Friday, November 12, 2010

The CFR Assessment of the US Effort in Afghanistan (sigh...)

Stratfor just released a report that the CFR had completed it's recent assessment of Afghanistan and Pakistan and yes; I read the whole report. I stopped just short of reading the final 27 pages of notes and biographies of those who visited and then assembled the report.

Overall the report is objective but dare I say somewhat naive. As has been the problem since the very beginning of our military incursion into this region 9 years ago, the CFR, as our illustrious elected servants, manage to stay completely away from any discussion of religious ideology as a possible factor in the region's troubles. They go as far as to say that Afghanistan was at peace from 1929 - 1979, until the invasion by Russia (pg 26); daring to suggest that Russia and the US somehow fostered otherwise 'rational' people to act out in an irrational way. While what was there might pass for peace by their standards; stonings, decapitations, honor killings, rampant pedophilia, drug use, the poppy industry, slavery, general abuse of women and corruption in government are not generally accepted as the hallmarks of civil living.

The report does recognize that the mission (pg 30), while 'counter terror' in it's beginnings, has transformed into a more nation building effort and as time goes on, the line between the two blurs... Frankly, that is being exceptionally kind to the 'architects' of this debacle. The COIN effort has all but eliminated any prospect for a reduction - much less destruction, of the Taliban phenomenon. The Taliban itself has seen a growth in sister cells on both sides of the border until it appears the only thing likely to be left standing will be the true soldiers of Allah.

They quote Sec Def, in an appearance before Congress as stating the American people should 'rein in expectations' for the outcome of our very expensive efforts there, not to mention the cost in blood and should not expect a 'valhalla' (pg 31). I'm not sure if those remarks were intended to be witty, daunting or just plain realistic but the same question remains; why do we even care? If the original effort was to exact justice and to enccourage anyone (or everyone) within Islam to reconsider their goals of global jihad, why should we care if Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria et al, live or die? Why is it so complicated for these people to understand that our only legitimate concern should be for the security of the United States? If peoples from any country want to come along for that ride, then fine.

On (pg 33) we have another indication of otherwise intelligent people still having difficulty differentiating between an 'insurgency' and 'terrorism'. And again, absolutely no mention of any religious overtones. As though some form of alien malevolence suddenly crept into their sand blasted skulls and rearranged their otherwise docile DNA and caused them to 'act out'.

Those CFR members would do well to consider that men are not generally motivated to bond together for common cause without some kind of formal 'encouragement'. The Koran and, therefore, Allah has made it clear that obedient adherence requires the forced subjugation of all men in the whole world and that ritualistic murder is a very motivational tool in the effort to please Allah in this way.

There was one little piece of genuine sanity in the piece, almost an epiphany for them. On (pg 34) they acknowledged the Taliban gaining strength and momentum in light of our lackluster efforts grinding to a halt by our stubborn adherence to COIN, to stop them. They said that the counter insurgency effort was likely 'opening up space' for organizations like Al Qaeda to reassert themselves on sovereign, Afghan soil. Really? Didn't see that one coming...

Funny...Isn't that where we entered the scene, 9 years ago? Wasn't the Taliban in power in Afghanistan when we arrived? Wasn't it the Taliban that invited Al Qaeda to train on Afghan soil? Didn't we drive the sitting government (Taliban) from power; retribution for aiding Al Qaeda's efforts to deliver fuel laden aerial 'bombs' into the World Trade Towers?

So why are we now trying to coax the Taliban back into Kabul to 'share' power with the ever corrupt puppet, Harmid Karzai? Why aren't we demanding the Afghan people pay for their freedom in gold and blood? Why aren't we singularly focused on US security?

So many few intellectual 'servants' to get answers from and now; the CFR. It ain't getting better folks!

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More on ROE, COIN, Governance and Apathy

I was brought into a thread started by a concerned citizen over the debacle in Afghanistan (the Pentagon really) and asked to put in my two cents. For what it is worth; here is what I shared:

We can fully expect the Rules of Engagement to continue to tighten and become even more deadly to our troops as time passes. The reason I say this has absolutely nothing to do with some ethereal ‘gifting’ some will imagine I possess but simply because I understand what has promulgated the need for them.

In the thread that was passed on to me earlier today; someone asked if there was a way to determine exactly how many American troops and Marines had been killed by the ROE and my answer is simple, perfectly logical, provable and without possibility of a proper retort; since June of 2009 – virtually every combat related death, in Afghanistan, can be laid at the threshold of the current ROE.

There is a general misunderstanding among those who are now ‘awakened’ about what those rules are, when such rules are dictated, by whom they are dictated and why they are as tight as they are at present. What I hope to do in the next few lines is to give you every bit of information you need to fully understand all of this as well as something you can use when you speak to your Congressmen and other ‘servants’ in government.

