Friday, October 22, 2010

Listen to the boots on the ground, Pentagon


KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- To the U.S. Army soldiers and Marines serving here, some things seem so obviously true that they are beyond debate. Among those perceived truths: The restrictive rules of engagement that they have to fight under have made serving in combat far more dangerous for them, while allowing the Taliban to return to a position of strength.
"If they use rockets to hit the [forward operating base] we can't shoot back because they were within 500 meters of the village. If they shoot at us and drop their weapon in the process we can't shoot back," said Spc. Charles Brooks, 26, a U.S. Army medic with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, in Zabul province.
Word had come down the morning Brooks spoke to this reporter that watch towers surrounding the base were going to be dismantled because Afghan village elders, some sympathetic to the Taliban, complained they were invading their village privacy. "We have to take down our towers because it offends them and now the Taliban can set up mortars and we can't see them," Brooks added, with disgust.
In June, Gen. David Petraeus, who took command here after the self-inflicted demise of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, told Congress that he was weighing a major change with rules for engaging enemy fighters in Afghanistan. That has not yet happened, troops say. Soldiers and Marines continue to be held back by what they believe to be strict rules imposed by the government of President Hamid Karzai designed with one objective: limit Afghan civilian casualties.
"I don't think the military leaders, president or anybody really cares about what we're going through," said Spc. Matthew "Silver" Fuhrken, 25, from Watertown, N.Y. "I'm sick of people trying to cover up what's really going on over here. They won't let us do our job. I don't care if they try to kick me out for what I'm saying -- war is war and this is no war. I don't know what this is."
To the soldiers and Marines risking their lives in Afghanistan, restrictions on their ability to aggressively attack the Taliban have led to another enormous frustration stalking morale: the fear that the Karzai government, with the prodding of the administration of President Obama, will negotiate a peace with the Taliban that wastes all the sacrifices by the U.S. here. Those fears intensified when news reached the enlisted ranks that the Karzai government, with the backing of senior Obama officials, was entering a new round of negotiations with the Taliban.
"If we walk away, cut a deal with the Taliban, desert the people who needed us most, then this war was pointless," said Pvt. Jeffrey Ward, with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, who is stationed at Forward Operating Base Bullard in southern Afghanistan.
"Everyone dies for their own reasons but it's sad to think that our friends, the troops, have given their lives for something we're not going to see through."
Other soldiers agreed. They said they feared few officials in the Pentagon understand the reality on the ground.
From the front lines, the U.S. backing of the Karzai government, widely seen as riddled with corruption by the Afghans living in local villages, has given the Taliban a position of power in villages while undercutting U.S. moral authority.
Corrupt government officials have made "it impossible for us to trust anyone," said elder Sha Barar, from the village of Sha Joy. The people of that village and many others profess fear of the Taliban, and recount tales of brutality and wanton killings by the Taliban and their sympathizers. But they don't see the Karzai government as a positive force in their lives.
Karzai said that talks need to continue with the Taliban "at a fixed address and with a more open agenda to tell us how to bring peace to Afghanistan and Pakistan."
But U.S. troops and Marines interviewed during the past month in Afghanistan question what negotiations would really mean, to both them and the Afghan people. And they almost universally believe that negotiating would be a mistake before achieving decisive gains they believe are attainable once oppressive rules of engagement are relaxed.
"What does it mean if we give in to the Taliban? They are the enemy," Brooks said. "This place is going to be a safe haven for terrorists again. The government doesn't care about the sacrifices already made. As far as the mission goes, I want to see these kids go to school and have a future but not at the expense of my friends -- not anymore."
Written  October 19,.2010 by Sara A. Carter,The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at scarter@washingtonexaminer.com.

19 comments:

Mustang said...

The more you limit what a combat commander can do in order to achieve his objective the greater the possibility that a combat mission will fail.

Obama wants Afghanistan to fail, even though he said Afghanistan was 'his' war. This proves that Obama is an idiot, and a dangerous idiot. General Petraeus, in not resigning, enables the Obama idiocy.

