I never saw the movie “Dumb and Dumber,” and from what I understand, they made a second one. Sometimes folks just don’t know when to stop at a good thing…how many “Lethal Weapon” movies were there?
For this Saturday’s musings, I want to share with you something that reflects life imitating art. Regardless of what we’re being told, there’s combat going on in Iraq and Syria, as well as Afghanistan, but if you listen to the Obama administration it is just training and support…Riiiight.
Well, it sure seems like it takes a whole lot of a certain type of fellas for a training mission.
As reported by the Daily Beast:
There are only 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq—about what a colonel usually commands. But for this ISIS war, as many as 21 generals have been deployed. Why?
In the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the U.S. military is notably short on soldiers, but apparently not on generals. There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat. And that number is, if anything, a conservative estimate, not taking into account the flag officers running the U.S. air war, the admirals helping wage the war from the sea, or their superiors back at the Pentagon.
At U.S. headquarters inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, even majors and colonels frequently find themselves saluting superiors at a pace that outranks the Pentagon and certainly any normal military installation. With about 5,000 troops deployed to Iraq and Syria ISIS war, that means there’s a general for every 416 troops, give or take. To compare, there are some captains in the U.S. Army in charge of that many people.
There was once upon a time when the battlefield was populated with more troops than leaders. Also, those leaders led from the front and were engaged with their men. Our history is replete with such stories. Recall the number of battlefield commanders lost during the Civil War, or how on D-Day the Assistant Commander of the 4th (US) Infantry Division, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., landed on Utah Beach and infamously stated, “we start the war from here.” He was later killed, in combat.
Today we have deployed countless numbers of senior leaders but fewer actual troops in combat. Perhaps there are those who’d say that is due, in part, to technology. Instead, we have legions “gaining combat experience” in order to punch that ticket for promotion — and getting additional combat zone pay. But are they truly contributing to the effort of victory? And those of us who’ve been in these combat zones know exactly that of which I speak.
In the military, we have what’s called “battlefield calculus.” If you’re on the offense, attacking, you want to have a superior ratio to the enemy of 3:1. If you’re on the defense, you seek to use the terrain and maximize your fire support assets, such as artillery, attack helicopters and fixed wing air assets to destroy the enemy in what we call an engagement area.
We also use a calculation that for every front line combat troop it requires about 4-5 logistical support troops for sustainment. So, using that last calculus, we find that we actually have 1,000-1,250 combat troops conducting the indescribable non-combat, training and support mission in Iraq and Syria.
So, are we on the offense or defense? Even worse, we now know that we have double-digit general officers on the ground in Iraq for a “training” mission? This can only be described as dumb. Alas, this is the problem with the modern U.S. military: too heavy in bureaucratic headquarters staffing. I remember my time in Afghanistan on Kandahar AB. My team members and I would often take an unscientific census to ascertain just how many troops were running around inside the wire, as opposed to outside. If we’d have employed more of that manpower outside the wire, heck, we could’ve crushed the Taliban in southern Afghanistan in a matter of two months — depending on our will to engage their sanctuaries just across the border from Spin Boldak in Pakistan.
Ladies and Gents, this is dumb. Consider, as the author of this piece shares, a ground Brigade or Regimental Combat Team (BCT/RCT) is commanded by a single “full bird” COLONEL. Maybe it’s commanded by a Brigadier General (one-star), the next higher rank. The size of a BCT/RCT is anywhere from 3,000-5,000 troops — so why do we need 12 generals? Herein lies the problem with the Obama administration, a lack of clear strategy, certainly not at the strategic and operational levels. Therefore, along with insidious Rules of Engagement (ROE) — we have a convoluted command and control structure. In other words, a violation of one of the prominent principles of war — unity of command.
And this all leads to something even dumber.
As reported by the LA Times:
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.
The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.
In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.
“Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it,” Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq, said in an interview.
What a doggone Charlie Foxtrot, folks. I’m quite sure my dear liberal progressive socialist friends will ‘splain this to us — first, if they do, you won’t understand it; second, they just can’t do it. You know, 25 years ago I was over there in Operation Desert Storm, certainly glad we didn’t have this cast of clowns in charge. If there’s one thing we certainly need is a reduction of the DoD bureaucracy; that’s clearly evident in Iraq.
I’d love to have the Commander in Chief articulate the Iraq-Syria combat, that’s what’s happening, theater of operations command and control architecture. In other words, President Obama — who’s on first, what are they doing on second, when are you gonna get them around third and the heck outta this utter morass you’ve created, and get them to home plate? Since you’re obviously striking out!
It is opening day weekend for baseball ya know….