Someone at the Pentagon hasn’t been following their Sun Tzu. Our problem of late is appearing weak and being weak.
A Marine, Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, of Temecula, California, was killed in Iraq at the new U.S.-only Fire Base Bell. This Marine Corps outpost, just several hundred meters from a larger and apparently more secure Iraqi run base, has drawn the deadly interest of the Islamic State.
Fire Base Bell is nothing more than a fish barrel for the Islamic State's target practice.
In 2016, there is simply no excuse for these kinds of casualties. We have superiority in every catagory of war operations, yet we can't seem to keep our personnel safe. It is a failure on every level.
A flag of the Shiite Hezbollah militant group flutters over a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State, March 9, 2015. (Getty Images/Younis Al-Bayati/AFP)
It is not acceptable to simply say, "war is hell," "these things happen," or "we're doing the best we can.” None of those things will give any comfort to the family, friends, colleagues and commanders of the deceased.
No, we must do more to protect ourselves in an effort to accomplish the mission, whatever the mission is.
In a combat zone the No. 1 concern is security – for all operations and all branches of the military. If you are not secure, you are not safe, and therefore not effective. If you are not effective you might as well be dead because you cannot accomplish the mission.
The current administration’s strategy of drones, bombs and Special Operations is insane. This "zero footprint," "no boots on the ground" philosophy is red meat for our enemies. It means every American killed or injured is a war prize of untold value.
The U.S. has disclosed that there are about 5,000 troops currently in Iraq, but until recently officially there had only been 3,870. There are about 1,000 more troops off the books apparently, in northern Iraq who planned to assist Iraqi troops in an attempt to take back Mosul from the Islamic State. Fire Base Bell is part of the offensive, which recently was initiated by Iraq.
Were it not for the recent attacks on Fire Base Bell would we even know about it, or the extra 1,000-plus Marines?
The bad news?
Iraqi soldiers have fled in the face of possible counterattack by Islamic State fighters, exposing supporting Marines to take on the bad guys alone or retreat back to Fish Barrel – uh, I mean Fire Base - Bell. Now in view of the failed offensive, the Pentagon is pushing hard for additional troops.
Recent reports state that the president has given a directive to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that he wants to defeat the Islamic State “before the end of his term.” Why? Because he would “like to not leave this to my successor."
What an outrageous rationale!
How about defeating the enemy because they are evil and dangerous?
How about ending the Global War on Terror because it is the right thing to do and would keep Americans safe?
How about following military doctrine and use overwhelming force to defeat the enemy?
Instead we get drones, bombs and Special Operations.
Smoke rises from Islamic State positions following a U.S.-led coalition airstrike as Iraqi Security forces advance their position in downtown Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. (AP Photo)
There were six Air Force special investigators killed earlier this year while on “routine security patrol” outside an air base in Afghanistan. Why? One motorcycle borne improvised explosive device killed all six at once.
The religion of arms, if you will, has many edicts, policies, regulations, standard operating procedures and rules of engagement. We fight and live or die by these things, chapter and verse.
What is immensely frustrating is the constant downplay by the current administration over how dangerous the enemy is, or even who the enemy is. Recent reports have the CIA-supplied Syrian rebels shooting at the Defense Department-armed Syrian militias! Wait, what?! This is way beyond SNAFU; this is military blasphemy.
Also, by calling the Islamic State the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” – Levant being a reference to Syria, or a fundamentalist form of Wahabi Sunni Muslim beliefs - President Barack Obama legitimizes their claim of religious foundation by using “ISIL,” instead of simply calling them the Islamic State, yet he claims the terrorists are not Islamic.
It appears that Barak Obama is the biggest recruiting tool for the enemy. In using political double-speak to describe our non-enemy he has successfully confused the public and emboldened the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.
Recent terror attacks by a Taliban off-shoot targeting Christians at Easter in Pakistan and another by the Islamic State at the international airport and a commuter train in Brussels, Belgium, sadly confirm this, along with the death of Staff Sgt. Cardin at Fire Base Bell.
Recently, American citizen Mohamad Jamal Kweis, from Virginia, joined the Islamic State, went to the Iraqi city of Mosul and then fled because conditions and the promise of glorious jihad was severely overstated by the bad guys.
So, Islamo-Disneyland turned out to be a shuttered Wallyworld. My guess is that the sex slaves were all spoken for.
But curiously enough Mohamad Jamal Kweis, who talked about why he joined and then why he defected from the Islamic State made not one mention of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which according to Obama is the top recruiting tool for the terrorist organization.
Not one mention of Gitmo. Curious.
Because of civilian (read “Pentagon”) incompetence in the understanding and appreciation of effective military operations, instead of being driven by an overall goal or objective, the strategy (or lack thereof) changes with the political wind.
Currently, the rationale for ending the Global War on Terror is simply to end the trouble before Obama leaves office. He’s never too passionate about our struggle against terrorism except when making sure after each Islamist terror attack we don’t go blaming Islam, the religion of peace.
It seems as though to this administration that the military are merely tools in a shed run by those who haven’t a clue how to use them, but nevertheless always seem to want to drive a nail into a two-by-four with a screwdriver. And, like released Gitmo detainees, it is costing American lives.
Montgomery Granger is a three-times mobilized U.S. Army major (Ret.) and author of "Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior." Amazon, Blog, Facebook, Twitter: @mjgranger1
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