Why we’re not winning in Iraq and Afghanistan

The principal reason we’re not winning in Iraq and Afghanistan: we’re not really trying. We have other priorities. And by “we,” we (meaning WeaponsMan.com) mean them (Chuck Hagel and the self-satisfied suits in the Pentangle’s E Ring). Don’t take our word for it! Read our examples. 

ITEM: ISIL is on Jihad against us. We declare jihad on… the weather.

The military is being refocused by scatterbrained SecDef Chuck Hagel on what he sees as the biggest problem in the world: global warming.

Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.

Wait, we thought the election of Chuck’s patron was the day the seas stopped rising and the Earth began to heal? Apparently the Prince of Polyincompetence bungled that, too. But did you know he was on Harvard Law Review? Surely that counts for more than real performance.

Hagel, again:

These adorable baby turtles, doomed by global warming, are one of the document's illustrations.

These adorable turtle hatchlings, doomed by global warming, are one of the document’s illustrations. (Wait, if you’re a sea turtle, your beef with rising seas is…?)

A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions. The military could be called upon more often to support civil authorities, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the face of more frequent and more intense natural disasters. Our coastal installations are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased flooding, while droughts, wildfires, and more extreme temperatures could threaten many of our training activities. Our supply chains could be impacted, and we will need to ensure our critical equipment works under more extreme weather conditions. Weather has always affected military operations, and as the climate changes, the way we execute operations may be altered or constrained.

In search of a military themed photo, they found this (1992?) picture of flood damage with an Ike-era M48 tank (a gate guard?) in it. Because tanks and global warming go together, when you lose track of all the wars.

In search of a military-themed photo for Hagel’s glow-warm encyclical, they found this grainy (1992?) picture of flood damage with an Ike-era M48 tank (a gate guard?) in it. Because tanks and global warming go together, when you lose track of all the wars.

Hagel made those comments in a strategic planning roadmap released a couple weeks ago, but he revisited his Top Priority the other day:

Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday, Hagel said it is “critically important that we pay attention” to global warming.

“From my perspective, within the portfolio that I have responsibility for — security of this country — climate change presents security issues for us,” he said.

Hagel referred to melting ice in the Arctic as an example of climate change that is already impacting Pentagon operations.

“As the oceans increase it will affect our bases, islands, it will affect security across the world,” Hagel said. “So we have to be prepared for that.”

Hagel said opponents argue that there are more pressing matters the government should be paying attention to, but it’s “part of my job” to not “lose sight of the strategic longer-term challenges that face our country either, and this [climate change] is one that we’ve got to be smart in how we handle it.”

Hagel’s point man on global warming, True Believer John Conger, Acting Deputy Undersecratary for Installations and Environment, attending a conference of Luddite litigators, said:

Climate Change shapes the operating environment and the missions that DoD must undertake.

That quote was pulled and put in Hagel’s report, where it’s clear that the “climate change” they’re talking about is the discredited Michael “Piltdown” Mann hockey-stick model of global warming. (The buzz phrase has turned to “climate change” because Mann’s figures and his graph have now been disproven by decades of observations of no warming). It’s not science any more, but politics has made it DOD’s top priority.

Dude, we have two overt combat theaters running hot right now, despite our attempts to bug out, and what about places like the Phillipines and Colombia, where our operations seldom spill over in the press, but help friendly nations keep the lid on terrorists? Not to mention what’s happening in other parts, as stronger leaders elsewhere exploit the American power vacuum?

A fellow could be excused for thinking nobody’s watching the ball.

ITEM: ISIL is on Jihad against us. Let’s go jihad on… smoking

But global warming is only one of the Army’s and DOD’s “top priorities.”  Another Top Priority (their words, not ours) is eliminating smoking. Various propaganda means haven’t worked, so Hagel is going to take it to the next level: a “ban on selling tobacco products — cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco — on military bases and ships.” The reason? Chuck Hagel doesn’t like smoking. (Neither do we, but….) And Hagel thinks he has the power to ban it with a penstroke, but he’s waiting for after the election to do it.

