Getting After It

One of the Chim Chim’s dropped in for a visit last month.  He was on some sort of ISAF  inspection team which I didn’t ask too much about and told us that every-time he asked officers from the unit he was looking at what they were doing the reply was “getting after it.” They were getting after it by doing daily presence patrols and stopping every now and then to talk with the local villagers.  They then return to the FOB for the night. General Petraeus is getting ready to release a revision of the rules of engagement and early reports say he has included “you can’t commute to the battle” guidance just as he did in Iraq. That is sound tactical advice when the bad guys aren’t commuting to fight – they’re here, right now and exerting more influence then we have seen in the past.

The Taliban have been getting after the lucrative and popular DVD and CD shops all summer. This one was destroyed by about 3lbs of explosives which went off around midnight when it was empty.
The Taliban have been getting after the lucrative and popular DVD and CD shops all summer. This one was destroyed by about 3lbs of explosives which went off around midnight when it was empty.


As of three days ago every DVD and CD shop in Jalalabad closed their doors. These shops generate a lot of income and were very popular. Closing them all down is a big deal and the local people, as they are prone to do, blame the government and ISAF for not protecting them.

colatteral damage from the DVD shop blast - this barber shop was destroyed too.
Collateral damage from the DVD shop blast – this barber shop was destroyed too.

I know I have said this too many times before but the fact remains you can’t project security to any segment of the population from a FOB.  You cannot even protect the population living right outside the fence next to the FOB as the Taliban demonstrated last night when they plastered night letters all over the village of Base Ekmalati. A village right behind the large ISAF base in Jalalabad and the same village that I wrote about in this post about the floods.

Page one of the Base Ekmalati night letter
Page one of the Base Ekmalati night letter

Here is what the night letter said:

Military Commission of Nangarhar Province

Message of Islamic Emirates Mujahedeen’s to the brave and Mujahid Nation of Nangarhar Province


Allah the great has said lots of realities through his messenger Mohammad that you won’t make these Non-Muslims happy unless you convert to their religion. Every one has eye witnessed the current, devil Supper power, with of Christianity and Jewish fanaticism, thirsty of innocent blood, has invaded the Islamic land of Afghanistan, and trying to reach their hungry and starving goals, by killing innocent people, widowing thousands of women, and orphaned thousands of kids, killings tens of brides and grooms during their wedding nights, bombed/destroyed tens of Madrasas and Masjids, searching our personal belongings in our house looking Usama and Al Qaeda, but few sensation less faces who always sold their Muslim brothers blood for few Dollars are accompanying, and chanting slogans that whatever they, but long life to us.

Still Afghani sensation is alive, still there are lions, in the mountains and Jangles, however a number Mujahedeen’s has died, and wounded, but this has more reinforced Muhedeen’s moral, jailing and difficulties has convinced them more to fight for freedom, and now this feared enemy who was looking at the ground but to the sky, and the slogan for the Muslims they had was either arrest them or kill them, but now with success of Jihad, they are running around the world and seeking an escape route.

Since the enemy is facing their sure defeat, now they are trying to sparate the nation from the Mujaheddens, and discredited Mujahedeens in all different ways.

The Islamic Emirate is informing the nation that we are the guards of Islamic soil and the guard’s life and property, and with the cost of our blood we consider this our religious duty.

The brave nation be awake and remember that the enemy is in escaping position, do not let them to mislead you, and do not let them blame you as the thieves and the abductors.

Islamic Emirate Is Informing the Nation of the necessary things as follows


The Islamic Emirates inform the nation from the following matters.

  1. Those who abducting local and Tribal elders, and charging locals for all the different types of taxations/charities, they are not Taliban indeed, but American agents. The Islamic Emirate is seriously looking into this issue, whoever again faces the mentioned problems they should contact and inform the local Mujahedeens in there are of their problems, in case they can not reach the local Mujahedeens, they can contact the local elders or scholars, so that they can reach the Military Commission, the criminal will face severe consequences.
  2. If any one, welling to pay   charity to the Islamic Emirate, he should contact three people District Military commission and at the same time three people from Province Military commission.
  3. The Islamic Emirate is having different commission for, natural resources, Mines, NGOs, those who are working in the mentioned sectors has to refer to them, and if any one is asking them for money they are not Taliban, but the American agents, and Insha’Allah they will face the same consequences as the Americans.

To the Authorities

  1. Those who are working with the ANA/ANP, Parliament, Provincial counsel and other governmental organizations for few dollars they should immediately quite their jobs, and promise Allah that they won’t do it in the future. This will be the last warning of Mujahedeens of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan for them.
  2. Those conscienceless spies, who are spying about Muslims for few dollars we have a list of them and very soon we will publish their details, and for sure they will face severe consequences.
  3. Some slave type people who are trying to establish tribal Arbakia forces or to convince others to join these forces, the Islamic Emirate is not differentiating them from the Americans.

To The Scholars and Mullahs

  1. Dear, you are the leaders of the tribe, and the representatives of Mohammad, you better know that most Quranic verses and Adiths is ordering to stay away from non Muslims and tells to fight them, this is your Islamic duty and responsibility that you implement this order of Allah.

Those of you who know a thing or two about night letters will note that this one lacks a seal of either the commander or the organization who released it. But the abrupt closing of all the DVD shops in town indicates the bad guys have established a foothold inside the city.

