Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Afghanistan – the Charade

How to Define Victories for America In the Middle East

By Paul E. Vallely

A charade is defined in several ways but in this case the best definition is an empty act or pretense. Similarly, a Victory simply means winning. I have some questions for our civilian and military leadership today regarding a war that is appearing more and more like an empty act that seems to be losing its character and “raison d’etre”. It clearly does not reflect victory either. ASince January 2002, there have been few victories for America in Afghanistan that can be celebrated. After a handful of years in Afghanistan, was the endgame to claim victory or was the unspoken mission a commercial enterprise by the elites?

The challenge is to take a broad view at government contractors hired for long-term revenue streams complete with named investors defined as political leaders and lobby groups. Eagles don’t flock, yet political leaders and officers have clustered our forces into cemented ground operations, demonstrating little success under the guise of humanitarian objectives. The best example of this is where a religious ideology our leadership does not understand altered the RoE on the fly for fear of the factual notion that the International Criminal Court law trumps that of the UCMJ.

The COIN principle is not based on winning; it is based on political whims and is not a true tenet of warfare. Great Generals and Admirals of battles past had enough acumen and understanding of the tides of battle to change the strategies and tactics to turn the tide on the enemy.

Winning this specific war against forces compelled by Islamic ideology, calls for unconventional measures; not conventional actions followed by lengthy occupations such as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such an unconventional war doctrine heavily leverages the core capability to break enemy states; target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America”.


Panetta addresses dis-armed Marines

The essence of failed “counterinsurgency” (COIN) strategies that has bewitched US military and political leaders has sadly been a matter of natural course. We all want to support our senior military leaders, yet the defining point is to face the realities of this enemy and protect and secure our American troops before we continue sparing the lives of the Taliban and civilians with bizarre, restrictive rules of engagement (ROE). The concept of COIN is as corrupt as the concept of Nation-Building; and Afghanistan was not a good candidate for either.

The latest example of twisted thinking was the order last week for our Marines to disarm during a conference event in Kabul during the visit of Leon Panetta, the SECDEF. Remember, it was only a few weeks back where Afghanis killed our troops, on base, over the mistaken Quran burnings. The bizarre answer to that is to disarm our troops on their own base?

A great General always repositions his forces to prepare for battle for today and tomorrow. From our secure and portable bases, we can strike and counter any and all threats against America under the “Lily Pad” operational plan. Strike anywhere, anytime with our Joint Strike Force capability and make sure the enemies firmly understand this…from jihadists to narco-terrorists or even cyber-terrorists.

America has made great and innovative technological advances in weapons systems in the air, on the sea, and on the ground, in communications, in advanced intelligence systems, and in our command and control systems. The United States has operational war planners at all levels of command, senior policy and politicos in the White House and Department of Defense, a National Security Team, and a multitude of military commands positioned around the globe to guide and lead us in national security.

However, few common sense and rational senior General and Admiral Strategists, that have been trained and schooled to be innovative, aggressive, and win our nation’s wars quickly and decisively, are elusive and omitted for the sake of personal financial gains and political advancement.


The "Lily Pad" Strategy - Reach out, hit 'em hard, employ our advanced technology, no need for in-country bases.

It is true that not all political goals are achievable through the use of military power. However, “victory” in war appears lost in the world of political correctness and appeasement. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – often seen as proving the necessity for COIN-capable forces as well as a commitment to nation-building — demonstrate in reality that the vast majority of goals can best be accomplished only through quick, decisive, joint strike military operations; from selected “Lily Pad” friendly bases.

The war against mainstream Islamic Jihadist forces and a sick ideology has been, and will continue to be, one requiring unconventional solutions. This is a point that the White House and the Pentagon fear to identify this war as one against a pronounced ideology. It is not a war on terror as we first analyzed; it is a war against people subscribing to Jihad and a derived ideology from the Koran that has evil global intentions as much as the Nazis and Third Reich, which upon study, are identical doctrines.

Instead, we enrich warlords, preserve a corrupt Hamid Karzai, apologize for all our actions, both intentional and mistaken. Instead, coupled with the proper war-strategy, we should have demanded apologies from Karzai. It was his people who shot ours in cold-blood, intentionally. It was our blood and treasure that saved him and his corrupt-ocracy. No one can repair one room in a house while the rest of the house is burning.

A fundamental challenge in devising a strategy for the use of future American military power is that the world has literally never seen anything like our capability. The U.S. today has military capabilities that are at least equal to the rest of the world combined.

There is virtually no spot on the globe that could not be targeted by American forces. Conversely, and at most, only a small handful of countries could thwart a determined U.S. effort at regime change – and some of those only by virtue of their possession of nuclear weapons. This is the driving point; why are we so worried about what others think? Did these so-called allies not have to be bailed out numerous times for their failed thinking? Why do we want to kowtow to the same intellectual vacuity that caused the greatest conflicts on earth?


Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta and Hamid Karzai

As a consequence, the U.S. must adopt a national military strategy that heavily leverages our core capability to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America. Such a strategy could defeat and disrupt most potential threats the U.S. faces. Instead, we are now seen as paper-tigers, feckless, weak of conviction, and too willing to compromise our values, and our singular place in the history of all nations.

While America’s adversaries today may prefer to engage the U.S. using proxies and develop radical Islamist organizations and jihadists, there is no rationale in declaring to the people of the United States that we are in a long war and accept that as a reason to not achieve a quick and decisive victory.

It is a reality that we fight more in agreement with the so called United Nations, our allies, and the likes of China and Russia, than by standing up for own sovereignty. It is time to relegate these so-called allies to the sidelines, to choose our own time and place to use our force, for our reasons alone. By not doing so, we tell the world they are equal to us in “might and right”, when neither is true.

Many describe our efforts and actions as helping to recruit more fighters and more ideologues, making matters worse. The opposite is true; the only true means to stop that threat is to give them what they respect; pure force of arms.

Instead, our enemies sit in their sanctuaries and count up their moral victories they have achieved; it only proves to embolden their future efforts. However, significant threats to the U.S., ranging from the military capacity of regional powers, to weapons of mass destruction development programs, to significant terrorist infrastructures, each can be targeted and destroyed by conventional and unconventional military capabilities; from “Lily Pads”.

Only when we understand that one objective of Global Jihad is imposition of – by force or by stealth – Shari’a (Islamic law) and the re-establishment of the Caliphate/Imamate), can we even begin to formulate the enemy threat doctrine, and create the strategic concept to DEFEAT THE ENEMY and WIN.


Paul E. Vallely MG, US Army (Ret)

CEO – NEMO Arms Inc ( New Evolution Military Ordnance);

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