I don’t know if there’s anybody in America who still thinks that tobacco’s good for you. I think we owe it to our people. The costs — health care costs — are astounding, well over a billion dollars, just in the Department of Defense, on tobacco-related illness and health care.

We’ve got a mother dying by inches of emphysema, same disease that took a favorite uncle, so we’re free of illusions about smoke. (Free of smoke, too. Very few SF guys in our era smoked… you just couldn’t and perform the athletics expected of you, unless you were a real specimen). But it’s a question of freedom, something a soldier has very little of to begin with.

Here’s Politico (Democrat) and National Review (Republican) on the brainstorm. It says something about Hagel, DOD and the Administration, that a bunch of Acela Corridor opinionators are all over this subject, but no one has asked the PFCs and L/Cpls, who are the ones doing most of this smoking.

So how much higher is the GI smoking rate than the general public’s? It turns out, a whopping 10%. That has driven four anti-military Senators, who are always looking for some way to punish the Joes, including Jack Reed (D-RI), an assclown who compares his minimum obligated service in the draft area to that of today’s combat-bound volunteers, and Dick “Turban” Durbin (D-IL), who famously compared our soldiers to Nazi storm troopers — to start to force a ban. The ban is unlikely to pass, so Hagel has taken it up on his own.

After all, it’s not like Chuck Hagel or Dick Durbin is going to break out of character and suddenly have the back of the guys they’ve sent downrange. The least they could do is give the guy the same courtesy ISIL gives a beheading victim — a last smoke.

There are troops (primarily aviators) in contact in Iraq, but that’s not the focus. There are troops in contact with ebola in Africa, but they’re forgotten. Where’s the focus? On an antismoking jihad and Global Warming windmills.

In case you were wondering why no one’s watching ISIL, or Ukraine, or the borders, or the bugouts in Iraq and Afghanistan, these are what the intel weenies call indicators.

OK, so DOD is Dysfunctional. What about the other guys?

Is everybody that unfocused? Not really. Here’s a little bit on Russian UW skills these days, from a draft US Army doctrinal document on Counter-Unconventional Warfare (footnotes deleted). It came in on the same day that Hagel was throwing a party in DC for his global warming strategy.

Among state actors and on the very frontiers of NATO, Russia’s actions in Ukraine embrace UW fully. Russia currently employs special operations forces, intelligence agents, political provocateurs, and media representatives, as well as transnational criminal elements in eastern and southern Ukraine. Funded by the Kremlin and operating with differing degrees of deniability or even acknowledgement, the Russian government uses “little green men” for classic UW objectives. These objectives include causing chaos and disrupting civil order, while seeking to provoke excessive responses by the state’s security organs—thus delegitimizing the Kiev government. Additionally, Russian elements have organized pro-Russian separatists, filling out their ranks with advisors and fighters. Russia’s UW has also included funding, arming, tactical coordination, and fire support for separatist operations. While enabling a frequency of tactical success against Ukrainian forces putting the latter at a distinct strategic disadvantage, insurgency aided by Russian UW has gained local supporters, while intimidating dissenters into acquiescing to a separation from the government in Kiev.

Russian UW is thus the central, most game-changing component of a Hybrid Warfare effort involving conventional forces, economic intimidation of regional countries, influence operations, force-posturing all along NATO borders, and diplomatic intervention. Sponsorship of separatist insurgency in Ukraine accords well with current Russian military doctrine and strategy, which embrace “asymmetrical actions… [including] special-operations forces and internal opposition to create a permanently operating front through the entire territory of the enemy state.”

