RANGER AGAINST WAR: An Eastern Western <

Saturday, May 16, 2015

An Eastern Western

--Propaganda questions 

 But behind all this, the circus is
a massive machine whose very life
depends on discipline and motion and speed.
A mechanized army on wheels,
that rolls over any obstacle in its path,
that meets calamity again and again,
but always comes up smiling
--The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Look at that! That is a complete fucking fraud,
and it looks a hundred percent real.
It's the best work I've ever done in my life,
because it's so honest
--Wag the Dog (1997)

Come to your house,
no he doesn't stay long
Look around the room,
you see your father will be gone
--Death Don't Have No Mercy,
Rev. Gary Davis


 From a Special Operations perspective, the Osama bin Laden raid as presented by the Obama administration has some gaping holes. As Seymour Hersh said in a recent interview:

They're going in [ST6] just repelling down was the plan. You know, a perfect target for anybody with a BB gun. And they're going to go in like that without any air cover. (OBL) is going to hide out in a compound at Abbottabad, sort of a resort town, and a resort town 48 miles or so outside of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, within a mile or two of Pakistan's West Point where they train young officers, the army does, and a couple of miles from a regimental headquarters full of army troops. He's going to hide out there? I mean, As I wrote in the article, it's a Lewis Carroll story. It just doesn't sustain any credibility if you look at it objectively.

All Special Operations leave a paper trail, even though an event may be highly classified. Special Ops does not have any secret methods of mission preparation; they are all based upon logic and similar to those used in any combat unit. Troop-leading procedures and staff planning remain the same.

Pre-mission planning

-- Was Tac Air protection planned for all phases of the operation?
-- Was aerial rocket artillery pre-planned to seal off all avenues of approach and the objective?

-- Were medical assets on standby to receive the mission wounded?

-- Were intelligence assets designated to receive the Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW)?

-- Were the local U.S. Embassies alerted to the action?

-- Were "spares" designated for any helo losses at the objective?

--Was there a command and control element designated in the pre-mission planning which would be airborne during the operation?
--Were Air Forces assets on standby to deliver OBL to United States jurisdiction, should he be captured?

Actions at the Objective

-- Were avenues of approach blocked? 
-- Was there any near or far security element?
-- Were demo teams designated to destroy U.S. property left behind? Did the    Operations Order designate this?
-- What was the medevac standard operating procedure for friendly casualties? Were hospitals  on alert in Afghanistan?
-- What actions were anticipated Should Pakistani forces compromise the mission?
-- Were air cover assets on station?
-- Were Army Special Operations aviation assets covering the actions at the objective?
-- If the objective was too strong to be breached what actions were expected from the assault  team?

Actions upon leaving the objective


-- Were any assets designated to destroy any enemy forces reinforcing the objective?
-- Was there a designated temporary assembly area protected by friendly fires should the assault be repulsed?

These are all elements that a leader should address before, during and after the operational phases are actually conducted. An investigator should ask if these were present in the mission preparation and examination of the OPORD is vital in determining these points.

As example, the downed helo would not be destroyed until after the team was airborne and exfiltrating. No Special Operator would blow anything up until the assigned mission was completed. The mission is the highest priority.

The helo would be rigged and set to blow upon team exfiltration. Anything else would be calling additional local attention to the operation (though the sounds of gunfire and helo rotors bellowing into the night were all indications that the mission was operational, anyway.)

The team's actions indicate that this was a pre-determined cake-walk, and a real investigation would reveal this fact. Seymour Hersh's investigative piece begins the questioning, but it seems the media outlets are more interested in toeing the Obama administration's party line of denial, rather than doing their job as our watchdogs.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your description of mission planning is woefully inadequate as you skip many steps and considerations that are as important or more important then what you have actually considered. Where is an analysis of assets available? Enemy situation? Enemy courses of action, etc?

You claim there are solid signs that the assault forced mid not do solid mission planning as a indicator this was a pre-determined 'cake walk'. I do not think your case in compelling.

