This is more "inside baseball" but I continue to be surprised by the amount of interest in the subject. Today, the exploration focuses on the financial cost.
I'd just like to draw your attention to one slide from that military report card, the one on Enemy Initiated Attacks.
What I want to draw your attention to is the "ISAF Observations" portion of the slide, but first let me explain how I read the chart. The important thing about this slide is that it shows that the Surge was a failure. Why does it show that? Because the Surge was intended to collapse the opposition, so that Afghan forces could stand up and take control. Instead of those recurrent peaks, representing the annual fighting seasons, you should see a peak and then a decline. Compare the same chart from the Iraq war:
Here you see a sharp drop from the peak until the tail is more than 90% lower than the peak, beginning just as the Surge really takes effect in the summer and fall of 2007. With a few blips, the general trend is to tail off.
What the Afghan slide shows instead is that the surge did nothing to break the enemy's capacity to initiate violence. In the beginning, we see an insurgency built around a fighting season, but showing robust capacity to return year after year and strongly contest government control through violence. At the end of the chart, we see the same thing. We can't even say that enemy capacity was decreased by the surge, because although the peaks are slightly lower at the end of the surge than in its first year, they are about the same level as pre-surge. In other words, the surge increased the level of enemy initiated violence, which is only now returning to the pre-surge levels.
Remember that the majority of Americans who have died in Afghanistan died during these 'surge' years, under this, President Obama's plan. What have they given their lives to achieve?
Now, what I said I wanted to talk about was the "ISAF Observations" portion of the slide. Read it over. There's no acknowledgement of anything we just discussed. Some staff officers at ISAF are trying to help their boss put a happy face on this: hey, a 5% drop if we look at it just this way! 9% here! None of them dare to tell their boss to brief that the surge has left EIA levels almost exactly where they were before the surge, and accomplished only raising those levels during the surge.
Staff officers in Afghanistan: Odds are your boss already knows what you don't want to tell him, and just like you he doesn't want to have to be the one to brief his commander. Nevertheless, you must encourage in each other the same courage we ask of the infantryman who has to advance into enemy fire. It's time to speak the truth. Nobody wants to hear it, but here it is.
-- According to Danger Room, even the military's own assessment of the Afghan surge gives it an "F". Of course it's not particularly hard to get an "F" when you announce that you're really not serious about victory by setting a pull out date at the same time as the surge.
--Looks like the F-35 will be getting a new engine in the 2020 timeframe. This is the first new engine we've develped in 50 years. More thrust (power) and better fuel economy. That will extend its combat radius.
--Okay, this is just cool. How about skydiving from a B-17. Some soldiers recently did that.
--The Army is under fire for its camouflage patterns:
Critics allege that the Army has wasted $5 billion on uniforms and equipment all printed in the inadequate UCP. The GAO estimates that the Army will have to spend another $4 billion on uniforms and equipment over the next five years when it selects its new family of camouflage patterns.
--Skidmarks on a Chinese carrier deck (yeah, not those kind of skidmarks, although there's no report about the pilot's unmentionables)? A picture has analysts wondering if the Chinese may actually be further ahead in their employment of Naval air than previously thought.
--If this sort of info is important to you, the Ranger Medic's Handbook has been updated:
The book is written by the 75th Ranger Regiment and includes 70 additional pages of updates since the 3rd Edition, which was published in 2007.
“This is an extremely popular book,” Matt Westra, vice president of sales for North American Rescue, said at Modern Day Marine 2012. “This has got everything in it from their medical protocols to drug doses. They use it for sick call and for treating trauma. There’s new packing lists for how they pack up their kit.”
NAR is the sole distributor of the Ranger Medic Handbook. It retails for $40 and all proceeds go to the Sentinels of Freedom, a non-profit, wounded-warrior foundation chosen by the Ranger Regiment, Westra said.
--Meanwhile, in Iraq, you likely never heard a word about this:
Prisoners seized weapons and set off hours-long clashes with security guards at a prison in Saddam Hussein's hometown that left 12 dead, including 10 guards, before dozens of inmates managed to escape from the facility, Iraqi officials said Friday.
The escaped prisoners included al-Qaida suspects, said a provincial spokesman, though he could not say whether the terror group was behind the jailbreak in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad.
It was the latest embarrassing security lapse in Iraq, raising questions about the Shiite-led government's ability to ensure the country's security in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal last December.
Things are just going along ... swimmingly, aren't they?
--Finally, over at SpouseBuzz, they give advice on what NOT to wear to a military ball. Looking at the picture heading the post, I'm going to be a respectful dissenter here.
Enjoy the weekend.
I had to do something besides doom-and-gloom research and analysis - before the rest of my hair turns grey and falls out. My political cartoons are appearing each weekend at The US Report. Blackfive readers should get a kick out of President Obama's National Security Responsinator from last week.
