a Someone should care, maybe not you....: The problem of a duel mission war...... .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

15 June 2006

The problem of a duel mission war......

There is a problem with wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. WE are there for two purposes. One of them being to find the enemy and kill him and the other being to stabilize and rebuild the countries. Unfortunately these two missions often clash in major ways.
Combat troops, the infantry, are the ones out on the ground fighting the enemy, they are getting shot at and thus feel very little impulse to win a heart or a mind. They want to go out of the gate, do their mission and come home with everyone who went with them alive and in one piece. To do this they will drive like maniacs, intimidate the locals, point their weapons at families in cars, and generally be real bad neighbors and not good PR reps. But can you blame them? In Afghanistan while I was there two Canadian soldiers were killed when a man wearing a suicide belt threw himself onto the hood of their vehicle while they were moving through a traffic circle. The first Car Bomb I heard of in Iraq involved a taxi driver who asked some American soldiers to help him push a stalled car out of the road. While they were pushing it it blew up. (This happened a couple of days before my first trip to Baghdad which I will have to tell you about sometime)
So now you get incidents like that of the accident in Kabul that caused the riots because the American convoy was driving fast and hard for "safety" reasons. And you get incidents like this one. Wild Bill Part I There is a part two that should be read also and the subsequent posts where there is great debate over the actions here. That whole blog, Fun With Hand Grenades is a very interesting study. Start at the beginning and see how this young man changes from the time he is activated till now. If you want to read it you should do so soon. His blog in attracting enough attention now that I rather expect him to get shut down by BIG ARMY. They don't like controversial blogs. But I find it very interesting because he so clearly displays the stereotypical "Infantry Mindset" all the way down to the "We'd win this if the pouges would shut up and let us do it our way!" attitude. (Pouge is pretty much the same as REMF, anyone who isn't out on the street fighting) Unfortunately unrestrained infantry attitude will turn all of the locals against the US. There is a comment HERE that explains how the attitude can screw things up.
I admire the infantry, they do a job that I don't want to do. But generally, they see only one small slice of the picture. And while keeping their men safe is their big picture sometimes a few risks need to be taken to achieve an overall goal. If the locals all hate you you CANNOT defeat an insurgency. The only way to beat an insurgency is to deprive the insurgents of their safe haven among the populace and the only way to do that is to turn the populace against them. IF you turn the populace agaisnt you, then you are doomed. (Witness for example the Germans in the Ukraine, they were welcomed as liberators and celebrated by the local population when they rolled in and due to their actions and policies were being hunted and killed by the same populace in fairly short order) NOTE: I am not comparing the US in Iraq to the Nazis in Russia.
The Infantry are very, very good at what they do, unfortunately what they do isn't generally "win hearts and minds" What they do is find the enemy and kill him. There needs to be a balance.


Anonymous opit said...

You've got duel on the brain.
The dual "wars" - hyphenated because Congress has not ratified them as such and the armies of occupation are in there doing their thing - in Iraq at least ( leaving the focus off the Taliban who supplied the manpower for 9/11 ) have had their "mission statements" changed so much I wonder if you'll seriously consider that the public rationale for them is so much Madison Avenue hype ( bafflegab or b.s. if you prefer ) by the Advertising Agent in Charge.
Global Citizen is rather shocked by the number of limbless returnees. I have my own thoughts and left them with her.
Regardless of that, what about those monster forts in Iraq ? To me it's all about projecting power.
Cost of Empire and all that.

11:25 PM  

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