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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.

22 November 2006

Interesting? I think so....

I have often made the point in various conversations that the Army is in many ways too interested in keeping good PR on the American TV than in doing the most effective thing to win the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most obvious way this happens is the limits they put on troops to avoid casualties that prevent the troops from doing their jobs. I know, there are a lot of folks who will say, "but they are only trying to protect the soldiers!" And that is good. A soldier should never be wasted in a foolish operation. But, being a soldier in a combat zone is a risky proposition, and dying is part of the game. IF you are too worried about a soldier dying and getting a lot of bad press about it then you are preventing the soldiers from doing their jobs. This was brilliantly pointed out by some Marine snipers in a recent article in the New York Times.

But some snipers now worry that the difficulties they face have been compounded by rules and conditions placed on them by senior military leaders.

Marine snipers have customarily trained to work in two-man teams who hide and stalk for days, seeking targets a half-mile or more away. Often an area might be saturated with snipers, so they can support and protect one another while confusing an enemy force with different angles of fire.

This way, according to their thinking, they can kill more enemy combatants, and sow more fear.

Those two-man teams are not allowed in Iraq, in part because of the killings of two groups of snipers earlier in the war... The losses have made commanders hesitant to send out small teams, Marine officers said, a decision that many snipers said inhibits their work.

Snipers argue a counterintuitive point, saying that even though two-man teams have less firepower and fewer men, they are safer because they can hide more effectively.

Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, the leader of the battalion'’s First Sniper Team, said the sniper community was suffering from an overreaction. “It’s sad that they got killed, but when you think about it, we’ve been here three years, going on four, and we'’ve only had two teams killed,” he said. "“That'’s not that dramatic."”...He said snipers were willing to assume the risk of traveling in pairs. "“It'’s a war," he said. "“People are going to die, and the American public needs to get over that. They need to get over that and let us do our job."” (emphasis added by exmi) Snipers also say that other force-protection issues are limiting their operations, including requirements to wear helmets and flak jackets, which slow snipers down and make hiding more difficult.

"“You go to a 10-week sniper course and never in that course are you in Kevlar and a helmet,"” Sergeant Jones said. "“Then you come to Iraq and immediately you'’re in your flak jacket and helmet, and you'’ve got a huge pack of gear."

Sergeant Chamblin agreed. "“We are carrying way more stuff than we can be tactically sound with,Â" he said. Â"My arms are numb because my pack is so heavy. Sometimes, on my missions, my pack has weighed more than I have, and I weigh 150 pounds."”

I have heard th same arguements and complaints from SF soldiers that I know or worked with in Afghanistan. These guys are volunteers, they are trained to do a certain job and they know the risks of that job. Let them go and do it.


Blogger Adrian said...

Let soldiers fight war and politicians do whatever it is they actually do (which is nothing in my opinion).

I agree with you 100% EXMI and am unsure where the general public got this idea that soldiers never die. I personally blame the media. I think that the way they (the media) have portrayed this war has been shameful to say the least- pure sensationalisation at its worst. Vietnam went the same way for the same reason in my opinion.

But, no matter what happens- Im proudly supporting the troops, ALWAYS!!

7:15 AM  
Blogger opit said...

It doesn't a matter what you're doing : people are trained to think for themselves and do things the best way possible - then are constrained by policies designed to protect incompetents.
You are well aware of traditional standards - put people in charge who can do the job. These days communications and a culture disrespecting the wisdom of delegation shortchange individual competence and initiative - combined with penalizing self sufficiency - cause problems throughout society.
I'll say it again. Selecting bright people and expecting them to toe the line like automatons is a ridiculous waste of talent. Too many martinets.

8:40 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Yes, opit, it happens everywhere but I don't neccesarily think it is becasue of martinets, it is becasue of fear of bad press.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Angus said...

I agree with Adrian, and would add that we need to know what it is our forces are dying for ? The bright politicians have not really explained that one. Anyone I talk to cannot answer it either ?
If they don't know, get them out, if they know then tell us all. Lets be honest and up front. If it's protection of oil then tell it. If it's middle east stabilisation then fine. We're not stupid.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Cherokee1 said...

Angus I will tell you what WE are dying for. The man on our left and right. In hopes of giving others a better life and so my children will hopefully never have to.

10:39 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Well said Cherokee. Welcome to the blog and I hope you come back.

8:09 AM  

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