“When you say ‘he ran through enemy fire’ it makes it sound dramatic, but it’s not so much something that you do, but something that you have to do in order to make space for yourself and others around you. If you are running through enemy fire you are doing it for a reason – you are either leaving, or making space for somebody else to have an effect on the enemy.” - Captain Nick Garland about his MiD
The MoD announced the latest batch of awards for bravey. There's more than a few citations for bravery including one that bears some explaining: "Mention in Despatches" or MiD.
The Mention in Despatches is one of the oldest forms of recognition for gallantry within the UK Armed Forces. Since 1993 the Mention in Despatches has been reserved for gallantry during active operations.
You can go to the following links to read about:
MiD: Platoon Sergeant Tony Branham's charge across 100 meters of deadly ground in order to give one of his elements the ability to move out from under fire (because the enemy was now trying to kill Branham).
Military Cross: Corporal Sean Jones ordered his men, pinned down, to fix bayonets and charge across 80 meters of enemy fire to save his platoon from a deadly ambush.
MiD: Wounded a few years ago and returned to the fight, Captain Nick Garland fought off ten near ambushers and led his company through to victory (and brought all of his soldiers home).
Queen's Gallantry Medal: Sapper Matthew Garey disposed of IEDs and received the QGM which is for heroism while not under fire. Garey, having lost another Sapper leader the week before (lost both legs to an IED), found a daisy chained IED field and spent 5 hours negotiating the area and clearing it.
Military Cross: Rifelman Matthew Wilson, shot in the head during an ambush on his recon unit, continued to fight and show his team where the enemy was, directing fire and eliminating the threat. Video of award ceremony at the link above.
MiD: Private Morales Matthews vaults from behind cover to save a fellow soldier that was knocked unconcious by an ambush.
MiD (2nd award): Captain Mark Cripps changed the game during an ambush by maneuvering his ANA soldiers against the enemy and leading by example.
and last, but not least (and definitely my favorite citation)...
MiD: Sergeant Mark Moffitt, who stayed in the line of fire for half an hour to foil an enemy ambush after promising his wife he wouldn’t do anything brave in Afghanistan.
RE: Daniel Rodriguez - from COP Keating to NCAA Football - Someone You Should Know (January 2012)
RE: This Ain't Hell: Combat Vet to Play at Clemson (August 2012)
Over at This Ain't Hell, Jonn posts a request that we should all get on with and, for those of you on Facebook, vote for Daniel as the 2012 USAA Athletic Inspiration Award for Courage in Sports here.
[Note: Like all charities that we post about, we believe in BOOTSTRAP and made a donation to the program. Please help if you can.]
Background: A few years ago, Uncle Jimbo posted about a new concept of how Yoga can help those with Post Traumatic Stress. Jimbo sent readers over to the Kitchen Dispatch to learn more. Now, BOOTSTRAP is launched and needs your help in supporting our troops.
What is BOOTSTRAP?
BOOTSTRAP has been created by Eric Walrabenstein, himself a former U.S. Army Infantry Officer and now, a nationally-recognized expert in yoga and mind/body health.
To create this one-of-a-kind program, Eric has combined his years of experience in the military with his track record of using mind/body wisdom to heal thousands who have been exposed to severe psychological traumas.
Much more than the physical exercise that many associate with yoga, BOOTSTRAP combines yoga's lesser-known mental disciplines with proven practices from modern stress-management techniques to deliver a powerful healing experience—all customized for our troops and veterans.
Over three years in development, BOOTSTRAP is a home-based, curriculum-driven program melding modern stress-management strategies with the wisdom of yoga (no mumbo-jumbo, beads, or incense; just proven, practical techniques that get results). The ten-week program is specifically designed for the military audience and has been proven effective in less than one hour a day.
Because BOOTSTRAP will be deployed online, many of the obstacles to getting effective help through more traditional means are no longer an issue: long application processes, bureaucratic red tape, travel, appointments, waiting lines—and the fear of judgment and criticism…gone.
How can you help?
1. Please spread the word about BOOTSTRAP.
2. The team at BOOTSTRAP funded the development and launch, but putting the program into the hands of the hundreds of thousands in need is a colossal task.
Because our pledge is to never charge a fee to a troop or veteran in need, we are turning to all Americans to give back through Operation BOOTSTRAP.
So please visit www.bootstrapUSA.com/give and:
- STEP 1: GIFT a minimum of One Day of Healing in the BOOTSTRAP program to a warrior in need—for only $3.
- STEP 2: GATHER at least 10 friends who will support the effort by GIFTING and GATHERING too.
Funds raised will put the entire ten-week interactive program online and allow us to provide live ongoing support to those engaged in the healing process.
Last, as the online BOOTSTRAP Life Restore portal will be fully operational in the next few months, they are also accepting advanced requests for the program. Send troops in need of free help here: www.bootstrapUSA.com/request.
