American Hearts and Minds efforts--Opinions?

#1
A couple of years ago the general consensus on Arrse was that the US Army was given poor marks for hearts and minds efforts and came under some intense criticism. And the criticism was pretty severe in some cases.

I'm curious how far the Arrse crowd thinks the US Army improved--or not--given Petraeus' tenure.

Given the complaints from civilians in Afghanistan have the Brits lost sight of their NI accomplishments or is the nature of the combat there to explain or is it just poor media reporting?
 
#2
Virgil said:
A couple of years ago the general consensus on Arrse was that the US Army was given poor marks for hearts and minds efforts and came under some intense criticism. And the criticism was pretty severe in some cases.

I'm curious how far the Arrse crowd thinks the US Army improved--or not--given Petraeus' tenure.

Given the complaints from civilians in Afghanistan have the Brits lost sight of their NI accomplishments or is the nature of the combat there to explain or is it just poor media reporting?
Virgil:

While I can’t give you the ‘Brit’ view, I’ll give you my view.

The situation in Afganistan, particulary by NATO conventional forces in COIN Opeartions, is outlined pretty good in the NYE’s article by E. Rubin. I think the article has been posted on ARRSE in another thread.

IMHO opinion it’s a good article and points out the problems, with both conventional forces as well as Special Operations of all the NATO forces of all the Countries there.

NYT article by Elizabeth Rubin “Battle Company.’

Link:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/25/news/24afghanistant.php


Here is my take on the article and the on-going operations in that Country.:

CPT Kearney's father, LTG Frank Kearney, is on the record advocating the use of the equivalent of a jeweler's screwdriver rather than a hammer. In other words, he definitely comes down on the side of those who prefer to shoot bad people in the face rather than use airborne ordnance.

While I agree, it is one thing to say this, and quite another to actually accomplish it.

Ask yourself this question: how many more dead Americans will our nation accept? It is a pertinent question if you propose to fight the muj at belt buckle range.

Already, our boys are the equivalent of walking tanks. Despite a hundred pounds of lightweight gear, they cannot hope to move as nimbly as the ACMs, who also have the advantage of ancestral knowledge of the contested terrain.

We are operating from the equivalent of fire bases. The bad guys know where we are. We use helicopters to achieve some mobility, and some element of surprise, but the muj live there. We are the interlopers.

Sound familiar?

The American way of warfare is to use technology to compensate.

It is a truism that we should be fighting for the inches between the ears of each bad guy, and not the ground where he stands. In other words, we should be fighting and winning the psychological battle, which is also tantamount to saying that we should be using more classical counterinsurgency techniques.

These techniques are far more than just a matter of message: until the tribal elders and the villagers have a reason to turn on the ACMs and support the coalition, we will fight, and we will bleed each other, and in the long course, it is likely that we will not win. The nature of our political system almost makes it a surety that we can be outlasted.

How much farther have we really come since Vietnam? Just because we have plasma flat screen displays in the TOC, and unmanned drones on station so that the commander can micromanage the ground commander, what are we really doing differently?

We have been down this road before. We learned hard lessons.

We are not applying them.
 
#3
I personnally think on the ground level the individual soldier be it American or British are doing a superb job in difficult circumstances, The fact of the matter is it is very difficult to achieve any hearts and minds operations in some of the areas being patrolled by coalition forces as they are openly pro-ACM .
I think that in alot of the areas the Americans are working in they are not fighting Local Afghani's but foreign fighters and ACM from other areas of the country, this means that it becomes very difficult to help the locals when they may not neccesarily have any links with the Enemy operating around them.
Though i cant offer an answer to the situation it would seem that it will continue for a long period of time.
 
#4
“Hearts and Minds” is only a tactic, as is “Shock and Awe”. For it to work you have to know the minds of the enemy and its sympathisers then alienate the enemy from the locals by replacing their struggle with your own philosophy (over time).

For the UK this is difficult enough when you are under funded and fighting a war which the locals are long tired off. And just they want to see the backs off both, the Taliban and the coalition forces. Then get on with their drug production in peace.

Unfortunately the US don’t do “Hearts and Minds”. They do “Maximum Force” and they do it in a good old, Democratic, God Fearing, Puritanical way. Also their war is linked with their own political arguments at home and the American psychology. In reality the Average American doesn’t give a damm about anything outside the US or even there own State, but they do like to shoot things.

