Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Foster States

We are running out of money,
so we must begin to think

--British Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory (attributed)

The goal of all COIN operations
is to set up a friendly government in any given scenario. This means the populace must submit to the government and actively support the regime.

External governments cannot be arbitrarily superimposed upon local societies. If they are, then they are reincarnations of the Nazi/Communist puppet regimes, whether Vichy France or the satellite states of the former Soviet Union.

The basic question is : Does the U.S. really want to foster client states? Both Afghanistan and Iraq were based upon the acceptance of this premise. No one seemed to consider the reality that even if successful, neither state would serve as a useful ally. So why the effort? Why the cost in both men and materiel? Why the cost in loss of prestige?

What is the
mission of military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan? This is a different matter from diplomatic and State considerations. In that same vein, what is the mission of the Department of State (DoS)? Do the two dovetail and interlock?

The U.S. military machine is designed to fight wars, not insurgencies. This is not a news flash, yet U.S. combat power is being used as. . . What? Please tell Ranger what the mission is this week.

The following are inefficient and inappropriate practices in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©):

  1. Utilizing tanks in urban settings. Tanks kill tanks and are not designed as street fighters.
  2. The Infantry/Combat Arms are being utilized to secure roadways. This means the combat power of the Army is being utilized to protect the supply functions. This means the Infantry is supporting the support and is therefore not available to counter combat threats.
  3. Utilizing million dollar missiles to kill individual targets that should be eliminated by Infantry.
  4. Allowing the military to dictate policy that should be a DoS function. In effect, the tail is wagging the dog
  5. Believing that physically controlling ground will produce victory.
  6. Preaching hearts and minds, yet continually killing, wounding and imprisoning locals, often without trial. Dropping missiles out of the sky is not a hearts and minds tactic.
  7. The belief that killing people will create a peaceful state.


Labels: , , , ,


Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

One of the things I've always wondered about was why the Military uses combat trained, and combat experienced veterans as police?
Isn't that what MP's are for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Junior African Grey said...

FYI Ranger, while on the subject of a dependent client state, we're arming the Afghan National Army with U.S. weapons now. I don't think our client state will generate the income to purchase weapons and ammo, so we'll be supplying them with expensive weapons plus 5.56 and 7.62 NATO ammo courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CTuttle said...

*gasp* Can it be...?

"The international community must set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan, says - President Hamid Karzai, reports The Associated Press."

Is Karzai channeling Maliki?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 4:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Much as I agree with you analysis of the futility of the way we're going about this Sitzkrieg, Ranger, the truth is that Great Powers have always had client states. We're no different in that respect and never have been.

I'd opine that the critical difference is that these client states are in a part of the world where it costs us a great deal to maintain a "presence" while promising little in the way of permanent benefits. The reality is that Afghanistan is going to be in Russia's and India's Sphere of Influence, Iraq in Iran's and (to a lesser extent) Saudi Arabia's.

We can play this game of "Global Hegemon" for as long as our money, and then our credit, holds out. But as the Brits would say, it's "breaking windows with guineas" - throwing heaps of cash after a very difficult, very elusive objective. The cost is usually several times the gain. Both Spain, France and Britain tried this during the 20th Century and, in the end, it exhausted and bankrupted them. I don't know why we think we're that much better...

And just as an aside, if you're fighting a Real War, tanks can be a terrific MOUT asset; they're huge moving assault artillery and can blast away strongpoints you'd otherwise have to spend lots of lives and time trying to reduce or bypass. Look up Patton's attack on Metz. He couldn't bypass it and couldn't leave in in his rear. So his guys rolled the tanks in and blasted the city apart block by block.

But your point in this case is that tanks, arty and tacair aren't useful assets in cities you're trying to PACIFY. And there I'll agree. Unless, like the Romans, you prefer to "make a wasteland and call it peace."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 6:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I'd like to cmt but I don't understand the question. Pls clarify and I'll offer an opinion -even if i have to use dream dust. jim

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 10:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

economics was one of the biggest weapons the empires of rome, and athens before them employed to build their power.

you could deal and trade with them and become prosperous, or you could fight, and die poor.

caesar's biggest recruiting tool in gaul was the prosperity of the remi and belgai tribes which were early roman allies.

the neighbors saw the riches and better lives and most wanted in.

used that way it isn't so much a conquest as it is a buy in. there is great potential for abuse along the way, but properly applied it is powerful.