I wish I could see some evidence that the American Army is getting after it too but so far, with the exception of a brief, effective offensive in Kunar I see nishta.  The Army is setting itself up for more scathing criticism like this article.  An example from the linked article:

Yet even as I was filling my notebook with details of their delusionary schemes, the base commander told me he had already been forced to put aside development. He had his hands full facing a Taliban onslaught he hadn’t expected. Throughout Afghanistan, insurgent attacks have gone up 51 percent since the official adoption of  COIN as the strategy  du jour. On this eastern front, where the commander had served six years earlier, he now faces a surge of intimidation, assassination, suicide attacks, roadside bombs, and fighters with greater technical capability than he has ever seen in Afghanistan.

The only reason we are not seeing more stories like this is the media narrative remains squarely with the Obama administration and they are not going to release too many stories ridiculing our (his) efforts on the ground. How much longer will that paradigm hold?  Saying you are focused on bringing security to the population while doing little in the way of securing the population is obviously not going to work much longer. Had the reporter (Ms. Jones) been a little more savvy about things military she may have asked the one question nobody can honestly answer and that is if you are not going to secure the population then why are all these people here and shouldn’t they be sent home?

The Taliban are out in the open, trying to tax the people, running shadow governments, putting up night letters to intimidate the people living 100 meters outside the wire of a major regional base. There is only one thing the military can do given current ground truths and one need look no further than Herschel Smith at the Captains Journal to find the yellow (school solution.)

They need to look into the eyes of every inhabitant, be inside every home, take every fingerprint and scan every iris.   Their patrols need to be ubiquitous, day and night, and they don’t need to wait on the ANA or send them into the homes first.   They need to proceed with door kicking in the middle of the night if that’s what it takes, they need to project force, and they need to do it beginning now and carrying on until every last insurgent has been captured or killed.   Killed is better than captured given the poor state of the Afghanistan system of justice (i.e., catch and release).

It is just that simple but we seem to be light-years away from doing this. Now everything hangs in the balance, all the work we have done, all the programs we are currently running, all of that is now in play and the bad guys are setting the agenda, have the initiative, and dictating the terms of the fight.  They’re the ones who are getting after it.

41 Replies to “Getting After It”

  1. Tim,

    Nanharhar has some capable ANP. Plus NDS has good intel in Nangarhar. Why don’t they do as you suggest? Do they want a larger ANA/ISAF presence in the province to support them first?

    So far, Laghman/Nuristan/Kunar/Nangharhar has had only one ANA brigade 2-201 ANA. [one of the problematic ones.] A new 4-201 ANA is forming now to assist in 2-201 ANA’s battlespace. Do you think the new brigade should focus on Nangarhar first? [This is my opinion.]

    Why aren’t the ANSF in Nangahar going after the Taliban? Is it because they fear that the Taliban are now supported by more elements from across the Durand?

    1. What I suggest is that the US Army get off the FOBs and into the fight. That requires moving into the districts and staying there 24/7 while you screen the population, conduct a census of the villages, determine who is supposed to be there and who is not while spending evening trying to kill the bad guys. That is all we can do. Obviously the ASF would be more effective if there were not all sorts of turmoil between the central government, the Gov. and the Provincial Council but we can’t do anything about that. All we can do is make life miserable for our uninvited guests from Waziristan. Once the local people see we are serious about this they’ll take care of the rest of the heavy lifting.


  2. I seem to recall a bit from history where a certain dictator was moving little flags around a map board. The problem was, you see, the units those little flags represented did not exist anywhere outside of the head of that certain dictator.

    Of course there are hundreds of similar examples scattered throughout history.


    1. Render the ANA is real. The problem was that only 1 ANA brigade has been assigned to four provinces [Nanharhar, Khost, Nuristan, Laghman] until now. It was one of the more problematic ANA brigades at that.

      The ANA was and remains heavily under resourced in this sector, especially compared to Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, Loya Paktia, Kandahar, even Kunduz/Baghlan [which are themselves severely under resourced]

      The problem is that the international community refused to resource, train and equip the ANSF at a remotely sufficient level until November, 2009.

      1. Real corrupt, real stoned, really 90% not reliable.

        You can stop using the brigade names now, they don’t maneuver as brigades and they likely never will.

        They have considerably more foreign aid, resouces, training, and equipment then the Israelis had in 1948. And the Israelis did not have 100,000 US and allied troops in country to help them.

        You don’t like me “bashing the ANA”? Too bad.


        1. Many racists use to say the same thing about the Iraqi Army. Their brigades maneuver today.

          The following ANA brigades are capable of maneuver at the brigade level [1-203, 2-203, 3-203, 3-111, 3-215, 2-205, and maybe 1-209.] Most of the ANA isn’t at that level yet.

          The human capital level of Afghanistan and Israel isn’t comparable. Moreover, the Arab armies confronting Israel in 1948 were awful quality. Can’t compare that to retired Pakistani Army officers, Chechens, IJU/IMU leading the elite Taliban units [referring specifically to Siraj/TTP/TNSM/LeT/Brigade 313.]

          The ANSF are not resourced. Look at officer and NCO training.

  3. Just wanted to say that this is horseshit. We’ve got about 80k+ troops 800 Billion in a B spent and we are still kicking around dust asking Pakistan what to do..

    Q: With all the troops in Afghanistan, what percentage is actually fighting compared to not?

