20+ yr Infantry Officer.
Visit me at GRUNTSandCo.com. You'll find my commentary on SOFREP, foreignpolicy, DoDBuzz, Defensetech, KitUp, Military.com. Smallwarsjournal
Relationship maintenance is important.
I'm hoping to create a place that does just what you describe and attracts people who want to understand more and commemorate what been/being done. Thanks for your participation! Share wildly ;)
1 day, 8 hours ago on “Fury” Movie Review
"I understand the politics and again I'm genuinely trying to sort out the facts on this one."
Copy here the questions you have sent to the administration or various articles where you make the case that a travel ban cuts the number of travelers from the impacted countries that come here. Last I read Ebola does need a human host to transmit itself. Ask what kind of economic impact they are talking about. What do we import from Liberia?
Like I said, "I'm always entertained over who gets asked questions on how to fix a
situation but that curiosity never seems to exist when it comes to
asking the individuals that created the situation..."
Feel free to distance yourself from the crowd.
1 day, 10 hours ago on Bikinis and Green Berets: Girls Gone Wild with the Utah National Guard?
Not for me to figure out but people should have to use passports to get in the country. When enforced immigration controls we used to issue visas when someone entered the country also....
I would suggest you ask the officials who say it can't be done but these were the same clowns that thought leaving Iraq was a good idea, claimed credit and have since been busy trying to place 100% of the blame on the Iraqis. As well as claiming a "red line" and then blaming Congress for not being able to enforce it.
I'm always entertained over who gets asked questions on how to fix a situation but that curiosity never seems to exist when it comes to asking the individuals that created the situation...
1 day, 12 hours ago on Bikinis and Green Berets: Girls Gone Wild with the Utah National Guard?
Just to piggyback...
A travel ban would have kept Mr. Duncan from coming to the US and infecting the two nurses as well as the almost thousand people put at risk for infection by those three people. The effectiveness of a flight ban is pretty obvious which is why the gov't owned British, French and Korean airlines have instituted one.
Note: I'm not discussing panic. I'm talking actual infections and the very real efforts recommended by the bungling CDC to prevent further infection. A travel ban is common sense.
If everything you've read says a travel ban won't make an impact I would suggest assessing the logic of what they are saying and looking at more sources for your health information.
There was a time that most written articles were saying it was a good idea to withdraw completely from Iraq and not intervene at all in Syria. Where did that get us?
It'll twist your guts. Let me know what you think.
1 day, 14 hours ago on Israel to train women tank commanders
Have you seen the movie "Fury" yet? http://gruntsandco.com/fury-movie-review/
It's a pretty good depiction of armored warfare...
1 day, 21 hours ago on Israel to train women tank commanders
Yep. Iraq and Syria are being overrun. ISIS and Co have the most foreign islamist fighters in history, a geographic location they rule and access to natural resources to fund their nefarious cause. Ukraine is a modern reincarnation of Poland '38-'39. Ebola has reached our shores, (Dallas no less) and we can't emplace a temporary travel ban (but it took only one rocket to hit Tel Aviv to shut down travel to Israel).
Well we still can all sleep well. The forces of good are winning the war on women.
"Only in America" used to mean something entirely different...
2 days, 13 hours ago on Bikinis and Green Berets: Girls Gone Wild with the Utah National Guard?
@Riceball @majrod @Txazz
Not just maintenance. Pulling 24/7 security is an issue also.
3 days, 9 hours ago on Israel to train women tank commanders
Do you have a link to the article? ;)
5 days, 6 hours ago on Israel to train women tank commanders
Our women service people will fight in an emergency it doesn't mean we are expecting that necessity.
I don't think Israel is looking to the future with this move. It might be trying to leverage more women into instructional positions to free up men for combat units but that message is politically incorrect so, "Yeah, they might fight in an emergency".
Note in the same story they described the formation of all male ultra orthodox combat units that frown on such things as women singing in public.