They also, don’t like losing. However, I am sure that eventually they will find some way of leaving Afghanistan back in the stone age where it belongs. By making the local war lords more powerful then the local (or imported) Taliban. Thus saving the world from the overarching threat of International Terrorism (A threat which is vastly over hyped because you stand more chance statistically of being killed in a plane crash than by a terrorist (even if you don’t fly))

From your original point, What happened in Ireland is not remotely like what is happening to the UK forces in Afghanistan. It about time that the tired old analogy was dropped. I can’t ever remember trading lead with the IRA at the same intensity as the Taliban. And I am sure we never used Fast Air to suppress the Falls road.

Point to note, the use of 1000lb bombs is not “Hearts and Minds”
 
#5
"The society of Afghanistan is dominantly of tribal origin. Therefore, tribal affiliation pre-dominates the people’s sentiments than the sense of nationhood." (Afghanistan Cultural Overview).

Let's see, Americans/Britts/NATO are not Muslim, "interlopers" (Trip_Wire), with no blood connection to any of local tribes, but fighting and killing tribal blood relatives with intention to impose alien to Afghan cultural/moral notions...
I'd be very much surprised if hearts and minds of countless Afghan tribes turn against themselves and accept US/NATO "efforts". In my opinion, you just can not win this war.
 
#6
WitchfinderGeneral said:
“Hearts and Minds” is only a tactic, as is “Shock and Awe”. For it to work you have to know the minds of the enemy and its sympathisers then alienate the enemy from the locals by replacing their struggle with your own philosophy (over time).

...

Unfortunately the US don’t do “Hearts and Minds”. They do “Maximum Force” and they do it in a good old...
I was looking for more thoughtful input concerning Petraeus' strategy in the last year or so and an insightful look at Brit ops in Afghanistan instead of knee-jerk condemnation of US tactics and glorification of British ones.

But thanks for the 2003 answer.

EDIT: I appreciate the NI comments and apologize that the thread took a wrong turn because of this post WG.
 
#7
Virgil said:
WitchfinderGeneral said:
“Hearts and Minds” is only a tactic, as is “Shock and Awe”. For it to work you have to know the minds of the enemy and its sympathisers then alienate the enemy from the locals by replacing their struggle with your own philosophy (over time).

...

Unfortunately the US don’t do “Hearts and Minds”. They do “Maximum Force” and they do it in a good old...
I was looking for more thoughtful input concerning Petraeus' strategy in the last year or so and an insightful look at Brit ops in Afghanistan instead of knee-jerk condemnation of US tactics and glorification of British ones.

But thanks for the 2003 answer.
No Virgil you are looking to have your arrse kissed. You specifically asked for people's opinions and thoughts; WG gave you that, but because it didn't conform to your requirements you disregarded it.

It is ironic that this disregard of other peoples opinions and cultures is one of the great downfalls of US operations in the Middle East.
 
#8
dingerr said:
Virgil said:
WitchfinderGeneral said:
“Hearts and Minds” is only a tactic, as is “Shock and Awe”. For it to work you have to know the minds of the enemy and its sympathisers then alienate the enemy from the locals by replacing their struggle with your own philosophy (over time).

...

Unfortunately the US don’t do “Hearts and Minds”. They do “Maximum Force” and they do it in a good old...
I was looking for more thoughtful input concerning Petraeus' strategy in the last year or so and an insightful look at Brit ops in Afghanistan instead of knee-jerk condemnation of US tactics and glorification of British ones.

But thanks for the 2003 answer.
No Virgil you are looking to have your arrse kissed. You specifically asked for people's opinions and thoughts; WG gave you that, but because it didn't conform to your requirements you disregarded it.

It is ironic that this disregard of other peoples opinions and cultures is one of the great downfalls of US operations in the Middle East.
Not really, I was very specific in my question. I was looking to see what if any improvements Arrse readers think the US has made. He gave a typical anti-US rant rather than answering the question.

Re-read it, assuming you can read. Try and understand the difference between that and outright disregard for other's opinions. If you can.

Then again you're the one who bad mouthed the mourning of American dead a few months ago on the MF. Something 99.99% of Arrser would never do.

Scum.
 
#9
Dollsteeth said:
I personnally think on the ground level the individual soldier be it American or British are doing a superb job in difficult circumstances, The fact of the matter is it is very difficult to achieve any hearts and minds operations in some of the areas being patrolled by coalition forces as they are openly pro-ACM .
I think that in alot of the areas the Americans are working in they are not fighting Local Afghani's but foreign fighters and ACM from other areas of the country, this means that it becomes very difficult to help the locals when they may not neccesarily have any links with the Enemy operating around them.
Though i cant offer an answer to the situation it would seem that it will continue for a long period of time.
I agree with your statement as it applies to Afghanistan.

