Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Via HotAir, six members of Bergdahl’s platoon discussing his desertion:

Keep in mind these are the same guys that Obama administration officials are calling “psychopaths”.

Bowe Bergdahl deserted and lived with the Taliban for 5 years.  At best he’s a deserter.  From many, if not most, stories – he’s a traitor – as there are reports from Special Operations forces members already of how activity in the AOR he disappeared from suddenly got more deadly as he taught the Taliban/AQ better ways to kill US troops.

As more of the information came in, my unit, along with others in the community, simply stopped looking for him.  As for the videos of Bergdahl in military and Afghan attire, we were privy to analyze and dissect all of the “unedited” video.  We realized that he had vowed to help the Afghan people (meaning Taliban), and teach them tactics he had learned through his training.  As for what he may have taught them, we are not sure, but we can say that American casualties and the amount of attacks in the area did increase following his capture.

Army MSG Mark Allen was another of the many soldiers on many missions who went out looking for a lost American – who went searching for a fellow soldier – but what he got for his efforts was a bullet to the brain.

MSG Allen’s wife would like people to meet her husband:

“Meet my husband, injuries directly brought to you by the actions of this traitor. He can’t give an account of what went down, because he can no longer speak. Now, which guy is a ‘hero’ again?!? Sick.”

msg mark allen and family

A more detailed description of what Bergdahl’s desertion inflicted on MSG Allen and his family:

Sergeant 1st Class Mark Allen of Bravo Company, 48th Brigade Combat Team of the Georgia Army National Guard was critically wounded south of Kabul in Afghanistan on July 8, 2009. He had been in Afghanistan for one month, after serving in Iraq for nearly a year. SFC Allen was engaged in a furious firefight with the enemy when he was struck by sniper fire. The sniper’s bullet pierced his armored helmet and passed through the frontal lobe of his brain.

SFC Allen suffered a massive trauma stroke not long after sustaining the gunshot wound. A craniotomy (removing part of his skull) was immediately performed in Afghanistan to relieve pressure on his brain and make room for swelling. He was then transferred to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany the following morning where another craniotomy was performed to ensure minimal damage from swelling. The majority of his frontal lobe and part of his parietal lobe were removed to save his life. On Sunday, July 12th, he arrived at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Mark is transferred to the James A Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida in August of 2009. He has been rehabilitating there for more than two years. He is unable to talk or walk, and requires 24-hour care. He has limited use of his right hand, but no purposeful movement in any other extremities. Mark is very aware of his surroundings, has retained memories and recognizes his loved ones. He laughs and smiles when something is funny, he cries when he’s upset. He is able to follow commands with his right hand, hold objects, use his fingers to indicate numbers, and can correctly nod his head to answer questions most of the time.

msg mark allen

MSG Mark Allen is a hero who selflessly went out to rescue a fellow American soldier from a fanatical enemy known for beheading those they capture.  He did his duty from Iraq to Afghanistan, and his life was destroyed and nearly lost on a rescue mission – a rescue mission to save a deserter who abandoned his post and sympathized with the enemy.

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At least six died for the deserter Bergdahl, and many more lives were devastated, like the lives of MSG Mark Allen and his family.

afghanistan 6 lost due to bergdahl-

Update 2: Not going to put this above MSG Allen, but worth seeing.  Via Drudge, from UK Daily Mail:

 A captured American soldier is training Taliban fighters bomb-making and ambush skills, according to one of his captors and Afghan intelligence officials.

Private Bowe Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009 while based in eastern Afghanistan and is thought to be the only U.S. serviceman in captivity.

The 24-year-old has converted to Islam and now has the Muslim name Abdullah, one of his captors told The Sunday Times.

A Taliban deputy district commander in Paktika, who called himself Haji Nadeem, told the newspaper that Bergdahl taught him how to dismantle a mobile phone and turn it into a remote control for a roadside bomb.

Nadeem claimed he also received basic ambush training from the U.S. soldier.

Update: Bergdahl the traitor, again.

…Afghans from a nearby village say: “There’s an American here looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.”

The search for Bergdahl put troops in a vulnerable position. Attacks increased as U.S. movements became easier for the Taliban to predict, Bergdahl’s angry fellow soldiers said, speaking out for the first time now that he had been rescued.

And of course there’s Bergdahl’s father, the radical convert, with his pro-terrorist tweets sent to terrorist website Voice of Jihad:

bergdahl_tweet_father

Update 3: Joint Chiefs is saying Bergdahl will be investigated for desertion.