Another reality is that when the tank needs maintenance the whole crew is necessary. Consider each track consists of hundreds of track shoes/links each weighing upwards of 40-50lbs.
Often the commander is responsible for mounting his own .50 caliber machinegun. That weapon weighs 100 lbs alone. As a Bradley commander I couldn't imagine asking the rest of my crew to help me with some of the heavy loads I had to hoist (e.g. installing and loading the 800 or so rounds of the much lighter M240). They had their own tasks. If anyone thinks having a commander that can't carry his/her part of the load isn't going to impact the leadership climate they know NOTHING about combat arms.
These stories just gloss over the physicality of many of these jobs and no one asks why aren't the women being placed in the potentially easier positions of driver, gunner or loader?'
5 days, 10 hours ago on Israel to train women tank commanders
@Camo_Steve @majrod @Michael_mike
They only fall into the definition of an AP mine under the Ottawa Convention if you emplace them out of the command detonated mode.
5 days, 16 hours ago on Making US Troops More Vulnerable, Banning AP Mines
We have these types of mines. They are called FASCAM. The downside is they are typically delivered by artillery which takes them out of the fight because ittakes a battery about 20 minutes of shooting (if they don't move) to put one in.
We also have mine fields that can be automatically laid by a vehicle or helicopter that have an auto destruct function. We even have mines in a box that sow themselves (google Volcano minefield). I vaguely remember they had short duration settings (several hours) or long duration (a day or so). Great stuff if the enemy cooperates and attacks when you expect them to (and don't happen to be watching you as you put them in).
These are great systems but they do nothing for our expeditionary forces that don't initially have those resources when they are deployed to seize and airfield, beachhead or serve as a tripwire let alone the guys that fought at Wanat and COP Keating.
FWIW Claymores can be fused to go off with the presence of people or a tripwire. In that format they are included in the treaty.
Personally I don't have any problem with the US employing old school AP mines. Sure, develop something you can attach to the bottom so they'll self destruct but by banning them in total all we've done is made our troops more vulnerable. Check out those places where the mines are thickest. You'll find they were sown by third world countries using primarily old and new communist mines. The same countries that still not signatories to the Ottawa Convention. All that's been done is we now have bragging rights. That doesn't help the troops.
6 days, 1 hour ago on Making US Troops More Vulnerable, Banning AP Mines
I made the correction.
"The Sanford's money looks to be the keystone to the whole sordid affair...without it very few get screwed is all.."
LOL, based on your previous posts on SOFREP I'm sure you didn't mean it the way it sounded but there are some in modern America that think, "Yeah, if the Sanfords didn't have so much damn money less people would have been screwed."
They think the Sanfords are the villain in this story. Darn Capitalism!!!
1 week, 1 day ago on Why Frauds Fake Non-Official Cover (CIA) Credentials
Having a lawyer suggest something is far from being told. That said, anyone who has had serious or numerous dealings with our legal system or real estate law is wise to be concerned. The newspapers are full of stories of imminent domain, squatters stealing one's property and a host of frivolous lawsuits where good people lose.
The Sanfords may be dirty but in today's society being successful when it comes to money makes you a bad guy. My attention is just riveted on Smith and all the people besides the Sanfords he defrauded.
Still, I find it very strange that so many focus on one paragraph in an essay that is over 130 and where so many people besides the Sanfords are hurt but the only millionaires in the story get a unique and conjecture filled estimation about their moral fiber.
I don't understand why some would entertain the belief that the Sanfords were not honest people so quickly and with so little evidence.
Earning large amounts of money doesn't make one automatically smart. Look at some of those that earn a lot of rank. Some are still no smarter that a box of rocks.
People's trust in the military as well as people's ignorance of the military doesn't surprise me. We have seen some fakes around here thrive for a bit and there's a ton of military expertise here. Don't forget the role of the trusted family friend that vouched for Smith. The same guy that got in business with Smith and moved to Costa Rica.
The family may have been trying to hide their wealth. The judgement against them might have been wrong, it may have been right, but people hide their wealth all the time and at the tax rates we inflict I don't blame them..
"Why does it seem these phonies tend to cloak themselves in religion?"
The same reason so many frauds claim to be special forces, SEALs, combat vets, grunts or an advanced rank. Some even 'cloak" themselves in store bought valor and uniforms to sell the lie.
"For that matter, why do phony people in general seem to cloak themselves in religion?"
Evidence? And for everyone you cite there's a half dozen of every persuasion that make the case that religion doesn't necessarily draw posers more than other factors. You're showing a personal bias. It's like blaming trigger pullers for their propensity to attract posers.
Absolutely amazing Jack!
The fraud is detestable as is the gov'ts weak response to a lie that destroyed a family's hard earned wealth. Amazing the people the gov't will go after and the ones they let slide...
1 week, 2 days ago on Why Frauds Fake Non-Official Cover (CIA) Credentials
Pretty good article explaining why the Turks are dragging their feet. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/07/fiddling_while_kobani_burns_turkey_islamic_state?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=*Situation%20Report&utm_campaign=SitRep1008
It's in the Turks interest for the popular Kurdish Guerrilla group defending Kobani to lose and get taken down a peg. (This is in line with my previous observation that the Turks nave an issue with an independent Kurdistan.)
The Turk's inaction is a lever to get the US to commit to a "no fly" zone and maybe put the US on the road of physically committing to Assad's ouster and nit just talk about it.
I'd add to the mix that expecting the Turks to put troops on the ground while we don't isn't setting the example and the region had no faith in our credibility to stay the course.
1 week, 5 days ago on When Domestic Politics and Medals Collide
Not the first time I said it (that was the week Bergdahl was retruned) but...
to worry, time will help the public forget Bergdahl and not react too
strongly to the “Army’s” decision not to prosecute."
1 week, 5 days ago on Bergdahl planning to leave Army & use GI Bill
I think you hit it with the latter. The airstrikes are proving to not be as effective as many hoped. ISIS is still on the offensive and continue to apply pressure on the Iraqi, Turkish, Lebanese and Jordanian fronts. Yes their command and control has been disrupted as well as the flow of oil but neither has been destroyed.
Throwing all of six Apaches into the fight is a test for what the Apaches can add to the mix which is significant while they are in the air. As with all airpower, they cannot seize ground and as much as I love attack helicopters they don't hold a candle to what fixed wing aircraft like the A10 or even the F16 can bring. Because of sheer tonnage the most efficient way to deliver explosive on target with aircraft is via fixed wing.
What Apaches do offer though is a gun with very similar characteristics as the A10 but even more precise in it's ability to deliver steel on target. That comes in handy for fleeting or hard to hit targets. Its sensors and manned cockpit also allow it to discern targets more easily than most fixed wing who may have to rely on drones for some imagery. Whenever you rely on air Force drones you have to account for 2-5 seconds of satellite induced latency which is a real issue when using guns. (and why you don't see flying drones with guns, the cheapest munition around)
1 week, 6 days ago on Apaches see action in Iraq
NAH!!!! What does he know!
1 week, 6 days ago on American Combat Troops inevitable return to Iraq Part II
Great article and glad to see it here.
For those into other points not mentioned in the debate here reference the article check out http://soldiersystems.net/2014/09/25/fbi-9mm-justification-fbi-training-division/
2 weeks ago on The FBI is Going 9mm: Here Comes the Science
"9mm Luger now offers select projectiles which are, under identical
testing conditions, I outperforming most of the premium line .40 S&W
and .45 Auto projectiles tested by the FBI" (emphasis added)
Besides the typo in the second sentence, this raised a red flag. What "select projectiles" specifically? Do they not make this "select projectile" in other calibers. If so, why weren't they tested against the same type projectile? If not, why aren't they making the projectile in the other caliber?
Glock doesn't make a single stack 9mm (yet). Wouldn't it strike one as strange if a company was touting the concealability of their single stack against a full size double stack Glock or worse, comparing their compact double stack against a full size Glock (instead of a compact double stack Glock)?
Not enough info here to determine what they did in the study to justify that point but it does imply a purposeful poor comparison to make a point for 9mm..
@Michael_mike If you check the second link you'll see I took a picture of a larger version as a model and of course the V280 Valor which is similar to an Osprey but simpler.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Sikorsky Unveils S-97 Raider Light-Attack Helo
You're fooling yourself if you think we ever had Pakistani trust. Heck, it was Dec 2001 at Tora Bora that they failed to seal the boder as promised, three months after 911. Before then they were giving Taliban and AQ free refuge. Blaming the US for causing Pakistani "mistrust" ignores the facts but is reassuring from a certain political bent.
The same is true of the narrative that Bush created more terrorists like they didn't hate us before. Funny, you don't see anywhere near the same repotition of "creating terrorists" as a byproduct of the exponentially increased drone war and the relaxed standards on what constitutes a terrorist? FTR, I fully support the luxurious use of drones and don't fault Obama for creating terrorists for killing those that hang out with terrorists.
Those that tinker with the belief that our actions in response to an attack on the nation are "creating terrorists" fundamentally don't understand the enemy. It's as ridiculous as blaming the sitting President for the ISIS beheadings of Americans. Another not so popular narrative because it doesn't demonize the right people. Disgusting in my book and a classic example of how party bias is more important to some that the nation's security. The hypocrisy is so deafening it's very hard to hear what the same people are saying.
Glad you liked my article.
We will be sending US troops to the middle east. The only question is if they will be tens of thousands sooner vs. hundreds of thousands later. If we have the latter case it will be because some will be more concerned with making political hay over what to do and/or the isolationists will be fooling people...
Later, just like after WWII they will be very hard to find as we count body bags while the media controls their appetite for photo ops at Dover solely dependent on what party the man in office is from. This is how Americans are informed about the rightness or wrongness of their conflicts.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Bomb Damage Assessment: US Airstrikes Smash ISIS
I wouldn't put a lot of faith in "hope" unless we get a lot of "change" quick.
Well gosh, let's go back and look at how Clinton enabled Bin Laden and Al Qeada if you want to take in "the full spectrum of events and mindset". Maybe a rehash of how 911 and the nation's mindset supported the invasion of Iraq along with a majority of both parties.
One can get ridiculous in tracing the cause and effect of today's situation and it becomes very attractive when you have a particular propensity. BTW, YOU started the blaming one President and doing it by name simultaneously ignoring (and as I said in my article, the one you still haven't read) the current one...
last critical decision node that lead us to our current situation is
the catastrophic failure to establish a residual force in Iraq after
We've conducted about 310 airstrikes since Aug 8, a blistering average of about 6 a day. We did that many in a day in the outset of our previous conflicts of the last two decades or so. I think you have something on that "too moderate" observation. I wouldn't place too much faith in "hope" unless we get a lot of "change" soon. :)
@Fred82 @majrod @evi1joe
I agree Iran had greater influence but that was a self inflicted wound. A residual force of several thousand troops (EIGHT times less than what our military asked for) would have been overwhelmed with defending themselves let alone accomplishing other mission requirements vs. Iran and all they could do would make anyone align or at least mollify Iran.
Attributing the failure of establishing the residual force entirely or even primarily on Iran is like an analysis of the battle of Mogadishu focusing only on what the Somalis did.
BTW, Russia has been instrumental in brokering a truce between the Ukrainians and the rebels. A similar message to be sure.
Yes and most wanted us to stay a year longer or as long as needed.
importantly public opinion is not necessarily the wisest course of
action. That's why leadership is so important rather than sticking
one's finger in the air and going whichever way the wind has blown. Our
foreign policy SOP for the last six years and look where its gotten
We haven't fixed our internal conflicts after almost 240 years and the Sunni Shia divide is over a thousand years old. Did you really expect those issues to be solved after eight. Yes, let's set impossible standards so we can seize defeat out of the jaws of victory..
