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12 March 2012

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The Twisted Genius

Let me get this right. First we have some Marines piss on the bodies of dead Afghans. Then some ignorant boneheads at Bagram burn some copies of the quoran in a garbage dump. And finally some staff sargeant walks out the gate and murders 16 Afghans, mostly women and children. Now the command in Afghanistan sends the Green Berets into those villages to explain that this is all just an unfortunate misunderstanding and make everything better for the command and their grand plans. What gall! What a pack of sorry sons of bitches!

ISL

Dear Colonel,

As I observe, being right in certain things has no personal benefit and being wrong gets one invited again and again - if the tag line is in fashion.

You are too kind to COIN. I assume that if we could do COIN, so could Pakistan, and others with different goals, and given our belief that all people want to be just like Americans (which SST has noted is delusional), we operate from a handicap. Assuming again our schizophrenic political system could stay focused for more than an election cycle.

JerseyJeffersonian

Another story suggestive that it is time to go:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12072/1216163-82.stm

This story, originally from the NYT, covers accusations that the Afghan Air Force (that we pay for, both in equipment and training) has been using aircraft in weapon and drug smuggling activities. US officials are contending that the AAF is stonewalling investigations into these allegations. Further, there have been suggestions that the shooting last year of eight US service members by an AAF officer may have been related to the developing investigation. Another article, generated by the Wall Street Journal appeared about five days ago, but it is behind a paywall, for those interested in getting their take on this.

William R. Cumming

So PL can we conclude that the modern military is a "learning organization"? Personally I blame many things for current problems in the military but "careerism" meaning survival by toeing the company line is now genetically implanted in the higher ranks. And I blame the political class that has learned how to manipulate the higher ranks for its own purposes. Personally, I see military civil relationships at an all time low in honesty, respect, and competence but then perhaps others have different views.

By the way what was the SECDEF's military service record?

Warren Jason Street

The media has seized on the narrative of something called "Joint Base Lewis McChord" which was formed out of the AFB and the Army post in Washington State. They have begun "correlating" the incidents that have happened there and they are trying to build a case that if you are a member of the armed forces, and if your boots touch the soil of that base, you are a crazy SOB who is going to shoot people or shoot yourself.

They are ignoring the fact that these problems existed in Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina and pretty much anywhere where US troops have returned from Afghanistan. The problem is acute right now at Fort Bragg as well.

The media doesn't understand "units" and "leadership" as it applies to the military. They understand "places" and "buildings" where these soldiers might interact. And Colonel Lang is correct. You can't explain this to people. You can be in a battalion and you can be in Alpha company and everything might be fine. But, you go over to Charlie company, and they're on their ass half the time because their commander can't find it with both hands and his 1SG is ninety days from retirement. Six months later, the roles can be reversed and Alpha company can be on its ass if the leaders turn over. And you can count on one hand the number of media personalities who can grasp how this works.

RetiredPatriot

COL,

McCaffery & Co. are making the switch because it is becoming obvious to all that defense-related budgets need to be slashed, and slashed BIG. Doing COIN is far more expensive in the long run (because of its long run) than buying drones, ships, and MRAPS from giant defense conglomerations. And every dollar that goes to COIN (and by extension nation-building in Afghanistan) is one less dollar to pay for F-35s we may or may not need.

(As an aside, if I were king for the day, I'd look to the retainer salaries of shills like McCaffery and his fellow traveling generals and admirals. If they are paid once as retired officers, then they should not be paid again as consultants, program cheerleaders, lobbyists, or Pentagon media stooges. Save those dollars to protect the retirements of career soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines - those who've done the hard work, had their bodies broken and worn down, and fail to receive a living wage in retainer pay as it is.)

RP

PS - Anytime McCaffery shows up, my blood pressure rises...

jonst

Here is the kind of thing that really gets me....recall the Major that shot 13 soldiers down in Texas. In 2009. It took, literally, years to establish a theory on his mental state and motivation. They may still be deemed to be working on his mental state. With the solider in Afghanistan, the main stream media, spoon fed by someone/some entity is pushing the guy's mental state and, indeed, talking about a tendency in the unit he was in to 'downplay' PTSD. I have no idea what is ground truth and what is not. I am just impressed (irony alert) with how fast they establish things in Afghanistan.

turcopolier

WRC

Until generals are selected for brains instead of ambition and political skill within the service, the military will not be a learning institution. That is why the brass go "outside" to find people to tell them what to think. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL!

bth

We know his number of deployments, head injuries, and PTSD status but not his name. We are being spoon fed select information. The army is yet again going to look like it covered stuff up when all the facts eventually come out. Alcohol and co-conspirators are involved if Afghan mews reports are correct.

samuelburke

So i am curious and this is probably as good a place as any to ask this question given the military representation of those who seem to be attracted to Col Langs sicsempertyranis website.

question: shouldn't our military command here in the U.S, which serves the President under the governance of the Constitution, which clearly requires Congressional approval to declare war as Section I article viii calls for, demand that this requirement be met before sending americas soldiers in to risk their lives for our country?.

