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USMC SOF Company Expelled From Afghanistan


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#1 Rubberneck

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 0826 AM

This is an extraoridinary response from the CG in Afghanistan. I worked for the guy, and have little good to say about him, but what exactly did these Marines do that merited them being sent out of the country?

For the record, he kicked out the Military History section at Combined Forces Command because their CO, was in Eikenberry's terms, "a fat Reservist."

So he likes to kick units out the door...this is interesting.


http://www.examiner....ls_Marines.html
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#2 BansheeOne

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 0903 AM

I believe those were the guys who allegedly opened indiscriminate fire and killed 8-16 passerbies after being hit by a VBIED on the road to Djalalabad recently. Sparked major protests among Afghanis.
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#3 Gunguy

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 1118 AM

It is a political move. Remember, we are not fighting a war, we are engaged in politics with cool toys.....The Marines responded as they should have and the locals didn't like it. Too bad in my opinion. But, we are there to promote peace, love and a general feeling that Uncle Sugar will help them out.....
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#4 Yish

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 1925 PM

It is a political move. Remember, we are not fighting a war, we are engaged in politics with cool toys.....The Marines responded as they should have and the locals didn't like it. Too bad in my opinion. But, we are there to promote peace, love and a general feeling that Uncle Sugar will help them out.....

How is shooting innocent civilians after getting hit a good idea? Just how do you suppose to win a counterinsurgency with such tactics? Shoot 'till they're all dead?
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#5 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 2019 PM

How is shooting innocent civilians after getting hit a good idea? Just how do you suppose to win a counterinsurgency with such tactics? Shoot 'till they're all dead?


That works too. However, there's more to this story than what's in the press, as is usual. S/F....Ken M
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#6 Yish

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 2243 PM

That works too. However, there's more to this story than what's in the press, as is usual. S/F....Ken M

Anything you can say?
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#7 nigelfe

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 0256 AM

There's always more to the story, unfortunately it's often self-serving crap.

If it is a consequence of the suggested event, and if that event is even roughly as recounted in the media, then I'm surprised the culprits have got off with being sent home. Perhaps USMC discipline is not what it was. To me the episode could only be interpreted at best (and in a most optimistic frame of mind) as grossly poor judgement by the USMC men involved. From that I'd move through panic (in SoF?), disgraceful discipline, incompetant officers and NCOs to out of control macho nutters.

Lots of people carry guns in Afghanistan (like the US?), it doesn't mean they are about to start shooting at you (like the US?). Wars like Afghanistan are not going to be won by gunning down anyone looking faintly suspicious to your foreign eyes just because you've been attacked by a bomber. Quaint notions about being bigger, uglier and badder-arsed than the real opposition have a nil history of success in other than the very short term, they also make it easy for the real bad guys to pose credidbly as the better ones. Antics like these by USMC, if reported even vaguely correctly, come out of the 'Dummy's Guide to Losing Counter-insurgency'. I think its on about page 1.
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#8 Rubberneck

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 0744 AM

So from I can gather from the responses here, it was a case of this company losing discipline after being ambushed?
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#9 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 0920 AM

http://lightfighter....31/m/7271014803

This has as good a perspective as any.

So from I can gather from the responses here, it was a case of this company losing discipline after being ambushed?


Well, if you've got SIPR, you can read the reporting and make your own inferences. Everybody else is speculating. Personally, I think it's a huge load of GO level political interservice garbage. Which I doubt you can ever get away from, which is why I think joint is for smoking, not the military. S/F....Ken M
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#10 nigelfe

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 0354 AM

http://lightfighter....31/m/7271014803

This has as good a perspective as any.
Well, if you've got SIPR, you can read the reporting and make your own inferences. Everybody else is speculating. Personally, I think it's a huge load of GO level political interservice garbage. Which I doubt you can ever get away from, which is why I think joint is for smoking, not the military. S/F....Ken M



Actually its all about something called 'winning'. It's a tricky business. It's the USMC who invented the term 'three block war', and they got that one right. The difficult bit is knowing which block you're in at what moment. It needs very well trained soldiers, particularly NCOs and junior officers.
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#11 Sikkiyn

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 0621 AM

Actually its all about something called 'winning'. It's a tricky business. It's the USMC who invented the term 'three block war', and they got that one right. The difficult bit is knowing which block you're in at what moment. It needs very well trained soldiers, particularly NCOs and junior officers.


Actually it requires SA 'situational awareness', which can and does go south when bullets, rockets, and everything else is flying.