    A: We should give away thousand of Apple Ipods filled with music and pron. Problem solved.

  4. Following the logic of the Captain’s journal piece ISAF can leave Afghanistan only after having killed everyone there who wants ISAF to leave.

    That is, of course, ridiculous.

    1. I don’t agree – force projection calls for gaining and maintaining contact with the groups of fighters who are planting IED’s and intimidating the local population. Once contact is gained the next step is to kill insurgents. The object is to maintain the initiative and crush the morale of your enemy. That doesn’t require killing everyone who wants us to leave – it requires thinning out insurgents and making their lot in life miserable. We are in a shooting war; how we got here is irrelevant what is critical from this point forward is that we end this thing. Once in a shooting war the only way to end it is to ensure that there is doubt in anyones mind who won and who lost. How wars end are much important than how they start.

  5. What with these after action reports being “exposed” via Wiki-leaks, and the Feds judicial wizards on our West Coast knowing that within our Constitution gays have every right to marry in California, I ask this question as you tacticians of Waterloo lineage plan your next adventure:

    Will there be enough American troops left in our modern Afghanistan to even show up for a fight?

    Recall our “leaker” is an alleged active–an out of the closet, practicing homosexual who the valiant Army; commanded by that triumphant “We’re all about diversity” General Casey, knew existed prior to his machinations of recent hysteria.

    Note to frequent poster/first responder Anan: Major Hassan seeks to communicate with you…he feels your pain!

    I take it that some of you expect from these dynamic leaders will come a strategy wherein–somewhere eventually, a stellar Ivy league graduate will pronounce “victory has been achieved” as he proffers his 5000 page final assessment as to how America “realized” its objectives on the “war on terror” while “liberating” the people of Afghanistan.

    Que the millions of cheering American…dupes!

    Sorry, no more money for buying those little red, white and blue flags our Dear Leader wants to have waved during his many “victory” laps around the White House.

    Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Viet Nam fame has “promised” to meet the returning troops, saluting each and every one of them personally!

    Mommy will come…Mommy will come…Mommy will come!

  6. If you ask any US combat soldier what he’d do if a foreign army searched his house, regularly forced his family to produce “papers” or ran VCPs down the street the answer is always “get my rifle”. Why would we expect Afghans to be any different?

    Invariably the troops would kill or arrest innocent people and the danger of increasing Taliban recruiting is very real.

    This is always the problem when you ask foreign soldiers to act as policemen which is why PC-COIN in a foreign country is such a misguided doctrine.

    For PC-COIN to work you need a competent and honest local security force. If we had it we wouldn’t need US forces. If we don’t have it the work of our troops will be futile or even make things worse.

    Building the ANSF isn’t really about training. It’s about recruiting leaders from among educated Afghans. Until they step up and have their kids become squad and platoon leaders the entire venture is a waste of time and resources.

    1. “If you ask any US combat soldier what he’d do if a foreign army searched his house, regularly forced his family to produce papers or ran VCPs down the street the answer is always get my rifle. Why would we expect Afghans to be any different?

      Invariably the troops would kill or arrest innocent people and the danger of increasing Taliban recruiting is very real.”

      Partially true. Why didn’t this happen in Iraq? The IA and IP were let us say not exactly pleasant in their AOs with Iraqi civilians they suspected of being dirty.

      On recruiting leaders, that has never been a priority until now. Take the NMAA [4 year National Military Academy of Afghanistan.] Even the class that was admitted in December, 2009, had only 600 freshman cadets. The NMAA could easily have admitted 2000 4 year cadets if it had the funding, instructors and facilities. Before this year the NMAA was only admitting 250 per year. Educated Afghans will only join the ANA as officers. And officer training [run by France, Turkey, India with a pitiful US contributions] is simply not a priority for NTM-A and ISAF.

      Many officers are admitted through officer selection course [OSC run by France and Turkey with a pitiful US contribution.] However, most of these have only gotten 20 weeks of course work before being thrown in the fight. Ridiculous if you ask me. Sandhurst lasts about one year [44 weeks + required follow on specialty training] and that too for college graduates. If there was a will within ISAF to prioritize officer training, OSC should last 1 year for college graduates and 18 months for non college graduates.

      Unfortunately that would mean actually paying to train more ANA officers at any given time, and actually assigning some more ISAF officers to NTM-A. [Or letting India and Russia do it Pakistani sentiments be damned; or asking Turkey what it wants to do it, or Obama asking South Korea what it wants to do it.]

      Another neat idea would be to add a masters course at NMAA for Afghan college graduates who want to join the ANA and for existing ANA officers who want a masters degree. Suspect it would be a huge hit for the Afghans who very much value education. This isn’t being done to save money.

      Many educated Afghans are eager to join the ANA as officers. The problem is that ANATC, NTM-A and ISAF are not utilizing this flow of recruits.

      Another huge problem relates to ANA NCOs. Anecdotally have heard there are many good ANA NCOs who are simply not empowered. Until Nov’2009, ANATC only planned to train 400 NCOs at any given time for an output of 1,950 a year. Even today, that has only increased to 3,300 NCOs being trained at any given time. Training more NCOs at any given time would cost too much money, and tie up too many NCO instructors, or so the thinking goes.

