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16 comments to Operation Magistral

  • B

    Re: COIN-the whole concept is retahhded. A legitimate host nation partner will, by definition, not need our help to build their forces or to fight their internal battles. A government which needs a foreign sponsor/senior partner to survive is, by definition, a client, a dependent, a marionette. There can be no stable middle ground between sovereignity and patronage. The theme of this war has been our total failure to build a proper puppet government for ideological reasons, with the result that our puppet dictates terms to us and collaborates with the nominal enemy while stealing our aid.

    As for the women of Afghanistan-I fail to understand the problem. We all know that women are men’s equals in every way except for upper body strength, and operating an AK doesn’t require much of that. If Afghan women have chosen not to take up arms and overthrow the patriarchy, it must be because the mores of their society are acceptable to them. Who is Hillary Clinton to impose different mores on them against their will? This is blatant cultural imperialism!

  • To me, this is the best milbog entry I’ve ever read – from you, or others. So glad you didn’t hang up your hat.

  • B

    Also, it’s ironic that male American troops are being asked to fight to defend the supposed interests of Afghan women (their rights to live more like Arlington housewives, I guess) by the same system which has its legal fist up their misogynist, chauvinist male asses to an unprecedented depth. A nontrivial percentage of the guys who go home intact will have 50% of their retirement pay and most of the rest of their assets taken by their ex-wife in a divorce, have spurious domestic violence/abuse charges dropped on them as part of divorce tactics (and thanks to the Lautenberg Amendment, say goodbye to their military careers,) have their rights to raise their own kids stripped away, etc.

  • large parts of Paktika and Paktia are only lightly inhabited or just along the river valleys. A lot of the ingress of baddies, especially Hekmatyrs happens up near Zerok and Khost. Problem is they shoot over the border and we have to ask Mom for permission to shoot back, resulting in situations like the battle between the Pakistani Army and our guys leadership has been trying to bury.

    And another thing. Why the hell can’t these maroons spell the town names the same way twice in a row? Zeruk, Zaruk, Zerok…Talk about operational idiocy.

  • Ron Peery

    Here’s one of my pet peeves…..

    We spend millions of dollars and untold hours training our troops about OPSEC. After all that, some political hack, be they military, civilian bureaucrat, or self serving politician, throws OPSEC out the window and announces to the world what we plan to do, where we plan to do it, who we are giving the mission to, what the schedule is, and what the ROE are. So we wind up with idiot reporters on hot beaches filming the Marines coming ashore in Somalia, for instance. The enemy either beefs up his forces and we have a major fight, or the enemy gets out of the way, and lives to fight again. If a reporter is injured or killed, or if troops get shot up, it’s the military’s fault for having a bad plan. If PVT Jody Offtheblock is the leak, he gets his butt kicked by everyone in the chain of command. But if the leak is Senator I.M. Betternyu, nobody says a thing. Makes me want to tear someones hair out. Anyone else think this is an injustice? I’d like to see the next “unnamed source” prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law. Will that ever happen? Not likely.

    • B


      You assume that this leak is unintentional. As can be seen from articles like this one (, the emasculated girly-men of the media are internally torn. Aside from hating their redneck class enemies in the military, they also desperately want to gargle their nuts (although of course the virile beards of the freedom fighters are much more appealing in the long run.)

      The red state-ish jock leadership of the armed forces, while, of course, despising their class enemies in the press and resenting the fact that they have to tapdance backwards for them on the big issues, are not above using the media for a weekday booty call. So why wouldn’t you assume that the release of this info to the media is covering for a concentration of forces to support something else, somewhere else?

      • B

        Just as an illustration of this sordid relationship-McCrystal. Remember, the media got all wet for his chiseled features when they first met. Sparks flew from across the crowded nightclub: “he’s from JSOC! He’s killed more people than cancer! He eats one meal a day after his seven mile run at a six minute pace! Ooooohhh, he’s so HAWWT…”

        Then the next morning the media woke up and walked home, feeling all dirty and ashamed. So they called the pantsuited HR ladies McCrystal was working for and told them about what a rude, forceful jerk he had been. The HR ladies at the White House, who’d been feeling dirty and used themselves after McCrystal had ridden them like Seabiscuit, called him in for The Talk, and that was that.

