Free Range International

Hotel California Naw Zad Edition

Facebook sent me a reminder about a post that went up 5 years ago and asked it I wanted to re-post it. I did then went to read and realized it was probably one of the better more prescient posts I ever wrote so here it is….back on the front page of FRI exactly 5 years after first being published.  It even has click bait if the form of two of must attractive and gutsy Free Ranges in the land. But the video at the end is disturbing …… those kids are fighting age now.

I ended my last post with an observation about the importance of how wars end.  That was most foolish of me because I was assuming we started bombing Libya with the intention of using the military to achieve an appropriate political endstate (because that’s how this shit is supposed to work).  But that isn’t at all what we are doing in Libya….I’m not sure what we are doing but it has nothing to do with an acceptable political endstate because there’s been no political debate or though given to the matter. It appears we’re bombing Libya because Obama feels we need to bomb Libya. Do you understand how unbelieveably stupid it is to start a war without any clue as to what you want to achieve?  Obama is not only a world class intellectual midget he’s now getting to be dangerous (to the entire world) and where the hell are the fucking Joint Chiefs? I know where they are….their where their predecessors are as documented in the excellent book Dereliction of Duty. Obsequious is not a word that should be applied (ever) to senior general officers but there it is.

I’m all for killing Col Gadhafi because he killed Americans; a lot of them in Berlin and over the skies of Lockerbie Scotland. I expected that Obama would not think through what he was doing but for some strange reason assumed the NSC and Pentagon had a plan (I type that with a straight face..honest) I forgot that the NSC is now headed by a political hack (with no previous military or national security experience)  named Tom Donilon and, being on vacation with my kids, it also slipped my mind that the Pentagon is busy focusing on the things that really matter; force feeding acceptance of openly gay service members and retro fitting submarines to accommodate female sailors.

I can’t bring myself to re-hash the hypocrisy, stupidity, or folly of Obama and his minions when it comes to the multiple crises popping up in the Middle East. It’s too depressing; the White House Bat Phone must be ringing off the hook nightly but we now know nobody has the balls to answer it.  Besides Mark Styen has done the heavy lifting on this issue with an excellent assessment which ends:

But lost along the way is hard-headed, strategic calculation of the national interest. “They won’t come back till it’s over/Over there!” sang George M. Cohan as the doughboys marched off in 1917. It was all over 20 minutes later, and then they came back. Now it’s never over over there not in Korea, not in Kuwait, not in Kosovo, not in Kandahar. Next stop Kufra? America has swapped The Art Of War for the Hotel California: We psychologically check out, but we never leave.

I must add this gem which, as the Bot is my witness, is an almost exact replica of conversations I had over and over during the summer of 2008 with Liberal USAID contractors at the Tiki Bar.  Obama has turned out to be worse than my worst summer 2008 nightmare. It is no longer funny (but the clip below is).

What is happening in Libya would not be important to the US had not Obama involved us kinda sorta. The ongoing revolts in Syria, Bahrain and Yeman are important to American interests but you need to know something about the region to understand that. That type of specialist knowledge is hard to come by in Saul Alinsky seminars, Reverend Wrights church sermons or the Harvard Law School.

While on holiday I saw this article on an airstrike targeting a Taliban commander that ended up killing civilians.  The article also helpfully points out that nine kids were killed in the Pech Valley earlier in the month which prompted the usually hysterics from President Karzai.

I’m not so sure about what the deal was with the Pech Valley airstrike except to point out that I know a few of the attack helicopter pilots based out of Jalalabad and they know just about every stinking inch of the Pech Valley.  I doubt the veracity of the report and will address that in a minute because this story about Naw Zad pisses me off and here’s why.

We got played again by the Afghans and the reason we got played has everything to do with the intelligence shortfalls identified by MajGen Flynn two years ago, combined with a still non-existent human intelligence capability.  Here is why I can say that with near total certainty without knowing a damn thing about what went on in this strike.

