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13 December 2010

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Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

That short film of the"Taliban" puts a human face to the foe. They don't look like bloodthirsty terrorists poised to destroy our way of life. The message could be that if we stop screwing with them, they'll stop screwing with us. I could imagine a similar group of American freedom fighters operating in the Adirondacks against an invading army of les Quebequois.

Which is why you're not likely to see these films on mainstream USA television for the masses. Raises way to many questions.

I've been saying for several years now, to anyone who cares to listen, that we are not fighting terrorists or insurgents. We're fighting partisans. Its a big, big difference. To explain, I tell them to watch "Red Dawn." Campy, yes. But rings true to people. The "war" will never be over in these places so long as our troops are there; the more troops we have, the greater the loss in blood, treasure and honor-respect-reputation.

The majority here knows it; they show it in poll after poll after poll. So why do we remain? I think it is because there is so little skin in the game. Besides, war is good for cutting taxes! (!!!!!!) Sadly, at this point, I think it will take a truly tragic (and senseless) loss of personnel to induce enough shock that forces action. Perhaps the loss and annihilation of a place like Restrepo would do that (although the aftermath of Wanat makes me think that this is too small a target).

The Taliban are not quite strong enough to pull something like this off - at least without an ally who will provide them with advanced MANPADs. Besides, they are in a quite comfortable position as partisans. (And let's face it, Pakistan is that ally and they're quite happy with the size, strength and control over the partisan war in Afghanistan.) "Taliban" already "own" the coutryside; they have little incentive as yet to do more than a few firefights and roadside bombs while sitting back as the "modern" armies smash, destroy and frighten the population into their embrace. For the organized Talib, its as good a business as it is for KBR. For the regular Afghan, its the way life has been for 40 years now.

The result? Unless citizens force change in DC, endless quasi-war until we simply run out of money. And unhappily, leaving our fighters and equipment behind (when they'll be needed to fight off the hordes of invading Mexicans....(/sarcasm)).

RP

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Richardson: there is no current Iron Brigade, unless someone has adopted the moniker in the past year. When the 2BCT/1AD rotated home from Iraq in 2009 it was transformed from the legacy brigade into a modular one. With the exception of the 40th Engineering Battallion, the brigade and battalion colors were all cased, and the brigade became the 170th HBCT. Shortly thereafter a new 2/1AD, as an HBCT, was stood up in Texas the new home of 1AD, but it is no longer the Iron Brigade. It is now, borrowing the moniker from one of the other Armored Divisions, the Heavy Metal Brigade.

I will say, and of course I'm biased on this one, that the most recent iteration of the Iron Brigade, for whom I worked would do an outstanding job. As for COIN - they were excellent at it Southeast and Southwest of Baghdad from 2008 through 2009. It was a privilege to serve as a special staff element for them and I can not speak highly enough of the BCT and it's battalions.

PirateLaddie

Certainly the Taliban wear wrist watches -- you give 'em ear rings and nose plugs & they'd wear those too. Few people north of the Sahara enjoy playing "dress up" as much as the Pashtun. They oil their locks, too -- just like the Spartans.
From Neil's comment about the SoKo's, sounds like things haven't changed in the last 60 years or so....

Patrick Lang

pirateladdie

As I mentioned once I am quite type B although adapted for dealing with type As. At the War College I was assigned as "homework" for extreme type As. they were supposed to observe my behavior and learn from it. They were forbidden watches as part of their therapy. they would ask me why I wore one. (they were clearly feeling the deprivation) I told them I wore it as jewelry. My type Bness was always a problem in government. when i was in charge I would encourage people to work no more than ten hours a day. People should be able to get their work done in that time unless there is an emergency. The type A people really resented thar. pl

Neil Richardson

Dear Dr. Silverman:

Indeed the First Brigade/2ID has adopted it.

http://www.ironbde.com/

However, I mistakenly called 1/72 AR Dragon Force (the TF guarding the Dragon Valley). Apparently they no longer use it. ("First Tank" is still in use even though it's a combined arms BN)

As for the 2BCT/1AD, I'm heartened by your assessment of them.

Fred

Col,

Can you do a little of that managment training here?

Fred

"Here" being my employer, not the blog, though you've been doing that since I started reading it!

2nd Op

The answer to the question posed by Walrus seems to be that the American army would perform well against North Korean troops but that the ROK army would not be wholly reliable.

Neither army did well in early fighting in 1950 and in the 1951-1952 winter fighting. North Korean soldiers proved to be good fighters. There are a lot of them; and in the last two years of the war they had the help of Chinese "volunteers."

I'm not as optimistic as the other commentators, at least in the early stages.
Marines, however, will put up a good fight from day one.

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Richardson: may the be as successful as the last brigade to claim the appellation! And may the motto of the Iron Brigade I was assigned to apply to their efforts: Strike Hard!

arbogast

"Well, that is not how that works. You have to live with the "objects of your affection" and become like them as they become more like you. You don't acquire "allies" by sitting on your hilltop, shooting at their valley and then occasionally treating their elders with disrespect."

A French colonel who served in Lebanon told me exactly the same thing. He also believes that they had it won in Algeria, but, I guess, the domestic population of France had had enough by then. He strongly believes, with others like him, that the allies they had created in Algeria were betrayed by France. I guess that's one of the problems with making friends. Algeria today? Overrun by the Chinese.

Rambling now... but Obama is not DeGaulle.

William R. Cumming

"Restropo" movie just made available for streaming on Netflix--the monthly $10 version on any broadband capable computer.

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