Hey, here's an idea! Let's elect a community organizer so that more of our troops can be killed and we can lose another (ill-advised) war.

Always On Watch said...

I fear for my young cousin, a Marine, who will be deployed in a few months -- likely to Afghanistan.

Always On Watch said...

Mustang,
Good point about the need for Petraeus to resign. I would think that he's morally obligated to do so!

cube said...

Let's hope the Pentagon does listen because the restrictive laws of engagement are killing more of our people.

Z said...

Mustang, GREAT idea! It got us where we are today and isn't that GRAND? (wilting sarcasm here, of course)
I don't know what happened to Petraeus, he started out so well and keeps sinking and sinking in most of our estimation.
Imagine a president with this little experience or love of country to be commanding our guys in war.

Always, I have a dear friend who could be deployed soon....it's a terrible thought to think we're sending them over there and they don't feel their backs are covered but that of their enemies is because the left insists we're nice. I'll never ever forget the suggestion that Mirandas be given...that showed me how low AMerica's gone...and scared me, frankly.
I remember how I felt when I heard mosques can't be shot at but muslims were in mosques killing our kids ....don't ask my reaction. Not fit to print.

Cube, we should march against this.

Anonymous said...

The present government doesn't give a damn what the soldiers think. They are just fodder to them. In the Korean War it was politics: take a hill, then have to give it back. Over & over. Don't go to war if you don't intend to win. I would get our troops out of there & then flatten it like Hiroshima & Nagasaki. To Hell with what any other countries or politicians think. All they want from us is the $$$$$$$$$$$$$. This makes me furious.

Silvrlady

Anonymous said...

My son is in the 3rd Bat 5th Marine unit that has just lost 10 soldiers. This is his first deployment as it was for 9 of the young soldiers who lost their lives. What is the government doing to protect our young soldiers. I do not feel they are trained enough before being sent over to almost certain death. I am so afraid for them. Marine Mom

christian soldier said...

the PC policies of the DoD - DoS-
and-
the RoEs-
are getting our BEST killed--
I take it very personally-w/ good reason!
The fact that our BEST are not getting their ballots-AGAIN - also p_ _ _ es me off--

as to my tax $$$ going to to the NPR-NEArts- PBS-when cuts are being made to our BEST--well-don't get me started!!!
Carol-CS

Anonymous said...

This is an outrage. Is Karzai the CIC or Obama? These are our brave troops with bullseye's on their backs.

Watch towers taken down for privacy rights for the civilians? What a load of bull.

Meanwhile our President, and I use the term loosely, is running around the country doing what he likes best, campaigning.

He has a job to do, and a war he's responsible for. For every American soldier who is killed in Afghanistan, the blood is on his hands.

He doesn't give a whit about what happens in Afghanistan. He's a cold little coward who isn't qualified to shine those soldiers' boots.

And as far as I'm concerned, as Mustang has said, Petraeous should resign his post.

If he doesn't, he is complicit in this sad excuse of a mission in which our troops are obliged to obey, with their hands tied behind their backs.

How long would Ike, Macarthur, or Patton have tolerated this? I can't even imagine it happening then, and of course it wouldn't have.

The responsibility though, lies at the top and that's President Obama. He's the Commander in Chief, like it or not. I see nothing changing as long as Obama's President.
Unless, his General stands up to him and tells him he'll resign unless his men can fight as they should be able to.

We either fight with all our capabilities, or we leave.

Ironically, the Taliban would be once more in control of that country, and once more, a haven for terrorists.

That would be President Obama's achievement. He will have turned everything on it's head which I think is exactly what he want's to do.

Finally, my heart goes out to the families who are here at home, praying for their husbands and wives, sons and daughters. God bless and keep them all. They do not deserve this outrageous betrayal.


Pris

Joe said...

President BO finds losing the war in Afghanistan a positive thing! It fits his world view. America needs to be punished for its arrogance...according to him.

beamish said...

Just a quick sample survey of local graveyards around me found that 100% interviewed had no complaints about noise or traffic or even privacy.

