The Great Debate; A Soldiers View

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Trip_Wire, Feb 14, 2007.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    http://www.southernillinoisan.com/articles/2007/01/31/opinions/guest_columns/18990233.txt

    (IMHO A good article.) :thumright:

    The great debate: A soldier's view

    By Grayson Gile


    We are engaged in the first serious debate of the 21st century. Ostensibly, the most visible debate is over the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nevertheless, after all the partisan and ideological posturing is discarded, the most important question for the American people and our elected public servants is this: How does the government of the United States best ensure our safety and security - not only for the present - but for the long term?

    As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, I can state without hesitation that our involvement in there is the right thing to do. I have not been to Iraq; therefore, I will not argue whether our decision to go to war in Iraq was right or wrong. However, I do know this: We have crossed the Rubicon. To conclude these wars short of victory undermines our long term security interests by legitimizing the enemy's use of terror as an effective instrument of political action.

    The nature of the conflict in Iraq has changed. Consequently, the right tool for the job must be selected. In the spring of 2003, U.S. conventional forces superbly accomplished what they are designed to do. They closed with and destroyed the Iraqi army in a conventional force on force, or symmetrical, conflict. To be precise, the conventional war in Iraq has already been won.

    Today, the primary threat in Afghanistan and Iraq are terror organizations and militias that possess a myriad of diverse, and frequently competing, political, economic and theological objectives. Therefore, the threats in each country are, by definition, asymmetrical and political.

    Special forces are best positioned to take the lead dealing with the asymmetrical insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is precisely what they are designed to do. Experts in assisting host governments with internal defense and development, infrastructure development through civil affairs, humanitarian assistance programs, and counter-terrorism operations, special forces can be viewed as Peace Corps with a gun.

    Special forces represent the key to enabling the Afghan and Iraqi governments to assume responsibility for their own security needs - and their own destinies. Special forces are, first and foremost, teachers and advisers. The special forces soldier possesses language proficiency, cultural sensitivity, and a broad array of skills that are of nation-building value. Experts in medical care, communications, engineering, problem solving and the "human dimension" of diplomacy, the average special forces soldier is 10 to 20 years senior to the average conventional combat arms Infantryman.

    There is one caveat, however: special forces are not, and cannot, be mass produced. Stabilization of Afghanistan and Iraq will require both special operations and conventional forces working together in a symbiotic, and fully synchronized, combined team effort.

    In accord with the Special Forces motto "De Oppresso Liber" or "Liberate the Oppressed", our greatest, and most valuable, exports are freedom, hope, and the ideals of our liberal-democratic tradition. Ultimately, true soldiers war not against flesh and blood - but the true enemies of mankind: hate, intolerance, ignorance, greed, corruption, poverty, and political and theocratic tyranny in all forms.

    Unfortunately, the task of combating the "true enemies" of mankind sometimes entails the taking of life; however, as any true soldier can tell you, there is no satisfaction having to remove these obstacles to progress. It is just something that has to be done in order to help create a better and safer world. As soldiers, we are willing to pay the price. The question before the American people and our elected public servants is this: Are you?

    Grayson Gile is an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel assigned as a current operations officer with Special Operations Command-South and served in Afghanistan during 2005. He also is Pulaski County State's Attorney.
     
  2. Another spam-centric 'mission statement.'

    Why can he not comment on Iraq if he's not been there? Having actually visited a place does not in any way qualify you as someone to listen to, as having not been to a place does not invalidate your opinion.

    Special forces/intelligence dealing with asymmetric forces, supported and ably assisted by conventional forces? Is the sky blue? Oh yes, I think it is.

    Combating the "true enemies" of mankind is fantastic. The middle east will be full of flowering multi-cultural liberal democracies only when they find a functioning socialist commune of clangers near the Sea of Tranquillity. Democracy cannot work when imposed over a patriarchal cultural type-set hell bent on reaffirmation of a denigrating and glacially evolving set of religious rules that form the basis of their decompensating society.

