Category Archives: Afghanistan

Obama’s asinine rules of engagement

Hat tip to Dan Riehl.

Writing over at Riehl World View, Dan has some thoughts on the president’s feel-good but asinine rules of engagement for Afghanistan:

*No night or surprise searches.

*Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

*ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.

*U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

*U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

*Only women can search women.

*Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

Not only is it obvious that Mr Obama’s understanding of military doctrine and strategy is not even up to playing a good game of Risk, it is also pretty clear that like most liberals the president does not have a loved one serving in the military.  It’s all abstract to him, little toy soldiers on a map.

Do these fine Americans in his photo-op backdrop look a little skeptical to you?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin had another great picture of a cadet sending a message to the commander in chief:

Several readers note the active service campaign ribbons and medals on the man’s chest and identify one of them as the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, showing he has been an Infantry Soldier under Combat. D. O’Brien writes: “The Cadet pictured in your piece on President Obama’s speech at West Point (December 1, 2009) is not a ‘traditional’ cadet. He is a former enlisted man – and an Infantryman who wears the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. This award is given only to Infantrymen who have participated in direct-fire engagements against the enemy.”

Obama Fiddles While Afghanistan Burns

In March, President Obama gave a speech extolling his new strategy in Afghanistan in which he proclaimed that after a long “careful policy review” he now had a “comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Good morning. Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This marks the conclusion of a careful policy review that I ordered as soon as I took office. My Administration has heard from our military commanders and diplomats. We have consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments; with our partners and NATO allies; and with other donors and international organizations. And we have also worked closely with members of Congress here at home. Now, I’d like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people.

Obama wagging his finger at usRemember that Mr. Obama made these bold and typically self-congratulatory statements six months ago, sounding like he actually knew the difference between his posterior and a hole in the ground.  However, after sacking Gen. McKiernan in May and replacing him with Gen. Stanley McChrystal (perhaps naively hoping that he had found a “yes” man), Mr. Obama is delaying a response to the theater commanders’ request for more troops.  The likely reason for this, as outlined in an article in the Weekly Standard, is that he has far higher political priorities than the lives of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan:

General Stanley McChrystal’s classified assessment of the situation in Afghanistan has been obtained by the Washington Post. According to the Post’s report, McChrystal warns that without the deployment of additional U.S. forces, the war “will likely result in failure.” McChrystal has already put together a detailed troop request, but the administration has asked that he delay in submitting that request for fear of complicating Obama’s health care push on the Hill. The Times speculates that McChrystal will ask for anywhere from 10,000 to 45,000 additional troops. I’ve heard rumors the number could be as many as 60,000 additional troops at the high end.

So the president is dragging his feet on providing necessary resources to our fighting men and women because it is a far lower priority than his desire to take over our health care system and morph it into a centrally controlled, soviet-style entitlement program.  This is what you get when you elect the least qualified and most radical president in American history.

Obamas Priorities Do Not Include Afghan War

Rumor has it that Gen. McChrystal may resign if the president does not provide the resources that the commanders are asking for, as he feels that it will mean the difference between victory and defeat.  Again, the Weekly Standard article quotes the leaked McChrystal report:

According to the McChrystal assessment, “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.” Yet Obama is slow-walking the troop increase for political reasons, even as it seems likely that he will, in the end, do the right thing and send the necessary reinforcements.

It is likely that many of you reading this do not have relatives in the military, and I am not suggesting that the fact that my brother proudly serves in the United States Army gives me some extra moral high ground, but it does make it a lot more real to me when I think about our troops over there fighting for their lives while their commander in chief plays politics over the war and his domestic politics.

I urged my brother to think long and hard before signing up for another hitch last fall, given that it looked likely that we would soon have a radical empty-suit as Commander In Chief.  Ultimately he decided to reenlist.  He is a fine American who fills me with pride.  Hooah, brother!

Mourning real heroes

I was sick of the Jackson coverage well before his over the top memorial service and I changed the channel every time that they got back into any discussion of the guy.  He truly was a good entertainer and more than a little bit of a troubled freak, and like everyone ultimately will, he died.  I think that the celebrity worship is a little crazy.