Cpl. Clifford Wooldridge

Posted: December 31, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Badass, Heroes, Marine Corps

His Navy Cross citation (breaks and highlights added):

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Corporal Clifford M. Wooldridge, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Vehicle Commander, Combined Anti-Armor Platoon White, Weapons Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, FIRST Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 18 June 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

When their mounted patrol came under intense enemy fire, Corporal Wooldridge and his squad dismounted and maneuvered on the suspected enemy location. Spotting a group of fifteen enemy fighters preparing an ambush, Corporal Wooldridge led one of his fire teams across open ground to flank the enemy, killing or wounding at least eight and forcing the rest to scatter. As he held security alone to cover his fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall. Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy fighters at close range, killing both of them with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun.

His audacious and fearless actions thwarted the enemy attack on his platoon. By his bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage under fire, and total dedication to duty, Corporal Wooldridge reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

KILL!

wooldridge

One mind, any weapon… even the enemy’s… as a club.

The Cost Of Defeat

Posted: June 21, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Government, History, US Military
Tags:

Afghanistan has pretty much now become the sequel to Vietnam.

We won every battle in Vietnam, had the NVA on their heels, utterly destroyed the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive, but it went down in history as a loss due to the political will to fight disappearing.

In Afghanistan, we did the same – victory after victory until politicians started meddling with the war and hamstringing rules of engagement until the political will to fight evaporated.

And now we’re leaving.  We got a little bit of payback and some experience at the cost of lost lives and limbs and blood and years that we can’t get back.

And now we’re leaving behind $7,000,000,000 worth of equipment.

The end of a war brings its own logistical challenges.  Getting the troops home from the theater of war takes plenty of planning, especially in an environment still significantly unsecure, as in Afghanistan (and in Iraq, for that matter), but the question of retrieving heavy equipment is even more complicated.  With the drawdown date set by Barack Obama approaching, the Pentagon has decided to scrap billions of dollars in equipment rather than deal with the logistical and economic consequences of retrieval:

Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.

The massive disposal effort, which U.S. military officials call unprecedented, has unfolded largely out of sight amid an ongoing debate inside the Pentagon about what to do with the heaps of equipment that won’t be returning home. Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home.

Not only is it a waste in lives, but now it’s a waste in materiel.

We’ve done this before after WWII, and it was a waste then (though at least we recycled some of it).

destroyed p38s after ww2

Here’s an idea – let private industry bring back that equipment.

Humvees and MTVRs sold on the open market may pay the cost of shipping back to the US, as well as quadcons and empty hescos and the piles and piles of equipment that are still worth something.

Since we ignored MacArthur’s maxim “There is no substitute for victory” and decided that some kind of withdrawal without victory is acceptable, at least we should take the time to bring back our stuff.

Otherwise we may as well just run this photo again:

fall of saigon helicopter

Afghanistan Declared A Gun-Free Zone

Posted: January 22, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Government, Guns, Humor, Iraq

From The Duffel Blog:

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Following the latest green-on-blue attacks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has formally announced today that the entire nation of Afghanistan had been declared a gun-free zone.

“After over thirty years of senseless violence, I think it’s time we say no to big guns and the firearms industry that promotes them,” a tearful and visibly-tired Karzai told a crowd of Afghan legislators at the presidential palace in Kabu.

There were concerns that many residents in this nation of firearms enthusiasts, widely described as “the freest people in the world”, would ignore the edict.  This is a country where guns outnumber people 14:1 and actually have more civil rights than them.  Many people proudly sport jalabiyas bearing the slogan “Live free or die”.  Last year a DShK heavy machine gun was elected to parliament.  And the national motto can be roughly translated as ‘A man should purchase a gun instead of a wife, because at least if someone looks at his gun he won’t have to take it out back and crush it with a heavy rock’.

Initially there was some hope that the edict would not affect the 130,000 ISAF/NATO soldiers serving throughout the country because the edict only affects men and women.  Under the Afghan constitution, ISAF soldiers are not considered human.

However ISAF spokesman Major Kimberly Ash said the International Security Assistance Force would also comply with the law and that all future patrols would be limited to bayonets and sharp pointed sticks.

Joking aside, gun control was attempted in Iraq.

