Monday, November 23, 2009

The Great Afghan Dither-ex

In July of 1942, the Allies were fighting a defensive war with the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Nowhere in the world were the forces of Freedom or Liberty gaining any significant advantage except perhaps in the Pacific where the U.S. Navy had just inflicted a major surprise blow against Japan at the battle of Midway, causing Japan to loose the cream of her carriers and naval aviators, and dealing a bitter defeat to the Admirals who led and planned the Pearl Harbor strike in December of the previous year.

America can find some glaring parallels today to what we faced 6 decades ago. We are fighting a war of attrition against another intractable enemy, Islamofascism. This enemy however, does not have a nation-state to call home as did the Germans or the Japanese. They live in small groups and fight asymmetrically in many locations throughout the world. Presently, however, we have come to grips with this enemy in the far-off reaches of southwest Asia in the borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This savage fight has cost us dearly but we have had some success, but more needs to be done and more will be needed from America and her Allies if we are to be victorious.

In June of 2009, the theater commander, Gen. Stanley McCrystal issues a report that summarized the situation in Afghanistan and ended by asking for an additional 40, 000 combat troops to help him increase the presence, increase pressure on the enemy and to expand security to the remote reaches of that country. These forces will be needed until the national Afghan military has sufficient training and capability to act on its own. This “surge” would be in the same vane as the successful one conducted in Iraq a couple of years ago.

Now we find ourselves 5 months later, getting ready to cook up Thanksgiving turkeys and the President has yet to make a decision as to weather of not he will honor the requests of his field commander, and give the support requested.

Why the dithering?

Why the vacillations?

If you look at the historic record, this lack of action seems laughable if not down right criminal. People are fighting and dying in a war against terrorists and the President and his sycophants sit around the White House, seemingly baffled as to what they should do. It seems that neither community organizing, nor a Harvard law degree gives a man the tools, talent or temperament to be Commander and Chief of the Armed forces any more than it gives him the insight to understand economics, the business cycle or the healthcare delivery system. One merely has to see look at the state of the nation and our war effort to see this. Q.E.D.

When looking at the historical record, I think back on those dark days of 1942, and look at all the challenges we as a nation faced along with our beleaguered allies, I can’t understand the leadership (of lack thereof) we have in Washington today. I feel we are really in greater trouble now then when we were then. In the waning days of July, 1942, the allies decided on a massive invasion of North Africa to begin the process of pushing back the Germans and forcing our will against the fascists. A newly promoted and untested commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was given the task of planning then leading an Anglo-American attack against North Africa and her Vichy-French garrisons.

In a matter of a little more than 3 months, Eisenhower and his staff had planned, staged and then executed the massive invasion of North Africa, called Operation Torch, which was hugely successful in forcing the German Africa Corps to turn from fighting the British in Egypt and to face a larger combined forces enemy in their rear. What did this action entail?

First; the quantity of forces must be looked at. Seemingly unlike Mc Crystal, Eisenhower was given all the support that a field commander could ask for. He estimated that the invasion would require the largest amphibious effort ever attempted to that time. Over 125,000 troops and support forces were involved in the landings. What makes all this so amazing is that all those troops were trained, placed on slow moving transport ships, with all their armor, ammo, fuel and equipment, then moved by ship over 4000 miles from their ports of origin and under fire, landed and then supplied over beachheads.

The planning for this operation was accomplished in it’s entirety in a scant 100 day’s time.

Flash forward 67 years...

Why is it that the Obama Administration can’t seem to make the decision to move a force a fraction of the size in manpower or equipment that Eisenhower had? Ike did his magic in the middle of a world war, when we were fighting over oceanic distances, with almost non existent air assets and at a time when it took weeks to move materials and forces anywhere. It isn’t as if our troops would be landing in Kabul or Kandahar under heavy fire or that we can’t airlift forces from places we control like Iraq or even from here in the U.S. This lack of support in Afghanistan seems to be a failure of will or a lack of tactical or strategic acumen by the national command authority. Like the Roman Emperor Nero, Rome is burning and Obama fiddles away....

Oh, God in heaven......

How much have the mighty fallen!!!

No comments: