“We have never been so restricted in defending ourselves as we have now … What the hell are we doing here?”
In independent war correspondent Michael Yon's latest dispatch, "America’s Dumbest War, Ever", he shares the letter of one of our troops on the ground in Afghanistan had written to his father. It's not good ... and, unfortunately, not only confirms suspicions about conditions there for our troops, but backs-up the stories I have heard from the Marines I know that have been there recently in the last couple years. Apparently, it has gotten worse. The "close air support" that I recently mentioned in a previous post regarding my son-in-law's Marine Staff SGT. brother's last deployment last winter has gone from rare to non-existent...
I am fed up. I cannot believe the lack of attention the recent changes in this war is receiving by the media or the country. I think I saw one thing on CNN about the following subject, but I had to dig extensively to find it. The purpose of this letter is to let you know of the garbage that our soldiers are going through right now. With this knowledge, I hope that you take action by writing your congressmen.
First, because of the recent green on blue incidents or “insider threats” as the new buzz phrase dictates, all coalition forces in Afghanistan have completely stopped partnering with the ANA, AUP, and ALP in order to prevent the death of anymore CF casualties by ANSF or Taliban disguised as them. This is also greatly spurred by President Karzi’s indifferent attitude and lack of action to take measures to prevent further insider attacks.
In other words, COIN (pdf file) has completely fallen apart
Second, because of this massive change in policy (and complete change in mission) all U.S. forces are forbidden to actively patrol their AO and are to remain on their respective COPs/FOBs. There are only a few exceptions to this rule and they all pertain to “hardening” highway 1 in our AO. We have received orders that clearly state that all CF will no longer be allowed to drop air to ground munitions within the country of Afghanistan. This preempts Karzi’s announcement that will be made shortly that states the above mentioned order, making it a tactical directive that he is ordering.
And don't think the enemy has not been made aware of this via the embedded insurgents within the Afghan ranks we are currently partnering with.
To the first point: Our mission in Afghanistan is to partner with the ANSF on all levels. Now the policy makers are telling us that we are not allowed to do that and further more we are to take immediate measures to secure ourselves from the ANSF that are co-located with us. So the question now becomes, what is our mission? Furthermore, the implication is that we have absolutely no reason to still be in this country if we are not partnering with the ANSF. So why are we here?
To the second point: I don’t think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders, but that is precisely what is happening in this war right now even as I write this letter. The soldiers of the U.S. never engage the enemy unless we know that we have will always have the tactical advantage in defending ourselves, that advantage is the use of close air support and air weapons team. To take those weapons away from us is to level the playing field for the enemy and thus exposing our soldiers to more danger. In the school house they teach us that the minimum ratio that we are to engage the enemy with, is a 3:1 ratio. In other words, we have the highest probability of winning because we don’t fight fair. The sound tactical principles behind this teaching have saved lives. The very presence of aircraft over our foot patrols has also saved lives and now our chain of command is being told by our political leadership that this is now not allowed. If we are not partnering with the ANSF and we are not actively patrolling to prevent our enemies from massing their attacks on our COP and we can’t drop a bomb on the enemy that we have positively identified, than what the hell are we doing here?
Do not buy into what the some media outlets have already said about this.
Chilling. Call your Congressman-woman/Senator and demand they look into this immediately. For all the concern over aiding (then) Libya and (now) Syria, our reality should be our own boots-on-the-ground in Afghanistan, not the terrorist-driven "rebels" in those other countries. Our guys are being abandoned. Bring them home. Maybe they'll actually get to vote then...
HT to Weasel Zippers, whose 'emphasis' I leave in place within the excerpt.
ALP - Afghan Local Police
ANA - Afghan National Army
ANSF - Afghan National Security Forces
AO - Area of Operations
AUP - Afghan Uniformed Police
CF - Coalition Forces
COP - Combat Outpost
FOB - Forward Operating Base