Iraqis who complied gave up their arms (save being allowed one actual full-auto AK and 2 magazines per household).  Problem was, the jihadi foreign fighters and their supporters obviously didn’t care, didn’t comply, and the bad guys still had guns.  Meanwhile, the good people who wanted to support the coalition efforts were left with less to defend themselves.  Plus, while the good people might have an AK at their household, they couldn’t carry it with them to go to the town market like they could a handgun.

Still, there are plenty of interesting comparisons to make.

Iraqi AK oleg volk

Via The Jawa Report:

The Taliban and Al Qaeda aren’t losing.  They aren’t quitting.

Lara Logan discusses what’s really going on, and how she researched the story.  She’s one hell of a reporter.  It’s well worth watching.

“This is terrorism.  It’s a completely and utterly different fight from anything we have faced in our history…  Our way of life is under attack – and if you think that’s government propaganda – if you think that’s nonsense – if you think that’s warmongering – you’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight.  In your arrogance, you think you write the script, but you don’t.”

Insurgents Inside the Wire

Posted: March 28, 2012 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Marine Corps, Military, US Military

From the Marine Corps Blog:

Lance Cpl. Harry Lew kept falling asleep on his post in Afghanistan. As punishment, two other lance corporals in his unit made Lew do push-ups, leg lifts and side planks. They poured sand in his face and mouth, kicked him and punched him for several hours. Shortly after this degrading and humiliating experience, Lew shot himself in the head.

While most instances of hazing are not this severe or end with such devastating results, even the act of slapping chevrons into the collarbone after promotion and the punching of a newly-promoted noncommissioned officer’s legs to symbolize the blood stripe can cause emotional, physical and psychological damage to a Marine. Furthermore, these acts are in direct opposition to the values and ethics upheld by the Marine Corps. Renewed effort is being taken to eradicate hazing in the Corps.

“Hazing is a crime that is inconsistent with our core values and organizational purpose of making Marines, winning our nation’s battles and returning quality citizens upon completion of their service,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett in a recent testimony about hazing before the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Military Personnel March 22.

Barrett even went so far as to compare hazing to having insurgents inside the wire.

In the past, hazing was sometimes viewed as a rite of passage, a way to build camaraderie or as punishment for poor behavior. While the most common forms are initiation and congratulatory acts, hazing is any conduct where a Marine, regardless of rank, causes another Marine to suffer or be exposed to any activity that is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful. However, the reality is there is no justified reason for hazing and the Marine Corps is working to ensure hazing ends now.

LCpl Flowers’ little editorial note there is incorrect.  The statement “there is no justified reason for hazing”, as well as the definition given, fails on many levels.

Let’s look at that case of LCpl Lew:

Prosecuting attorney Maj. Hanorah Tyer-Witek told the jury in closing arguments that witnesses saw Orozco ordering Lew to do push-ups after Lew had been digging a foxhole for two hours without eating or drinking anything.

Orozco was annoyed and fed up that Lew had fallen asleep on watch for the fourth time since he arrived at Patrol Base Gowragi, she said.

He placed sandbags on Lew’s legs while Lew did leg lifts, Tyer-Witek said. Sand got into Lew’s mouth when Orozco ripped open the sandbag after Lew stopped lifting.

Yeah, Orozco is a clearly a thug.  Oh, what’s this part again?

Lew had fallen asleep on watch for the fourth time since he arrived at Patrol Base Gowragi

So Lew is derelict in his duties to his fellow Marines?  He’s leaving the wire undefended?  He’s the first line of defense and he’s choosing to take a nap instead?  He’s supposed to be watching them while they sleep and rest, and instead he’s nodding off so that actual insurgents, actual terrorists, can actually get inside the actual wire and kill actual Marines?

There’s a difference between hazing and a correction.  There are still “corrections” made in the military that might be called hazing by people who live in a different environment.  This isn’t the kind of hazing and institutional abuse that plagues former Soviet countries, wherein senior enlisted men abuse and then steal from new conscripts.

This is a Lance Corporal who fell asleep not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in a combat zone, exposing other members of his squad, platoon, company, and everyone else in that patrol base to the actual enemy.  His job was to watch the wire.  Everybody hurts when they’re on watch.  If you start to nod off, you wake somebody else up.  You find your relief and say “hey, I’m going to flat pass the hell out”.  He may be mad, but he’ll be less mad than waking up to getting shot by the enemy.

The general orders for Marines are thus:

1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.

6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding Officer, Officer of the Day, Officers, and Non-Commissioned Officers of the guard only.

7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

9. To call the Corporal of the Guard in any case not covered by instructions.

10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.