Do they have any sense of Honor if they just subvert the one document they are sworn to uphold if they do not require congressional approval?

Remember these commanders and leaders of our military hold the lives of our men and women in their hands once they decide to follow our political leaders demand that they launch off to war.

Ought they not require, nay demand, that congress meet its requirement before launching off to war.


i fully expect to see salmon swimming upstream on this one here, squirming through bear claws trying to get to the spawning ground of military worship in explaining how they do not need to, and how dare anyone question the sanctity and honor of military commanders at the highest levels who subvert this most sacred of documents of the nation they are sworn to serve.

Ron Paul spoke these words below recently.

"Last week, Obama administration officials made it clear that even the fig leaf of Congressional participation provided by the 2003 “authorization” to use force in Iraq was to be ignored as well. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated clearly and repeatedly that the administration felt it was legally justified to use military force against Syria solely with “international permission”. Such “international permission” could come by way of the United Nations, NATO, or some other international body. Secretary Panetta then told Senator Sessions that depending on the situation, the administration would consider informing Congress of its decision and might even seek authorization after the fact."

samuelburke

Col, they may not be able to think but surely they can demand that article I section viii of the constitution be required before they launch our men and women in uniform off to fight and in some cases die for their country.

is it that political inside the military brass circles that they serve political ideology rather than the constitution they swear allegiance to?

i do not know what is more important to them but obviously they follow orders without thinking.

Honor God Country and all that stuff what does it mean? is it just table dressing for show rather than the driving force behind their service?

turcopolier

samuelburke

So, you want the JCS and Combatant Commanders to exercise a veto over the orders of the elected government? Is that really what you want? How about this? Why don't you d----d "citizens" electing people with some common sense to be the government? What you are calling for is military government.

I don't think Edmund Burke would have been pleased with you. pl

samuelburke

so you want them to neglect the constitution? is that any less vile or dangerous?

There is a requirement that needs to be met before they go to war, they don't have to have veto power, they just need to have that presented to them before committing the lives of those who serve under them, they do swear allegiance to the same constitution that the politicians do the least they can do since they have Honor God and Country so fearfully before them as guiding principles at least demand that before they send men and women to fight and die that the congress that demands they go abide by the same law they are required to obey.

isn't that what makes us so different than other nations, a guiding document of law guided by some sort of morality i.e humanity.

we know the politicians are corrupt do we have to expect the same of our military?

Warren Jason Street

sb,

"...how dare anyone question the sanctity and honor of military commanders at the highest levels who subvert this most sacred of documents of the nation they are sworn to serve"

Where do you get this nonsense? What evidence do you have that we no longer have civilian control of the military? Which "senior officers" are subverting anything right now?

What you are speculating on doesn't exist in the real world.

turcopolier

samuelburke

You are asking for mutiny. The Congress and the citizens must exert themselves in this matter or we will live in a military dictatorship. We are already slipping into a Justice Department/Federal Courts dictatorship. You think it would be better to be ruled by people like Petraeus? pl

Warren Jason Street

sb,

"isn't that what makes us so different than other nations, a guiding document of law guided by some sort of morality i.e humanity."

We are a nation of laws, not men. It's not that difficult to understand. The law is not moral, nor is it based on humanity. It's based on precedent, and the methods by which men come to an understanding of what is just. The Constitution is a living, evolving document by design. It's difficult to alter or change it for a number of reasons, but one of the best reasons is to forestall passionate, crazed people from changing it on a whim.

You seem to be living in a world of your own imagination. The military is not evil, nor is the government. Evil things may happen, but your beliefs have not equipped you to deal with the world as it really is. Good luck to you. It would seem that you have glommed on to Ron Paul as your savior and all that is going to lead to is more heartbreak and confusion.

georgeg

The mainstream media doesn't get it.....Worse yet, the mainstream citizenry takes it all in blindly....I had the misfortune to be a guest with a "Fox News" family this past weekend.....All I can say God help us.....

