Afghan roundup

Sweden lost a couple of soldiers in Afghanistan on Sunday when an Afghan police officer (or someone dressed up as one) killed them and their interpreter.  Sweden’s lost 4 soldiers in Afghanistan over the years and while the total isn’t very large, you can be sure this probably won’t steel the collective spine of the nation.

Video of Swedish soldiers training for (I assume) an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.  As an aside, I know it’s really dangerous to draw conclusions based on ONE example but I found it interesting to compare this video (particularly the music) with typical American ‘hooah’ videos.  Is this a cultural difference or was someone listening to too many Cure albums?

Joshua doesn’t have high hopes for the upcoming ISAF offensive in Helmand and seems to think he’s heard most of this before.

The army released a report on the battle of COP Keating.*

“The investigation concluded that critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets which had been supporting COP Keating had been diverted to assist ongoing intense combat operations in other areas, that intelligence assessments had become desensitized to reports of massing enemy formations by previous reports that had proved false, and needed force protection improvements were not made because of the imminent closure of the outpost,”

Ouch.  The desensitization is a significant point and it’d be interesting to know how they’re going to deal with it in the future (if at all).  Hopefully they do something smarter than just say “We need to consider every report as a top priority!”  Otherwise known as the ‘Boxer Strategy‘ and manifested domestically as ‘All Crimes, All Hazards, All the time!’

Shorter Engel:  OMG!  Sometimes soldiers are put at risk for non-tactical reasons!

The military is getting tougher on bad commanders in Afghanistan.  About damn time.  The idiots I was unfortunate enough to serve with needed to get a swift kick in the ass and a discharge.  Of course, they got bronze stars and promotions.  Nice job for sitting behind a desk , playing grab ass office politics and risking the lives of their soldiers for no reason for 10 months.   (Yeah, I’m still a little bitter)

Tom Ricks talks about an article written by Kilcullen about metrics in COIN.*

Perhaps I’m just a bit ornery today but what does it say when we’re 9 years into a COIN campaign and item #1 still has to be:  Body counts don’t work!

…there are still some Army commanders who disagree with this basic point.

I expect 18 and 19 year olds to think the solution to our problems are that we just need to kick more ass.  When senior ranking officers and enlisted think we just need to put ‘more bayonets in more people’ though we either need to school them or move them somewhere they won’t do more damage.

I found this point worthy of repeating though…

“Any input metric.” Megadittoes. This was another thing that used to drive me nuts in Iraq, listening to Americans boast about money spent, projects initiated, patrols conducted, and such. “These indicators tell us what we are doing, but not the effect we are having.” Rather, he advocates, look at outcomes, and especially the effect on the population. How to measure those will be the subject of our next installment on this insightful essay.

Operation Joint Operation?  I dig we don’t want to inadvertently name our military operations something that’ll piss off people but this ain’t exactly one that’ll stir mens hearts throughout the ages.  What, were all the good ones taken?

*And allow me to, yet again, vent my frustration with most media organizations.  It’s the internet, people!  One of its big advantages is you can hyperlink your source material!  Why in the world don’t most news sites link to the reports and data they write about?


One response to “Afghan roundup

  1. Pingback: I misread the Swedes « Travels with Shiloh

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