Friday, February 19, 2010

A Necessary Evil; an Intolerable Blight on the Land

You've heard it said; 'they eat their own' to describe all manner of self-destructive behavior as it pertains to organizations. We've all seen evidence of this kind of behavior and may even have been detrimentally affected by it. It's one of those phenomena that's difficult to explain to a sane person who has been 'off-world' for all of their adult lives because there isn't any rational excuse for it. It is seldom when you can point to a specific case and say, there; they fired Sam to further their career or to grow the company. The sane man might ask, why are we firing Sam when he is one of the best salesmen we have had or why Sam when so many others have done exactly the same thing and even been promoted in spite of it. Most often the answer lies in some base instinct to massage the ego of the person carrying out the 'execution'.

As it pertains to a nation; it is either subversive, politically ideological, diversionary or self ingratiating. None of these are acceptable and in most cases, the victims are the most vulnerable in whatever department of government they are in; those who will not be missed or on whom can be heaped all of the sins of the sitting administration.

It was Thomas Paine who said; "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." The government we as Americans are most familiar with, our own, has done it's best to make that statement true, over, and over, again. Almost all departments of government are to blame including the Department of Defense. During those instances when we see this kind of behavior emanating from that department it is most troubling largely because those who serve there (and I am speaking of those who serve in the lower echelons) have absolutely nothing to gain accept the knowledge that they have served their country. These days, however, there are a growing - almost daily listing of instances where upper echelon leadership and/or our civilian elected officials seem to be playing a perverse game of 'pin the tail on the donkey'.

SSgt CM sent this story concerning the discharge of Captain Hill for 'abuse of detainees'. The detainees in question were the enemy, the method he used to encourage them to talk was a ruse in which no physical contact was made with the 'detainees' and, most importantly, the ruse was successful. God forbid. One can only assume upper echelon and the dopes in DC were upset because we won in that encounter.

In another story sent by Andy Bostom, there is yet another possible instance of rogue Islamic adherents attempting to kill American military members on sovereign American soil. The story says that the incident is 'under investigation' which may be code for yet another duck and cover run by the Obama administration and his cronies.

In another story we have yet another travesty, Herschel Smith writes about the investigation into the death of 3 Marines and a Navy Corpsman in Ganjgal last year. As was predicted by Herschel and those of us who have served in uniform could have told you, upper echelon and their civilian masters are insuring they are indemnified by insuring someone else ultimately pays the price for their completely unnecessary deaths. The truth is, the vaguely issued ROE and those who penned that monstrosity are to blame. Those who have knowingly placed all of our Warriors at unnecessary risk for the sake of Afghans who cannot be trusted, are to blame but they have forgotten one of the leadership principles; 'seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions'. They have instead chosen to seek a sacrificial lamb, a scapegoat upon which to heap their unspeakable sins.

The continued unwillingness to attribute any subversive, aberrant illegal, immoral or unsavory act to the Islamic religion or its Koran is wearing exceptionally thin. Continuing to seek American Warriors to destroy legally and symbolically is also beginning to take its toll on not only true Americans but the Warrior community as a whole.

For those of you who 'serve' at the pleasure of the electorate and for those of you who have been appointed by them know this; God (not Allah), is not mocked. He knows you and has found you wanting. There is a reckoning. For the electorate, 2010 may prove to be a cleansing experience. For the elected and appointed, 2010 may prove to be a waterloo moment. For our Warriors; it will be business as usual because they have no ulterior motives. They signed to serve and always serve with distinction. Once this is over, they will sleep at night. Those of you in DC, may also but your eternal prognosis is not one I envy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'There is nothing new under the sun.' Ecclesiastes 1:9

In 1949, the British backed colonial government in Malaya suffered a set-back in the year long Counter Insurgency against the CT's (Communist Terrorists) that resulted in a near stalemate. Opportunities to exploit the enemy's weaknesses had been missed largely due to a faulty intelligence network and a lackluster vision from the British government back home. Remember; Malaya was not foreign to the British and the British were not strangers to the Malayan. There was a history and it was not all bad and yet fighting the CT's (an actual insurgency), was extremely difficult in the early days of the 'emergency'.

