Tag Archives: Afghanistan

‘I Didn’t Join to Be Sacrificed’: U.S. Troops Fed Up with Risky Afghanistan Strategy

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/02/10/US-SOLDIERS-IN-AFGHANISTAN-ARE-NOW-FORCED-TO-FIGHT-A-TWO-FRONTED-WARFallen Heroes

Penned by Billy and Karen Vaughn

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are now forced to fight a two-fronted war. Before each deployment, these soldiers understand fully that day after day they will do battle against relentless terrorists with shifting loyalties and unspeakable hatred. But what none of them could have foreseen was the killing field that would open from their rear: the Continental United States.

Our government’s incessant tightening of already restrictive ROE (Rules of Engagement), compounded by the failed COIN (Counterinsurgency) strategy—also known as “winning hearts and minds”—has made an otherwise primitive enemy formidable.

Our best and brightest come home in body bags as politicians and lawyers dine over white linen tablecloths; writing, modifying, and re-modifying these lethal rules. Rules that favor the enemy rather than the American soldier. Rules so absurd they’re difficult to believe until you hear the same stories over and again from those returning from battle.

In a delicate discussion with an Army Ranger who recently left the military, we heard the following: “I had to get out. I have a family who needs me. I didn’t join to be sacrificed. I joined to fight.”

This decision came shortly after he lost a close friend to the ROE. He explained how the Taliban had attempted an ambush on his friend’s squad but quickly realized they were in a battle they couldn’t win and began retreating. While chasing them, the U.S. soldiers were ordered not to engage due to the slight chance the Taliban had laid down their arms as they ran through some type of shack. While arguing with leadership at the JOC (Joint Operations Center), his friend was shot and killed.

A Navy SEAL who left his job only a few years shy of full retirement said the following: “I got out because I couldn’t take it anymore. We tried to explain how much reckless danger we were being exposed to and they told us we were being illogical.”

This type of response has created a growing crisis of confidence between our warfighters and senior military leadership. His argument wasn’t illogical at all.

A gut-wrenching pattern began forming in early 2009, a pattern completely ignored by Congress, the White House, and apparently the DoD.

In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan (October 2001 – December 2008) we lost 630 U.S. soldiers. In early 2009, this administration authorized the implementation of the COIN strategy. Over the next five years, the U.S. death toll skyrocket to 2,292.

Seventy-three percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009.

In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan, 2,638 U.S. soldiers were wounded in action. In the next forty-five months (2009 – 2012) an additional 15,036 suffered the same fate.

Liars figure, but figures don’t lie.

While concern over being killed due to these policies weighs heavily on the minds of those we’ve spoken with, the deepest pit in the stomach comes from fear of prosecution should they violate these absurd and ever-changing ROE. The last thing a warfighter should ever be forced to experience is unnecessary fear.

Fear creates hesitation. Hesitation creates flag-draped caskets. Flag-draped caskets create fatherless children, widowed wives, and childless parents. Our heroes deserve the right to fight with swift hands, clear minds, and confident hearts.

However, today’s warfighters have the grave misfortune of serving leaders who elevate the virtues of inaction over action. The message? If you dare use your training or your gut instinct, if you have the fortitude to fight for your life or the desire to kill the enemy, there is a good chance you will be punished.

The physiological capacities of a true patriot cannot tolerate the vile stench of injustice, especially when perpetrated against those who defend us. Its wretched aroma permeates the core and demands a response.

We’re counting on you, the American patriot, for that response. We must defend our defenders. Please, spread the news and demand change.

Billy & Karen Vaughn are Gold Star parents of Special Operations Chief (SEAL) Aaron Vaughn, KIA 6 Aug 2011. Billy is the author of Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17. Read more or schedule the Vaughns for a speaking event at http://www.forourson.us.