11. To be especially watchful at night and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Aside from number 7, he can’t do any of these while asleep.  He actually can’t even do number 7, because he’s not actually on duty when he’s asleep and derelict.

Now, to go the official route means a page 11, maybe some counseling forms, and paper that will follow the sleeper his whole career.  It also won’t change anything about his behavior when he’s put on watch.  Or it means he can’t be trusted on watch, which means that someone else has to pick up his slack, which means he’s a burden.  It means a capable, trustworthy Marine is now doing double duty because LCpl Sleepy can’t be trusted.  Or let’s say the Chain of Command really agrees with LCpl Fire Team Leader about LCpl Sleepy and decides to haul him straight off to Ft. Leavenworth.  Well, now the Fire Team is down a Marine.  The only one who wins is the enemy, because there’s one less Marine out there fighting them.

Exposing a Marine to “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” acts with the purpose of making a correction means that a Marine might be saved from being kicked out, from poor decisions, or from their own problems that they need to get over in order to watch out for their fellow Marines and make it back home safe.  Everybody gets “hazed” according to that definition throughout boot camp – because it’s a matter of corrections and character building.  The same thing happens afterwards in the fleet.

It is up to Marines in the fleet to make sure that they’re making corrections and using judgement.  Hazing is something else.  Hazing is MRE-heater urine bombs in someone’s gear.  Hazing is intentionally messing with someone just to mess with them.  Corrections are field expedient measures utilizing “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” techniques – but not intent – to get the desired result – in this case, get the LCpl to stop falling asleep on watch and endangering everyone – and to make it so someone else doesn’t have to pull double duty to make up for his failures.  Note that every time LCpl Sleepy gets pulled off the line because he can’t be trusted, someone else, a hardworking, diligent Marine, has to make up his slack, and LCpl Hardworker now loses his own sleep and his morale and ability degrade because he’s pulling additional shifts.

The hazing order here also notes something else omitted in the story:

Hazing, as defined in the order, is any conduct whereby a military member or members, regardless of service or rank, without proper authority causes another military member or members to suffer or be exposed to any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful.

This is where a correction comes into play.  The authority used could even be that of Corporal of Sergeant of the Guard, or even senior Lance Corporal in a squad.  It is used to make a correction.  War is a messy business.  When the Taliban is going to come in and cut your damned head off if the sentry falls asleep, you give him a counseling statement.  That doesn’t convey the gravity of the situation.  You’re not dealing with a hypothetical, you’re dealing with life and death every time LCpl Sleepy decides it’s naptime.  Telling some REMF pogue back stateside that you need more peer-to-peer review and conflict resolution forms really doesn’t correct the situation.

“Once you lose trust, you work out of fear,” Rivera said. “Working out of fear destroys any individuals’ initiative since fear motivates us to do the minimum, so you don’t get in trouble.”

If you lose trust in the sentry who keeps falling asleep but can’t be touched because of regulations, you’re in fear all the time that he’ll fall asleep and you’ll be overrun by enemies who will cut your head off and videotape it.  Doing someone else’s job because they sleep through it motivates everyone to do less than the minimum, since the sleeper who won’t do the minimum doesn’t even get in trouble… well, until the enemy gets there.

“Typically, hazing occurs as acts of initiation or in congratulations,” said Chief Warrant Officer Ralph Rivera a legal administrative officer for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

“Confused participants seem to think it is a part of our customs and courtesies, (but) those individuals are severely mistaken,” he added. “It’s actually opposite in that when brought to light it sheds a bad picture of our Marine Corps and what we truly are about.”

Hazing destroys Marines’ confidence and trust in their fellow Marines and in unit leadership, undermining unit cohesion and combat readiness, said Amos.

If you’re beating someone up just because they’re the new guy in your unit, MOS, or whatnot, that’s hazing.  Making a sleeper do pushups or dig his own grave with an e-tool is not hazing, it’s correction.  More importantly, it works.

It’s worth noting that there are MOSes that still have actual hazing rituals – and they are part of customs and courtesies, but informally – and they’re voluntary.  The Navy still conducts hazing rituals (for shellbacks and polliwogs and golden shellbacks and things like that), but they’re voluntary.  If you want to go run around the deck of a ship in your underwear and get hit with the fire hose in the Arctic Circle, well, that’s up to you.  If you want to wade through bilge and garbage that should’ve been thrown off the fantail to get your golden merman or whatever the Navy calls it, that’s fine – it’s voluntary.