      Why not lengthen NCO training [provide 1st-6th grade literacy as part of every NCO course], and encourage every ANA NCO to get free literacy training to the 12th grade level? [Some ANSF units only accept NCOs who are literate to at least the 6th grade level.] Allow more NCOs who pass 12th grade exam to apply for OSC and NMAA.

      I don’t get why none of this is being done. Or why India isn’t allowed to do more since they seem willing to send many more officers and NCOs. Apparently Turkey has always been willing to send more provided ISAF covered expenses other than the direct costs of the Turkish army, [such as facility costs] which ISAF has been too cheap to do.

      Keep in mind, J Harlan, that America regarded ANSF training as the responsibility of Afghans, ISAF, NATO, UN, international community until November, 2009 and simply didn’t prioritize it. As a result most ANSF training and most mentored ANSF units were not American.

  7. J Harlan:

    Allow me to “compliment” your post: American in the late 60’s placed a man on the moon…walking about, planting a flag. Not that many years back, Americans had placed a robot on the planet Mars, where today, we receive not only fine pictures, but also soil samples, etc.
    In our hospitals, here in America, we do procedures of a “micro” nature and create drugs that target specific cells within the human body.

    However, for more than 9 years we Americans have had a leadership totally unable to eradicate bad guys in Afghanistan and those who dwell in the nether regions of Pakistan.

    Years ago, a rich Daddy’s boy, pseudo-intellectual Osama Bin Laden wrote a letter to America informing its citizens why he thinks we are terminal and how he intends to accelerate such a process.

    Somehow, our Country, the United States of America, can’t seem to create an effective response to this problem.

    Muslims…Islamists…people who get down on their knees, prostrate themselves many times during every day, offering up allegiance to a prophet who commands that infidels be eradicated if unable to be converted, seem to be the primary group coming forward to “demand” that we change…to their standards, their way of life.

    And we want to welcome them into our world, to bend over backwards to make our world adjust to their world…

    What we need are more Americans, after being educated at our law schools, to come forward and tell us how evil we really have been and how right and smart they are and will be in fighting this “war on terror!”

    Meanwhile, we have a retired Marine Officer who is “walking about” the lands of Afghanistan where most of his reports don’t contain stories of victories in fighting, in converting evil into good, of transferring those who have been passive about their native land into activists who seek a better way of life for those they love…his stories take on the air “If the active leaders would just do what I and my other smart brothers here in the field know would work” which is nothing more than one song that is sung in every war, most often by the losers of that war, since recorded history.

    Nine years of “dicking around” with people who eat with their right hands and wipe their asses with a left hand; all the while many native say keep the Docs away with those Polio vaccination shots!

    Let’s distribute a five year’s supply of toilet paper for everyone in Afghanistan that has a smiling picture on every sheet of John McCain saying “My friends” and just come home!

  8. “It starts out with denouncing the Kabul government of being a puppet of the U.S. and then ends up with the last sentence warning that they must stay away from non Muslims and fight them as a religious obligation. That’s a little hard to do extend the logic and it calls for the extermination of one side by the other. I don’t think the religious scriptures of Islam support this view but it certainly tells you what the opposition thinks about us.”

    Gotta disagree here.

    The Quran is very specific in it’s instruction on how Muslims should interact with non-Muslims:

    Surah 5:51 O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

    Surah 9:23 O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.

    Surah 9:29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

    The Quran is not organized chronologically… it is instead organized by the size of the Surah, starting with the longest. Chronologically, The aforementioned Surahs (5 and 9) were amongst the last written. By the Islamic principle of abrogation, this instruction supersedes earlier instruction on interaction with non-Muslims.

  9. Just thought I’d point out that some of this discussion is in fact a re-run from Registan.

    But we seem to have a contradiction of sorts here from Anan, who stated this on Joshua’s blog…

    “The ANA only has one good quality Corps, 203 Corps in Loya Paktia.”

    Yet Anan claims in this thread that at least seven ANA brigades are capable of brigade level maneuvers.

    When I see (or hear of) an ANA brigade manuevering on its own, without massive US support, I’ll let you know…


    Anan – “Many racists use to say the same thing about the Iraqi Army. Their brigades maneuver today.”

    Render – Racists said that eh? So did a lot of people who are not racists. In fact, race has exactly nothing to do with whether or not an army is an army or an armed mob. No matter how many Iraqi brigades are manueverable, the Iraqis cannot stop the Iranians from taking Basrah if they want it, not without massive US support.

    Anan – “The human capital level of Afghanistan and Israel isn’t comparable. Moreover, the Arab armies confronting Israel in 1948 were awful quality. Can’t compare that to retired Pakistani Army officers, Chechens, IJU/IMU leading the elite Taliban units…”

    Render – The human capital levels between 1948 Israel vs 2010 Afghanistan are just as comparable as those of 2006 Iraq vs. 2010 Afghanistan, aren’t they? Are the human capital levels of 1943 Tarawa, 1943 Italy, and 1944 France comparable? How about 1943 Kursk, what’s the human capital level there?

    Render – The 1948 Jordanian Arab Legion was by far the most professional army involved in the first war to exterminate Israel’s Jews, complete with serving professional British officers and NCO’s. Glubb Pasha alone makes a mockery of your “awful quality” statement and your retired Pak Army officers serving with the Taliban (many of whom are not retired at all). British officers also served with the 1948 Egyptian army. French officers (and ex-Waffen SS) served in both the Lebanese and Syrian armies of 1948.