Let's take an example from you prior post.

There's always more to the story, unfortunately it's often self-serving crap.

If it is a consequence of the suggested event, and if that event is even roughly as recounted in the media, then I'm surprised the culprits have got off with being sent home. Perhaps USMC discipline is not what it was. To me the episode could only be interpreted at best (and in a most optimistic frame of mind) as grossly poor judgement by the USMC men involved. From that I'd move through panic (in SoF?), disgraceful discipline, incompetant officers and NCOs to out of control macho nutters.

Lots of people carry guns in Afghanistan (like the US?), it doesn't mean they are about to start shooting at you (like the US?). Wars like Afghanistan are not going to be won by gunning down anyone looking faintly suspicious to your foreign eyes just because you've been attacked by a bomber. Quaint notions about being bigger, uglier and badder-arsed than the real opposition have a nil history of success in other than the very short term, they also make it easy for the real bad guys to pose credidbly as the better ones. Antics like these by USMC, if reported even vaguely correctly, come out of the 'Dummy's Guide to Losing Counter-insurgency'. I think its on about page 1.

Now let's give everyone within a 3 block radius of you a gun, and have them carry it around. Being that you are from (x) location, you would automatically know who is a stranger, and who is not. Further you would know who is to be watched and who is not. People trying to flee from an ambush who are not from (x) location, encountering people who look just like the ambusing party from a block or two back are apt to get shot at due to 'a..' SA went south (welcome to reality), and 'b..' Damn how did they get ahead of us?

Lots of people carry guns in Afghanistan (like the US?), it doesn't mean they are about to start shooting at you (like the US?).


Care to expand upon this?
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#12 TSJ

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 0637 AM

Nigelfe:
Everybody in the US does not have an AK-47 assualt rifle or similar. You can't even hunt with an assault rifle in the US if the magazine is greater than 4 or 5 rounds. Some states won't let you hunt with *any* semi-automatic rifle much less one that is capable of full auto. In fact, to personally own a full auto weapon takes a special federal permit or tax. So, full auto weapons in the US are not very common in the general public.

Generally, in most states, although it may vary, you can't carry a concealed weapon without a special permit given for specific reasons. In a lot of states you can't wear a side arm in the open either without a specific reason such as hunting. If you attempted to walk into any commercial building wearing a gun openly, people would probably be calling the police immediately. States like Arizona, etc., may be the exception to this rule but I wouldn;t want to try walking into a bank wearing a gun even in Arizona.

So no, people in the US don't go around carrying automatic assault weapons in spite of what you may see in Hollywood movies as cinema verite about American life.

The Marines in SOF are not US Army type Special Forces where the locals are taught how to resist insurgency. They are the equivilent of commandos. If you've got a serious problem with General Buck Naked in Liberia who has captured Red Cross nurses and plans on eating them par broiled with assorted salads, then you would call the Marines. They are the equivilent of dialing 911.

Edited by TSJ, 26 March 2007 - 0648 AM.

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#13 Archie Pellagio

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 1039 AM

This discussion ultimately harks back to the fact that 19 year olds (or anyone for that matter) in a foreign land full of people not particularly friendly, and partially hostile are going to be a) more worried about getting home to Cindy-Lou and mum's apple pie and b ) seeing their buddies/subordinates do the same than they are about doing the best to ''win hearts and minds'' and put themselves in a highly exposed position for attack from the truly hostile.

Simple case in point is look at a lot of the posts on this very forum from about two or three years ago when TN'ers started getting deployed to iraq/afghanistan - the number of times advice of 'don't worry about the locals and the war in whole, just get yourself and your men back alive' - I can recall similar comments on a thread about PTSD in an overworked unitfiring .50's in traffic about two years ago where the common view here was 'its not worth taking the chance, act and be damned'

Not to criticise the actions, having not been in individulal situations however, that is only a natural attitude, and that sort of perfectly logical, instinctive, rational but insular action, is what people will do, especially when the war enters a later ''peace with honour'' ''we're not retreating...honest'' stage like this.

Unfortunately armies are blunt instruments and it takes highly motivated, trained individuals with a solid basing in local culture and linguistics and a respect for such (the f*cking savages mentality is not helpful unless you know very specifically who needs to forfeit their breathing privieleges)) to do the sort of work neccesary in COIN.

In afghanistan, wasting everyone with a kalashnikov is not the solution...

Edited by Luke_Yaxley, 26 March 2007 - 1042 AM.

