Journal: Bing West on Futility of the Grunt War in Afghanistan

Ethics, Government, Military
Bing West
Bing West

Flagged by Marcus Aurelius.  Bing West, former Marine and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs during the Reagan Administration, has put some straight-forwawrd words into the Small Wars Journal with a bottom-line that has been known to all of us for decades, but merits repetition over and over again until we finally restore integrity to the national security decision-making process.

Tactics or Strategy?

Our soldiers only get a small number of chances to engage the enemy. Our battalions average one arrest every two months, and one platoon-sized patrol per day per company that infrequently makes solid contact. On average, a US rifleman will glimpse a Taliban once a month.

The Taliban initiate the fights because they know they can escape. Our patrols have firepower but lack mobility. Our soldiers are carrying 70 pounds; a Taliban is carrying ten pounds. The Taliban have the distinct edge in mobility. Because the Taliban are well-concealed and scoot away, our superior firepower does not yield precision aim points to do severe damage.

. . . . . . .

This is my third war. It has the highest level of military scholars. Those scholars who emphasized the concepts of non-kinetic counterinsurgency need also to design concepts that bring more lethality to the ground battlefield. We’re pumping billions into UAVs. Surely we can find technologies and techniques for the grunt.

Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment

1.  THis problem is not new.  The military-industrial-system is built to create profit at the expense of the taxpayer and the grunt.  It is allowed to do that because we lack integrity at every level but most especially at the White House, Congressional, and Secretary of Defense levels.

2.  Nothing our brave grunts do on the ground will matter unless we understand the threat, create a proper strategy, then fund, build, and deploy a Whole of Government capability to achieve the only outcome that is sustainable: a prosperous world at peace.  There is not a single person in the Administration, elected or appointed, that actually gives a shit about that.  THAT is what we have to change.

Here are just two sad headlines that are testimony to the idiocy and lack of integrity of two Admiistrations in succession:

We Can’t Fight Our Way Out Of Afghanistan

In Taliban Heartland, Coalition’s Made Little Headway After 8 Years

Below, just for grins, is the cover from General Robert Scales’s book, Firepower in Limited War, leading to our review.  How utterly pathetic our leadership is, so far removed from the cost in blood, treasure, and spirit, so lacking in integrity as to shame us all for allowing them to remain our pupported leaders when they all disgrace us so.

Firepower in Limited War
Firepower in Limited War