    1. Render, upon reflection, 1-205, 2-205 and 4-205 have been stolen from to form the new 3-205 that will focus on Kandahar. Mullah Omar centric QST has not been able to put together kinetics in Kandahar like Siraj/TTP/TNSM/LeT/Brigade 313 [which some such as Bill Roggio call Lashkar al Zil] have put together in Eastern pockets. As a result, 205 ANA hasn’t really been tested against a large quality force yet. So they may not be able to maneuver at the brigade level yet. The best brigade from the old 205rd Corps [3-205] has been reflagged and expanded to 215th ANA Corps.

      1-209 hasn’t been tested against a large high quality force. At the same time, it was one of the first ANA brigades to shine in CM ratings. Have had some communication regarding 209 ANA that I could share with you offline.

      The ones that I think can maneuver at the brigade level are the 3 203rd ANA brigades, 3-215 [BG Ghori and Col Sharin Shah], 3-111 heavy mechanized [old 3-201.]

      Afghan human capital was decimated between the mid 1970s and 2001. Only 800 thousand boys and almost no girls were in school in 2001. To compare Afghan human capital to today’s Iraq, or Israel/Russia circa the 1940s is absurd.

      Thanks for the data on the Arab forces fighting in 1948. My understanding is that the Israelis won by stirring tension between the multiple Arab armies and militias.

      On Iraq and Iran going head to head. Iraq needs air first. Iraq canceled/delayed its air, armor, and artillery procurement in 2008 because of the huge budget deficit. As soon as Iraq seats a government, expect major air, armor and artillery procurement orders to be made. Could clarify this further offline if you want. You know how to reach me.

  10. John:

    Gee…let me see, you read the Quran and “know” while I listen to ministers on cable tv who “know” what’s what with the Bible.

    Then, I step back and look at those areas where conflict occurs that is driven by religion, both in the present day and recorded history.

    Dead bodies all over is generally what results: Winners and losers, where as time marches on the winners may become the new losers as the former losers evolve into winners. Who cares?

    I live in the present, in the real world of what is…and what is…is that Muslims, Islamists, (the bearded ones!) are the major players who are coming after my way of life, those who I love, and the system within which I survive (and love too with all it’s imperfections!).

    My Bible rests on a book shelf, my weapons available…

    I know who and where my enemies are, both within my country and beyond it’s boundaries. You can find my “divinely inspired” quotes for this in:

    The Great Book Of Life’s Adventures With Others! circa day one…

    News Flash: Just heard John Kerry had to go sailing, he won’t be able to meet and greet our returning troops! Plus, there may be a copyright law on using an image of Senator John McCain…aka the Maverick! However, Harry Reid has offered to be part of a victory celebration even though…

    Didn’t the Son Of Sam killer say his “dog” told him what to do?

  11. Hey Anan:

    Didn’t I mention this possibility a few posts ago?

    “(Aug. 5) — A disfigured Afghan teen whose image has fast become the new face of the 9-year-old Afghan war — and a harbinger of what could come if U.S. troops quit the country — lands in America today for reconstructive surgery on her missing nose and ears.” on today’s web site for FOX News…you now, the evil people’s source for real news!

    1. One thing the wikileaks make clear is that the contest for killing kids is close between trigger happy ISAF and TB. The TIME photo could be replaced by many of kids killed at ISAF checkpoints or in night raids.

      Thanks for the link to the open toed, close minded author, who wrties a straight honest article about what she sees, and has at least as much guts as many grunts on either side.

      The part about the farting was good.

      Bottom line: We had the ultimate window in 2003, but could not be bothered to fill the vacuum in the countryside, arm the locals, and create a village up government in Afghanistan. Hard to see how our guys, staggering around with all their gear, are going to secure 30k villages with ANA or ANP in 2010 or 2012.

      ISI is still playing the double game, and by many reports, behind the most extreme tactics of the TB in Afghanistan.

      What a mess.

  12. Dang Tim ! What with the “going out of business explosion”,the night time postal delivery’s.You would think someone would have seen them?.So it seems no one patrols at night(ANP)The FOB is in lock down, with no one peeking over the walls.Sure Jbad,is a large place, but come on! I’m sure you peek over your wall at times.(if your up):) The night monkey are taking over. :-

  13. “The only reason we are not seeing more stories like this is that the main stream media narrative remains squarely with the Obama administration and are not about to start printing stories ridiculing the efforts on the ground.”

    Bullshit. The MSM just printed a mass of material that was extremely embarrassing to the Obama administration. And the news coverage of Afghanistan is not any more positive now under Obama than it was under Bush… while we were floundering around under Bush the media essentially stopped printing any stories about the war in Afghanistan at all.

    The idea that the MSM gives a shit what Presidents or Senators think is laughable. The media is squarely in the pocket of advertisers, they print/produce precisely the stories that they believe will drive eyeballs to the ads.

    In other words, the MSM prints exactly and precisely what they think their audience wants to hear. The only editorial difference between Fox and MSNBC is the audience each is selling life insurance to.

    I bring this up only because these sorts of partisan sidebars give the impression that the situation would be somehow different under a Republican administration. I submit that based on the history of this specific conflict, there is no evidence that this is the case. Both parties have been unwavering in their commitment to leaving soldiers high and dry in Afghanistan.

    1. I don’t think anyone who has been reading the news believes there is not a huge difference in how the MSM covers everything this administration does when compared to the Bush administration. There was not much in Wiki leaks that I saw which embarrassed the current administration. There was nothing in the WaPo Top Secret America series which embarrassed the administration and given that the WaPo was caught trying to sell invites to “Saloons” with top Obama officials at the editors house it is more than reasonable to assume the Post ran their story by the Obama team before it was published.
      Personal example – the Chief Foreign correspondent for ABC news, Martha Radditz was out here interviewing me about why the PRT’s are a complete failure. This was just before the inauguration and it turns out she went to school with Obama and Obama even attended her first wedding. Needless to say the PRT story didn’t run and the last time I saw Martha she somehow had gotten permission to ride along on F-15 fighter jets in combat. Wonder how that happened? Of course her hair hung out of her helmet as she explained why the pilots couldn’t drop the bombs requested by a French unit in contact because what they thought to be a school was nearby so they did a fly by which, of course, accomplished nothing.

      Every Afghan school I have ever seen has desks piled on the roof and thousands of kids sitting outside because there is not enough room inside school buildings but what do I know? The guys doing the flying and wisecracking about the French were pilots and…you know cool … not a dumb grunt like me. Martha is now an official cheerleader for everything that happens here and has been since the moment Obama took the oath of office. Instead of asking the simple question why combat aircraft, working for a FAC (forward air controller) in contact, just doesn’t do what the fuck they were told to do we get cheerleading and bravado from the flight suit wearing retards. When guys traveling 500 mph somehow think they have situational awareness and are now decision makers bombs end up on Marine Corps AAV’s, LAV’s, Canadians on a firing range…in other words the pilots become a huge liability and serious threat to life and limb. Our lives and limbs not the bad guys. So why the hell were those jerk offs up there flying around making decisions as if they have a vote? They shouldn’t have a vote – they are supposed to go to the attack point designated by the FAC, fly in on the heading given to them by the FAC and drop bombs exactly where the FAC told them to drop bombs. The second they deviate from the directions given them by the FAC the next thing they should hear is ABORT ABORT ABORT because a pilot who can’t follow simple directions needs to be somewhere other than around friendlies on the ground. That’s how you do close air support – the pilots aren’t the decision makers because they can’t possibly gain any situational awareness given the speeds and altitude they are working with. You think ABC news would report this angle? Not with Barack in the Whitehouse.

      I am certain that if McCain were now president the MSM narrative would be more like the Tom’s Dispatch I linked to and not the powder puff bullshit Martha Radditz and her ilk are writing/reporting today. I’m no supporter of McCain; not even close but at least he knew enough that he could have forced the Pentagon (like GW Bush did during the Iraq surge) to come up with a plan that works. That is not going to happen when you an inexperienced amateur in the White House. Especially one who is an intellectual lightweight with core principals formed by discredited liberals, domestic terrorists and a virulently racist pastor. The facts are the facts. And the fact is our efforts here are doomed because our President is clueless.

      1. Awww. I like the Chosen One. 🙁
        He who has been prophesied has commeth. The One, the Hussein, 13th hidden imam, hell maybe even John the Bapthist and the long awaited return of Zeus all rolled into one.

        Or is the Messiah really Odin?

  14. Seth Manapio: “The media is squarely in the pocket of advertisers…”

    That’s a lovely statement and belief system/comment! Should I ask the Gods to return to life and our present civilization Aristotle, I would ask him about your sense of logic. However, in the interests of time, I will “cut to the chase” and say you have a point to explore, to seriously investigate, and to present what is found to others.

    Sadly, I don’t think such an effort, even by you alone, will shed the direct light on your supposed reality. Do you not think the media company that seeks advertisers does not have an independent perspective on those issues outside of running a business? Are you saying that no matter what the owner or board of directors believe about life, etc., he, she or they will always come back to “give’m what they want” as the final test? If so, then how wise is it to introduce on a nightly basis Keith Oberman or Glenn Beck; hell, even Katie Couric, if all one is really driven by are advertising dollars?

    I remember the group who said the only reason we were in Iraq was for Halliburton to do business there, under the guise of getting to those WMDs before they were used on us.

    Why did the term “slant” get such power in journalism? Have advertisers ever dropped a media company due to it’s perceived “slant” either politically, socially, etc? Are you saying if such has occurred it only had to do with numbers who came to that media’s presentation?

    We need people who have the concentrated focus that perhaps you have suggested drives your attention to matters of interest. Like a bloodhound, so to speak.

    The next question would be why we find “leashes” in most pet stores?

    Leashes are also sold in sex shops, right?

    Lassie…hurry…go find Timmy!

