Monday, December 27, 2010

A Heartbreaking Story of Combat in Afghanistan

Read this story.  Read it all the way through.  Then think about it from the perspective of the enlisted soldiers.  Then from the perspective of the platoon leader.  Then from the perspective of the battalion commander.  Then from the perspective of the division commander.  All of the men in this decision chain saw the deaths of six Americans as great tragedies, but the importance of the fight was seen differently as you move up the chain. 

The key line, from the battalion commander who has spent much of the last decade in combat: 

"I came in looking for a counterinsurgency victory," Ryan said. "But here, there is no such thing." 

I fear he is right.


Mudge said...

I had the privilege of serving with MG Campbell when he was Aide to GEN Shelton at 18th Airborne Corps when they embarked in USS Mt Whitney to command the Joint Task Force about to invade Haiti in the mid 90s. He's a damned good man. Probably a lot like his battalion commander and company commanders who question the decisions that cost their soldiers their lives. I suspect some of them will someday be Generals and the story will play out just the same if we are engaged in combat somewhere else in the world. Many who read the Post article will deride the out of touch generals and their staffs while the foot soldier bears the brunt of their decisions. I'm not much of a student of history but it may be since Alexander the Great that generals actually led battles from the front. Good reason for that, but with the general insulated from the view from the battlefield and the fighting force insulated from the thinking of the generals, there will always be this sort of questioning. I am thankful I am not in that situation. This kind of work calls for our very best. Irrespective of individual outcomes, I'm even more thankful that our very best are there.

"The Hammer" said...

The parallels to Vietnam are unmistakable. If we stay another year or another hundred years it will not make one iota of difference to anybody anywhere, just more lives lost or ruined and more money spent.
Just get out.

BigFred said...

And watch "Restrepo" on National Geographic.

Wasting our blood and treasure on an indifferent population.

Newer Post Older Post Home