COIN – Failed policy, heinous injuries result

The "Lily Pad" Strategy - hit 'em hard, employ technology, but not from within!

Editor’s Note – MG Vallely and SUA have been writing for ages about the sheer lunacy of the war time policies and ROE in place for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, or anywhere. Diana West, a great friend and frequent contributor to SUA has nailed it again as she discusses the types of horrible injuries our forces are experiencing because of how we are attacked and our horrid policies.

The real crux of the issue is that we could and/or should be avoiding these heinous injuries by not miring our forces in static bases and outposts in these countries; trying to nation-build before we have secured victory. The COIN strategy is not working, it is not going to work, and is becoming Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over, failing each time.

The whole picture is so flawed, and so dangerous and expensive. Why, because it is based on politically correct western thinking that denies truisms already placed into evidence in the court of logical and factually based reason. We in the west can deny these truths, but we do so at the peril of our boys and girls in the line of fire. The only way to deal with these people is to;

  1. Recognize and accept facts, it is ISLAM;
  2. Remove our rose colored western glasses;
  3. Listen to our enemies as they say exactly what they mean, and mean exactly what they say;
  4. Employ our vast technology in the “Lily Pad” strategy of striking from afar, and returning safely;
  5. Avoiding entanglements in the swamp of local politics and corruption;
  6. and, employ a mindset of VICTORY.
As we say all the time, you cannot be caught painting and renovating one room in a house, as the other rooms burn out of control. In the case of Afghanistan, we are setting ourselves up for failure by continuing the insanity, and Pakistan is NOT our friend, nor has it ever been. Bring our troops and contractors home, or to our “Lily Pads”. Go back in when defeat is theirs, not ours, then rebuild the house, and stop white-washing with crazy definitions and obscure descriptions of failed policies born unto our warriors!

Is Coin Fantasy Worth the Real-World Cost?

By Diana West

Only the U.S. military could build a defensive wall of words — “dismounted complex blast injury” (DCBI) — around the bare fact that single, double, triple, even quadruple amputations are up sharply among U.S. forces on foot patrol in Afghanistan. So are associated pelvic, abdominal and genital injuries, according to a newly released report.

But even the antiseptic language of the report is excruciating, as when it calls for “further refinement” of “aggressive pain management at the POI (point of injury),” or highlights the need to train more military urologists in “phallic reconstruction surgery.”

It isn’t management but prevention that is called for.

These grievous injuries have increased because more U.S. forces are on foot patrol in Afghanistan. More Americans are on foot patrol in Afghanistan because counterinsurgency strategy puts them there. Every story I’ve seen on the new amputation report makes this connection. The Associated Press account is typical: “The counterinsurgency tactic that is sending U.S. soldiers out on foot patrols among the Afghan people, rather than riding in armored vehicles, has contributed to a dramatic increase in arm and leg amputations, genital injuries and the loss of multiple limbs following blast injuries.”

But what exactly this counterinsurgency (COIN) tactic is designed to accomplish remains off the radar. The fact is, Uncle Sam is asking young Americans to risk limbs, urinary function and testicles to win something not only intangible but also fantastical. They walk the bomb-packed byways of Afghanistan to win — to “earn” — “the trust of the Afghan people.” This is the mythological, see-no-Islam quest that drives U.S. COIN strategy.

Once we finally admit that the unicorn hunters are wrong, once we stop trying to remake Afghanistan in[to] something akin to our own image, once we start preventing Islam from remaking the West into a Shariah-compliant zone (with counterterrorism strikes, not foot patrols, as needed), these shattering body blasts to young Americans on the other side of the world will cease.

Meanwhile, “the trust of the Afghan people” is the holy grail of the Washington establishment, and, even after retiring from the military, Gen. David Petraeus, now director of the CIA, remains chief myth-maker. “Earn the people’s trust,” Petraeus wrote in a signal “Counterinsurgency Guidance” issued Aug. 1, 2010. From his list of how-tos — which range from dispense payola (“COIN-contracting”), to “help them develop checks and balances to prevent abuses” (good luck with that), to “drink lots of tea” — one order stands out, particularly in light of this week’s report on amputations resulting from foot patrols.

Petraeus wrote: “Walk. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population.”

One year later, the Army is reckoning with the carnage and after-care requirements that are consequences of this key tactic of COIN strategy. It is high time for the rest of us to reckon with them, too. Is COIN working? Is the burden of suffering that the nation is placing on the military worth the return? Frankly, when it comes to winning “the trust of the Afghan people,” is there any return?

These questions didn’t come up in the new report, naturally. Which isn’t to say the report was devoid of political consciousness. By way of background, the report defines “dismounted complex blast injury” as a new pattern of injury. The definition is: “An injury caused by an explosion occurring to a Service Member while dismounted in a combat theater that results in amputation of at least one lower extremity at the knee or above, with either amputation or severe injury to the opposite lower limb, combined with pelvic, abdominal or urogenital injury. This definition is not meant to define a subset of injuries for policy-making decisions.”

Oh, yeah?