Michelle Malkin wrote an article called Let’s Mourn the Real American Heroes in which she points out some people who died on the same week as Jackson who deserve more mention.  No, I am not talking about Billy Mays or Farah Faucett or Ed McMahon.

It is very likely that the names Justin Casillas and Aaron Fairbairn and Brian Bradshaw don’t ring a bell with you and the truth is that I also did not recognize those names.  Last week these three American men gave their lives for their country and for their fellow soldiers in Afghanistan, but you could likely name Michael Jackson’s doctor before any of these heroes.

According to the Department of Defense, both Fairbairn and Casillas died from “wounds suffered when insurgents attacked the outpost using small arms and indirect fires.” The Taliban claimed credit for the complex rocket and mortar attack involving a reported 8,000 kg of explosives.

A local Georgia Marine gave his life on July 2 as well, Charles Sharp of Adairsville, while in combat in Afghanistan.  These men and many others like them consistently demonstrate the courage and devotion that we have come to expect from our amazing military, paying the ultimate price in their service.  These are the people I point out to my sons as examples of strength and courage and duty and honor, men with character who stood for something.  We owe them and their proud but grieving families a debt of gratitude and remembrance.  These sons of America died for you and me and one of them is worth a thousand Michael Jacksons.

Michelle goes on to relate the story of Brian Bradshaw, who died on the same day as “the gloved one”:

Continue reading

The Special Relationship

LTC Thorneloe and Trooper Hammond

LTC Thorneloe and Trooper Hammond


The BBC is reporting that the two latest British military casualties in Afghanistan include the highest ranking Army officer killed since the Falklands War.  On July 1st an IED killed LTC Rupert Thorneloe, commanding officer of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Trooper Joshua Hammon, of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment near Lashkar Gah as they were attempting to resupply troops engaged in hostile territory.  LTC Thornloe left behind a wife and two daughters and Trooper Hammond, who joined the Army at 16 and was only a week shy of his 19th birthday, was engaged to be married.

The courageous sacrifice of these soldiers, men truly cut from the same cloth as their tough counterparts in the American military, should remind all of us of the importance of the Special Relationship between America and the UK.  This American truly hopes that President Obama’s snubs of Gordon Brown and the Queen, as well as misstatements by some administration spokesmen, were simply more examples of his being in over his head rather then a conscious change to or lessening of that special relationship.  The Obama administration did not start off well with the Brits, according to Politico:

According to the British accounts, the chill descended on the American-British relationship soon after Obama was inaugurated, when someone at the White House advised the British Embassy to come collect their bust of Winston Churchill, which had graced the Oval Office under President Bush, but which apparently was no longer needed by Obama.

Perhaps Mr. Obama simply needed to make room in his office for his treasured busts of Saul Alinsky and Che Guevara.

Let’s not ever forget that the attack on America was launched from Afghanistan and that our British friends, who had not been attacked by that point, ran right into battle with us.  I have faith that even if there is a 4 year pause in the Special Relationship it will return when America gets back on course after the Obama era.

There is no moderate Taliban, President Obama!

Acting just like the beta male that he is, President Obama is seeking to sing Kumbaya with the Taliban, naively thinking that there is such a thing as moderate Taliban.  Is there ever any threat or crisis for which the Left’s initial response is not “How can we painlessly capitulate?”.  When the tough guy in your party is Joe Lieberman, that says a lot.  Spare me the fiction that Joe Biden is some tough guy.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposal to reach out to moderate Taliban will fail to end the Afghan insurgency as it is inflexible Taliban leaders who are orchestrating the war, not moderates, analysts said.

Obama, in an interview with the New York Times newspaper published on its website on Saturday, expressed an openness to adapting tactics in Afghanistan that had been used in Iraq to reach out to moderate elements there.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed Obama’s proposal but analysts were doubtful.

“Obama’s comment resemble a dream more than reality,” said Waheed Mozhdah, an analyst who has written a book on the Taliban.

“Where are the so-called moderate Taliban? Who are the moderate Taliban?” asked Mozhdah, who was an official in both the Taliban and the Karzai governments.

Karzai’s pro-Western administration and the growing number of foreign forces in Afghanistan have increasingly come under attack from a resurgent Taliban, with Obama now describing Afghanistan as a top foreign policy priority for his new administration.