    Exporting 'freedom' - in the way that the West (OK, the US) understands it - to the middle east is like exporting tamagotchis to Hades - yes, it's distracting for a while, but won't ultimately detract from the quagmire of sulphurous bullsh*t you're knee-deep in. History has proven that the most enduring revolutions are those that began from the ground up; those walls of Jericho that came tumbling down to the echoes of the Vox Populous and not some bloated musician whose last rent-cheques was written on the back of a napkin. No amount of highly training walts falling out of helicopters in a coordinated manner is going to change this set of rules about humanity. Everytime we try, everytime we redraw the map and divide people into neat little right angles of people that will probably get along if only they could get over how Akhbar insulted our Sharon, we only balls it up. Freedom, as we simplistically term it, is an evolved beast unique to each environment. Try putting a polar bear in Belize and see how long it lasts.

    Iraqistan is somewhere we have to stay, but not out of a sense of nobility. It's because when you notice the sh*t you're standing in sucking on your boots and you feel the warm air flowing round your now exposed 1000-mile sock, it's too late to wonder if you should've tied your laces tighter. All you can do is plough on and hope you don't lose your other boot on the way to firmer ground or await the overhanging tree-branch of Deus Ex Machina to pluck you to safety, leaving the brown sticky mess safely below and, importantly, still there.
     
  3. I think that is a poorly written piece. Does the author understand the use of SF in conflict? I'm not saying that i'm an expert by any measure of the straw, but all soldiers as they gain experience do gain at least a basic understanding and best disposition of the forces and their specialities.

    "SF can be viewed as peace corps with a gun" Well no they can't, I think both the SF and the Peace Corps would recoil in horror from this crass statment.

    "legitimizing the enemy's use of terror as an effective instrument of political action." The Extremist followers of Islam have not entered the political arena, they seem devoid of politics and the "total anhilation of the infidel" is not really a good starting point for political communique.

    true soldiers war not against flesh and blood - but the true enemies of mankind: hate, intolerance, ignorance, greed, corruption, poverty, and political and theocratic tyranny in all forms. Well then the american soldier needs to start looking inward

    "Special forces represent the key to enabling the Afghan and Iraqi governments to assume responsibility for their own security needs - and their own destinies. No - as a small specialized force they do not have this capability - look at Iraq - The regular army are trained by non SF troops and the police are trained by police officers.

    Special forces are, first and foremost, teachers and advisers. The special forces soldier possesses language proficiency, cultural sensitivity, and a broad array of skills that are of nation-building value. Experts in medical care, communications, engineering, problem solving. No No No although SF may possess these skills they are certainly not of nation-building value, when was the lst time you saw a battalion of SF constructing a bridge, providing national telecommunications or setting up a hospital.

    The "human dimension" of diplomacy. The American soldier is not renowned the world over for this, actual quite the opposite and is viewed as secular.

    The average special forces soldier is 10 to 20 years senior to the average conventional combat arms Infantryman." Now i'm not saying this is wrong, but that would make average SF soldier at least 30-40 years old by the time they started training. I read an article recently that stated the average age of the SAS has dropped from 29 to 23 since the Iranian embassy siege.

    Unfortunately, the task of combating the "true enemies" of mankind sometimes entails the taking of life; however, as any true soldier can tell you, there is no satisfaction having to remove these obstacles to progress. It is just something that has to be done in order to help create a better and safer world. Absolute bo11ocks apolitical statement written for the apeasement of the civilian audience that this is aimed at.
     
  4. Writtern for an american ordience, not compatable here I am afraid. It is just another bullshïte report from a spam view.
     
  5. Do you think he's actually met anyone from the Bush Administration or any Republican power brokers? (The poverty thing obviously doesn't apply here.)
     
  6. I've noticed that in many similar articles they always talk about tactical level changes.
    SF this and SF that. SOF is like a "scalpel", and strategically sound plan is a "surgeon". Considering either lack, or absence of strategically sound goals in Iraq, it seems this "scalpel" is in the wrong hands.
     
  7. msr

    msr LE

    As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, I can state without hesitation that our involvement in there is the right thing to do.

    I wonder if that view is shared in the Afghan 'street'?

    msr
     
  8. To conclude these wars short of victory

    First you need to define what is meant by victory.

