I regard the death and mangling
of a couple thousand men
as a small affair, a kind of morning dash --
and it may be well that we become so hardened
--General William Tecumseh Sherman
War on the cheap
is always a rotten policy
More thoughts on Dakota Meyer's Medal of Honor scenario:
The back story is a subtle slap in the Army's face. It is repeatedly stressed that the fire support was denied by the Army, and 10th Mountain officers were relieved after this incident. This is the reverse of the Battle at Lang Vei in Vietnam in which the Marines failed to provide fire and artillery support to the Special Forces under siege. Instead after that battle, Marine Commander Colonel Lowndes was rewarded for his grave inaction and received the Navy Cross; he was never reprimanded.
Simple questions regarding the personnel at the fight:
- Why was United States Marine Corps 05 in the fight? How did he fit in the command structure?
- If there were 140 friendlies, then how did they all get to the Objective Rally Point (ORP)? Did they use a tour bus? What did their approach march look like? How long did they occupy the ORP?
- If there were 140, then why was a reserve element not designated?
- How many vehicles were at the ORP?
The fact that Meyers found the four U.S. dead and the ANA member in a bunch indicates that the U.S. members were desperate -- soldiers are trained to maintain distance and proper dispersion in training and combat. Bunching up indicates instinct is overriding training, a desperate position.
Huddled dead are indicative of every historical U.S. military defeat. The image of Myles Keogh at Little Big Horn and his clustered dead at the ravine come to mind. The groups may be larger or smaller, but it feels like we are walking a Mobius strip of repetitive disasters.
The fact that the bodies were stripped of all their equipment indicates the hostiles completely dominated and controlled the battle space. Not only did they dominate the field by placing effective fire on the friendlies, they had the freedom to maneuver and move with obvious impunity. This is a gross invalidation of the entire goodwill mission.
We were selling goodwill, but they were not buying. Instead, they copped at least $100,000 worth of U.S. combat paraphernalia. How can any commander intellectualize having ordered such a mission? The facts indicate that perhaps this war is just another unmanageable boondoggle of no military merit.
This was designated a "goodwill mission" to rebuild/repair the local mosque (McClatchey). This is a perplexing military mission. Does having the military rebuild a mosque violate separation of church and state? Does the U.S. military or government build or repair churches in the U.S.?
Does it make sense to combat "Islamic Extremism" in a Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) while encouraging fundamentalism via actions such as mosque repair? Why fight them and then encourage their religious beliefs? This looks a lot like creating another Islamic fundamentalist state at U.S. taxpayer's expense. If so, why?
Since the enemy fighters were not on board with the "goodwill" of the mission, we should ask militarily, societally and as a course of national policy why it is a U.S. policy to kill people in the confines of isolated villages and valleys far from any Walmart, and to try and portray the action as one of goodwill?
An Army that fights people on their home turf under the flimsy guise of goodwill is performing an exercise in futility, expending lives for naught. Is destroying a village to save it a goodwill mission? Do the locals see it that way? Goodwill is not something carried on the backs of 140 heavily-armed and dangerous soldiers.
The kids in this valley probably did not receive any USMC Toys for Tots this Christmas.