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#14 Gunguy

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 1042 AM

I can't believe the guys who post how the Marines are supposed to sit and not fire at anyone when they are being attacked. What do you think you would do? Why in the heck would anyone sit and not defend themselves in an attack? In war situations, civilians ALWAYS, ALWAYS get hurt by the bucket full. It is the nature of using war equipment around people. This reminds me of the shoot first ask questions later thread we had about three years ago..... everyone jumped down my throat for saying that to Ken and Nick, when they were going over to Iraq, when they got there, they pretty much figured out, you never wait until you get shot to start shooting, you can't take a bullet and survive long. You shoot the other guy first, BEFORE he shoots you. It is never a level playing field, you always want to hold the upper hand to live another day.

If this sounds harsh, it is because I have seen too many of our guys coming back without legs, arms, faces, and you name it. We need to take them out before they take us out, no quarter given once the fighting starts (from an attack). Civilians learn quickly to lay down on the ground when a bomb goes off, ifthey know the response will be the same each time. Civilians are not all that dumb.......
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#15 BansheeOne

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 1127 AM

I can't believe the guys who post how the Marines are supposed to sit and not fire at anyone when they are being attacked. What do you think you would do? Why in the heck would anyone sit and not defend themselves in an attack?


Who suggested that? :huh:
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#16 Harold Jones

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 1138 AM

...Unfortunately armies are blunt instruments and it takes highly motivated, trained individuals with a solid basing in local culture and linguistics and a respect for such (the f*cking savages mentality is not helpful unless you know very specifically who needs to forfeit their breathing privieleges)) to do the sort of work neccesary in COIN.

In afghanistan, wasting everyone with a kalashnikov is not the solution...


I believe that is the point of SOF units though. This wasn't random rifle company x but a unit that was presumably trained specifically for this kind of deployment. It could be that their training was deficient, they were poorly led, they were sent away by a political CG, or they were sent away to soothe the locals. In the end I'm sure there is far more to this than has been reported in open sources and most of us will never actually know more about the reasons than we do today.
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#17 Jim Martin

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 1840 PM

I was very surprised when the Corps actually joined SOCCOM, something the Corps had been resisting for years and years. Marine "Special Forces" -- Force Reconnaissance--are just that, reconnaissance assets for the MEF. Division-level deep reconnaissance, occasional demolitions etc. These guys aren't "hearts and minds" types, their role has typically been very narrowly focussed on tasks relating to force-level recon. Still not sure why they finally joined SOCCOM.
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#18 Sikkiyn

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 1946 PM

I believe that is the point of SOF units though. This wasn't random rifle company x but a unit that was presumably trained specifically for this kind of deployment. It could be that their training was deficient, they were poorly led, they were sent away by a political CG, or they were sent away to soothe the locals. In the end I'm sure there is far more to this than has been reported in open sources and most of us will never actually know more about the reasons than we do today.


Harold, I will throw you one a little better. They were most likely trained correctly, and had good leadership, but at the end of the day they were humans after all.
Fight or Flight.. It has always been looked at as one or the other, but what happens when you combine the two, and add automatic weapons. ;)
Instead of looking at 'who' screwed up as we are trapped into always doing, why not look at 'what' happened, and work on ways of correcting it.
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#19 Cookie Monster

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 2050 PM

There was one invader who had successfully subdued the Afghans. And that was.......
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The Mongols. Genghis Khan, after hearing the uprising, ordered every soldier in the Mongol contigent that he sent, to collect 300 heads. Failure do so would result in death. After 3 years or so, there was little uprising left. Not that I would condone such actions for I am no such Mongol nor desire to be.

The Brits tried and failed. The Russians tried and failed. What makes it any difference that the United States would be successful?
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#20 nigelfe

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 0547 AM

'Situational awareness' - post modern bullshit. It's about properly trained soldiers able to recognise their circumstances, apply tactical common sense and react appropriately. This also needs competant junior leadership and soldiers who can think sensibly for themselves and not use an incident as a excuse for a yippy shoot (AKA 'Sir, I identified a man with a gun who was acting in a hostile/suspicious manner'.

Some of us have been around long enough to know the lurks, we also know it takes a while to train these tendencies out, and there are always recalcitrants.

Incidentally the Brits never tried to rule Afghanistan, they merely wanted a neutral and on the friendly side state between India and Russia. Most of the time they achieved this. It's an Afghan myth that they 'defeated the British in 3 wars'. The best they ever did was one battle, Maiwand when a smallish Brit detachment met a large body of the Afghan Army many times the size (including 5 batteries to 1).
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