Postmodern classic?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Alternatives to the Surge

One thing I've tried to discuss among my friends is a counterintuitive version of 'The Surge'. The closest I've seen to it is the Westhawk plan, which is superb, but it still doesn't articulate exactly what I would want, based on my experiences in Iraq. Because back here, people seem to be rather ignorant of the stakes and what's actually going on outside of these narrow partisan sniping events. It's not really all their fault; one could look to the fact that the elite of our country, who make up the majority the journalist profession from whom we are relying on for information(even if less and less), are profoundly ignorant on most military and many international subjects due to certain cultural trends tracing back more than a generation. That could have something to do with it, if I'm right.

Basically, in regards to the situation in Iraq, I think the first step would be scaling back our objectives. Let's install a military dictatorship sympathetic to our aims and dependent on our training and materiel. If the Iraqi's choose to develop a democratic system, that must be done on their own volition. How to do that? Well, the first thing is to let the ISF take over! And they will mess it up, majorly. Like Fallujah at the moment, but that's another story. Change the damn ROE's so that the PFC's and 2LT's won't be looking over their back all the time.

Troop levels? We're not fighting attrition warfare and no general really needs the extra troops. Cut them in half or more. That's right- I'm for a 'strategic redeployment'. If you do it right and enforce an Iraqi solution (which might be a little short of international human rights standards even if it's more culturally 'sensititive') you will not need so many troops. To fight Iran, yeah, you'll need more. But numbers are the comfort of the weak and bureaucratic. If you only knew how much waste was going on... I am a die-hard military supporter, but I was frankly embarrassed by the PX's and just.... general state of unreality back in the FOB's, Camps and Forts. You don't need all those people! The guys who are actually making the difference don't need that shit. If someone does need all that crap, they are in the wrong line of business. War is for warriors. Anything more is just waste.

If I really wanted to express what I felt alongside the grunts, it would sound something like this Staff Sergeant from Afghanistan (via B5). I can't say it better, so I reproduced it in full below. It's blunt and equal opportunity, addressing the unique problems of our bureaucratic way of war alongside the political problems that are confronted on a daily basis. This is more than a soldiers rant; it's testimony to the obstacles confronted by the American way of war. Don't take it lightly.

Things that I am tired of in this war:

I am tired of Democrats saying they are patriotic and then insulting my commander in chief and the way he goes about his job.

I am tired of Democrats who tell me they support me, the soldier on the ground, and then tell me the best plan to win this war is with a “phased redeployment” (liberal-speak for retreat) out of the combat zone to someplace like Okinawa.

I am tired of the Democrats whining for months on T.V., in the New York Times, and in the House and Senate that we need more troops to win the war in Iraq, and then when my Commander in Chief plans to do just that, they say that is the wrong plan, it won’t work, and we need a “new direction.”

I am tired of every Battalion Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major I see over here being more concerned about whether or not I am wearing my uniform in the “spot on,” most garrison-like manner; instead of asking me whether or not I am getting the equipment I need to win the fight, the support I need from my chain of command, or if the chow tastes good.

I am tired of junior and senior officers continually doubting the technical expertise of junior enlisted soldiers who are trained far better to do the jobs they are trained for than these officers believe.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who fight this war with more of an eye on the media than on the enemy, who desperately needs killing.

I am tired of the decisions of Sergeants and Privates made in the heat of battle being scrutinized by lawyers who were not there and will never really know the state of mind of the young soldiers who were there and what is asked of them in order to survive.

I am tired of CNN claiming that they are showing “news,” with videotape sent to them by terrorists, of my comrades being shot at by snipers, but refusing to show what happens when we build a school, pave a road, hand out food and water to children, or open a water treatment plant.

I am tired of following the enemy with drones that have cameras, and then dropping bombs that sometimes kill civilians; because we could do a better job of killing the right people by sending a man with a high powered rifle instead.

I am tired of the thousands of people in the rear who claim that they are working hard to support me when I see them with their mochas and their PX Bags walking down the street, in the middle of the day, nowhere near their workspaces.

I am tired of Code Pink, Daily Kos, Al-Jazzera, CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, the ACLU, and CAIR thinking that they somehow get to have a vote in how we blast, shoot and kill these animals who would seek to subdue us and destroy us.

I am tired of people like Meredith Vieria from NBC asking oxygen thieves like Senator Chuck Hagel questions like “Senator, at this point, do you think we are fighting and dying for nothing?” Meredith might not get it, but soldiers do know the difference between fighting and dying for something and fighting and dying for nothing.

I am tired of hearing multiple stories from both combat theaters about snipers begging to do their jobs while commanders worry about how the media might portray the possible casualties and what might happen to their career.

I am tired of hearing that the Battalion Tactical Operations Center got a new plasma screen monitor for daily briefings, but rifle scope rings for sniper rifles, extra magazines, and necessary field gear were disapproved by the unit supply system.

I am tired of out of touch general officers, senators, congressmen and defense officials who think that giving me some more heavy body armor to wear is helping me stay alive. Speed is life in combat and wearing 55 to 90 pounds of gear for 12 to 20 hours a day puts me at a great tactical disadvantage to the idiot, mindless terrorist who is wearing no armor at all and carrying an AK-47 and a pistol.

I am tired of soldiers who are stationed in places like Kuwait and who are well away from any actual combat getting Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay and the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion when they live on a base that has a McDonald’s, a Pizza Hut, a Subway, a Baskin Robbins, an internet café, 2 coffee shops and street lights.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who take it out and "measure" every time they want to have a piece of the action with their helicopters or their artillery; instead of putting their egos aside and using their equipment to support the grunt on the ground.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who are too afraid for their careers to tell the truth about what they need to win this war to their bosses so that the soldiers can get on with kicking the ass of these animals.

I am tired of Rules of Engagement being made by JAG lawyers and not Combat Commanders. We are not playing Hopscotch over here. There is no 2nd place trophy either. I think that if the enemy knew some rough treatment and some deprivation was at hand for them, instead of prayer rugs, special diets and free Korans; this might help get their terrorist minds “right.”

I am tired of seeing Active Duty Army and Marine units being extended past their original redeployment dates, when there are National Guard Units that have yet to deploy to a combat zone in the last 40 years.

I am tired of hearing soldiers who are stationed in safe places talk about how hard their life is.

I am tired of seeing Infantry Soldiers conducting what amounts to “SWAT” raids and performing the US Army’s version of “CSI Iraq” and doing things like filling out forms for evidence when they could be better used to hunt and kill the enemy.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who look first in their planning for how many casualties we might take, instead of how many enemy casualties we might inflict.

I am tired of begging to be turned loose so that this war can be over.

Those of us who fight this war want to win it and go home to their families. Prolonging it with attempts to do things like collect “evidence” or present whiz bang briefings on a new plasma screen TV is wasteful and ultimately, dulls the edge of our Infantry soldiers who are trained to kill people and break things, not necessarily in that order.

We are not in Iraq and Afghanistan to build nations. We are there to kill our enemies. We make the work of the State Department easier by the results we achieve.

It is only possible to defeat an enemy who kills indiscriminately by utterly destroying him. He cannot be made to yield or surrender. He will fight to the death by the hundreds to kill only one or two of us.

And so far, all of our “games” have been “away games,” and I don’t know about the ignorant, treasonous Democrats and the completely insane radical leftists and their thoughts on the matter, but I would like to keep our road game schedule.

So let’s get it done. Until the fight is won and there is no more fight left.



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