The fact that both of our forces, are eradicating poppy fields a major crop and livelihood for the majority of Afghan farmers doesn't help with the 'Hearts & Minds game either! :wink:
 
#10
I re-read it and my comment stands. It is clear that you want bigging up. Unfortunately you came to the wrong place. Go to an American orientated website if you want that.

You make me laugh, you call me scum and you are what? A lawyer!!!

Lets look at the evidence:

My comments received no reprimand from the Mods, nor were any of the posts deleted, therefore it was only little boys prone to temper tantrums who got upset over it.

I suggest you move on from it or don't bother initiating other threads on arrse if you want only comments that meet your desire, you can't bully your opinion on this site - it's an open forum.

Now, getting back on the thread you started. You will notice that i offered no opinion of current situations - because its a couple of years since i have been in the sandpit and i suspect many of the posts you receive will be from people offering an opinion that is not necessarily current, or is drawn from media reports (and we are all to well aware of how inaccurate these can be).

All i will say is US diplomacy appears awful at the moment, this is highlighted especially with your stance towards Cuba, by refusing to even parley. It always appears with America the attitude is 'it's my way or the highway', you can get away with that to a certain extent, because you are a very powerfull nation, but then you can't get upset because people dislike you for it.
 
#11
dingerr said:
I re-read it and my comment stands.
Thanks for proving that you can't understand what you read.

Lets look at the evidence:

My comments received no reprimand from the Mods, nor were any of the posts deleted,
That's not evidence nitwit, that's only proof the Mods didn't catch you.

I suggest you move on from it or don't bother initiating other threads on arrse if you want only comments that meet your desire, you can't bully your opinion on this site - it's an open forum.
I suggest you let others defend themselves and quit proving you're an idiot.

By the way Westboro Baptist has a website, perhaps you could hook up with them and jeer some dead soldier or Marines family as the funeral procession passes on by.

Time to re-iterate an oldie but goodie:

Ode to dingerr, King of the Sh*tters

Here we sit in (faint) praise of dingerr
proud king-of-the-sh*tters was he,
his pride in glory-holes was weirder
but explained his face so pasty

He was found decked out in a stall
in an outfit any ladyboy would envy,
his last message left in a scrawl
'I made sure everyone left limply'

Rumor is he died of a stroke or angina
after servicing a platoon with no thanks,
Some swear they had accents from Carolina
and heard dingerr yell, "f-ing non-tipping Yanks!"
 
#12
You are dull, i believe you have posted something similar before.

I'm quite happy to go along with this pettyness and have your thread locked or dragged into the Hole.

Crack on knobhead your comments mean feck all to me.

As i have said before, i am not anti-america - i am anti self conscious conceited ba stards, why don't you crawl from up your own arrse and have a look at the world around you.

Do you want to get back onto thread and have a sensible debate? The very fact that you've initiated the thread subject might actually change some attitudes.
 
#13
dingerr said:
You are dull, i believe you have posted something similar before.
I prefaced it with 'oldie but goodie'. Reading, quite handy when you master it.

Crack on knobhead your comments mean feck all to me.
Oh I believe it. The lack of shame over discounting US deaths shows your level of depravity.

As i have said before, i am not anti-america - i am anti self conscious conceited ba stards, why don't you crawl from up your own arrse and have a look at the world around you.
I'm self-conscious,? I am conscious of myself if that 's what you mean. As for conceited? Having the moral high-ground on you dingerr doesn't qualify as conceited.

Here, mil.com or anywhere; I'd never--ever--discount the death of a single Brit soldier.

Do you want to get back onto thread and have a sensible debate? The very fact that you've initiated the thread subject might actually change some attitudes.
Yeah, sure.
 
B

Brandt

Guest
#14
Recent US improvements at the tactical and operational level have been nothing short of stunning. Man for man, I still think we are better soldiers, but the fact that they are now criticising the Brits for being too ready to use ordnance rather than risk troops' lives, is incredibly telling. They are at war, and everything, from their budget to their ethos, supports that. They know that the best results will be gained from people spending time in an area, so they do 12- 15 month tours. They give their Bn commanders millions of dollars for tactical CIMIC projects. They buy serious kit, in serious quantities. They have completely re-written their doctrine in five years, and put it into effect. At the strategic level, we are frankly p1ssing about, and not adding much value, and we need to open our eyes. It is not our fault- it is the old problem of having a Govt who doesn't really have an interest in what we are doing, so shirks from paying for it properly.
 
