Military News Highlights: January 27, 2011

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Dispute With Parliament Leaves Afghan Leader Isolated

President Karzai’s isolation was preventable, and now enters a period of increased tension and uncertainty as to his ability to lead and work with “power brokers.”  The list includes:  losing parliamentary candidates who he has “deserted”; new Parliament members who were delayed more than 5 months from “governing”; and most importantly, further alienated “western backers” who have lost faith in his abilities. 

While US/NATO continues heavy-handed military operations, efforts at good governance and extending the reach of Afghan capacity and services suffers daily – what’s in it for the common Afghan.  The impact is already being felt as Afghani support for the war erodes.  COIN can only succeed with a host-nation that is seen as legitimate by the populace counter-insurgents are trying to secure.   Compounding any claim to legitimacy is the blatant isolation that President Karzai finds himself in. 

If a singular self act of immolation and social media can prompt unrest to cause Tunisian autocrats to flee, and in turn create awareness amongst similar repressed population in neighboring countries who are beginning to storm the gates (i.e. Egypt, Algeria, Yemen), then one shouldn’t be surprised if a similar grass-roots ground swell takes place in Kabul. 

Ask the British, who learned this painful lesson in the 1840’s, when Afghan tribes revolted and forced a death march eventually resulting in the end of British rule. 

The ingredients are ominously present.

A Reservist in a New War, Against Foreclosure

Buried in this awful mess of a story about a warrior whose home was unlawfully foreclosed while he was deployed to Iraq is the fact that the root of his financial woes began when he was required to spend his own money to purchase maintenance kits to support his mission.   It is understandable that some warriors, prior to deployment, might shell out some cash to purchase fieldcraft items (i.e. head-harness flashlights, pocket knives, specialized wick-away cold weather gear, sunglasses, etc…), but to dole out personal funds to purchase critical mission-related equipment is beyond the pale.  

Lack of Full Auto on M4s Cost Lives

The majority (if not all) of the currently fielded M4 Carbines do not have a fully automatic fire capability.  An operator can select semi-automatic or a three-round burst.   Mark Westrom’s critique and analysis of the current M4 upgrade program currently underway is revealing because it supports the contention that when the M4 carbine removed full automatic capability, that that decision in turn cost lives.  The fact that the M4 carbine upgrade program (i.e. re-establish fully automatic capability) is under-funded and only addresses 20% of the current stock will only place trigger-pullers on the ground in greater danger.  Not comforting at all.

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