RANGER AGAINST WAR: Dancing in the Dark <

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dancing in the Dark

Stay on the streets of this town
and they'll be carving you up alright

They say you gotta stay hungry

hey baby I'm just about starving tonight

--Dancing in the Dark
, Bruce Springsteen

Look, there is one statement that bothers me

more than anything else, and that's the idea

that when the troops are in combat

everybody has to shut up.

Imagine if we put troops in combat

with a faulty rifle, and that rifle was malfunctioning

and troops were dying as a result.

I can't think anyone would allow that to happen,

that would not speak up.

Well, what's the difference between a faulty plan

and strategy that's getting just as many troops killed?

--General Anthony Zinni (USMC, ret'd, former

CENTCOM Commander in Chief)

You are a fear prisoner.

Yes, you are a product of fear

--Donnie Darko (2001)


Recent discussion of Waygul and the Medal of Honor actions in Afghanistan returned the lessons of a distant classroom to mind.

Once upon a time the Army had a doctrine that Captains fight battles, and Colonels and Generals get them there. They also arrange for the ash-and-trash items needed to fulfill the mission. Waygul and Murphy, Miller and Meyer's battles should have been fought by Captains committing their forces to destroy the enemy. All of the units did this to the best of human capacity, but that was not enough.

This led me to ponder the history of the U.S. Civil War (since surely that is what the current wars will devolve into for their own respective peoples). Until Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac was kicked around every battlefield by General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Union Army was never out-fought or out-soldiered, but they were always out-Generaled, until Gettysburg.

Gettysburg was the first battle in which Union Generals actually generaled their Army and allowed the Captains and enlisted soldiers to fight the enemy on their own terms. The fights in Afghanistan are similar as our soldiers always fight properly, but the Colonels and Generals are not holding up their end.

The soldiers arrive at the battlefield, but they do not get a level playing field because the battlefield is never properly prepared: Items like fire support, medical evacuation, maneuver plans and follow-on forces and reserves are conspicuously missing. Pressure is not maintained on the enemy, and he is allowed to break contact after inflicting predictable casualties upon U.S. soldiers.

The U.S. Army in Afghanistan resembles Lee at Gettysburg without his cavalry screening his Army. Without this screen, Lee had no idea what forces he was facing until he developed the situation, which is what he did, at a disadvantage.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan have that same feel of desperately trying to develop the situation, which must be the reason for the lopsided fights that we are seeing.

Meanwhile, what are the Colonels and Generals contributing to the effort? It is strange that the mighty U.S. forces are being out-generaled by folks fighting in shower shoes. This would not make Generals Lee or Meade very happy.

Like Lee at Gettysburg, the U.S. is fighting in the dark.

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Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

on the bright side... johnny's go a boom boom...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 7:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Something tells me you're at home with psychobilly. BTW -- I think they're great.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 11:29:00 AM GMT-5  

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