Two Marine Generals forced to retire over fatal security breach

Great article in The New York Times about one of the most serious disciplinary actions I’ve seen against officers in a long time. Seems it’s usually only us ole’ enlisted men who take the fall, but that certainly wasn’t the case here.

The two Generals — one of whom was about to get a third star — received an “unprecedented disciplinary action” in modern history.

Make sure you read this article, in which the officers were punished for an attack that left two Marines dead and six Harrier jets destroyed (at a cost of $200 million).

Full article: Two Marine Generals forced to retire over fatal security breach.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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Afghan forces able to hold their own?

Afghanistan update…

Maybe things aren’t as dire as I’ve been thinking, perhaps? (Well, as long as America funds the Afghan Army, pays their salaries, and helps them resupply.)

But, still, this article points out one thing I hadn’t been weighing very much in my calculations: The desire of the Afghan people for some normalcy.  And the better tips and leads that come in to local forces, versus American forces.

Here’s the article: The security forces in Afghanistan are just strong enough to contain the Taliban. (From The Economist)

I still believe that after we leave the central government will collapse, holding onto Kabul mostly. Elsewhere, civil war will ensue, tribal leaders will grab turf, and the Taliban will go gunning for Karzai and whoever is left in the central government.

That’s my belief. What’s yours?

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Huge news re: Afghanistan

The United States is considering leaving no American troops behind in Afghanistan after the planned 2014 withdrawal date, U.S. officials said on Monday, amid ongoing tensions between the President Barack Obama’s administration and Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government.

Full story here: U.S. mulls leaving no American troops behind in Afghanistan

Speaking for myself, I’m pretty torn about this.

On the one hand, I think we probably should leave some special forces teams over there to do some necessary hunting.

But on the other hand, what do you do when you have to work with a guy like Karzai?

Either way, good for Obama sending a very public warning across Karzai’s bow. Keep playing, Karzai. Keep playing.

Call Obama’s bluff and we’ll see how fast he does what most of the public wants. And then we’ll see how fast your cowardly hide races out of the country once the Taliban no longer has us to worry about.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

300 Afghan police killed last month

300 Afghan police killed last month

From the link:

Military.com reports that 17 Americans died in Afghanistan last month as the Taliban tries to improve their position at the bargaining table in Qatar. Meanwhile, Stars & Stripes reports that nearly 300 Afghan police have been killed and more than 600 have been wounded in the spike in violence across the country;

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Marine Corps not leaving any equipment in Afghanistan, unlike the Army

And this is just one of the reasons our country should never get rid of the Marine Corps…

Top General: Marines ‘Not Leaving a Single Thing’ in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, the Army is leaving $6 billion worth of equipment there.

And believe me, I’m not some loud, asshole Marine screaming we’re better than everyone else. I only post this because of recent articles like this: Why Afghanistan Might Be the Marines’ Last Fight.

As a reminder, the Corps operates on just 6 percent of the defense budget, but handles usually in the 15 to 20 percent range of actual defense missions. As a further reminder, competition among the services (and certainly within each service on a unit-by-unit basis) is what makes our armed forces so razor sharp.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Karzai stops his whining…

Looks like Karzai has stopped his whining about the Taliban’s office in Qatar.

STORY: Obama, Karzai ‘reaffirm’ Afghan-led peace process with Taliban: White House

I’ve literally been laughing my ass off the past two days that this guy has the nerve to throw a tantrum and get all pissed, yet again. He’s such a drama queen.

Oh, and Karzai, when you lose, which your country has basically done, you don’t get to call the shots. If you didn’t like the fact that you have to negotiate with the Taliban, maybe you could have been a better President and not undermined us at every turn. And not appointed so many corrupt cronies. And not… (You know, I really don’t have time to list everything…)

I can’t wait until we leave Afghanistan. This man is going to get a serious reality check. (Probably with the Taliban kicking in his front door…)

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

U.S. drops war against poppies in Afghanistan

Here’s a must-read article about poppie eradication in Afghanistan.

U.S. Kicks Drug-War Habit, Makes Peace With Afghan Poppies

This is by far the wisest thing we’ve done in Afghanistan for at least the past three or four years, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late.

The article explains that years of American troops stomping through fields and burning them down have caused Afghan farmers to doubt the new policy.

I remember when the policy to eradicate poppie fields was announced under President Bush, and I remember thinking it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of.

I’m sorry folks, but when you take away a man’s ability to earn money and food for his family, you’ve almost guaranteed yourself another enemy.

Major props for Obama changing the policy, as well as whoever staff wise — from Generals to Sgts in the field — who saw the policy was stupid and needed to be changed.

Best of all, they’re still going after the drug king pins and Taliban who are selling this stuff. But they’re leaving the farmers alone.

It’s about time. Now, let’s go ahead and pack up our stuff and get on out of there… (My view on that: Let’s get out of Afghanistan, like now.)

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.