Obviously we need to relocate Afghans unwilling to fight the Taliban into graveyards.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

The buck (all 10 trillion of them) stops at the desk of the POTUS. What is it with modern democrats and the inability to lead troops?

I'm sure duckling will set us all straight.

Ducky's here said...

Cheer up, the terrorists are in Somalia and if you think Afghanistan has been a complete screw up, try occupying Somalia again.

Once again we fail to accept counter insurgencies are an absolute bitch and once the "freedom and democracy" jingoist nonsense wears off you are neck deep in the big muddy.

We'll learn eventually.

Z said...

Marine Mom, apparently, the Fifth Fifth Marines is one of our finest regiments; it has a combat record second to none.
While it can't guarantee your dear son will be safe, particularly after reading my post, I would never blame the Marines for being unready. I have a great friend, a young man of 23, who's been training plenty of wknds this year for possible deployment at the beginning of next year; he's prepared.
We just have to change the rules and let our soldiers fight like soldiers.

Elmers Brother said...

Insurgencies have been beaten duhkkky.

My brother is headed to Afghanistan in June.

Elmers Brother said...

it's a matter of the will and right now our government does not have the will.

Major said...

"I don't know what happened to Petraeus, he started out so well and keeps sinking and sinking in most of our estimation."

If history gives us any lessons...it should be apparent that most libbie, demrat presidents ( post WW2 ) still take their cues from Harry Truman. You know...the one where Harry got weak knees, wet his pants and fired Douglas MacArthur for wanting to actually win the Korean...errrr...."conflict"?

Having stepped into it...ole dem Harry gave us: 2 Koreas with no peace treaty, still to this day. Gave the world a Communist China which has become a world threat, superpower and has taken over our souls and fiscal future via Wal Mart. A Soviet Union...a Cuba...and then Vietnam.

Like Obama...he folded the tents, restricted the use of force when we had an opportunity to keep China at bay ( and would never have formed an axis with the Soviets ) and gave us a cold war that still exists to this day. Yes...war is not good for living things. But confronted with the realities...diplomats from Chamberlain to Carter have always been wrong and have cost us countless lives. Let the Generals....not the suited Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia POS weenies run the wars. We are...the ONCE...Proud...great US. Gone since WW2.

Kennedy and Johnson surely followed in Harry's footprints when it came to war and the managing of war. And old haberdasher and now a community organizer have our troops lives in their hands. Sucks...doesn't it?

Yes...Petraeus ought to take the honorable course of action as MacArthur did and should also borrow a quote from the old soldier:

"Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.
Douglas MacArthur

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within."


Major

Anonymous said...

I like this quote better...and Petraeus should take his cue from it:

"I appeal to you as a soldier to spare me the humiliation of seeing my regiment march to meet the enemy and I not share its dangers."
George Armstrong Custer


Got it General? Stop being a prima donna and let the troops unleash hell on the savages.

Oh...and quackster....I'd love to see islam exported to Somalia...what could go wrong on the darkest of continents? Islam would fail miserably in the hands of Somali's. Let is be so.

Common Sense said...

Tell me we're not on the road to anarchy, strife and a potential revolt:

Portland, ME residents will vote Nov. 2 on a proposal to give legal residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections, joining places like San Francisco and Chicago that have already loosened the rules or are considering it.

Noncitizens hold down jobs, pay taxes, own businesses, volunteer in the community and serve in the military, and it's only fair they be allowed to vote, Rwaganje said.

"We have immigrants who are playing key roles in different issues of this country, but they don't get the right to vote," said Rwaganje, 40, who moved to the U.S. because of political strife in his native Congo and runs a nonprofit that offers financial advice to immigrants.

Opponents of the measure say immigrants already have an avenue to cast ballots -- by becoming citizens. Allowing noncitizens to vote dilutes the meaning of citizenship, they say, adding that it could lead to fraud and unfairly sway elections.

""I like the Democrats. I want to vote for Democrats, but I don't have citizenship," he said."

Isn't this a Bitch?