RANGER AGAINST WAR: A Sign of Hope: Clinton Romesha <

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Sign of Hope: Clinton Romesha

--Medal of Honor recipient 
SSG Clinton Romesha

Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha was interviewed recently on CBS Sunday Morning. He spoke about the action at Fire Base Keating for which he earned the honor, and about which he has recently written a book (A Medal of Honor Recipient's Ongoing Burden.)

SSG Romesha has openly expressed the futility of Command Outpost Keating where his action took place; like some of his fellow MOH recipients, he has since left the Army. But what struck Ranger during the interview was Sergeant Romesha's deep authenticity and sorrow as he spoke from his heart.

He shed tears as he humbly spoke of his fellow soldiers that were killed in action. Romesha stated clearly stated that every soldier killed and wounded at COP Keating also deserved and passed the bar to have been awarded the MOH.

Romesha said that he didn't do anything any other soldier would not have done:

"I think you could have replaced me with any other red-blooded American soldier," Sgt. Romesha said. "There would have been another one that would have stepped up and done the same thing."

No doubt, this is true. That is what United States soldiers do when the cards are down. It is called "fellowship" and "loyalty", and it speaks of respect for one's self and one's fellows. It is rejuvenating to hear a soldier express this.

The soldiers at COP Keating were not Special Operators, and did not necessarily claim to be warriors. Romesha did not beat his sword upon his shield.

He showed the true humility of soldiers, and Ranger's heart overflows with pride to witness such honesty.

Our soldiers deserve the best we can offer them. To watch Mr. Romesha one can see his soul is damaged and that trauma is his companion. However, he shows, too, that his humanity is intact.

The coda to the interview: "After the battle, all of the soldiers were ordered to abandon Keating, and the outpost they had fought so desperately to defend was leveled by American bombs."

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Anonymous David Vogt said...

Your coda seems to sum up perfectly the uselessness of Western intervention strategy in Afghanistan.

I haven't served so I'm hesitant to assume I know what I'm talking about here, but it is my impression that the U.S. armed forces seem to be producing very well-trained soldiers but very poor-quality senior leadership. Or maybe that is just because the senior leadership is obeying instructions from equally poor-quality civilian leadership.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 7:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad CBS gave this fine man a chance to be heard.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 9:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

the pwot is replete with combat actions that defy the basics of military logic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 11:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

When you see consistent behavior which departs from stated desired behavior, the inescapable conclusion is that decision makers are actually optimizing something else other than what they claim to optimize. In that case, one can gain a clue as to what the unstated goals are by looking at who benefits from the observed decisions.

This applies to generals, politicians and CEOs

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

Ael - that, or they are simply idiots. I would not want to assume that people are intelligent just because they are powerful.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 11:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

David - please note the importance of consistency. If it was one or two people making random stupid decisions then yes, it might be pure idiocy. However, if over a period of years you see many people making similar decisions leading to similar results, the conclusion that those decisions and their consequences are deliberate (and satisfactory) outcomes is inescapable.

The fact that the outcomes for non-deciders are not satisfactory is irrelevant. Vae victis.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 11:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

I didn't say they were making random decisions, just that they were consistently making stupid ones.

Given that the political systems in North America, at least (I don't know enough about Europe to say) seem to consistently select leaders who have little relevant leadership experience and are marked primarily by their skill at celebrity-style PR management, it seems more likely that we are mostly governed by incompetent dunces than by secretly competent people who are merely pretending to be dunces.

Now, you could posit that there is some sort of secret state-within-the-state that is really calling the shots while the idiots parade from one press conference to the next. Personally I'm not much for conspiracy theories without actual evidence to support them, though. Judging people's competence or intentions by the outcomes of their actions is a fool's errand.

Believe me, there's a way in which I wish I agreed with you. I don't know whether it's more alarming to be governed by competent tyrants or incompetent ones.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 1:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

If it was pure stupidity or even ignorance, one would expect that decisions taken would have no consistent bearing on the outcome. A stopped clock is a really stupid timekeeper, but it is right twice a day.

However, that is not what is observed. Instead, we have decisions made which enable and enrich the decision makers and their associates while showing no regard for American nation or the world at large.

You don't need to have a deep state conspiracy. Just as in the case with the Bank CEOs, simple fraud explains everything. Go look at bank CEO behavior before, during and after the financial melt down. Then go look at the Generals, Lobbyists and CEOs of the military industrial congressional complex. They fraudulently promise security, deliver pain and agony, pillage the US Treasury and cover up their crimes with fountains of blood and fake patriotism. The latest choice salvo is how "out gunned and out ranged" the US Army is compared to the Russians! Clearly the US Army needs massive cash infusions to catch up.

How many trillions has the USA spent on the PWOT (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc. etc.) How much security has been achieved? Where has all the money gone?