Afghan President Karzai won’t sign US security deal – Video of news report

Documentary : Pennslyvania National Guard spent 9 months in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, a place much more hostile than I think any of us expected

WTH? Army forces in Afghanistan must obtain “warrants” to enter local homes before setting out on combat missions

Army Times

An Afghan policeman searches for weapons in a building while American soldiers cover him on April 8 in Afghanistan. U.S. soldiers must now obtain permission from the Afghani government before entering locals' homes.

Combat warrants limit raids, cause worry over leaks

By John Ryan – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday May 22, 2012 11:14:19 EDT

Army forces in Afghanistan must obtain “warrants” to enter local homes before setting out on combat missions, causing concern among soldiers and Afghan forces over potential leaks that could imperil missions.

As NATO forces take a back seat in operations, the Afghan government now bans some U.S. conventional forces from running independent raids and mandates that U.S. forces share operational details with joint coordination cells, said Maj. Joe Buccino, an Army spokesman in Paktika province.

The National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan oversees warrant processes conducted by both American and Afghan forces.

Though corruption has long plagued Afghan governmental agencies, a risk of leaks must be considered in the context of the U.S. transition of control to Afghans, Buccino said.

“We are now in a stage of the mission in Afghanistan where Afghans have got to be doing the security,” he said. “If that means we assume risk with operational security, then we do so. We are no longer at the point in Afghanistan where the capture of one group of high-value targets is going to turn the tide of the war.

“Americans don’t just ask for permission and then go hit these targets,” he added. “We plan and rehearse with our Afghan partners, so the hazard of leaked information is inherent in the entire process.”

Neither the Afghan government nor NATO has released details about a combat warrant system. The Afghan Ministry of Interior has not answered repeated emails and calls from Army Times.

A similar warrant-based system was enacted by the U.S. military and Iraqi government during the closing months of the Iraq War.

In March, the Afghanistan coalition commander mentioned the Iraq system while testifying about night raids to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington.

Marine Gen. John Allen, the International Security Assistance Force commander, lauded a system agreed upon by the U.S. and Iraqi governments during the Iraq War in late 2008.

“That system was successful, but it was successful because we were able to streamline the judicial process in ways that supported the operations rather than impeded the operations,” he said.

The agreement in Iraq came more than a year and a half after a historic troop surge and as the U.S. moved to an “advise and assist” role during the war’s final stage, called Operation New Dawn.

In Afghanistan, outrage by locals and politicians over night raids led to a memorandum of understanding signed by U.S. forces and the Afghan government that shifted control of “special operations” and night raids to Afghan officials.

“The MOU has just codified what was already taking place for months: the transition to Afghan control of all security operations and, in this case, special operations,” Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, a coalition spokesman, said in an email to Army Times. “These are Afghan-led special operations and they have been doing this for months … and it has not hindered or slowed the ability of the U.S./Afghan forces in conducting their operations.”

The MOU specified that the Afghan Operational Coordination Groups would approve special operations in the war zone, and Afghan forces would carry out missions with help from U.S. forces, according to the Defense Department.

The MOU was signed less than a year after President Obama announced the U.S. would reduce troop levels that were boosted by a surge in 2010.

Until the MOU, the U.S. and Afghan forces had partnered for more than 95 percent of night operations, Cummings said.

In 2011, ISAF conducted about 2,200 night special operations and “in 90 percent of those cases, we did not fire a single shot,” Cummings said. Civilian casualties occurred in fewer than 35 cases, he added.

The NATO ISAF in Afghanistan is training 12 “Afghan Strike Forces,” he said. Afghans are supposed to lead all operations by the end of 2014.

“The Afghan special operations units have developed at extraordinary speed and are manned by courageous and capable operators,” Allen said in an April release from the Pentagon. “We also recognize the growing capacity of the Afghan judicial system, which will play a vital part not only in the implementation of this agreement but also in the lives of Afghan citizens.”

U.S Armed Forces – We Must Fight – President Reagan (HD)

http://www.bouhammer.com/2012/05/words-that-still-hold-true/

Why Do We Do It?