    A 100% docile US friendly democratic country with the populace happy and contented (or at least not actively trying to kill each other)?

    Not very likely to happen with 1000s of heavily armed foreign invaders on the streets now is it.
     
  9. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Dingerr gets it right here.

    This is written by an ignorant man with too much belief in his own self importance and a lack of understanding in the requirement of an entire force, not just SF, to engage in hearts and minds. His split of symetric and asymetric warfare is trite.

    If this is an article for policy change, it is, IMHO, some 4 yrs too late.
     
  10. Hey Trip wire, many thanks Brother for posting timely, and most appropriate, posts regarding the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been following the message thread on "The Great Debate: A Soldier's View", the SSGs "manifesto" from Afgansitan, and others. I am sure your intent is to stimulate thoughtful, and constructive, dialogue from readers. Unfortunately, it appears that ideological "filters" appear to cloud some respondent's posts. Nevertheless, regardles of ideological and subjective leanings expressed by some, your endeavor is much appreciated.

    Regarding the young SSG: Hey guys, give him a break! His perspective is his right. I can remember when I served as a flat bellied. steely eyed Infantry killer 20 plus years ago--and he sounded like me. Now, 20 plus years later, commissioning, and experience working with the SF community, I agree with the writer of "The Great Debate"--nation building is, ultimately, what will best ensure the security interests of western Europe and the US.

    Further commentary on the use of SF, advocated by "The Great Debate" would be very much appreciated. And please, respondents, constructive dialogue, both pro and con, would be appreciated.

    Thanks to all.
     
  11. And the right to reply is everyone's elses. If you don't like the negative replies state why you agree with the original post, after all everyones pont of view is welcome (well almost everyones!)

    Please don't take this as offensive, but posting this type of thing on this, a British Military based website, will be viewed negatively rather than positively. This is no disrespect to what you may have done, but there are many walts on ARRSE and they are just not tolerated and this can come across as waltism. You will enevitably show your experience in your posts without the requirement to brag, ARRSErs will pick up on this and think more highly of you.

    I really, really hope you don't get offended easily because on ARRSE pretty much anything goes you just have to sort the chaff from the wheat.

    BTW welcome to ARRSE
     
  12. So famine, the Middle East as a whole and a load of other subjects that will shape the state of certain parts of the world are forgotten just because this guy went to Afghanistan?

    The whole article is, for me, a view from a confused and overly boastful of US Special Forces. You just want to kick him in the face and tell him to get on with a hearts and minds campaign!
     
  13. Hey Dingerr,

    Thanks for the post (and the "lay of the land"). Please excuse my naivete, but what is "walt"? Regarding this being a British website--I am honored to be able to commo with the British military community. Not saying this to patronize--but you guys are tough, dedicated, and extremely well trained. Working with you over the years has taught me a great deal. I know that in a firefight I would always consider myself to be well blessed if my flanks were covered by Brits, Aussies, Canadians or Kiwis.

    As any (honest) Yank will admit--most of us are just you're ner-do-well horse thevein cousins that left our home country (England, Scotland, and Ireland). In my case, we E&Ed to the States after you kicked our ass at Culloden. The proverbial showing up to a gunfight with broadswords thing. Anyway, I've got a tough skin and always willing to learn and respect opposing views. Thanks for welcoming to AARSE.

    Cheers,

    The Stoic
     
  14. Great debate? Hardly. Unfortunateely, there are those who still believe that Iraq will be won by tanks and guns and to them I say, you are as wrong as wrong can be.

    Unless you are willing and able to kill every single Arab in that country, the Iraqis will always view us as what we are: invaders and occupiers.

    SF? This adventure has progressed way past the point where it can be won by five or six coalition soldiers dressed as locals.

    I believe SF are most effective when there is a goverment to destabilize, like Sadaam's before we went in guns ablazing.

    The idea of special forces is romantic and worthy of a good movie. But in Iraq, their role has been reduced to a minimum and I believe very target specific. Not enough IMHO to win a war.
     
  15. This man needs to get out more.