Yes, good stuff. See page 11, 12 & 13.
I'm not introducing politics into this. Bush made plenty of mistakes that I've pointed out. My analysis is from a national security perspective. My case is not addressing the right or wrongness of Iraq. I'll leave that to those that suffer Bush Derangement Syndrome.
You've focused quite a bit on Bush and have demonstrated a wanting lackof knowledge on what's happened the last six years and why while focusing on the decisions and loaded language of 2003.
Like most that have had their beliefs shaken with the truth you're reverting to political narrative. This isn't a political site. When you want to come back and discuss strategy, foreign relations, how to protect the nation and solve problems let me know.
It's not hindsight when the military, sitting officials and the previous Pres tell you while it's happening that you are making a mistake.
It was not an unpopular idea with most Iraqis. Check the polls.
You can try to redefine the term "hindsight" and revise history but it doesn't make it more true. I agree. No one is going to make the case for you. You are set in your beliefs despite the mountain of contrary evidence.
"(2) it wasn't popular with almost ALL Iraqis,"
Did you look at the poll I attached?
At one time a lot of people thought the world was flat. This is the problem with contesting "common knowledge". So many take it for granted they are incapable of assessing other information.
Most Americans were against staying in Iraq. They had eight years of media conditioning and three years of Obama doing it promising a peace that has brought us to today. As I said elsewhere American public opinion is a better measure of the President's ability to make a case for war and unify America behind it than an assessment of what's best for American national security. Most Americans are against Obamacare in its present form. It still hasn't been repealed.
I've discussed the issues with Khedery and Panetta.
20/20 hindsight wasn't necessary to determine we should have kept a residual force in Iraq. The military, then, was asking for it. There were many others. Most poignantly, the Pres you have blamed repeatedly for our current situation prophesied in detail what would happen in Iraq if we left too early...
Again, crediting him for the war and conveniently forgetting all those who were against leaving too early is not intellectually honest.
@evi1joe @majrod @Fred82
"(a) it wasn't popular with most Americans including most deployed Americans" Sadly that's irrelevant. There were times during the Civil War when public opinion was against it and for making peace with the south. Would that have been right? Then there's the reality that troops don't decide when a war ends (or starts, most troops wanted nothing to do with fighting Germany in 1941) and if you want to go off public opinion Afghanistan was/is a waste also. This is more a measure of the administration's failure to make a case for combat than an analysis of what's best for our nation's security.
"(b) it wasn't popular with almost ALL Iraqis" No. You are repeating common knowledge and what the media has programmed you to say. Most Kurds (who are still Iraqis) wanted us to stay as well as Sunnis if for nothing else to be honest brokers and there were Shia who also wanted us to stay. "When asked if it was the right time for American soldiers to leave --
the U.S. military earlier confirmed troop numbers in Iraq had fallen
under 50,000 for the first time -- 59.8 percent said no, compared to
39.5 percent who said yes." http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/08/24/117503.html
Hindsight is 20/20 but I was calling this back in '10-'11. It remains important to figure out what happened to find a solution today and avoid a repeat in Afghanistan. Again, I say this in my essay.
Panetta disputing what he's saying now? Ok,he's a politician. What makes better sense, what he said then or what he's saying now considering all the other information you have? You could keep your doctor at one time also...
BTW, my case does not rely on him. I made it with a boatload of other sources. What's your point? To sharpshoot Panetta or contest my article that you didn't read?
You skipped the part where Khedery said, "This might be averted if we rebuffed Iran by forming a unity government
around a nationalist alternative such as Abdul Mahdi. It would be
extremely difficult, I acknowledged, but with 50,000 troops still on the
ground, the United States remained a powerful player."
"But all the lobbying was for naught. By November, the White House had
settled on its disastrous Iraq strategy. The Iraqi constitutional
process and election results would be ignored, and America would throw
its full support behind Maliki. Washington would try to move Talabani
aside and install Allawi as a consolation prize to the Iraqiya
Who made these decisions?