Given a country like Pakistan with a semi-modern air defense and command and control system, the mission profile as provided by the administration looks perfectly understandable. Rather than having some huge air package that would doubtlessly be detected by the Pakis, they used several helps flying NOE, likely with a larger US air package in the air on the Afghan side of the border just in case.

Given the loss of one aircraft and the utilization of back up aircraft, obviously they had planned for things to go wrong.

The very fact that this was a secure compound in Abbotobad, and area where UBL and company would have felt at ease, actually makes the story more plausible. You seem to doubt that UBL would be located in such an area, but even Hersh says the location of the mission was accurate. And the limited security also makes given the area. Some compound with high security, lots of visible guards and security measures, etc, would only have served to make the neighbors suspicious. UBL was hiding in plain sight, not only from his neighbors but also from the U.S. and the rank and file of The Paki government and security forces.

You fail to make your case just as Hersh fails.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Jim, A former CIA officer agrees with you (and Hersh).


Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 9:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

excellent reply.
pls explain the enemy part of the equation to my simple mind. are you talking about the Pakistanis or the AQ elements?
i unlike the administration(s) do not fear the truth of the matter. it doesn't matter to me what happened at the objective or any place else ,as long as we the taxpayers know the truth.I do not fear truth since it is the first building block of democratic action.
now the bottom line.
if we believe that killing a castled king is a strategic act of war then we are a bunch of lost,clueless puppies.
i appreciate your comments.
as Dylan has sung-only time will tell who has fell and who'se been left behind.
i can list more lies about the pwot than i can truths.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 9:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, Pat Lang also sees things your way: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/05/httpwwwtheamericanconservativecomarticleshow-was-bin-laden-killed.html

BTW,Pat was an officer in that same outfit as you - MACVSOG - not that I think you need a social census to maintain a position.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 9:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not trying to be insulting in any of my comments, I am just pointing out where and why I think your argument is weak. In terms of most dangerous COA, it applies mostly to PAKMIL since AQ is only going to react when the assault force arrives, and then it is likely too late for any major alterations of the plan.

In terms of the PAKMIL, I am sure they had some version of abort criteria linked to a PAKMIL response. Say if the assault force is detected in the air prior to them reaching checkpoint XX they abort. Detection would be indicated by a spike in their ADA network, planes being scrambled, etc. Criteria might also be if this spike occurs when the assault force is already on the ground, the U.S. considers pushing their air package across the border to intervene. I am sure there was a lot of analysis done in terms of estimating time on the ground, time to egress, reaction time by nearby PAK Air Force bases, etc.

There might be additional COAs that include the reaction of nearby PAKMIL units or even local police.

In terms of AQ reaction, it might be studied but given that the assault force will likely be on the ground already, not much can be done. I guess consideration could be for defenders to have time to done suicide vests, etc. but at that point the assault force is committed.

And how do you account for Zawahiri even saying the documents were real?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 7:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

All T units use disinformation.

I take no insult from your comments.
Why don't you do a little math here, since you seem to be a soldier.
to secure the objective in the assault phase I(ME) would use no less than 12 men to secure or deny movement on the aves of approach. ie 4 mg tms with asst gunner and a slack man for their local security.
a command element of at least 3.
a snatch team of minimum 4.i stress a minimum of 4.
an intel team for captured docs and all other treasure trove items. i'd again use at least 4 for this.
A control team for the aircraft and commo etc. at least 4.
a medical element=3.
a demo element=
an assault element=6
now if my math is correct and my logic correct then the seals used far too few for a real live mission.
didn't they learn squat from the LT.Murphy action?
going light is recon junk and not direct action reality. a DA team goes with excess power.
now ask why we have not seen one actual photo from this mission?.
until i see any real time photos i will continue to harbor doubts that the mission was anything other than theater of the absurd.
if this were a real live mission then i must conclude that the navy seals do not have adult leadership. this comment extends to any joint command and to socom/jsoc.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10:16:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Pat Lang knows the intel world intimately.
He's also a scholar and a gentleman.
His comments are always measured.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

The thing that gives it away is that the seals lost half their ride, so they waited for the *bus* to come pick them up.

