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Bring back the War Department

Will someone let me know when war is easy and uncomplicated? I have tried to write about the complexities, the milli-second decision making, the wide gray area between right and wrong when it comes to war. In fact I just wrote about it some the other day.

You can watch war movies all day, and play call of duty until your fingers fall off, but you will never understand what it is like to make repeated milli-second or planned (on bad intelligence) decisions that effect life and death. Not only yours, but your team-mates and even innocent civilians you don’t know and never will.

And that is all before the first politician gets involved…

The Taliban attacked the Afghan police compound at first light, coming from all sides at the American Green Berets holed up inside. The insurgents fired assault rifles, heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. They came in what a soldier called “human waves.”

Not even strafing runs by American F-16 fighters stopped the assault. The elite American soldiers — whose mission was only to train and advise Afghan troops — had never seen a firefight as intense.

Holding the compound, another soldier said, took an “Alamo defense.”

On the morning of Oct. 1, about 30 soldiers were in close-quarters combat against Taliban fighters — even though White House and Pentagon officials have repeatedly insisted that American troops no longer play that role.

..so you can bet once politicians and of course lawyers poke their long noses into the situation (that they also cannot even begin to comprehend) it only gets worse.

The Americans were not ambushed while advising local forces behind the front lines or struck by rocket fire while manning a fortified base. Nine months after President Obama declared an end to the American combat mission in Afghanistan, these Green Berets were at the leading edge of an offensive to retake Kunduz, where Afghan forces had melted away as insurgents attacked, leaving an entire city in the Taliban’s grip for the first time since 2001.

This is exactly why I wrote This Stuff is Complicated, along with many other similar themed blog posts on this site. It is easy to sit back and listen to the media, to the Non-government organization knowingly in a dangerous combat zone, to politicians or best of all; to completely ignorant civilians who take a 30 second soundbite at 6PM,12 straight hours of a video game and seeing The Hurt Locker as their “experience” on how combat should happen.

This is why politicians and lawyers should be restricted to policy and treaties, but the military should be left to warfare. The military should be the last resort, almost like Il Duce in The Boondocks Saints. The military should be so trained, equipped, ready and able to do its job, conduct warfare that the policy makers should only release that beast when they know what they are doing and what it means. If it is a war zone then let the warriors in there to conduct war. Not to build nations, put books in schools, or dig wells, that is the job for the overly-bloated State Department.

The Department of Defense used to be called the War Department and was headed by the Secretary of War, until 1947. Maybe its time they change the name back to that so as to remind everyone the intent for the military and what it means when you call on it. It should only serve one purpose, not the job it is asked to do today but running between the raindrops. This doesn’t mean it can’t assist in some of those nation-building or disaster-relief activities, but when those come up it should be the State Department running lead and the military should only be providing logistical and other resources that it has at its disposal.

That day in Washington, General Campbell briefed reporters about the accidental strike on the hospital, saying the facts would be established by military investigators.

But General Campbell was unequivocal on one point. “Our personnel are not directly engaged in the fighting,” he said.

So if you are fighting day in and day out then you are conducting combat. There is no other way to slice it. If you are calling in air-strikes and are waiting on ammunition resupply, then you are in combat, you are at WAR.

 Please read the whole article at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/09/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-kunduz-doctors-without-borders-airstrike.html

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