The unit that was on the ground in Naw Zad  (1st Battalion 8th Marines or 1/8 in Marine speak)  has rotated home and the battalion now working the battle space has been on deck maybe two weeks.  Battalions who have just arrived are not given a long enough leash to do whatever the hell they want; it is inconceivable that they came up with a “these two cars have a Taliban commander in them” plan and were then able to talk the Regimental Combat Team they work for (and I know its commander well) into letting them smoke two vehicles containing persons unknown with attack helicopters. The Naw Zad Valley is a flat, treeless expanse of high desert.  If the battalion thought they had a Taliban commander driving up or down it why not just stop the cars and grab his dumb ass?

This is what the terrain and vegetation looks like in the Naw Zad valley

This is what the terrain and vegetation looks like in the Naw Zad Valley

When aviation assets attack moving cars which reportedly contain high level Taliban it is a safe bet that the hit is driven by intelligence.  Normally that is supplied by the CIA and normally the hit has to be given a green light by someone from on high (who in the modern military/intel system is never held accountable for that decision).  That’s what normally happens but we all know the CIA doesn’t know shit because they have no humint program and rely on ‘walk-ins’. I would bet money that a “walk-in” targeted this car and the NDS vetted for him and we got exactly identical results for targeting folks based on NDS/CIA vetted ‘walk-ins’. That is how we  killed 27 woman and children attending a wedding in Nangarhar Province back in July 2008. Or when we  killed over 2 dozen children at a wedding party in Kandahar in November 2008, or….I could go on and on.

The common denominator with these botched attacks was human intel fed into the system by “walk-in” informants of dubious background and character or fed to our FOB bound intel people by the un-FOB bound Afghanistan intel people who have scores to settle or land to steal.  How many times do we need to be played by the Afghans before we wise up?  How many innocents have to die before we learn we cannot put all our eggs in the electronic warfare basket and start to develop our own human intelligence capability?

It’s not that hard to get off the FOB and stay off the FOB, my children did it.  Grad students from MIT do it…which reminds me the Synergy Strike Force girls are back in Nangarhar staying at the Taj and doing some super cool medical and social networking stuff.  Jenn’s blog is here and Rachel’s blog is here – Rachel brought her husband Juan Rodriguez along and he’s a pro shooter with a good eye and great glass on his camera – you should spend some time on both blogs. As you can see in the picture below hot chicks can stay off the FOB and roam around with no worries ….why can’t our HumInt teams do the same?

The Girls are back in town hanging out with Bollywood stars and SF A teams - they have been putting up excellent posts and photos for the past two months

The Girls are back in town hanging out with Bollywood stars and SF A teams – they have been putting up excellent posts and photos for the past two months

The Pech Valley

Earlier in the month ISAF was accused of shooting up 9 teenagers in the mountains of the Pech River Valley.  The Army attack helicopter pilots who work that part of the country have memorized (it isn’t a big valley) every attack point in the Pech Mountains where it is not unusual to see Taliban fighters who are very young. Remember the video of a 12 year old boy cutting the head off “an American spy”?  Or the herd of teenagers rolling boulders into the road behind American vehicles during the battle at Ganjgal?  Army attack pilots don’t light up people in the mountains for no good reason so there is no doubt in my mind that if they smoked 9 teens it was because they were carrying weapons. Karzai knows this as he does that the gum cameras will provide the answer to any questions he has. Notice how he never asks for the gun camera footage…that’s because he’s getting upset to score political points.

Were he a great leader, a man of integrity and one who listens and cares about the Afghan people what he should be upset about is the video pasted below. This video horrified (and I mean horrified) my Afghan staff.  I didn’t intend to show it to them but one of the cooks heard the music from the video and walked into my office to see why I was playing Jihadi music.  Within minutes the whole staff was watching in mute horror before wondering off in stunned silence tears running down some of their cheeks. This video is what should be concern the Afghan elites but it’s not…why?? I suspect the elites can’t extort cash out of the Taliban over videos like this or over dead civilians so why bother them.  The Americans – they pay and pay and pay.  And look what they have wrought.

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    11 comments to Hotel California Naw Zad Edition

    • J Harlan

      If McCain had won in 2008 where would we be? The voters would be served better by the option of “none of the above…start over”.

    • dennis

      Great post Tim! hope your feeling better. stay safe.

    • Forgotten Man

      Good post. A litter closer to work for you, I am starting to think that the Afghans are grabbing money and materials with no intention of being anything more than a fractured tribal area that will not enter the 20th century until well into the 22od century, if ever. Cash is still leaving by the pallet load and Opium is and will remain the cash crop of choice no matter what we do. We will never get a majority of Afghan men to stand up to the Taliban.