“‘Moderate Taliban’ is like ‘moderate killer’. Is there such a thing?”, asked writer and analyst Qaseem Akhgar.

You can read Michelle’s post here.

Does the New York Times just hate America?

[Thanks to Gateway Pundit]

Given their track record of reporting secrets that help no one other than our enemies and hurt no one other than our allies and ourselves, I have to ask myself why the New York Times despises America.  Is it just some stereotypical liberal self-hatred?

They have done it again.  They have reported a story where the only beneficiaries will be anti-American terrorists and their sympathizers.  Yesterday the New York Times reported on a secret program where US Special Forces operators are training Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan.

AP/FoxNews reports:

The secret U.S. task force provides the Pakistanis with intelligence and advises them on combat tactics, but does not participate in combat itself, the Times reported, citing anonymous U.S. military officials.

On its Web site Sunday, the Times reported that the effort was larger and more ambitious than previously acknowledged, involving more than 70 U.S. advisers, including combat medics, communications experts and other specialists.

A commando unit within the Frontier Corps has used information from the Central Intelligence Agency and other sources to kill or capture as many as 60 militants in recent months, the newspaper said.

I ask you: what good comes of this?  People can make the case from time to time that spilling the beans on secret programs are good, perhaps showing government doing things that the people would not condone.  But that does not apply in this case or in most of the cases over the last 8 years of the New York Times printing details of top secret operations.  Before now I could just blame it on their hatred for George Bush but with Their Boy in office now I have to assume that it is an even more endemic anti-Americanism at work.  Following on the heels of Democrat Sen. Feinstein’s near-treasonous public admission of Pakistani-launched Predator missions, it almost seems like a concerted effort to undermine our secret cooperation with the Pakistani government.

I ask again:  why would the New York Times publish this?  I am looking for thoughtful perspectives on this.

Going to war with the Yanks

Russell Storring is a sergeant with the Canadian Army and apparently writes a regular column over at CBC News.  Sergeant Storring has done three tours in Afghanistan, working with soliders from many NATO countries.

In a column titled Going to war with the Yanks, the Sergeant talks about working with US military personnel in Afghanistan:

I have had the opportunity to work closely with U.S. forces on each of my deployments to Afghanistan. I know there are some Canadians who view the U.S. military and foreign policy with suspicion. But from my own experiences, I am wholeheartedly thankful to call them allies and brothers-in-arms.

On my second tour in Afghanistan in 2005, I didn’t work with U.S. forces as much as I did other NATO troops and I quickly realized that I missed the professionalism that the Americans bring to the table.

On a couple of occasions, for example, soldiers from other nations were caught sleeping in the guard towers overlooking Camp Julian. Doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when the people guarding you are sleeping on the job.

He also mentions gratitude for the level of johnny-on-the-spot firepower that the US can bring to bear:

At one point, after having done over a month of mostly uneventful convoys, we ran into a Taliban ambush a few hours outside of Kabul. It was a November evening with a light rain coming down and the ambush was a quick and dirty attack with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

As I called in the information on the radio, I was surprised to find out that U.S. planes were already on their way: two Apache attack helicopters and a B-52 bomber on call.

Now I know that was probably overkill and that the insurgents would be long gone before any coalition forces arrived on the scene, but it was reassuring to know that another nation cared enough about its allies to send their own people into harm’s way to help us.

He likes serving with our guys, which is not surprising.  They are good.  You can read the whole thing here.

Dianne Feinstein’s loose lips sink ships

Via HotAir:

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pulled a Joe Biden (though in her case it may have been intentional) when she publicly stated that our Predator drone missions in Pakistan are launched from within Pakistani territory.

At a hearing, Feinstein expressed surprise at Pakistani opposition to the ongoing campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets along Pakistan’s northwest border.

“As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base,” she said of the planes.

Hot Air adds:

Until now, that was a closely guarded secret.  The drone attacks are incredibly unpopular among the Pakistani public, and the US didn’t want to undermine the current, democratically-elected government in Islamabad.  They wanted to give the Yousef Gilani government deniability on their cooperation with the American military in order to keep our options for attack open.