Via Allen Marshall

So as the end of my second deployment draws closer and closer, I’ve been pondering a thought, related to the question a lot of Marines are asked, and that question is “Why do we do it?”. I’ve come to the realization that the reason we do what we do changes. For example, ask a young man fresh out of boot camp, or even fresh out of high school about to leave for boot camp, and the typical answers you will get will be along the lines of :”I want to fight for/serve my country.” “My family is part of a military tradition” or “I’m doing it for school benefits.”. These are all excellent and admirable reasons for deciding to pick up a rifle and put your life on the line. Now jump ahead a few years, and this same Marine is now a combat veteran, with 1, 2, even 4 or more tours in Iraq or Afghanistan under his belt. You ask this veteran the same question again, and I will bet anything that I hold dear that his answer will be: “I do it for the men to my left and my right, my brothers.”. All those previous reasons, they simply become a byproduct to being out there with your brothers watching each others back. That’s what we are, brothers who have left blood, sweat, and tears on the battlefield. Your best friend back home for 15 years or more will always be just that, a friend, now that is not a bad thing, everyone needs friends in their lives. However, that man you spent just 7 months with in Afghanistan or Iraq, he is now your brother for life. No one will understand what we do or what we go through except for the people who go through it with us.”

U.S. Marine Air-Ground Support Combat Footage in HD

Hold on to your seats Liveleakers…
“These Marines stomped so much ass that they actually had to stop filming, so they could import colons from other Arab countries to meet the demand!” ~Fire37Rescue
US Marine Combat Footage in HiDef that slipped past me.Was released on the 16th of this month, according to my sources. Combat Afghanistan with all the bullets flying and Taliban dying you come to expect from US Marines.You’ll want to favorite this bad boy.

As always, Enjoy

http://www.liveleak.com/e/da1_1334803123

U.S. Army Soldiers Contact In Afghanistan

Published on Apr 11, 2012 by

U.S. Army Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, engaging Insurgents in a firefight in Afghanistan. 2006

Blackfive

Posted By Crush • [March 02, 2012]

A quick update: Stars and Stripes reports that the soldiers involved in last month’s burning of Korans used by enemy prisoners at Bagram Air Base will not face trial in sharia court:

A military investigation into the burning of the Qurans at Bagram could conclude as early as this weekend. Crocker and Allen have said the soldiers involved may face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice but will not be turned over to the Afghan courts as requested by Karzai.

Perhaps we will discover what exactly the soldiers did that was wrong since I have yet to see an explanation. I doubt offending Muslims violates the UCMJ.

The article also featured an explanation from Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, as to what the heck we are doing in Afghanistan:

“We have not invested the billions of dollars we have and the lives of 1,900 Americans to see the Taliban retake this country and al-Qaida once again be able to restage here,” Crocker said.

“That’s why we’re here — to be sure al-Qaida is defeated and that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for forces that would seek to attack us on our own soil.”

Sounds great – will the ambassador clue us in as to what exactly the Obama administration is doing to “be sure al-Qaida is defeated and that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for forces that would seek to attack us on our own soil”?

I will support a president from any party, provided the president is executing his duties as commander-in-chief effectively. What matters is trying to get it right. Both Obama and George W. Bush have got things right and wrong. I have been supportive and critical of both presidents in the War on Terror.

Perhaps letting these soldiers go to trial is the best path forward. If they violated military law, they should be punished. But I am not aware of any laws that were violated. If they were following protocol, then they should be exonerated.

But if these men are hung out to dry to appease barbarians, then Obama has dishonored the US military to a degree perhaps never before seen.

Frontline 2012

Military Times

A horse leads a caisson carrying the remains of Army Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner during a burial services Feb. 29 at Arlington National Cemetery, Va. Hildner died of apparent natural causes Feb. 3 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / The Associated Press