Nor does Khedery ever contest the points made by numerous gov't officials to include those I named that the Iraqis lost faith in us when the administration slashed the military's recommendation of 24k troops.
Like I wrote, "According to Gen Keane,
the Iraqis realized that 3k troops weren’t enough to execute their
stated missions but enough to inflame the Iranians. Instead of a robust
US military to help Iraq chart a course, we were going to provide a
force that would just incite Iranian adventurism and be barely enough to
provide security for themselves. Iraqi leadership came to the
realization that such a small force was of no benefit to the nation." http://gruntsandco.com/american-combat-troops-inevitable-return-iraq-part/#sthash.JMmQKfRG.dpuf
Something that might bother the critical thinker... Khedery cites what an Iraqi official who was told what was said in a meeting that happened in Iran that Maliki didn't attend. We don't know who was "summoned" or even the exact date of the meeting. Wouldn't a reliable gov't official be told that? Further Khedery resigned in protest on Dec. 31, 2010. That's a year before our withdrawal and most of the events Khedery cites happened...
So in the end I'm glad you brought up ONE person that was there but still the case that Iran was the kingmaker and we were powerless is waiting to be conclusively made.
"MAY"? How so? Who and how was a presidential decree (which is what we are using now to deploy troops to Iraq) going to be contested? Who and how were placing the residual force on the diplomatic roster (there were already 5000 Americans on it) going to be contested?
What are the specific hypotheticals? Too many that say we couldn't pull off a residual force say something similar while never documenting the details.
BTW, some of the "others" are the Army Deputy JCS and a bunch of US and Iraqi gov't officials as well as the recently added Sec Def Gates & SecDef/CIA Director Panetta.
Read my article again. I never said we are sending a large number of troops to Iraq anytime before inauguration day 2017. I say quite the opposite multiple times.
I get the feeling you really didn't read the article to make such a fundamental mistake.
2 weeks, 3 days ago on Bomb Damage Assessment: US Airstrikes Smash ISIS
I don't disagree that the Iranians didn't want a residual force. Neither did Syria and a host of other countries. That doesn't mean Iraq was doing their bidding. Please point out where and how Gordon, Trainor or Baer document an Iranian influence so strong as to dictate what the Iraqis do especially when we were still in Iraq in force? I've heard of nothing.
"it looks to me as if Iran was sending a message to Maliki in the Battle of Basra." Again, how so? Where are the links?
You seem to rely on a lot of opinion to shape your beliefs while I've documented numerous individuals from both sides involved in the policy making at the time.
There's a huge qualitative (and quantitative) difference in the evidence supporting our respective positions. If you want to believe the Iranians were the key you can, this is America but all the facts point in a very different direction. Unless you are going to bring some facts or statements by decision makers involved in the decision that support your contention that Iran was the king maker it really isn't worth carrying on the discussion. You are going to believe what you want to based on opinion and I'm going to keep relying on those from both sides involved in the decision.
We are currently taking all the Kiowas out of the force because we don't have the money to fly them. Scouting/Light Attack missions will be done by the more expensive Apache or not at all.
2 weeks, 3 days ago on Sikorsky Unveils S-97 Raider Light-Attack Helo
The administration did try very hard. To NOT leave a residual force.
Your position doesn't jive with all the documentation I included in mine. If you have something to show the Iranians were that strong to dictate Iraqi policy go ahead and share. Funny, Maliki conducted operations against the Shia militias that were supported and directed by Iran at the same time the residual force was being negotiated. We in fact had to help them. That doesn't sound like Maliki was in Iran's pocket then.
My case only gets stronger when one adds Panetta's recent comments (I didn't have access to them when I wrote my article). His assessment jives with mine.
One has to be open to new facts and its impact on one's beliefs.
@evi1joe @majrod Read the article (and all the supporting documentation) I linked. The administration pushed for the Iraqi Parliament to approve the deal. There were other ways. How do you think we got an agreement to protect the troops we've sent in the last two months. HINT: It didn't go through the Iraqi Parliament.
