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"Dude, I don't think we're gonna make it home in time for dinner..."

Michael Yon continues to post from AfStan, despite being yanked from his embed with 2 Rifles.

This paragraph sent me into the 'Way-Back Machine:
In July, British soldiers and I boarded a CH-47 helicopter at Camp Bastion for the flight to FOB Jackson at Sangin where fighting is brutal. The helicopter was so stuffed with men, gear and supplies that the cargo was not even strapped down. We steadied the long stack with our hands and prayed that the pilots not begin flying violent evasive maneuvers. The tail gunner partially lifted the ramp to prevent bundles from tumbling into the skies, and that was it for securing the bundles.

What triggered the memory? Well, during normal operations, the crewchief would have insisted that all passengers be strapped in and the cargo secured. In a combat assault, *nobody* straps in and *nothing* gets tied down, because the extra second it takes to release everyone's seat belt and the extra two seconds it takes to release everyone's gear is an extra three seconds that the aircraft and everyone in it is a single, high-value target. It's an extra three seconds that the mortar or RPG has to catch the aircraft on the ground. I don't even like thinking about the number of times a *whump!* and a spray of mud erupted from the spot I had been *two* seconds before.

They were making a combat assault into a FOB...

What else caught my attention? This --
We need more gear and more forces now. We can outfight these enemies and we can win the war, but at this rate a favorable outcome is difficult to imagine. This war shows signs that it will become more intense than Iraq at its peak. As with my twelve dispatches from 2006 warning that we were losing this war, the warnings over the past couple of years seem to be falling on incredulous ears. We will lose the war unless we get more troops and more gear soon.

The TaliQaeda aren't dummies. They took a page from the VC/NVA Playbook, and they're applying pressure while it will have maximum media impact, influencing the *political* debate about which should be the proper course to follow. Increasing the number of trainers for the Afghan Army and the National Police is a given -- but right now, we need to give the trainers *and* trainees secure space in which to train.

Want the civilians to support their central government? Then provide them with protection from the TaliQaeda racketeers leaning on them. Until we -- meaning every country which has *shooters* on the ground -- have sufficient personnel and equipment to provide security for the people who have the biggest stake in living terror-free over there, it won't happen.

Enough editorializing. Go to Mike's Place -- and be sure to watch the firefight vid.

4 Comments

I discount the arguments of naïveté and cluelessness.  None of Obama's dithering makes sense unless you start from the premise that he wants us to lose in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Why else would he have surrounded himself his whole life with people like Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Jeremiah Wright, and other such fellow travelers on the Left?
 
Thank you, General McChrystal Bill... that is exactly what is needed.  It's how we "won" in Iraq.  (did you know, btw, that if our guys fire warning shots in Iraq now, they're going under investigation??!!)  Hearts and minds, people.

Afghanistan is tribal.  I've said it many times before, and will continue to:  The tribes in Afghanistan will align themselves with the group that offers them the greatest chance of survival until the next day.  Until we can prove to them that aligning with us, the UN, and the new Afghan government is the way to survive PAST the next day, we will not achieve success in Afghanistan.
 
My personal opinion is that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are 2 campaigns in the same, larger war.  To pull out of and lose Afghanistan would be like having won in North Africa in 1943, only to fail and pull out of Italy before capturing Rome in '44.

We still have the modern-day counterparts of Normandy and Berlin to go through.
 
Interesting to follow the MSM reporting of the week-end's deadly activities in A'stan.  First reported as local tribal forces objecting to an outside presence.  Yesterday, and now, being reported as Taliban.  It was NOT Taliban.  Why is this important?  It's important because of the perpetration of the myth that if we get rid of the bad guys, Afghanistan will become a manageable, governable, homogenous society.  It never was, it isn't now, and it won't be next year or a century from now.  "Winning" in this AO is killing as many bad guys as we can, then getting the hell out of there.  The "locals" won't stray; the "locals" aren't a terrorist threat to anyone.  Kill the Taliban; kill the AQ, and leave Afghanistan (Pashtu) to itself.  Oh, and by the way, do the same thing in Pakistan; kill the bad guys, KNOCK OUT P'stan's nuclear capability and leave them to themselves.  Victory will not look like anything to which the western world is accustomed.  Just sayin'.  ML