Friday, November 16, 2012

Army Wrong

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line 
--I Walk the Line, Johnny Cash

We're pitiful, self-indulgent cowards
that can't connect with reality
and are ashamed of ourselves 
Scenes From a Marriage (1973)

The rules of fair play
do not apply in love and war 
--Euphueus, John Lyly

[Lisa’s got the 3,000 yr. pop cultural perspective soon. Today, Ranger's effort at Maxim meets SOF -- no sop to feminists.]

As military men, we see everything as mission and objective.  As a result, it is natural to objectify women and subsequent sexual encounters.   The infusion of women into the military fosters and enables this thinking.

The military objectives of warfare and those of sex are similar in many respects, hence this discursion.

What is the purpose of the objective in combat operations?  We attack, defend and delay in order to facilitate future operations.  CGSC teaches us, never plan an operation that does not facilitate future operations.

In short, every military objective serves a purpose; nothing is done just for giggles.  Can or should the same be said about sexual objectives?  Is the latter as logical and coldly calculating as are military objectives?  Or, have military objective post-1963 (post-Vietnam War) become as emotional, haphazard and illogical as the selection of a sex partner at a juke joint's closing time?

Our major religions espouse sex as a divine gift from god for the purpose of procreation; some more radical priests will allow that the act itself can be the consecration (but not all).  The point here is that sex is a contradicted act, both sacred and profane, whereas military objectives are (should be) as clearly-delineated and identifiable as a computer program.

Both activities share the aspect of subterfuge: In combat, it is the ruse or diversionary attack employed to further one's objective; in sex, the ruse is employed to gain any number of advantages, both short- and long-term. Attack, defend, delay, retreat or retrograde, done as a planned or hasty operation for clearly understood and defined reasons.  Both arenas of activity employ similar tactics. 

It gets fuzzy when we act without clear objectives.

We fight a war without military objectives, but no one seems to object; there is little discussion, even when Presidential administrations change.  Strangely, slavering over David Petraeus's sex life has garnered more ink in the popular press than did both the Iraq and Afghanistan surges, including the battles of Fallujah, Kandahar, etc.

Nobody questioned why or how we chose to attack and destroy Fallujah, or the purpose of the brutal combat.  Was this just foreplay for a United States Marine Corps Division?  Was it a platform to win a key objective, or was it merely an act of frustration prompted by hubris and single-minded vengeance -- just to prove we could destroy a city and break the will of the insurgents?

Fallujah and all the battles of the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) are as meaningless as a back seat coupling of drunken fools.  What is gained in either instance?    When our military objectives become as random as sexual encounters then we are rendered impotent.  All of our technology and fancy gadgets are as meaningless as a hand job on prom night, as impressive as an 80-year-old hoping for some Levitra action at the expense of a stroke.

From the military perspective of the expenditure of assets to achieve objectives, the PWOT again fails.  Too many recent battles turn into meat grinders chewing up friendly assets, the final impotent movement, to abandon the fought-for objective; witness Khe Sanh, Hamburger Hill, Dak To, LZ X-Ray, Wanat, Waygul, Marjah, et. al.  This is because there is no military value to the event beyond the flash and gash.

It is the same equation with Petraeus's unfortunate dalliance with Mrs. Broadwell: Petraeus expended his assets breaching an expendable asset. One should never expend assets or attack objectives that have  no value.  Unfortunately, this has been the template for the PWOT.  Ditto indiscriminate, objectiveless couplings that foster or facilitate no present or future benefits (= operations).  It is easy to see the genesis of DP's moral lassitude.

When analogizing sexual liaisons to military operations one must wonder why some objectives are chosen for exploitation and others are bypassed: What factors determine the engagement (consummation?)  After all, the selection of objectives is the key to successful military operations.  Faulty selection leads to catastrophe (= military failure; divorce; nuts in a vice, etc.)

The objective of a successful operation should not be to reach a local penetration but to reach deep targets, which will ensure the commander's control of his battle assets. (In the PWOT, we have never experienced such a deep battle, nor will we.The ultimate goal of one's objectives is to force the enemy to surrender, withdraw or be defeated [take a DIP (Die in Place)].

By performing a local penetration which could not be further exploited, Petraeus was flanked.  He thought he was controlling the battle area, but he was ultimately denied Command and Control of his assets.

General Petraeus obtained shallow objectives that facilitated no future benefit, on both battlefields.

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Blogger jo6pac said...

I’ve always looked at betrayus as a cycle-0-path it’s all about him that’s why there is no objective. He isn’t not about doing what’s best for Amerika or the troop in his command never has been and never will be. The day he helped Rummy & Chaney throw really General/Admiral soldiers under the bus because they wanted an objective and more troops, everyone should have known then this person is not a soldier but an opportunist only. Just my take on this.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 5:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This piece is brilliant. My mind staggers as all of the layers, the implications, the sublime truth unfolds before it. Pure genius. You've out-done yourself, Ranger.


Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 6:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Well, there are military operations that are designed to accomplish political objectives more than purely military ones. One example might be the compromises that Ike had to make to keep his British allies "in the game"; Monty's Arnheim operation, for example, or the amount of time he accorded for the capture of Caen.

IMO the problem with the PWOT, however, is that the objectives are PRIMARILY political and we have not matched the force to the objective. We've violated the principles of METT-T, and the results we're seeing shows it.

What we SHOULD be doing is using primarily diplomatic, covert operations, and military assistance to the local governments or friendly tribes and THEY should be doing the heavy lifting of suppressing the islamists. AND doing our best to support Middle Eastern secularists (under deep, deep, DEEP cover...) to encourage movement away from sectarian governance in the region.

But we've made the decision - at the political, civilian levels - to use military force. I don't think that the USA/USMC made that choice; it was pretty much done for them by the Bush fauxwarriors.

My complaint with Petraeus and guys like Pete Pace, Ray Odierno, Sanchez and their ilk is not that they have used this war to advance their own careers - that's what generals DO in war.

It's that none of them looked hard at this war and chose NOT to use it to further their career and, instead, stood up and told the truth that, and the saying goes, you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them. Nobody outside Eric Shinseki was willing to make the obvious statement that trying to fight an idea - islamic fundamentalism - with bullets was either prohibitively expensive or doomed or both.

Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 8:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

And how do you define the word "friendly"????!
I can't use the METT-T b/c i NEVER accepted the pwot as warfare.

Monday, November 19, 2012 at 9:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"friendly" is whoever we can buy and keep bought, in the same way that a strumpet is your "friend" while you're paying. Before and after, who cares?

Petraeus used that philosophy in Iraq - he armed the Sunnis to kill jihadis and then armed the Shia to kill the Sunnis. Worked, too, in the sense that "worked" got us the hell out of there. He seems to have lost sight of that in A-stan, tho.

I'd argue that METT-T works for OOTW, too, though; your spies, your case officers, your diplomats, your NGOs...they're all pieces on your chessboard. You still need to adapt your plans to your "troops", your "mission", the time you have...

In this case the violation was treating this mess AS a war, and trying to use actual "troops" rather than the OOTW "troops" he should have been thinking of...

Monday, November 19, 2012 at 12:28:00 PM GMT-5  

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