The administration had its chance to address the situation in Iraq with the residual force. To ignore that and blame events six years after Bush left office on him is to demonstrate ignorance of what's been happening the last six years or an extreme bias.It's like blaming FDR for the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Here's a read that might help. http://gruntsandco.com/american-combat-troops-inevitable-return-iraq-part/ The links in it are especially powerful.
equipping the Kurds unilaterally is very shortsighted.
It doesn't take into account Kurdish aspirations for a free Kurdistan and the implications that has on the region, Kurdistan and us.
It also throws away one of the only bargaining chips we had with Maliki.
I've discussed how a separate Kurdistan or portioned Iraq doesn't equal peace in the region but three new countries on the verge of going to war with each other or neighbors. We have our hands full with one Iraq, imagine three of them...
@LadyHW @YankeePapa @majrod
Tribes has an inderminate definition. A motorcycle gang can be considered a tribe. That said tribes tend to share one religion and are hereditary in nature. Some can be more tolerant than others. There are examples of a whole tribe converting throughout history. It's not common.
Iraqi nationalism is relatively new resulting from creating Iraq after WWI. Iraqi tribes are endemic to the region (and to thw whole world) since the days of the Sumerians which predate the Egyptians.
ALL these perspectives impact what's going on in Iraq. Some are more important than others at different times and at different levels. It can be very confusing and requires one to constantly stay informed and re-evaluate one's position. The media ignores this. Few people have the patience ti learn and many profit from pushing one theory that explains what's happening.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on American Combat Troops inevitable return to Iraq Part II
Great questions. You should have asked them there so the readership could have benefited. 1.
The Shia see themselves as the replacements of the Sunni leaders. It
would be pretty embarrassing if they weren't able to do something the
Sunnis did, keep Iraq whole. Second despite what the common knowledge is
many Iraqis (especially the Sunni and Shia) do consider themselves,
"Iraqis" and not just Shia, Sunni or Kurds. 2. If one considers
oneself a Shia first yes Iran is the better partner but as I said there
is a strong nationalistic bent in Iraq. People seem to not remember
history before they were born. Iraq and Iran fought a very bloody war
and there were plenty of Iraqi Shia that fought in it. Further many
Iraqis are envious of the US in many ways and aspire to be like us more
so than be like Iran. 3. We've had troops in the ME for
decades. Where were the mass uprisings? Typically we are segregated in
out of the way locations. Again the "common knowledge" is our presence
is a recruiting tool. News Alert: our breathing is a recruiting tool for
those so inclined. This argument is most often promoted by our
isolationists and the left where any excuse will do. Again, if our mere
presence is enough to cause a revolt among Muslims why has Incirlik, our
naval base in Qatar and Army base in Kuwait not been stormed? The
evidence doesn't support the hypothesis but it sure sounds good to those
that no reason is good enough for us to be there. 4. Turkey is
a big deal and its authoritarian bent is instructive not a predictor of
all Islam. It would be worth looking at why Turkey is taking tat
authoritarian path. I would propose it's radical Islam just like radical
Christianity supported the role of a king. Islam in fact has the
tradition of the Shura, a pretty democratic concept. BTW, at one point
our hemisphere only had one Democracy. I guess everyone else should have
given up? Again, be cautious of what passes for "common knowledge" and
who is passing that gas. When one needs an excuse to not do something
any will do. Be careful about "common knowledge". That kind of
thinking ignored the potential for unrest when we invaded Iraq and
expected the Cubans to rise up against Fidel at the Bay of Pigs.
Has a bunch of really good questions posed about my essay over on DoDBuzz. Thought I'd post them here.