had john paul vann been allowed to increase prosperity in the villages of vietnam by instituting security and harvest protection the countryside would have flipped to our side in a season or two. for a farmer the idea of keeping and profiting from one's own harvest is a powerful persauder.

the tricky part of a policy like that in afghanistan is that their two main crops are poppies and hashish.

so much for agraian reform yo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 10:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You like tanks as artillery it seems. Patton at Metz and Nancy could've used Div/Corps/Theater Arty assets to do the pulverizing and swung wide to do what tanks do best.
Look at the Germans at Caen and what happened to their tanks in that built up area.
Infantry in MOUT should destroy bunkers with their assigned supporting weapons.And yes tanks were used in Falluga but thats hardly a real war .Tanks should fight tanks.But since the insurgents don't have tanks it's ok to do make work fights for the armor.They need their tickets punched also. jim

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 10:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

MB: "you could deal and trade with them and become prosperous, or you could fight, and die poor."

And, especially under the Republic and early Empire, you could ALLY with them, get most of the benefits of Roman largesse and sorta-kinda keep your soverignty, at least internally.

Most of the analyses I've read of Rome suggest that one of the things that started the Empire on its way down was Roman greed for loot. Provinces were a rich opportunity for patricians to gouge their fortunes out of the locals, while foederati yielded a pittance in tribute by comparison. Varus' disaster was supposed to have been set in motion by his greed and his treating the German federated tribes like a Rroman province.

IMO we would be better off dealing with these Central Asian despotisms at arms length. Trying to prop them up with ground troops is like wrestling a pig in shit: it just gets us dirty and the pig doesn't care.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 7:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Jim: As a redleg, I loves my cannons. But artillery in MOUT just puts holes in roofs. We have a hard time knocking out bunkers inside buildings, even with HED. Plus, given the close quarters of MOUT, the PER/PED of an artillery round could be fatal to the guys calling for fire.

Add to that that the GIs in WW2 Europe didn't HAVE much in the way of "supporting weapons" other than LMGs; no bazookas until late in 1944, plus mortars which are even less effective in built-up areas than arty.

You can always clear a city by flattening it. Third Army was looking for a way to reduce the strongpoints without having to demolish the entire block, or having to assault each bunker and pillbox. Having a tank or two to put a round in the basement window solved the problem without having to drop the whole structure.

The way the Germans used their armor in Caen was fatheaded. By that time they didn't have enough landser to protect them from tank-killer teams, plus they had NO air cover so the Allied fighter-bombers could cream them at will. I'm not sure that using Caen as an example rules out MOUT armor absolutely.

But my point was to agree with you that there are SOME situations where armor in towns and cities is just plain stupid. Fighting guerilla is probably THE most anti-tank situation. All you're gonna do in run over someone's pet goat and piss off the locals, no matter how many G's you blow to Allah...

And you're also spot on about WHY these tanks are rolling around in Baghdad - because the Armor guys refuse to accept that they can't play in the sandbox. Then add to that the FA guys, the Cav, the Navy and pretty much the whole goddam Air Force and you see quickly why this thing is such a clusterfuck tactically.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 8:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"Utilizing million dollar missiles to kill individual targets that should be eliminated by Infantry."

The more things change...

Here's Bill Mauldin writing about the Italian front in 1943:

"An American infantry lieutenant, spotting a German patrol, is likely to get excited and call for an artillery barrage. The battered Krauts, who come from a land where shells are costly, lives are cheap, and logic governs action probably wonder why the hell we didn't send an infantry patrol instead."

Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 12:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

at hue armor, and artillery (and artillery was what carried many a day in the boonies) were pretty much useless.

at first, so were m16s. the hot rounds tended to ricochet in nasty ways in that place of stone walls and streets.

thumpers, thompsons, and shotguns were what we used to carry that streetfight.

doorway by doorway, stair by stair, room by room, window by fucking goddamned window. it wasn't pretty, or all that much fun.

it did work.

Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

MB: No question it works. Always has, always will. Possession is 9/10s of the Laws of War and the infantry has always been the bailiff's men.

Our problem is that, short of the Mongol solution, we're fighting for territory that's inside the heads of the peoples of central and southwest Asia. All the armor, arty, rifles and bayonets in the world won't take that city back if we convince them it's stand or die...

Friday, November 28, 2008 at 1:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

We fight for ground that has no value except for the blood of good soldiers that contest ownership.
Both theirs and ours. jim

Friday, November 28, 2008 at 11:28:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home