Monday, September 25, 2006

Apocalypse Now


More than 100 miles to the northwest, in Bamian, another Green Beret team was having its own leadership problems. For many in ODA 2015, Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth C. Waller, their team commander, was too hungry for a fight and had a habit of planning risky missions without their input.


His end runs, and his flamboyant prose, incensed Waller's superiors at headquarters. They were so annoyed by his tendency to act on his own that they marked his periodic sightings on a wall map, calling the exercise "Where's Waller?"

The team leader had trouble within his own ranks as well. The Bamian unit's senior noncommissioned officer, Master Sgt. Pasquale "Jim" Russo, sent a defiant note to battalion officials in December openly challenging Waller's proposal to raid an area that was thick with enemy fighters. "I can't think of many more principles of combat that we have not violated," Russo said of the plan.


Not long after Russo's complaint, a sizable contingent of the 2015 team let battalion leaders know they preferred not to serve under Waller, several members said. It was an almost unthinkable act of mutiny.


There is a lack of leadership, from the top down, and the responsibility lies with the Chimp and Rummy. Read the article and tell me how we're doing anything different than we did in Vietnam. Let me know why U.S. forces shouldn't be despised, shouldn't be looked at as homicidal killers out to satisfy a bloodlust.

War is one thing. It's ugly and disgusting and stuff happens in the teeth of it that makes one question their humanity. But when we have what amounts to rogue units operating without regard to the chain of command and the rules of engagement, something is extremely wrong.

And you wonder why we are nearly universally hated in the world.

An aside: As I pack for vacation, I make a conscious effort not to pack any clothes that would obviously identify us as Americans. Used to be, walking the streets of Europe, I'd be offered money for a t-shirt I was wearing with a big American flag on the front. Now that shirt won't leave the country. Sad.

Tip o' the Brain to Sarah for the link.

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