  15. 1. Don’t think things were a whole lot better under a Republican administration.
    2. The best quality troops the world has yet seen, superbly trained and equipped (for war -not people herding) -ineffective due to poor tactics, elaborate ROE and an inability to pick fights of strategic consequence.
    3. Deleted.
    4. The fact that we have accomplished anything is proof of the ability and resolve of our people at the operational level.
    5. Our national leadership reflects the desires of the population at large: a vague goodwill, lip service to respecting the customs of others, and a desire for a quick, antiseptic and fairly painless solution.
    6. That is not war. That isn’t counterinsurgency, either.
    7. Fact is, we may have won the cultural war already. Internet and cell phone. Will take years for the changes to shake down, though.
    8. By the time that happens, today’s troops will be old and fat, nattering about their war -just like I do about mine.
    9. Understand your frustration with current leadership. Question whether Sen. McCain would have been more capable.
    10. Suspect you are giving President Bush more credit than he deserves on forcing the surge plan.
    11. To the extent the ship of state has a rudder, it is controlled by domestic concerns. Your business is an annoying distraction.
    12. Reiterate 1st sentence of #9. Suggest you remain an independent player and not a member of the loyal opposition.
    Good luck at that -V/R JWest

    1. Can I try that one time, it looks like fun…

      1. In reference to the last (R) admin, it’s my opinion that things were better (in spite of) up until 2006.
      2: Absolutely utterly and completely agree.
      3. I’m actually afraid to ask…
      4. More agreement.
      5. Not so sure I agree with that. Very unsure of the articulation to counter properly.
      6. Strongly disagree. It’s a world war, but very few seem to have noticed that part.
      7. Long fuse, big bang – Dr. Eric Haseltine (linkie to follow)
      8. Better old, fat, and nattering, then rows of white crosses.
      9. Positive that Sen. McCain would have been more capable, as a wartime leader. Just about breaking even on the Wasilla ‘Cuda vs ThunderThighs though.
      10. The buck did stop at W’s desk and a whole section of the Pentagram was very against at the time. Many of those very against are now at the top of the pile.
      11. As much as I’d like to I cannot disagree.
      12. Fear that the time is fast approaching when those who do not choose a side get squashed in the middle. Between raging behemoths is never a good place, no matter how its spun. Otherwise, excellent advise, I’ll second.

      That was fun JW, hope you don’t mind my simple amusements. Cuz I think your lists rule, even when I disagree.

      Dr. Eric Haseltine homepage
      Full disclosure

      THAT’S A
      NICE GUN,

  16. ” If so, then how wise is it to introduce on a nightly basis Keith Oberman or Glenn Beck; hell, even Katie Couric, if all one is really driven by are advertising dollars?”

    Yes. Because those people drive traffic to advertisers. That is so incredibly obvious as to be barely worth mentioning. Do you seriously believe that the people who pay the bills are not a major influence on news content? Why on earth would you believe such a thing?

    It’s worse than this, by the way. A lot of news stories are basically written by the advertisers themselves in the form of well constructed press releases.

    “Have advertisers ever dropped a media company due to it’s perceived slant either politically, socially, etc? Are you saying if such has occurred it only had to do with numbers who came to that media’s presentation?”

    I am not aware of a single case in the history of media where an advertiser dropped a media company due to their perceived slant alone. Advertisers take slant into account only in so far as it affects their corporate image, and in general, their corporate image only matters insofar as it affects the bottom line. Exhibit one would be all the advertisers who loudly abandoned CBS during the Master furor a couple of years ago, only to come creeping back quietly over the next year. Exhibit ‘B’ would be all the companies who loudly abandoned the Glenn Beck show but are now creeping back quietly.

    There is this fantasy that people have that Fox News, which is part of a huge, multi-national media empire, is not “mainstream”, or that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly are not “mainstream”. If you actually look at the numbers, this is ludicrous. These are hugely popular and hugely profitable enterprises. Reason magazine and Mother Jones are not mainstream. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are mainstream.

    As for there being a substantive difference between the media reporting of Afghanistan now and during the Bush years, there is, but not in the administrations favor. The media barely acknowledged the conflict in Afghanistan during the Bush years, and they are acknowledging the hell out of it now. And while you may not see anything embarrassing to the Obama administration in the WikiLeaks documents, the MSM was very explicit in stating that this was an embarrassment to the administration. Which would imply that they were–according to you–making the situation worse for the administration than it actually is!

    The lead story right now on Google News is a piece about Aid workers being killed in Afghanistan. The Christian Science Monitor, which is definitely part of the MSM, refers to this as a “sign of slipping security”, which is definitely not what the administration wants them to say. The administration insists that security is, if anything, improving. There is constant mention in the MSM about this being the wars “deadliest month”, again, not what the administration wants highlighted.

    Even hard-core, self-described liberals in freaking college newspapers don’t support the administration.

    There is no evidence to support the assertion that the press is treating Obama better in regards to Afghanistan than they treated Bush. And considering that Obama has the same secretary of defense and is getting his input from the same generals and is continuing the same policies that Bush pursued, there is no evidence to support the idea that a Republican would do this any differently.

    I absolutely agree that Obama is doing a shit job running this war. I just don’t agree that he’s doing a shit job because he’s an intellectual lightweight or a political amateur. He is very obviously neither of these things, as evidenced by his rather thorough ass-kicking of Hillary Clinton and John McCain in the last election.

    It is much more likely that he is a cold-hearted, calculating bastard like every other serious politician on earth, and he thinks that a slow bleed of American lives over 18 months with a declaration of victory at the end is going to yield a better political result than either a serious prosecution of the war or an expeditious withdrawal from the war.

  17. “You think ABC news would report this angle? Not with Barack in the Whitehouse.”

    Of course they would. They do.

    CBS News, July 20, 2010: “While there had been complaints about restrictive rules of engagement even before the change, the decision brought to a boil complaints that the rules put troops’ lives at risk. (Said one service member to the Washington Post: :“We’ve been handcuffed by our chain of command.”) “

  18. “However, in the interests of time, I will cut to the chase and say you have a point to explore, to seriously investigate, and to present what is found to others.”

