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02 May 2016

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bth

Col., thank you for raising the case of SFC Martland. Moral courage exhibited by SFC Martland is such a rare thing with a high price. We need to protect it. How can we monitor the progress of this honorable man and assist as needed the course of justice?

BTW Delegate Freitas gives one heck of a speech.

The Twisted Genius

Haralambos and others still befuddled by the mystery of the Green Berets,

I wrote this as a comment here several years ago to questions about the Green Berets.

"The SFODA organization has changed very little since Aaron Bank created it in 10th SFG(A) in 1952. At that time the idea was to work with resistance elements behind the Iron Curtain. That was still the primary mission when I was there in the early 80s. The ODA consists of 12 men. The NCOs are the heart of the team and receive beaucoup advanced training in their specialties. There are 2 communication specialists who, in my day, were skilled HAM radio operators. Today there is more emphasis on satellite and computer skills, so I'm told. There are 2 medical specialists who are close to field surgeons. They can set up local medical and veterinary clinics and advise locals on health and sanitation measures. There is a light and a heavy weapons specialist who can maintain, repair and train others in using almost any weapon known to man. The 2 engineers are demolition experts. My engineer sergeant could make a letter bomb that did not require extra postage. They can build and blow up bridges and advise on civic action projects. The team operations sergeant and assistant operations sergeant (usually functioning as an intelligence sergeant) originally come from one of the other specialties and, after much experience and additional training, become the team NCO leaders capable of leading the entire ODA. The ODA commander is a captain who, if he has half a brain, learns everything he can from the men he is blessed to command. The ODA executive officer was a lieutenant who was good for carrying a generator and jumping with the generator seat. (The seat always acted like a weathervane and spun you like a top when you exited the plane.) The XO is now a warrant officer. This was a brilliant move. The warrant officer was most likely an ops sergeant prior to going to warrant officer school."

"All members of the ODA study everything there is to know about their designated target areas and endeavor to learn the local language. This is not always the case, but it is the goal. All members also cross train in everyone else's specialties. The wealth of knowledge and skills resident in an SFODA is remarkable. These men are not door kickers, shooters or operators. They are Special Forces soldiers."

Further on in that comment string I added this in response to a question about why the DOD hierarchy hates the GBs:

"Why do they hate us? We may be perceived as hard to control, but I think it's just that we think for ourselves, make our own decisions, act on those decisions and accept the consequences of our actions. SF would rather function like this all the time. It probably makes the generals feel superfluous. This doesn't mean SF can't be controlled. We have more than enough discipline to follow orders when necessary. However, it more likely an SF man will call bullshit on a half-assed plan than a conventional soldier. Commanders don't like that. I guess it does boil down to Colonel Lang's answer, "The complaint that senior commanders often have about SF men is that they are hard to control."

I hope this, and the Virginia Statehouse speech of Nick Freitas, helps some of you finally understand us.

Tidewater

Tidewater to TTG,

This rang a bell and I went back and checked. What I remembered was what had happened to a warlord around Kandahar on just this issue of raping a boy. What had slipped my mind is this: that's how it all got started. After one battle at Jalalabad among the many crimes of the warlords was the rape of children. People were afraid to say or do anything about this.

Mullah Omar was in the south, at his village, "Stonefort." He had been involved in the worst kind of fighting up north and was said to be a very good shot, presumably with an antitank weapon. He had destroyed many Russian tanks. Then, his right eye was shot out. He became known as "Rund." "One eye". The Mullah spoke fluent Arabic. He was a great soldier and also a fine scholar. He went back to his village near Kandahar, and he taught a small class of religious students. There were stories abroad about the rape of children. One night he had a dream. In it, a woman came to him. "We need your help," she told him. And more.

The way I see it, the next morning at class, his fourteen students found a stack of equipment including Kalash. He probably threw one at the first student who got knocked in the chest, but picked it up. The others caught theirs. He lined them up and told them what was on his mind. "We are no longer students and teacher. We are now a military force."

One of the students asked him. "What do we call ourselves?"

"We are all students including myself," said Rund, "I for all of my life am a student and we are known therefore as religious students, so we shall be simply as we are, students of a madrassa, or "Taliban."

"Good," said his class. "Now what?"

"We are going up into the mountains, and you know that little girl they have up there, we are going to free her from them and we are going to kill those booshwhackers."

So they did that. Mullah Omar and his fourteen students.

And many joined this new "Taliban."

There were two warlords that controlled the roads into Kandahar from Chaman. They put a chain across the highway and collected tolls. Each bus stopped many times and the fee was paid. These two warlords knew of a boy that each coveted. They got into a serious dispute with one another. They weren't paying attention. Next thing they knew the Mullah Omar and the class of '94 pulled up on one of these rapers and hanged him from the cannon of his tank. (Tends to stick in the mind somehow; that's what I remembered.)

Mullah Omar was a very wise man. No photos. The only photos were done by a British camera crew, and secretly. Some say he was 6'6", others say not, more medium height. (As was OBL, only about 6' or so.) The thing about the Taliban was they had these huge Turbans, absolutely extremist zoot-suit turbans.

Mullah Omar is dead. He was an interesting guy. He was minding his business for the longest time and trying to do the right thing. God bless him.

And also Sgt. Martland.

Amir

"Becheh bazi" or pederasty is a deeply ingrained revolting cultural practice in "rural-feudal" parts of Afghanistan (meaning 90% of the country). This practice is very well known to the top brass as well as the diplomates in Afghanistan:
http://time.com/4042104/us-military-afghanistan-sexual-abuse-soldiers/
http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/10/28/bacha-bazi-an-afghan-tragedy/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/world/asia_pacific/afganistans-dancing-boys-are-invisible-victims/2013/12/30/bb8e8a5a-7c2b-11e1-8f65-

That is why the whole idea of bringing "representative democracy" to Afghanistan or reforming the country is a non-starter.
There is a very touching documentary about this subject:
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-dancing-boys-of-Afghanistan
http://www.pbs.org/video/1474778660/

A.I.Schmelzer

The Taliban do straight up murder child abusers whenever they feel the need of getting more public backing, in other cases they opt to use such knowledge differently.

There is a rumor about the Taliban having a "do not kill list". This list is populated by the most disgraceful, corrupt pedophile trainwrecks currently employed the the Afghan governmnent in high positions, and these guys are, from the Talib pov. each worth a company.

Haralambos

Col.,
Thank you for this information in such a concise definition.

Babak Makkinejad

All over the Near East and North Africa and not just in Afghanistan - in fact. I think it has been a consequence of the separation of sexes.

WILL

Would it be correct to call the Green Berets SF and then distinguish the others by calling them SOF? special forces vs. special operations forces?

The Twisted Genius

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Our military uses special operations forces as a catch all term for all commando and commando-like forces including the Army Special Forces (GBs). It gets even more complicated when you go international. Check out the two Wikipedia entries for special forces and Special Forces (United States Army). We're just going to have to live with the ambiguity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_forces

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Forces_(United_States_Army)

Tidewater

Tidewater to Tidewater,

Hmmmm. A bottle of Paso Dobles Magistrate (Barracks Road Kroger $9.99) red and a kilo of Wayside Diner peanuters for supper. ("Legend in a nutshell...") Hookah very jolly! My program is on reset.

The thing about Bamiyan--you see there the modernist power of the Absent.

Yes! I absolve his gritty soul! I would have done the same for Jimmy Hoffa. I defy you all.

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