This isn’t the first time Feinstein has blown a sensitive operation by opening her mouth, either.  Californians will recall that Mayor Feinstein called a press conference to discuss the Night Stalker case, a string of violent rapes and murders that terrified the entire state.  She divulged previously-confidential information about Richard Ramirez’ shoes and gun — and on hearing it, Ramirez promptly dumped them into the bay on his way out of town, eliminating key evidence in the case.

With friends like Sen Feinstein, who needs enemies?

How Much is Afghanistan Really Worth to Us?

That is the question posed by Michael Yon in his most recent dispatch.  As he has done in previous dispatches, Yon argues that Afghanistan is a very different and tougher war than Iraq and that we cannot kid ourselves with some notion of Afghanistan suddenly turning around like Iraq.  While admitting that American and Allied troops are doing a better job in that strange clan-based country than has any other army in history, Yon makes the case that even the 30,000 additional troops headed to the Af-Pak theater will not be enough.

The sum of many factors leaves me with a bad feeling about all this.  The Iraq war, even during the worst times, never seemed like such a bog.  Yet there is something about our commitment in Afghanistan that feels wrong, as if a bear trap is hidden under the sand.

If I had not witnessed firsthand what our military accomplished in Iraq, I might think our efforts in Afghanistan are destined to fail.  But we are plainly succeeding in Iraq with the long, dark days well behind us.  Our military is proving far more capable of fighting in Afghanistan than any military in history.  The Soviets got crushed by the Mujahidin, with U.S. help.  The Taliban and associates, however, get stacked up every fighting season, though our casualties also continue to increase.  If I did not believe we could achieve success in Afghanistan, I would likely not go back.

He also makes the valid point that in the grand scheme of things the ever-resurgent Taliban is not any real threat to the US and that we could conceivably contain and continue to kill al Qaeda without the level of effort required to keep Afghanistan cleansed of the Taliban.  He also points out that Russia should have a far more pressing interest in the area:

We must start asking Russia, and others, who the true losers will be if we abandon Afghanistan and leave a resurgent Taliban to lap at their doorsteps.  I am not advocating that we abandon Afghanistan, but our own population and allies might grow weary during the long journey unfolding before us.  The direct threat to us derives far more from al Qaeda than the Taliban, and we can keep punching down al Qaeda for a lot less than it’s costing to prosecute the Afghan war while abdicating significant influence to Russia.  Russia has much to worry about if NATO countries begin to abandon Afghanistan.

I have a brother serving in Iraq right now who, having re-enlisted, will likely get a tour in Afghanistan as well before his time is done.  I thought of him while reading Yon’s earnest advice for the President:

As we enter a new fighting season in Afghanistan this year, we need to know that the President has our backs.  Not just that he is behind us, but that he is covering our six and ready to politically and economically pounce on those who hamper our efforts.  We need to know that the President is fully engaged in this fight, that he is there to win and for the long haul, that he listens and takes close counsel from our senior military, and that he has faith that we can make this process work.  But eight years from now, this thing will not be over.

Read Yon’s entire piece here.

As Taliban Johnny’s parents again request a pardon, instead remember Mike Spann

[HT: Michelle Malkin]

Taliban Johnny’s parents, continuing the covering for their son that made him the criminal that he is, have issued their annual request for a pardon.

Instead of giving those Left Coast jerks one ounce of your energy, go remind yourself about Mike Spann.

In case you do not remember, Mike Spann was the former Marine and CIA officer who was killed in the prison uprising which John Walker Lindh knew was coming.

From Michelle’s column:

Mike Spann’s family visited the fortress after his murder. They talked to Afghan doctors who will never forget his bravery. “They said they thought Mike might run and retreat, but he held his position and fought using his AK rifle until out of ammo, and then draw and begin firing his pistol,” Spann’s father said. “While watching Mike fight they were able to jump up and run to safety.

“They said the only reason that they, and several others, were able to live was because Mike stood his position and fought off the prisoners while enabling them the time to run to safety. The doctors stated that as they fled toward a safe haven they saw Mike run out of ammo and then witnessed him fighting hand to hand until he was overcome by the numerous Al Qada and Taliban prisoners.”

One line from Spann’s CIA application sticks with me:

“I believe in the meaning of honor and integrity.
I am an action person who feels personally responsible for making any changes in this world that are in my power…because if I don’t, no one else will”.

What a man.