First you need to approach this with an understanding of just how ignorant nearly every one of our elected ‘servants' are on this subject.

Second, you need to understand that all of them feel they are indemnified, Constitutionally, from any type of penalty for faulty decision-making, willful ignorance, apathy, or half-hearted answers with the specific intent of placating seriously concerned citizens.

Third; you need to be illuminated on the history of Islam, Military protocol, Strategy, the relationship of the three branches of government with the Military and our collective relationship to the world.

Fourth; you will have to understand and more importantly make your ‘servants’ understand that the assessment that was done during the early planning stages of the war, on the enemy and the people of Afghanistan was fatally flawed, historically incorrect and doomed to place our troops in jeopardy from every component of Afghan society until our Marines and Soldiers are literally surrounded by an enemy that is 1400 years old.

Fifth; because of their shared religious heritage and worship of their deity Allah (who IS NOT the God of the Bible) and their desire to fulfill his mandates in the Koran to kill all those who will not take a knee to him, there is virtually no hope of reconciliation.

Sixth; because of our stubborn adherence to COIN and it’s damnable ROE, we have willfully turned over control of the battle field to the enemy.

The fact is, within the first 6 months of our involvement in Afghanistan, we had managed to topple the sitting government, scatter the Taliban like the vermin they are, establish our puppet (Karzai) in Kabul and instill a requisite amount of fear into the people, government, Taliban and neighboring countries of Afghanistan. Over the following years, we lost focus largely due to our involvement in Iraq.

By early 2009, we had re-focused on Afghanistan, but with a different vision and different purpose and therein lies the real problem. The real problem is not the ROE; it is the strategy that bore the ROE and that is Counter Insurgency Doctrine.

Although elements of COIN are readily found in almost every military engagement since the dawn of mankind and war, COIN as a stand-alone doctrine has only been with us since 1940. Since that time it has been tried by other countries and on other battle fields and in all but one instance – failed.

Because of the nature of COIN and the intent of the military force operating within that paradigm, it requires an unusually high degree of restraint when engaging the enemy and most especially around civilians. That is because, the actual intent is to strengthen the resolve of the people and their government to seek out and destroy the insurgency that has beset them. One of the problems in Afghanistan is that the Taliban has been erroneously identified as a foreign ‘insurgency’.

They are in fact an Afghan phenomenon whose ranks are filled largely by Afghans, Pakistanis and some foreign fighters of the same religion and similar philosophy of jurisprudence. The reason that I can say with absolute clarity that the insurgency, while part Pakistani, is a local phenomenon is because the border that separates Afghanistan from Pakistan, effectively splits the largest communal tribe in the region, the Pashtun and they have never recognized it since it’s appearance in 1894.

Because we have already determined (falsely) that the Afghans were illegally infiltrated by the Taliban and that they were not welcome, it was determined that Counter Insurgency Strategy would best serve the needs of Afghanistan and the security interests of the United States by minimizing civilian casualties while ‘encouraging’ the ‘innocent’ Afghan people to take an active role in eradicating the Taliban. This goal, of course, was watered down even further under President Obama who even removed typical military jargon from the lexicon so as not to ‘ create ill feeling’.

The ‘formal document’ detailing the level of restraint used on the battle field in which we find the ‘official ROE’, is secret and can only be viewed or discussed by people with the right security clearance. This makes a very convenient argument against hearings when they are demanded by our representatives. This argument, however, is ludicrous because the people who know our ROE the best, is the enemy; the Taliban.

I hope this has given you some indication of where we are at present. It is most frustrating for me to know that this is unlikely to ever be solved because there are very few in Congress – or anywhere in representative government for whom this is a front-and-center issue and given the results of the election; they are right.

The American people didn’t vote the way they did because of a concern for the plight of the military in Afghanistan; they did it for reasons of money and that is where your new crop of elected ‘servants’ will be focused. They can continue to be willfully ignorant while claiming adherence to the will of the people; the people can continue to believe what they have been told, that Islam is a religion of peace and the Pentagon can continue as they have against an enemy falsely assessed.

The President will find a reason to exit Afghanistan long before it becomes an election issue, Iran will have subverted the sovereignty of both Iraq and Afghanistan in less than two years, we will continue to distance ourselves from our only ally in the region, Israel and we, will become an anachronism.

Having said that; let me tell you this: You have listed the Oath on your web site but there is an equally important mandate handed down to each and every one of us who has actually ‘served’; they are the General Orders and the 5th general order is the one I want you to keep as your Holy Oath; “To Quit My Post Only When Properly Relieved’. I don’t know about you; but I am still breathing…

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard