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Revise U.S. military strategy now!
Posted By Paul Vallely On 08/07/2011 @ 9:00 pm In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Thirty-one U.S. special operations forces (Navy Seal 6 members reportedly) killed in a helicopter crash Saturday morning in Afghanistan south of Kabul may have been victims of a Taliban shoulder-held missile.
Iran is controlling the future of Iraq more and more each day. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the Iranian general “secretly running” Iraq and commander of the al-Quds Force, has so much Iraqi influence that Baghdadis believe he is controlling the country. The commander of the Iranian al-Quds force controls more of what goes on inside Iraq than the United States does. There appear to be no achievable victories for the United States in either country.
To date, government security policy elitists in the United States government have demonstrated almost complete ignorance toward revised, adaptive and forward strategic planning. While virtually every military officer and many policy “wonks” have been taught strategic planning at some level, it is obvious many have thrown most of the lessons out the door upon graduating. This is demonstrated more than ever by our senior generals, admirals and Defense, State Department and intelligence political appointees. One only need observe the international scene and turmoil in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The time is now to change strategy and reposition our forces for present and future operations. This mythical counterinsurgency, or COIN, strategy must cease immediately. These so-called decision makers have bankrupted the United States and are decimating our armed forces by continuing critical budget cuts, wearing out our military equipment and wearing down our force structure with extended operations in the Middle East. It’s just what our enemies like to see.
We must reposition our forces now and change our global strategy. I implore the generals and admirals to take charge and do what is right for America.
Since the early ’80s, the United States has been engaged in conflicts throughout the Middle East. From the Iranian hostage situation to the Beirut bombing of our Marines in 1983 and Iraq and Afghanistan, we have witnessed one cultural diplomacy debacle after another with no apparent victories for the United States. Why do the United States and its military/political leaders and strategists still languish in failed strategies since the victories of World War II to the present?
Is this enemy a threat?
Before we commit our armed forces into any conflict, the policy must firmly answer the following question: Is this enemy a threat to the United States and the American people?
Our nation simply does not have the human and financial resources to continue investing blood and treasure into nation-building enterprises or foreign-aid packages for the Middle East.
Obama, along with other broke European countries, is now committing billions of new U.S. dollars to new nation-building in the Middle East. All of these Islamic countries seem to be willing to protect terrorists/jihadists, rule by Shariah law in the guise of seeking democracy and chastise America at every opportunity for their own selfish interests in hopes of keeping U.S. money flowing into their coffers. Billions of U.S. dollars have been extorted and confiscated in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How senseless is this? Oh, Treasury, keep printing money – no problem there! Maybe I am naïve, but I think we need to shore up America first and do it quickly.
Our military is for national security, defending our country and defeating our enemies before they bring havoc and harm to our citizens. Why do we not understand this fundamental fact?
Why do we waste our resources and jeopardize our trained armed forces across the globe in futile nation-building operations when we should be leveraging them instead to counter threats to our country?
When will we realize that you cannot “nation build” in an area of conflict until the enemy is totally defeated? It is akin to repainting one room while a fire rages in another room in the same house.
The world has literally never seen anything like our American military capability and power. A fundamental strategy for the use of this great asset is to show them firsthand – in a quick, decisive and devastating fashion. The U.S. has military capabilities at least equal to the rest of the world combined, so why do we act in a manner that shows us to be a paper tiger?
There is virtually no spot on the globe that could not be targeted by American forces and, at most, a small handful of countries that could thwart a determined U.S. effort at regime change – and some of those only by virtue of possession of nuclear weapons. This is the driving point; why are we so worried about what others think? Did these so-called allies not have to be bailed out numerous times for their failed thinking in the past? Will we ever learn from our own history so we are not doomed to repeat failed thinking? Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Failure to understand the enemy
While many believe the war in Afghanistan is solely fought inside the confines of the Afghan borders, they are sadly mistaken. The war in Afghanistan consists of operations throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and elsewhere. Our enemies neither respect nor recognize borders.
Our enemies are fully aware and informed of our faulty and ill-advised rules of engagement, or ROEs. They understand that the United States will not advance into their harbored locations. They also realize that the countries in which they safely harbor are fully incompetent, corrupt and often support their own cause and not the cause of the United States. Because of this fundamental knowledge amongst our current enemies, they have established bases of operations for regrouping, recovering and reorganizing as needed.
‘Lily Pad’ worked and then they abandoned it.
Between the years of 2001 through early 2003, the war in Afghanistan was won by the United States. It was won because United States Special Operations Command was granted control over the country to incorporate plans of execution to rid Taliban from control of Afghanistan. The tactical and operational plans created by our special operatives were sound and executable, proving success. They covertly struck hard from “Lily Pads,” overwhelming the enemy without warning. Striking from a set base is easy to track, and the enemy is warned early, allowing them to ambush in proactive ways rather than simply reacting.
With time and signs of success on display in Afghanistan, conventional forces began to flood the country in 2002. They went into Afghanistan with no clear objective and still lack one today. Brigade commanders are often heard stating that their task and purpose during their tours of duty are to continuously “build and enhance their bases, hold them, and ensure their troops come home in one piece.” And yes, we are there to spread democracy and nation build, while the house is still on fire – a nightmare.
The thought of “winning hearts and minds” is moot pertaining to tasks and purposes. One must understand that winning hearts and minds is a tactic. It’s a tactic just like carpet bombing, internment camps, enhanced interrogations and so forth. Tactics are not strategic plans. They are tools used to ensure that the strategic plan is completed. Once completed, the war has reached an end state. Sadly, policy makers and military decision makers have proven their incompetence in determining their desired end-state for Afghanistan. Without a clear end-state fully written out, a strategic plan cannot be formulated, executed and fulfilled.
Those who have been taught strategic planning in any formalized military school know that such planning should be accomplished through a systematic methodology of “reverse planning.”
This means, prior to anything being written, an end-state must be identified. Once the end-state is identified, it is then – and only then – that the decision makers can make a determination and a plan may be written to achieve the overall task. Then, the end-state can be accomplished through smaller operational and tactical objectives with sound benchmarks and timelines.
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