    • NYC Liberal Member of the Mainstream Media

      That name is not a joke, I am actually all of those things. And for those reasons I have been telling people that FRI is REQUIRED reading to get the real story about what’s going on. I’ve been reading for a while, but today’s post is such a perfect example of why I read this blog that I finally had to comment.

      I disagree with a lot of what is said here about politics, but as this post’s reference of the work by Rachel Robb and the MIT folks prove, this blog is nothing if not fair, open minded and wicked smart. That’s why I love disagreeing with it so much. Unlike Fox News, FRI has the intelligence and the on the ground reporting to make me rethink my assumptions or change my opinion.

      I work in the news business, so I mean it as a compliment when I say your one of the best news outlets around. So, just a quick plea. You work outside the wire, where reporters, politicians and even some military fear to tread. Apparently, so do a bunch of other really interesting groups, like Rachel Robbs et al. I would love more posts about the other people you encounter out there. The MIT stuff was simply great, and I’d love to hear more about similar projects.

      Thanks for listening. Tim, you and I probably have less in common than any two people around, but that’s why I keep coming back. Keep up the good work, and congratulations for producing better work than almost all the writers I edit. Cheers.

      • babatim

        Brother I am humbled by this comment and appreciate it. As I wrote back to you I hope to cover the reconstruction side projects like Fab Lab more in the coming months. Inshallah I’ll be able to explain the things I see during the coming fighting season ion a way the readers find unique and informative.

    • RJ

      What kind of “leadership” should one expect from a generation where most males shouted “Hell no, we won’t go” those many years ago in response to fighting in Viet Nam? Women and gays in our military are responses to “volunteer” military service needs, coupled with “social engineering” which is a secret campaign wherein the mantra has always been “I hate the military” as evidenced by Bill Clinton, draft dodger par excellence. Imagine Bill Ayers having dinner with Obama-Mao. Pelosi wearing a scarf while meeting the Syrian leaders. Carter deposing the Shah in Iran. Kissinger not killing Arafat.

      Would any warrior want a Clinton, Obama, Ayers, Wright, Pelosi, Reid, Durbin, et al. on a mission with him?

      Why’s that? And we expect to win these wars? To make this world, our world, a better place.

      Note how “proud” that NYC liberal media idiot (previous poster) feels, along with trashing a media outlet as a smirking comment, ending with “cheers” which seems like someone spitting at me in an airport some 44 years ago.

      Can you spot a coward? Visit the White House sometime.

    • Russell

      Wow. Kids “playing” jihad. The Afghan equivelent to coyboys and indians?

      I noticed that you said the cook heard the jihad music and he came into your office. That brought up an interesting point that I haven’t heard anyone (msm or otherwise) comment on. Why haven’t the military or the aid agencies (or the GOA) tried using music to encourage the people? Like patriotic music, or peace music (there are lots of peaceful quotes int he Koran) or even anti Taliban music?

      Cheers,

      Russ

    • ken

      “Like patriotic music, or peace music (there are lots of peaceful quotes int he Koran) or even anti Taliban music?”

      Russ, thats a great idea !! – My first idea was to slam a guitar in their hands and show them some blues scales..then crunchy power cords..

      http://www.jalalacool.com

      but I think it will be better done with local instruments, a Rebab for example with familiar melodies.. !!

    • root

      Some related “human interest” activities:

      Current BLOGs of Taj Synergists:

      Peretz and Lou
      http://www.jalalagood.com/

      Miss Jenn
      http://fallbreak2010jalalabad.blogspot.com/

      Miss Rache
      http://rachelinarobb.blogspot.com/

      Mr. Juan
      http://meetjalalabad.blogspot.com/

      Old media clip:
      http://www.reachback.org/article.php/20090114121417614

      Main Portal:

      http://www.reachback.org

    • dennis

      Dang it!! may be a HOT summer before, summer gets there. damit playing into the hands of karzi.

    • mark

      Things got awful ugly up in my neck of the woods yesterday ……..Seems we are being imported elements from the Kandahar region. Summer is starting early it may seem