I also don't buy the subsequent "gosh, me an my friends are such dunderheads, sorry about the mistakes we made. Oh well, I suppose I should retire to my villa in Bridgeport and think on the error of my ways." argument.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 9:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

You seem to think I'm trying to come up with excuses for failures of leadership. Believe me, I'm not. It isn't that I think it's okay because we're governed by idiots. It's that I think we're in even worse shape because of it.

Military procurement offices have always advocated that their particular service, or branch of a service, be given the lion's share of new money. And sometimes politicians have inflated threats to boost their careers. This doesn't mean they're all in one big scheme together. Kennedy didn't work so hard to sell the missile gap in 1960 because he figured he could help American arms manufacturers get rich at the taxpayer's expense; he did it because he figured, correctly as it turned out, that it would help him win an election even if it turned out to be fake, which it was. Of course there were suppliers happy to make a buck off it anyways. There's a thousand shortsighted men with a thousand petty schemes.

If you think that the leadership problem is simply that we've been betrayed by bad leaders, then what you want is someone with the strength of character to singlehandedly turn it around. That's apparently what some people see in Trump. But I think what faces the West today is beyond the ability of any leader to deal with, and I also think that the political system selects airheaded celebrities. That's what I see in Trump.

It's fairly easy to see how interventions happen without any sort of sinister profiteering motive behind it. You don't want to be stuck in an unending and pointless foreign war, so you pull out the troops. So the useless little client state collapses, but you don't want to be the one blamed for it, so you send in fighter-bombers and advisors. But they can't stem the tide, so you send it regular infantry. People like hearing that they're spreading democracy and not just occupying foreign countries, so you announce that that's what you're doing. But the military tells you that it would cost may too much to actually secure the country properly, and anyways, the press wants to hear that you're making real progress on nation-building by tomorrow, not that it's going to take twenty years just to secure the place. So you put together some BS "nation-building" scheme and figure that six months down the road maybe somebody else will have a better idea. But nobody does.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 11:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

It isn't that the leadership is evil (or rather no more evil than other humans), rather that they make decisions to optimize for their own self interest and that the costs borne by those decisions are externalized. And the system is designed to maximize this behaviour.

This self interest ponzi scheme runs though the entire "defense" complex and results in a monster that eats dollars and shits misery. Each individual ganglion, however, does very well for itself.

Fixing this is a matter of starving the beast. How to do that, exactly, remains elusive. I do think that it is beyond the power of any individual, no matter how strong willed.

Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 9:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To both,
i'll try to keep my thoughts military in nature.
just look at the ground that was COP Keating.look at the contour lines Do also at the other COP fights.also remember that these troops are cav who specialize in rapid movement and mobile defense, or so i was told in my military education.
A friggin' girl scout would know it's not defensible terrain.
even a female ranger tab wearer , from west point could figgur that out.
so screw all the Nation building and other crap-WE HANG OUR SOLDIERS OUT TO DIE, with no benefit apparent.(and if they survive they get to screw with the VA for the rest of their lives trying to get their earned benefits)
jim hruska

Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 11:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To both,
there was a saying in the army-the definition od tactics is the definition given by the senior man present.
and of course the senior man present can destry a career with a stroke of a pen.
one of the cop fights happened b/c the US troops were put there to support the Afghan national elections. hows that for a nation builder that made a grave digger busy.
jim hruska

Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 12:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

Ranger - I did not realize that (re the elections), but it does not surprise me. It strikes me as a classic case of the sort of rushed thinking that has been common to the past 14 years of military adventures at least. The idea that you could go in, dismantle an entire regime, and then hold free and fair elections a few months or even years later in a nation that has already had decades of civil war is sheer lunacy. UNLESS you happen to be a politician who thinks anything meaningful has to happen before the next election, OR you're someone who thinks their career success hinges on pleasing such a politician.

I can't speak to why outposts were built in indefensible positions but I will observe that the idea that a few tens of thousands of foreign troops can stabilize a wartorn country of 30 million just because they can invade it also sounds like sheer lunacy. Even if the positions had been fortified properly and Western forces had only taken one-tenth of the casualties they did, those would still be thousands of soldiers killed or wounded in pursuit of a mission that was basically popular whimsy. Whether that's compounded by an incompetent officer corps I couldn't say from personal experience but I appreciate your thoughts.

Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 1:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

if you read our old essays you will find references to the COUNTRY TEAM that used to be headed by the ambassador and was a military and civilian effort.
imo you can fight an insurgency or nation build, but u can't do both concurrently.
bear in mind that all the insurgencies that we get involved in are not really insurgencies. the AFGH and Iraqi insurgencies were against corrupt or governments forced upon the indig.
for an insurgency to exist there MUST be a legitimate government.

Friday, May 20, 2016 at 10:12:00 AM GMT-5  

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