The overall commander on the ground in Afghanistan is saying one thing on the lack of overall progress of the war, while the commander-in-chief and Pentagon officials trumpet a “more optimistic message”. But the tactical and operational commanders on the ground are telling the blunt truth on the situation. Grunts don’t like mixed messages, which is what they are getting. Grunts especially don’t like when senior commanders hedge when they say, “no commander ever is going to come out and say, I’m confident that we can do this…I don’t think there are any sure things in this kind of endeavor”, which is what General Petraeus told ABC News this week. What grunts do appreciate is when tactical and operational commanders are forthright, like Major General John Campbell who realizes the futility of their “endeavors”. He is candid when he states that while his troops were making progress, “a lot of the reason we get attacked is because we’re up here.” “People don’t want us up there, but they don’t want the Taliban either,” he said. “They want to be left alone.” He added that the region was vast and that his forces could not be everywhere. “We can’t be in every single valley; I mean there’s thousands of them out there, we just can’t do it,” he said.
In the din and bustle of the daily news stream that flows out of Afghanistan, we cannot forget that there is an American missing in action, and hopefully this recent and new video of Specialist Bowe Bergdahl is proof that he remains a Taliban captive.
Why are we are losing the IED fight in Afghanistan? Basically, very little to no local population support. When you read the Christian Science Monitor report, keep in mind that in a July USA Today interview Lieutenant General Oates, Director of JIEDDO informed that the public that by the end of this year there will be a drop in IED’s.
A drop. That’s right, a drop by the end of December 2010. Well actually, there has been a categorical increase. Oates blames an Taliban surge. Simply clueless. Period. And regardless of the rudimentary technology and methods employed, IED’s remain the number one killer on the battlefield. I wonder if IED data will be used as a metric to gauge the progress of the war during the ongoing Afghanistan war strategy review.
Lest we forget the grind continues in Iraq for our 50,000 troops still deployed. Here is an update on the ongoing plan to “assist and advise” while troops transition to an Iraqi and State Department lead. Oh, and morale remains “high”.