While the “Islamic State” crisis demonstrates just how cascadingly disruptive non-state UW can be, the brazen audacity of UW within Russian Hybrid Warfare has produced urgent concern among America’s NATO and non-NATO partners that Russia may apply similar approaches to other regional countries in the region with dissenting Russophile populations, such as the Baltic States, Moldova, and Georgia (Refer to Appendix B for more details on Russian doctrine).

No word on whether the guys who wrote this are RIFfed yet, or whether they’re just on the bubble, for taking their eyes off the Global Warming ball.

We could not identify who in the Russian MOD has the global warming portfolio. Apparently the threat is not as global as their Yankee counterparts make it out to be.

Meanwhile, in the Climate Change report, Chuck Hagel says:

Politics or ideology must not get in the way of sound planning.

Too late, Chuck. In your shop, it already has.


Along with the linked news stories, here’s the Global Warming Roadmap document from Hagel:

And here’s the USASOC Counter-UW Strategy White Paper in which Russian CW is described. We’ve confirmed that it’s unclassified.

(U) Counter-Unconventional Warfare (C-UW) White Paper.pdf

(Fun fact: the political bushwah of the Hagel document takes up a swollen, while the fact-filled USASOC document is 317kb).

6 thoughts on “Why we’re not winning in Iraq and Afghanistan

  1. Jim Scrummy

    During my days as an evil corporate lobbyist, the one of many rumors I heard on “the Hill”, was that Chuckie H., wasn’t the brightest incandescent bulb in the four pack of lights? This just reaffirms that premise.

    Of course this sentence from the article caught my eye: “Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday, Hagel said it is “critically important that we pay attention” to global warming.” Since when does Washington (DC) have any good “Ideas”? I’ve been here for almost 19 years, and need my sanity checked because of the stupidity I deal with on a daily basis. I guess I’m the insane one expecting different results?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Can’t believe I missed that. Yeah, the “Washington Ideas Forum” sounds like the “Jeffrey Dahmer Vegan Cookbook” or “Branson, MO Marxists Convention.”

  2. Think Defence (@thinkdefence)

    If you take the dubious science and politics out of it (I know there wont be much left) I think climate change is worthy of not for any defence organisation because of its potential impact on stability and security in places that cannot adapt quick enough or effectively enough.

    Have you guys ever read the Future Character of Conflict work by the UK Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre at Shrivenham

    Really is very good stuff that looks at the drivers of change in the next 30-40 years


    It is apolitical but looks at change from a defence perspective

    1. Hognose Post author

      Funny, was just thinking of WWII SOF operations in collaboration with offensives. Germans did some good ones (Eben-Emael) and some that fell short (Operations Greif and Stösser in Dec. 1944). Allies had Pegasus Bridge in Normandy and the battle of Aachen, where the OSS did some stuff that inspired Greif.

  3. Wes

    Thanks for the white-paper; good read. I’ve no doubt there are still QP’s and others who can facilitate this stuff. As always, the problem is will at the higher level and, in a prescription from the 60’s to “guarantee (cough, spit) success” let’s make sure we run everything we might contemplate through the Dept of State so that Ambassaholes in adjoining countries behind their white-walled palaces will get to lay down the RoE – AFTER they run it by their HN counterpart. At least the lights are mostly on at Army SOCOM.

    As to the Washington Good-Faerie-Ideas Forum, CSPAN carries that regularly and it is often good for some hearty “Are you f’n kidding me?” moments. Just being invited there seems to bestow upon one the mantle of “I’m now qualified to think for other Americans.” And believe you me, they eat it up & will really strut.

    Lamenting the subject of the off-topic comment from Oberndorfer. Spent a portion of my time in a former life when they first came out figuring that if an A-10 would bring the morning coffee and Spectre would tuck us in at night we’d be livin’ large. If you’ve already done a piece on what the F-35 brings to the table vis a vis the A-10 that is NOT related to some GO’s chest-thumping of AIR superiority but, rather, it’s benefit to boots on ground that would be interesting. Gonna miss the ‘Hog. Damn.

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