War can’t be fought with one toe in the water. Plunge in head first to fight and kill your enemy in ruthless fashion. Violence of action as we call it in Special Operations.
There are a lot of great military leaders today that understand this (General Mattis is one), and some that clearly don’t. The ones that do are surely shaking their heads in disgust as they see the foolishness of the recent change in ROE handed down to Special Operations in Afghanistan.
This is the icing on the cake of over a decade of fighting in the region and no clear strategic objective in Afghanistan. In the U.S. wars are fought and won when everyone, including average citizens, understands what we are doing and rally’s behind a simple and clear strategic objective. Compare World War II with Vietnam and you’ll see two very clear examples of this.
SOFREP sources tell us that U.S. military leadership recently handed down a change in Rules of Engagement (ROE) to all Special Operations personnel in Afghanistan.While I’m not going to get into detailed specifics (this would make things worse), I will break it down in simple terms for the average citizen to digest. This change is sure to get more good people killed in my opinion and also showcases our lack of commitment in the region.
ROE’s of the past allowed enemy engagement based on hostile intent and the Warfighter’s interpretation of imminent threat. The new ROE states that Warfighters have to get shot at to fire back (hostile act).
The situation has always been complicated in Afghanistan, just ask the Soviets. It’s a war torn country ruled by rival Warlords, Taliban extremists, and the heroin trade.
In my opinion we should have spent the first two years after 9-11 stomping the hell out of terrorist infrastructure and then left small teams of Special Operations and Intelligence to do what they do best. Instead we’ve dumped Billions into the country with little to show for it. It’s our generations Vietnam, at least the veterans of this war have the support of most back home, I feel for the Vietnam vets who were treated very differently.
The sooner we get the hell out of Afghanistan the better. You only have to ask yourself what we’ve accomplished and how the Afghan people will remember us when we’re long gone, and then arrive at your own conclusion.
And what about addressing core causes of radicalism? While there are bad guys that need killing, we can’t just kill our way to bridging cultural and religious gaps that fuel extremism in the world. Time to seriously look at winning over some hearts and minds, and I’m not talking two to the chest and two to the head.
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