore. Look at those white hands. Back in the day, and I am only talking 10 years ago, you couldn't go to the firing range without a full face of green paint. I am shocked when we have a whole generation of "warriors" that have never used a camo stick.

    One of our senior CSMs was talking to us today, and noticed that 60% of our force enlisted post 9-11. Someday, this war is going to end. And it is a serious concern within the force that no one will remember how to be a peace time, garrison Army. Serious concern. The "new normal" for families is service members deployed more than home. It will be an interesting transition over the next couple of years. Someone might even suggest that we start going back to "big war" tactics.

  9. BG,
    Someday this war is gonna end. Right outta A Crock of Shit Now.
    Does it matter if they have on cammo if a mortar round lands amongst them?? If i have my m21 i don't miss camo'd targets. Surely you acknowledge that it's movement more than camo that gives your presence away.
    Why don't we genetically engineer a new class of warriors and warriorettes with green skin and camo dicks?
    FWIW bg, i wrote my cmt just for you. Now can we rub shoulder patches?
    Oh yeah, i had mike in mind also.

  10. Jim -

    Sorry, I don't do shoulder patches. Besides you probably wouldn't want to rub up with an REMF like me anyway.

    In this picture I do agree with you though. Even just a single grenade, or a short burst from an LMG would get them all. Even a dumb sch1tt like me knows that.

  11. mike,
    I have a few remf patches that i'm rather proud of.

  12. jim, just laughing. My patch keeps me warm.

  13. bg,
    My Ranger tab stops bullets. Linked up with a SF tab it'll stop large frag.
    I've got the scars to prove hoe effective they were