#15
Virgil,

I doubt whether you have the moral high ground on me, what have you ever done for you country? What have you ever done for my country?

I've served my country well and on occasion provided assistance to the US including providing specialist cover for Bill Clinton (post his presidential tenure) and he is still fcuking alive isn't he?
 
#16
dingerr:

In reviewing the posts here and looking at your first post, I find that you totally skip over the real issues here, and start an attack on Virgil, because he disagrees with another's expressed opinions on the subject. As a matter of fact, I didn't feel that poster, tried to deal with the questions, as asked either, but thats just my opinion.

We all have them, except you apparently, since you choose to muddy the waters, with personal attacks instead of trying to deal with the questions as asked. BTW: I don't buy, that issue you brought up about currant info, etc. This has never stopped you before, from expressing your opinions. Usually, you do; however, resort to personal attacks, as part of your SOP and/or rhetoric.

Since Virgil posed and/or wrote the question, I would think he would be in a better place to judge whether a poster expressed opinions were addressing his questions. Apparently Virgil felt that this poster didn't address the issues as he presented them.

I think we would all be better served here, if posters addressed the issues and dealt with the questions asked. If you can't separate the issues and questions, without resorting to personal attacks, perhaps you should remain silent in this thread, until such time as you can debate the issues at hand.

BTW: I have served my Country in Wartime, and protected a number of Presidents EOD wise too, so what! It doesn't even buy me a cup of coffee!
 
#17
Brandt said:
Recent US improvements at the tactical and operational level have been nothing short of stunning. Man for man, I still think we are better soldiers, but the fact that they are now criticising the Brits for being too ready to use ordnance rather than risk troops' lives, is incredibly telling. They are at war, and everything, from their budget to their ethos, supports that. They know that the best results will be gained from people spending time in an area, so they do 12- 15 month tours. They give their Bn commanders millions of dollars for tactical CIMIC projects. They buy serious kit, in serious quantities. They have completely re-written their doctrine in five years, and put it into effect. At the strategic level, we are frankly p1ssing about, and not adding much value, and we need to open our eyes. It is not our fault- it is the old problem of having a Govt who doesn't really have an interest in what we are doing, so shirks from paying for it properly.
Thats the impression i get, you assesment of the strategic level is pretty good, but is it the government not paying? media reports are always stating that billions of pounds are being poured into the country for projects, what is happening? is this capitalism taking over and these funds being illicitly squandered? where is the oversight on these commitments?

The infrastructure, especially in Iraq does not appear to be improving, when a force in occupation appears to offer nothing i presume it is easy for the insurgent leaders to convince people that the occupying force are bad and bring nothing but death and hardship. This is especially reinforced by the fact that to pick up an AK47 will pay 5 times the average daily wage.

Until the average Iraqi or Afghan can have something better to work towards and be able to put food on the table, little will change and there is little that can be achieved at a tactical level to enforce this change.
 
#18
dingerr said:
I doubt whether you have the moral high ground on me, what have you ever done for you country?
Panama, The Gulf War, Somalia, Iraq and so on in an airborne unit.

What have you ever done for my country?
I serviced a couple of English broads.
 
#19
Brandt certainly agree with your point of view, I think the situation with the use of 'hearts and minds' is more due to tactical situation on the ground and (i am speaking about Afghanistan) the locals actually being willing to accept something from the coalition, i dont believe this necessarily has to do with locals feeling towards Coalition, rather i found that they were less accepting of help and rather dealt with problems themselves.
As has been pointed out from a 'boots on the ground' point of view the US has completly re-written their doctrine on dealing with COIN ops in a very short period of time and i believe over the spring offensive it will have a noticable affect, I also believe that it could well be something as simple as the fact that Locals are concerned about allying with the coalition in case we pull out and they are left with the repercussions.
 
#20
I seriously doubt we can win the hearts and minds in Iraq or Afganistan.
We are a Christian Army in a Muslim country, trying to impose democracy on people who dont understand, want or need it, in both cases.

Add to that the fact that neither the US or UK Government is prepared to put their money where their mouth is and actually spend significant amounts on restructuring the countries in question. I dont have the figures but I read somewhere that the US has spent something in the order 3% of the cost of the Iraq "war" on restructuring efforts. The rest has been spent on the military effort.

Add to that the fact that both UK and US Govts have yet to grasp the fact that you cannot solve this political problem by purely military means. We won the wars a long time ago. We are currently losing the peace.
 

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