Yesterday, in an e-mail conversation with a blogger friend, I asked him to read an article and give me his opinion. He agreed and asked to read something give him my opinion. When I finished reading what he had linked, I was literally shaking with anger. What my friend linked was an internal Army memorandum from a battle tested Tactical Commander to the Secretary of the Army. The subject of the August 20, 2010 memorandum was the Army’s Open Door policy. In the Commander’s opening paragraph, he explains that he is writing to the Secretary because efforts to resolve the problems he had witnessed in the war in Afghanistan through the chain of command had not borne fruit.
The Commander’s memorandum is very long or I would post it in its entirety here. I urge you to bookmark it and read every last word when you can and then pass it to friends and family. If this Commander’s assessment is correct, every American needs to be aware of it and demand from their elected officials in Washington that something be done to correct the problems the Commander sees.
This post could easily run 2000 words or more. The pdf file will not allow me to cut and paste so I will try to faithfully reproduce a few of the things the Commander had to say to the Secretary.
2 The main problem in the war today is not one of enemy capability; it is a lack of professional competence. We have developed a cadre of senior leaders so informed by the historically inaccurate idea that a population can be a center of gravity that we are unwilling to conduct operations that reflect sound military art and science. Consequently, American troops are needlessly exposed to enemy attack, suffer unnecessary casualties, can not secure or control the indigenous population, and are not allowed to deny freedom of movement or maneuver to the Taliban. While we remain a hard-working dedicated military force with substantial potential, history will show that we have been poorly led in the field.
In the Commander’s paragraph No. 3, he outlines his credentials for having standing to point out these problems in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was his third combat campaign. he gives a brief summary of his War College studies and studies of the Army’s historyof combat tactics. He said: “It is difficult to find a time in our Army’s history in which the colonel and general officer ranks are maned by so many officers with such little small unit combat maneuver experience. He goes on to say
The COIN doctrine that does exist consist of musings from amateurs, contractors, plagiarized journal articles, etc. It is not relevent because it does not reflect the studies body pf best practice—the concepts it promotes, in fact, contribute to needless American casualties.
COIN has become such a restrictive dogma that it can not be questioned; any professional discussion of its strengths and weaknesses is discouraged. It has reached such a crisis that those who employ other Army doctrinal concepts, do so at their own professional peril because they will be subject to censure for not adhering to COIN. This has created a dysfunctional and toxic leadership environment throughout our Army which has resulted in poor organization, unrealistic training, and indecisive battlefield performance.
I have shared only a very small part of the Commander’s concerns. In a later part of his memorandum he tells how the other NATO commanders recognize the US Army’s short comings and when a British Commander calls a strategy meeting, the Americans are asked to sit in the back of the room and are affectively ignored.
Every time I read the words “needless casualties” my blood began to boil. If the Commander’s assessment of our Army’s battlefield leadership is accurate, what does it say about our other military branches? After stewing over what the Commander wrote back in 2010, I recalled an American Thinker article that I saved back in September as a possible subject for a post. The article had to do with a small insurgent group who had penetrated the perimeter of one of our major air bases in Afghanistan and inflicted serious damage on a number of our aircraft. The author was upset that here was, for all practical purposes, a news blackout on how this small force was able to inflict so much damage. Would i be wrong to link this event to what the Commander was talking about?
Yesterday, the Always On Watch blog linked an article from the Fix Bayonets blog. The linked article had to do with some despicable behavior by General Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Am I wrong to connect the Generals behavior to what the Commander described two years ago?
How do such people reach the highest ranks of our military? This didn’t all happen on Obama’s watch. I don’t doubt for a moment that our troops are well-trained and that our special forces units are the best in the world. But, what about our officers? What are our best and brightest being taught in West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs? Is our vaunted military becoming the laughing-stock of other NATO commanders? Are our troops suffering “needless casualties” because our officer are under-trained and are practicing political correctness on the battlefield? Am I reading too much into the words of one Commander’s assessment of the conduct of the war in Afghanistan? For some reason, I don’t think so.
Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?