And, of all things, he embedded with Marine Major Owen West's team...
For those of you who don't know about Owen West, I have an email list that I spam things that I can't put on the blog and here's what I wrote about the good Major a month or two ago:
Owen was a Recon Marine Officer before becoming a successful author and trader on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs. Owen is an interesting character in that he placed second in the Eco Challenge one year (I think I watched him kick ass while eating a cheeseburger at Dublin's Pub), attempted to climb Mount Everest, runs 100 mile marrathons etc. Bad choice of past times aside, he is a pretty intelligent guy and went to both Harvard and Stanford (which means that he's almost as smart as any Chicago grad...jk...mostly). His father, Bing West, is a successful military author and Viet Nam vet infantry Marine. Owen is now back in uniform in Iraq. I removed the pictures at his request (although I wish you could see them)...
And, now, Bill Roggio has a few interesting posts about his latest embed:
A look at the Iraqi Army battalion and the Habbaniyah region:
Patrolling with the Snake Eaters:
Progress and problems with the Iraqi Army:
So go check out what Bill says is happening over there. I'll end this post with a few observations from Major West about his new post in Iraq from a few weeks ago:
...We walk around like big robots during the day doing more investigatory work than patrolling-to-kill. About the best you can hope for when the sun is up is a triggerman whose testicles descend in time to blow you up but who screws up his escape route. That or one of the mildly-retarded inbreds who thinks he actually stands a chance in a gunfight if he wears a ski mask. Almost all of them are dead already. Each time we roll out, all of us see visions of conventional firefights the same way my 3-year-old might Santa and his reindeer in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Problem is, in Iraq much of our strategy, though designed by grown men, seems to hinge on Santa's existence. Of course there is asymmetric warfare here, but that's only because we've chosen to make it asymmetric. The enemy isn't doing anything exponential. He isn't dressing in IA uniforms and cutting women's heads off. He isn't poisoning the water supply. He isn't driving the price of crude to $100. He's waging a simplistic, vicious gang war using tactics that take full advantage of our weaknesses.
In simple terms, the military no longer understands what business it is in. We're in the capturing business, not the killing business. We've gravitated to (heavily armed) police tactics because we are rightfully focused on the population, no matter what they think of us, even while fighting an enemy that thrives on collateral death. So we don't overpressure whole city blocks; we roll in in Humvees, accept the risks each screwed up neighborhood poses, and then walk the streets. We don't enter houses with grenades; each day we knock on perhaps fifty doors, waiting on the street, exposed, until the nervous owner unlocks the gate. We use sting operations (ambushes), neighborhood watches (presence patrolling), snitches, and DUI checkpoints (vehicle searches). We don't shoot unarmed enemy combatants. The Iraqi soldiers hunt them down like seasoned detectives and zip-tie them. These pu#$&es never fight back. Once detained, we treat them better than my college roommates treated each other.
The problem is, we haven't armed our soldiers with the necessary tools to fight this crucial stage of the war and at the highest levels we have abdicated responsibility where we most need to embrace it...
Which is why we need LTG Petraeus there yesterday...instead of in some @#$damned dog and pony (confirmation) show for the Democrats.
Be sure to hit the links to Roggio's reports so you can see what Major West is doing for all of us.
Update: Bill just published one more report with some money quotes from Major West.