NRA Life of Duty Frontlines Episode 3: Kosovo
NRA Life of Duty presented by Brownells and FNH USA have teamed up to bring you the third episode from the brand new Frontlines series with LtCol Oliver North. This month, Chuck Holton and the NRA LOD team report from Kosovo – where more than 1,000 U.S. troops are deployed for a peace keeping mission. Watch more episodes from this series on the NRA Life of Duty Frontlines channel sponsored by FNH USA at www.nralifeofduty.tv/north .
The following review is a special from Elise Cooper for BlackFive readers. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking here or on our Books category:
Mike Gallagher’s latest book, 50 Things Liberals Love To Hate, is everything you wanted to know about Liberals but were afraid to ask. Gallagher is the host of a national radio show, The Mike Gallagher Show, and a conservative political commentator. Since only 20% of those polled call themselves liberal,
both Democrats and Republicans will like this book. It brings humor to todays politically charged environment.
This book is both humorous and informative. The theme is that Liberals want to take away what Americans enjoy. Included in his rundown are Walmart, Steakhouses, McDonalds, Flag Pins, Football, the V-8 Engine, Success, the Second Amendment, Freeways, the Military, and The Founding Fathers. The book starts off with Gallagher’s insightful description, “I learned that they spend a whole lot of time thinking about America’s faults, and how to correct them. About America’s ills, and how to cure them. Liberals love to hate things most Americans love, and spend the rest of their lives endlessly trying to take those things away from us.”
Right off the bat he lists McDonalds, but any fast food chain could be substituted. Maybe New York Mayor Bloomberg should be given a copy of this book since he convinced the New York City Board of Health to ban sugary drinks (sodas, teas, and sport drinks) over sixteen ounces in fast-food restaurants, stadiums, movie theaters, and other eateries. An excerpt from the book where his humor comes out loud and clear, ”Conservatives see a fat person and think: ‘Lay off the bread. Take the stairs. Would it kill you to have a salad once in awhile?’ Liberals see a fat person and think: ‘We should immediately pass laws forbidding this kind of obesity…’” He commented to BlackFive about this quote, “You would think New Yorkers would be absolutely outraged and in the streets that Mayor Bloomberg thinks that it’s the governments role to tell somebody what size container they can buy from a private establishment.”
He does not see McDonalds as bad but as “representing American ingenuity.” Furthermore, it’s personal for him since his single mom and he had a tradition where every Christmas Eve they would go to McDonalds and have a Big Mac.
He is disgusted by their claim of supporting the soldier, not the mission. In the book he discusses how “From the tribal wastelands of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the pirate havens of East Africa, the military of the United States is on a classic civil mission, daring to impose Western values upon indigenous cultures. And keep Americans safe at the same time.” He directly noted, “What the American soldier lives by is peace through America’s fighting power. Instead of the liberal credo, ‘Give peace a chance,’ which is a really bad song by a guy who also imagined no heaven, and no countries. Liberals have the same contempt for today’s soldier as they did for the Vietnam veteran.”
Anyone who enjoyed these few tidbits will enjoy the whole book. In 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate, Gallagher gets his point across, about liberal’s absurd ideas, with cutting irony and biting wit. For the humor alone people should read this book.
Haven't we heard that before?
Paul Sperry over at the NY Post has an article that shows evidently, over at the Puzzle Palace, the solution to the "Green on Blue" Ad Hoc Unfriendly Bullet Exchange Program is not for us to double down on our Force Protection measures and examine how we are going to keep our savage allies from shooting us; it is to stop by the clearing barrel on the way into a classroom to be Powerpointed to Death on how it is that blowing your nose in front of a Muslim is such a blood libel that the only answer to it is for the person who witnessed it to immediately murder the nose blower.
If you don’t want to be shot in the back by your Afghan training partners, the Pentagon advises, don’t offend their religious sensibilities. Don’t kick your feet up on a table, for instance, and never ask to see a picture of their wives and kids. “There’s a percentage [of attacks] which are cultural affronts,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a recent interview.
I probably don't need to say that the fact that General Dempsey ordered this safety standown makes him a world class tool. Responding to incidents and widespread operational issues like this with our troops with solutions like this further confirms for me the exact consistency of the chewy center of this poopy flavored lollipop; and evidently, I am not the only one who has had to lick this thing...
“I would like to see a public affairs officer explain to the press where showing the bottom of your shoe to a Muslim or shaking with your left hand was legitimate grounds for murder,” growled one US Army official.
“The cultural affronts excuse is a bunch of garbage,” a senior US Army intelligence official told me. “The Afghans that know we’re doing all this PC cultural sensitivity crap are laughing their asses off at our stupidity.”
I am speaking from a point of expertise on this; as someone who has been part of having an extremely angry Afghan soldier attempt to murder Captain Jack because he didn't want to pull security and felt offended enough to reach for his AK-47 and teach Captain Jack a thing or two about offending him. For his troubles, he got his ass kicked by Captain Jack and nearly got his head blown off when he turned to come at me. So let me say that the proper response is not to look deep inside our souls and reflect on how it is that we could have done something to not offend these savages.