At the same time, inexplicably, the British government with its sitting Socialist party under the leadership of Prime Minister Clement Atlee, legitimized Mao Tse Tung in China with positive rhetoric designed to court the Chairman. The effect was devastating to the Malayan Brits and the war effort.

Sound familiar?

* * * *

Four days ago a combined force of some 6000 Marines, Soldiers, NATO troops and ANA launched an 'offensive' on the town of Marjah. The local population numbers somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 and is comprised largely of farmers. The primary money crop is opium. The Taliban have used the town for R & R, a staging and planning area and have reaped income by 'taxing' the farmers who move their illicit crop toward the Pakistani border and Karachi for shipment .

Approximately 3 days before the Helo's landed with the first troops, small units harassed the Taliban on the outskirts of town in an effort to draw fire and locate firing positions. It should also be noted that the Karzai government estimated some 1000 Taliban remained in the town while the Taliban released word that 2000 were there, dug in and ready for a fight to the death. It now appears that the actual force that remained behind to face our assault may have numbered fewer than 500.

That the Marines and NATO forces would succeed in the narrowly defined mission of liberating the town from Taliban was never in question. Marines never fail. They always follow the orders they are given and complete the mission as detailed. Analyzing what happened a lot further up the chain of command will reveal a lot more questions than answers.

1. Why publicly telegraph for weeks our intention to attack Marjah?

2. Why give the enemy any kind of intelligence information?

3. If the intent was simply to force the Taliban out of Marjah and not to kill them; where did they go where they will essentially be 'neutralized'?

4. If they are not neutralized, when and how to we intend to meet this new threat in a new area(s)?

There also remain the same questions of ROE and its negative effect on our Warriors and their efforts to kill or destroy the enemy while minimizing American casualties. During the offensive , rockets were launched, presumably, at Taliban targets and it has been reported that civilians were killed. General McChrystal's immediate response was to suspend the use of those rockets - indefinitely. Also during the fight, Taliban, or Taliban sympathizers were seen driving motorcycles in the distance aiding the Taliban effort possibly with intel or maybe moving munitions from site to site. The ROE requires a man be armed before our Warriors can engage him. Taliban were seen firing and then dropping weapons, knowing that would essentially, save their lives to maybe fight another day.

The overall effect of this has been to increase the frustration level of our Warriors and little else. (Diana West has done a fantastic job chronicling this battle; read it.) How exactly do you hold an enemy culpable - on any level or by any means if you don't intend to engage him? If in the end your efforts fail to hold him accountable, or bring him to justice, or kill him, what is it that then defines your success? If you say it is the 'friendship and trust' of the people, how long will that last once you abandon them to the fury of an angry Taliban that you failed to neutralize? What prevents the Taliban from returning to the point they were prior to 9/11? What ultimately will have been done to remove the 'clear and present danger' posed by these thugs to the United States of America?

The fact is, if we don't kill the Taliban, they will hide out (in their country Afghanistan), for as long as is necessary and essentially regroup. Once we are gone, they will re-emerge; violently and bolstered in their belief that they successfully outlasted us. Do we really; really believe, for an instant, that the Afghan people under any leadership will ever see anything even remotely resembling a democracy? Is anyone in this country truly prepared to say they truly believe that? Anyone? Remember; we removed Al Qaida from Afghanistan to deny them training/planning/launching facilities. We removed the Taliban from power and now we are courting them to 'participate' with the Karzai government. The entire Afghan population; civilians, government and the 'insurgency' are still Muslim, still hate us, still want us and all 'Infidels' dead and still propagate by Jihad.

And what of our Sons and Daughters whose lives were sacrificed by our government for a cause absolutely no one can identify? What of them? For them courage was not complicated; it was the best of their character. They gave their best and their final measure to a country whose leadership has thus far squandered that gift.

' For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.' Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard