Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Recently, a story crossed my path of a couple of Chaplains being asked by the media if their troops were having any problems. It is obvious to me that the chaplains are trying to be honest: many (soldiers) feel they are risking their lives. Their soldier buddies have died. And for what? A futile mission with an Afghan population mired in the Middle Ages. The chaplains said that the many soldiers who come to them have a sense of futility and anger about what they are being asked to do. They feel they are risking their lives for progress that's hard to figure. They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through it. The Chaplains said they were speaking out because the men could not. Here's what amazes me: you have soldiers saying how they feel, the chaplains trying to be honest and then a commander coming in and discounting all they say.

The Battalion commander says his men aren't demoralized and his spin is that they have accomplished lots thus far. The good Colonel argues that counter-insurgency will win over in the long haul, maybe 10-12 years (my numbers but I'm sure it is what he meant as we know what a counter insurgency operation entails).

In a media driven war, no one is more suspicious than me: reporters in a war situation are out for a story and not necessarily the truth but this is simply fact, verified by any source except Fox News, of course. What idiot could not say that Afghanistan is a place with no ending, no clear mission: now a stupid strategy of protecting the people, don't kill the enemy even if some of the people are the enemy. You have got to be kidding me! Young Marines who have been taught to kill the enemy and to grieve for their fallen comrades are now told, "let the perpetrators who plant the rosdside bombs escape if there is any chance civilians might get hurt." Now, this is the way to fight a war!

At the hightest levels, the word is, this war is winnable, more troops, etc. On Sixty Minutes, some general answers as though he is a robot: "can do," troops understand why they are in Afghanistan, etc. They love it. Troops understand it? Bullshit. I don't understand it. McChrystal is on TV more than some pop icon. I would fire his ass in a minute if I were the commander-in-chief. His job is soldiering, not trying to convince Americans of "more troops." Generals always want more troops. The counter insurgency strategy might work but it will take ten or fifteen more years to work and anybody who believes Americans will put up with that raise your hand. McChrystal says anybody who doesn't go along is shortsighted. Tell that to families whose loved ones are going to die for that strategy.

Afghanistan is an overlay on Vietnam. How many of us heard troops say in Vietnam, "What are we doing here?" Most of us realized after we had been in Nam a few months, this is crazy and for what. Afghanistan is ten times worse. There is no solution. Politics of the country and even the history aside; more troops is not the answer. VP Biden's plan is better; keep older Special Forces troops around {what many Americans don't realize since so few have served in the military, we have an an extremely well trained segment of our military that loves war, fighting, and will keep at it. The Green Berets or snake eaters as they are often called are somewhat crazy and just the type of soldiers we need in Afghanistan. We need to them in sufficient numbers, to rotate in and out, simply let them stay and work the counter insurgency strategy. With them, ten years might be OK}, They will get out of the Star Wars uniforms and simply fight the Taliban to a standoff. The third course is maybe just a gradual withdrawal. Create a very liberal immigration policy for women. But, I hope and pray that as a supporter, bigtime, Mr. President, you will not let Afghanistan become your Vietnam. God bless you.