    • babatim

      Maybe somebody at the Pentagon is engaging in what do they call it? Information operations?….yeah that’s the ticket….info ops.

  • Ron Peery

    B…, I did not assume it was unintentional. But at the same time, I don’t assume that the ass who made the leak had any motive other than stroking his or her own ego. You are right to say that it could be a cleverly devised misdirection. I did not consider that. I suppose time will tell. But even if this is a Jedi mind trick, it’s often enough the case that it’s nothing more than a publicity grab that I feel justified in being scandalized whenever it happens. But then, in my imagination, I already have young Bradley Manning tried, convicted, and standing in front of a stone wall with a last cigarette and blindfold.

  • J Harlan

    Every large organization suffers from the problem that it’s goals aren’t shared by it’s employees. The Army is no different. Whats good for MG “X” may be bad for America, very bad for the mission and very, very bad for Sgt “Y”. Of course the reverse is true. Sgt “Y”s actions although optimal for him may not be for the mission.

    Every contingent in Afghanistan has suffered from the need for commanders to do something big. Region and Brigade commanders command big stuff. They have big ideas. Big hands…small map. They don’t sit back for a tour while squads go patrolling. They need something big to set themselves off from their peers (being selected by a celebrity journalist as a genius “who gets it” is a major plus….being known as a warrior scholar or warrior scholar monk ninja is the jackpot).

    There’s no reason to look for “strategy” in any of this. The answer lies in personal ambition and army culture.

    • babatim

      Hey J, guess what I learned the other day while chatting up E2? That back in 03, 04, and even 05 there were A teams and MI dets seeded all over places like Jalalabad and even Kandahar in their own safe houses with their own Afghan staff, living on the economy, interacting with NGO’s and PSC’s and basically operating in a manner I’ve been advocating for years. I had heard that the varsity once operated that way but now learn that battalion level assets were able to set up like that. Then Big Army comes and with it the LogCap contracts to that build out the bases need to support air craft wings, large staffs, and allied units so everyone has to go behind the wire, tactical effectiveness be damned. When you start shelling out the money Big Army is shelling out to build and operate all the FOBs there is no funding source for anyone to be anywhere but on a FOB. It makes sense when you look at the dollars involved providing (what I contend is too lavish) life support.

      I don’t think strategy is the answer either – the best they could have done is a training mission while leaving guys who were running out of their own safe houses back in the early days alone and tasking them to do the community development program that we did from 09 – 11. Ghost Team was 100% former military who had no specialized training just a mandate to get projects done and people working. The military calls that a mission type order and although they talk a lot about the imperative of allowing distributed operations using mission orders and subordinate initiative the fact is they never do it. Big Army Col’s will not risk their star on a bunch of NCO’s running around unsupervised doing what they think should be done with reconstruction money. So the BA Col’s micro-manage their subordinates, rein in all initiative, deflect problems and turn unimportant things (like key leader engagements) into important things in order to mark time while avoiding scandal, excessive casualties, or a drop in retention.

      Is it me or am I starting to sound like B here?

  • RJ

    Poor guys…back here at home our “justice” system lingers on working up the case against Major Hasan for his killing efforts at Fort Hood…how many years ago?

    Now the defense asks for another delay in trial to go over 90,000 pages of evidence and to produce 242 witnesses, while claiming they are being denied valuable information, documents, etc. by the prosecution. MILLONS of dollars have been spent and more to be spent on this “problem” by those who want to play the “legal game” in America.

    Over at the Pentagon one can find many who like to play the “military game” too!

    Think about this duality of vested desires and interests.

    • babatim

      What was it Mark Styen wrote this morning? Ah yes “Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive”. I feel the same way you do about things like this RJ – and I don’t forget them either. Bet when I write “Metzger” and “100% disability” you know exactly what I’m talking about.

  • JonB

    Tim, Glad to see you writing again, good to have you back. Wondering if the stuff from Dalton Thomas is still in the works? Keep safe.

    • babatim

      Hey Jon – thanks and yes I am afraid I’ll be forced to print Dalton’s bizarre short stories soon. I thought I might be able to avoid that by hiding out back over here but should have known better.