Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to lose two wars, by General McChrystal, former President Bush, President Obama and the United States of America

The life a man upon earth is warfare

Job 7:1

"...For five years, from the early months of the Iraq war until the troop increase ended in 2008, General McChrystal ran the Joint Special Operations Command, the armed service’s most secretive branch of commandos.

...He emphasized the need to win over the Afghan public...and publicly announced military operations well before they began.

...General McChrystal [told]...his troops wherever he went that killing Taliban insurgents carried costs, often in the form of dead civilians, that seldom justified using overwhelming force.

War is cruelty

The crueler it is the sooner it's over

General William Tecumseh Sherman
Employed "scorched earth" tactics against the Confederacy

He issued directives ordering his troops to drive their tanks and Humvees with courtesy, and he made it more difficult to call in airstrikes... and artillery in the fight against the Taliban... because they risked civilian casualties.

Since last year, the counterinsurgency doctrine championed by those now leading the campaign has assumed an almost unchallenged supremacy in the ranks of the American military’s career officers. The doctrine, which has been supported by both the Bush and Obama administrations, rests on core assumptions, including that using lethal force against an insurgency intermingled with a civilian population is often counterproductive.

Since General McChrystal assumed command, he has been a central face and salesman of this idea, and he has applied it to warfare in a tangible way: by further tightening rules guiding the use of Western firepower — airstrikes and guided rocket attacks, artillery barrages and even mortar fire — to support troops on the ground.

But the new rules have also come with costs, including a perception now frequently heard among troops that the effort to limit risks to civilians has swung too far, and endangers the lives of Afghan and Western soldiers caught in firefights with insurgents who need not observe any rules at all.

...The rules have shifted risks from Afghan civilians to Western combatants...

I don't care if I follow your rules, if you can cheat, so can I

I won't let you beat me unfairly, I'll beat you unfairly first

Ender Wiggin
Fictional Military Strategist

Young officers and enlisted soldiers and Marines, typically speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs, speak of “being handcuffed,” of not being trusted by their bosses and of being asked to battle a canny and vicious insurgency “in a fair fight.”

Some rules meant to enshrine counterinsurgency principles into daily practices, they say, do not merely transfer risks away from civilians. They transfer risks away from the Taliban.

A good hanging tends to focus the mind

Roy Bean
Justice of the Peace & Saloonkeeper

Before the rules were tightened, one Army major who had commanded an infantry company said, “firefights in Afghanistan had a half-life.” By this he meant that skirmishes often were brief, lasting roughly a half-hour. The Taliban would ambush patrols and typically break contact and slip away as patrol leaders organized and escalated Western firepower in response.

All who surrender will be spared
whoever does not surrender but opposes with struggle and dissension
shall be annihilated

Genghis Khan

Now, with fire support often restricted, or even idled, Taliban fighters seem noticeably less worried about an American response, many soldiers and Marines say. Firefights often drag on, sometimes lasting hours, and costing lives. The United States’ material advantages are not robustly applied; troops are engaged in rifle-on-rifle fights on their enemy’s turf.

One Marine infantry lieutenant, during fighting in Marja this year, said he had all but stopped seeking air support while engaged in firefights. He spent too much time on the radio trying to justify its need, he said, and the aircraft never arrived or they arrived too late or the pilots were reluctant to drop their ordnance.

...Several infantrymen have also said that the rules are so restrictive that pilots are often not allowed to attack fixed targets — say, a building or tree line from which troops are taking fire — unless they can personally see the insurgents doing the firing.

This has led to situations many soldiers describe as absurd, including decisions by patrol leaders to have fellow soldiers move briefly out into the open to draw fire once aircraft arrive, so the pilots might be cleared to participate in the fight.

Nonviolence is fine as long as it works

Malcolm X

...restrictions that are popular in Kabul have often alienated soldiers and Marines whose lives are at stake, including rules that limit when Western troops can enter Afghan homes. Such rules, soldiers and Marines say, concede advantages to insurgents, making it easier for them to hide, to fight, to meet and to store their weapons or assemble their makeshift bombs.

“The troops hate it,” Army colonel said. “Right now we’re losing the tactical-level fight in the chase for a strategic victory. How long can that be sustained?”"

New York Times

You're captives of a civilizational system
that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world in order to live

Daniel Quinn
Should you do what you need to whether you like it or notsooner than later?

We can ignore reality
but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality

Ayn Rand

Are there correlations
between currency, debt, natural resources, peace and war?
The first rule is not to lose

The second rule is not to forget the first rule

Warren Buffett

Is the definition of civilized changing again?

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