Losing a chopper *has* to be a planned possible scenario. And if you also allow for the possibility of things going pear shaped, sitting on your butt, waiting for the bus to come pick you up has got to be a fail.

Since, they seals did in fact wait, the inescapable conclusion is that the fix was in. What the Pakistani military were going to do was all part of the plan. A kabuki theater show.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 11:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

one would expect a hardened compound to have pre- placed demo to channelize and destroy assault teams. no such seen in this raid.
there were no gunshot wounds inflicted on the friendlies and no shrapnel wounds of which we are aware.therefore its easy to conclude that the target was not hardened.
we are always told that terrorists only attack soft targets. lets add this to seals targets also.
this was a soft target.

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 10:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the need for the kind of numbers mentioned above. They had been watching this place for weeks if not months so they knew the exact slant inside the compound. Two MAMs and UBL; I do not care if the two MAMs were AQ ninjas, 20-22 SEALs is essentially overkill. They were not looking for a protracted mission; it was clear one house, k/c UBL, grab what Intel they could find, and to be outta there. Part of the plan was NOT facing off against PAKMIL. How is it going to go politically if they end up whacking a bunch of Paki soldiers? They wanted to get in and out before PAKMIL could react, both on the ground and in the air.

Look, mission force is a lot of times based on LIMFACs. They used two of the stealth UH-60s. That means the assault force is limited right off the bat to 20-22 personnel. Plenty to take down two MAMs and UBL. I do not know if DoD has hangers full of these stealth helos or if these are the only two in existence.

No, you do not need all those personnel you were talking about. You might need 4-6 for external security. You likely have a PJ, a JTAC, a breacher, and a three man C2 element which includes a terp. That still potentially leaves you a 10 man assault force which is plenty for a house especially as the breacher can make it 11. I do not know how many stories the house was but 11 men is a good number to clear two floors simultaneously if you have ready access to the stairwell. It's actually almost overkill but you have a one or two man element to control either the breach point or hallway and then 2 x two man room clearing teams. That is actually a pretty ideal setup.

In terms of an Intel team; not needed. SEALS know how to do SSE. Yes, ideally you'ld want a guy to do BIT, a CAD team and maybe a SME along, but those are the first to go when there are limited seats.

My problem with you guys is that you are so sure of yourselves. 'It had to be...' 'They have to...' And your logic is flawed. And you are decades out of date in terms of doctrine. If it was 'what about this...' It would be easier to deal with. But you are so sure of yourselves and your logic is just plain wrong.

If it was ST6 and there were two dudes, UBL, and a bunch of chicks there, then 22 SEALS is plenty. 21 of them could have hung out in the yard and eaten ham sandwiches while the junior guy cleared the entire house.

And a HBIED would have been something I would have considered also. But those are more for transitory locations where you are expecting someone to come looking for you. Neither is the case here.

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 11:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just re-read your last comment. What do you mean? So we have a guy who C2'd the death of 3,000 Americans, and we are supposed to not go after him because it was not a 'hardened tgt?' So who died again during this mission? Two guys who picked up rifles to repel the assault force and UBL? Who else?

AQ kills more children than they do actual targets (US, allied or host nation security forces).

Not sure what you are getting at, but then I am beginning to think neither do you.

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 11:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

of course i'm out of touch with todays operations. also i'm sure of myself and what i say.the principles of war haven't changed that i'm aware of.
it's clear that you represent a generation that does pie in the sky and is unfamiliar with worst case planning.

Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 9:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure what you mean Jim. But I came in here to actually have an intelligent discussion and instead i found a bunch of obstinate old men.

But I do thank for your service. And I ask you to spend some reminding your civvie neighbors that Memorial Day is not about BBQs.

Out (and will not return)

Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10:06:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home