    Fortunately for all of us, I don’t actually have to do that research, because it’s already been done. What I’m saying is not in any way contentious wherever people actually seriously investigate media bias. Aristotle would be fine with my logic, which works like this:

    “A profit making enterprise generally achieves success by pleasing it’s customers. The customers of a news organization are the advertisers, and the product that the news organization sells is attention. Therefore, the content of the news from a successful news organization will be slanted in a way that provides advertisers with the attention that they want from the people they want it from.”

  19. Seth Manapio:

    Dear (Our business community is behind it all…!)Bloodhound:

    Would you like the heavy, thick mulehide leash, or would you prefer the rhinestone emblazened model with a “cat of nine tails” at the handler’s end leash?

    Once you’re on the scent, you don’t let up, nor let anything get in your way…now do you?

    Good to see you’re channeling Aristotle…


    CH Luke!

  20. OH, for those who can take time away from crying or tearing up over the loss of our 6 plus medical/spiritual team in Afghanistan…

    Didn’t RAMBO cover this reality in his last appearance on the big screen?

  21. RJ – I think it was better covered in the Bruce Willis movie “Tears From the Sun.”

    Rambo is in extended treatment for his steriod use and the A-Team still can’t hit anything smaller then a van.


  22. Didn’t anybody notice this plaintive cry? This sole voice buried in this comment thread, with its simple, yet seemingly contradictory request?

    “they must help us american soldiers must go from our dear country”

    If “they” are not the American soldiers, who must go, then who are “they” that must help?

    Strangely I sort of agree. I too think that American combat soldiers should leave Afghanistan, at least the bulk of them. They should be in the FATA, kicking asses and taking names. Then the ISI’s Taliban running dogs would be too busy to have the time to throw acid in little Afghan girls faces.

    The very best defense is an active offense.


  23. It would appear that I have aroused the watchful eye of this site’s creator in a previous response post where I wrote:

    “OH, for those who can take time away from crying or tearing up over the loss of our 6 plus medical/spiritual team in Afghanistan”

    In a private email message it was pointed out to me that perhaps such a comment would offend others who are regular visitors to this blog and who might be relatives or perhaps close friends of those who were murdered while on medical help for native Afghanistanis, and that such comments might be viewed as being “caviler” and beyond insensitive.

    That is indeed a valid point, one that never entered my mind as I lamented another story where those who offer to help are denied doing so, in this case with their very lives.

    No American troops nor native Afghan troops or police were walking the walk with these medical people for protection as they traveled to help and aid the sick and injured.

    I used the recent RAMBO movie as reference (Render thought a Willis effort more apropos) for here was a story where a Christian organization had put together a medical group to go out into danger and help those without such access. I do recall when this group did get into the village there was a scene in which religious efforts were being presented. RAMBO knew these people were very ignorant of the dangers such efforts would create and just possibly experience.

    The ending of the movie would justify his earlier fears, and those surviving members seemed to realize the hellish realities their dreams had entered. Both parties learned something and responded accordingly.

    Years from now those Afghans who did not–nor will ever, receive medical care from such a team may come to wonder what they lost and perhaps destroyed through active efforts or passive indifference; certainly ignorance.

    The families of those killed will remember the loved ones lost as caring, compassionate people, while combat veterans all will know in the shadows of the valleys of death one tries not to fear evil…while one is surrounded by evils.

    American voters need to learn that we suffer greatly when we fail to elect to office normal, everyday citizens who have truly experienced many of life’s adventures; such as wearing a military uniform, fighting on behalf of one’s country, sacrificing for freedom even.

    Doctors are at the top of our “fix-it” chain. Losing those who try to heal others via our enemies is never good, but it is part of the game one plays while in the valleys of death.

    Those who are lucky to be here in the USA and see how important it is to protect and support all of our teams out at the “tip of the spear” need to remain vigilant and strong.

    If my comments undermined some for this effort that is not what I intended, nor desired.

  24. “Dear (Our business community is behind it all!)Bloodhound”

    I didn’t say anything even remotely approaching “our business community is behind it all”. I said this:

    A profit making enterprise generally achieves success by pleasing it’s customers. The customers of a news organization are the advertisers, and the product that the news organization sells is attention. Therefore, the content of the news from a successful news organization will be slanted in a way that provides advertisers with the attention that they want from the people they want it from.

    This is a logically coherent statement, and I don’t have to “channel” Aristotle to know that.

    You seem to miss two very obvious points when discussing the media: that the media is, in fact, part of the business community, and the media survives because they can sell advertising space to the rest of the business community. So of course the business community decides what goes into a large publication or broadcast: the people producing, editing, and approving the content are members of the business community. That doesn’t mean that the “business community” is behind it all, or that there is some stupid conspiracy to hijack Iraqi oil, or any other weird fantasy that you want to impose on me. It just means that CNN is in fact a profit seeking enterprise.

  25. I see Fox news/afghanistan has a article up about Jihadi tourists in the is very low. Tim keep a sharp eye.

  26. when I was over there in the 70s not too many people moved around the city at night, if they did they might be assumed to be thieves

  27. when I was over there in the 70s not too many people moved around the city at night, if they did they might be assumed to be thieves……………..

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