Guest - I did read your piece, and it is a thorough and edifying analysis of the
situation and options for US action. However, I must confess that there
are a few things I don't understand: 1) you describe a US
threat of a partitioned Iraq as our "ace in the hole" against
pro-Iranian Shia. Why is that? Why would the Shia be so invested in a
unified Iraq? 2) regarding the rolling back of Iranian
influence, doesn't Iran remain a better partner to the Shia than we are
no matter what? They are geographically contiguous (i.e. committed to
interests in Iraq constantly and forever), of the same religion, and
have the money and power to keep the Sunnis at bay. The US, on the other
hand, is a nation of "infidels," we are thousands of miles away, our
interest in Iraq is not as strong and perhaps most offensively, we work
with the Sunnis and the Kurds. Why would *****e Iraqis choose us over
Iran? 3) while I agree with your assessment of the limitations
of airpower and the usefulness of US ground troops in fighting ISIS,
what about the effect that US ground troops in Muslim "holy lands" has
on inflaming Islamic radicalism and actually helping groups like ISIS
recruit? It seems to me like a Catch-22: ground troops would be most
militarily effective against ISIS, but they also cause terror groups to
grow and metastasize while lacking the ability to impose a long-term
political solution without credible regional partners. This is why I
ultimately sympathize with the Administration's desire to "lead from
behind" - doesn't any long-term political solution have to be a Muslim
one? 4) while it is true that there are many ethnically diverse
democracies in the world, there don't happen to be any in the ME (with
the arguable exception of Turkey, which is becoming increasingly
authoritarian). Perhaps there is a reason for that? And yes, "ethnicity"
is indeed an oversimplification, as the Stratfor article makes clear -
there are indeed intermarriages and interethnic alliances in Levantine
countries, but tribal/family loyalties tend to trump nationalism. While I
sympathize with your DESIRE for a unified Iraq, I'm just not as
sanguine about its chances.
I think your problem is more with in finding a caring competent doctor than offiicers. Keep in mind medical doctors don't come through the same pipeline as an officer especially the combat arms types.
This is the same community that didn't have the intestinal fortitude to flag Hasan Nidal, write hime the counseling statements he deserved when he tried to convert soldiers to Islam or justified suicide bombers and get him orders to CIVCOM (Civilian Command). In my 24+ years in uniform I've never encountered such a radical "officer". Then again I didn't travel in circles where a degree in law or medicine automatically earned you a commision and promotion at an advance rate.
I found most military doctors who didn't do some time in camouflage leading troops as having some real blind spots and plain weak when it came to leadership. I preferred a PA 90% of the time anyway when it came to treatment. Doctors tend to be pretty crappy leaders which is why hospitals often have some real issues when dealing with patients and unit leadership because they just don't get it. I can remember reminding a soldier or two they were in the Army and not just working in a hospital.
I can understand your sense of betrayal. It's directed at the wrong group. I'm no psychiatrist but I don't ever remember my professors who taught me or evaluated my clinicals when I was pursuing my masters degree in counseling even describing the approach your "doctor" used. Even with my "fluffy" Infantry style approach to counseling the LAST thing you do is make people think you don't care or render a diagnosis in five minutes.
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Limp-Wristed Social Workers and Pretentious Army Officers
@jpowell No problem. I know you were coming at this from the intel side. I just wanted to shed a little light on a highly ignored contribution.
2 weeks, 6 days ago on The Boots Already on the Ground
Good story but FWIW there's more than SOF and intel guys on the ground. They've recently announced a division HQ being deployed from Ft. Riley that will be added to the conventional troops that were sent as planners as part of the first contingent. (It's a good bet a good portion of the advisors at Brigade and higher HQs are conventional troops.) http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140923/NEWS08/309230066/Army-chief-Division-headquarters-will-deploy-soon-Iraq
Then there are the Marines protecting the Green Zone and the Co (-) of Apaches at Baghdad airport. http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140701/NEWS05/307010077/100-airmen-ordered-into-Baghdad-protect-airport http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/world/middleeast/us-sees-risks-in-assisting-a-compromised-iraqi-force.html?_r=0
Still waiting on them to name this operation. Maybe it's like the Russians in Ukraine. If you deny you are sending combat troops it's still not a war.