Charles I

IMHO, very humble opinion, once you need to rely on the military to ensure the government or nation as a whole follows the constitution, you are way past about 19 Rubicons.

First one I spotted was back in 2001 when Bush I diverted, without any legal authority known to date, $700M authorized by Congress for application against Afghanistan/Taliban to Iraq.

The subversion you speak of is not the the act of the military- you correctly point out that its "administration officials" and an informed Congress, that lies divided and supine before the Constitution.

The corrective is not military unilateralism, but you, your congress and your courts.If YOU cannot change your government's course due to ignorance, apathy, distraction, corruption or ineffectiveness, your constitution cannot be saved by the military.

Constitutionality comes from yourself, your cohort, your town council, your legislators and executive, not top down from the chain of command vetting foreign policy. Admittedly, it seems simpler to demand someone else leap into the breach when those responsible fail to, live up to your standards, laws or constitution.

You were able to Impeach Clinton without the military's help. It is not required, nor is it prudent to involve it directly in political governance. That's your job, thankless as it is.

Ken Halliwell

According to Wiki: Two years active Army service (1964-1966) as an intelligence officer. Left active service with rank of First Lieutenant.

Neil Richardson

samuelburke:

"shouldn't our military command here in the U.S, which serves the President under the governance of the Constitution, which clearly requires Congressional approval to declare war as Section I article viii calls for, demand that this requirement be met before sending americas soldiers in to risk their lives for our country?"

No, no, no! If they feel that strongly (and apparently some did during the planning stage of OIF), they can resign their commission and speak out. That was what the tragic lesson of Harold K. Johnson has taught me. As Col. Lang pointed out, Gen. Johnson felt he could do more good within the system than outside it as LBJ was going to do what he wanted. However, what you're suggesting is a road to the Rubicon. Which is worse? Another Korea or Vietnam? Or a military dictatorship in the US?

Matthew

Col: I'm with H.L. Mencken on this: Democracy is a system of government where the people get what they want--and they deserve to get it good and hard.

On a serious note, we deserve the democracy we choose. Our politicians mirror our irresponsibility and callowness.

Jefferson was right. Our system depends on an educated and responsible electorate. We need no Napoleons here.

samuelburke

No, a military junta would be the least of my alternate gov't choices. i am only wondering out loud as to why the military should not require that their orders be legal orders as guided by the law of the land?

i dont even think i am dreaming up something that is an illusion?
i simply am trying to make a case for a demand so that illegal orders can be turned down legally.

WJS, i am not making a case that we do not have civilian control of the military, i am asking that the military require that the civilian controllers meet their requirements to demand war before the military follows the orders, i am saying that a case can be made by the military that they only have to follow LEGAL orders as prescribed by Section I article viii of the document that both the civilians and military leaders are sworn to obey.

a very different statement than what you try to give me credit for making


Your forum would offer the best defense for the military doing what they do reflexively, no doubt.

so is there any order that the civilian leaders can give to the military that the military hierarchy might consider an illegal order?

i am not naive, i am questioning whether at some point a legal argument can be made that says, hey that would be murder- a la holocaust and gassing and or burning innocent civilians.

Can a military have a morality that would preclude it from obeying such orders? or are they required to follow orders blindly? the germans were adjudicated for such crimes so apparently there is some precedent in law that says that a military must also be able to say not only no but hell no we will not go beyond this point. in other words they would be following an illegal order.

stanleyhenning

Reference GEN McCaffery’s view “... that it was time to consider a cost/benefit  analysis of what we are doing. " I wonder why this wasn’t done among our combined civil-military “leadership” in the first place. If we had done so we would likely not be in the situation we now find ourselves.  Why don’t we follow the Confucian approach mentioned in China’s first history (BC), “the master heard that where there are civil matters there must be military preparedness and where there are military matters there must be civil preparedness.” In other words, our leaders (both civil and military) should be expected to war game the plus and minus factors of matters before jumping in. Where has all the common sense gone? Wake up America!

turcopolier

samuelburke

You have never been a soldier and do not know what you are talking about. Service members are presently able to refuse orders they believe to be illegal. they do so in the knowledge that a court-martial will decide whether or not their refusal was justified.

You are advocating an end to civil government control of the military in the US.

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