Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

Robert Fisk via our pal Montag:


Now this was an extraordinary plea to come from the US commander in Afghanistan. The top general had to tell his supposedly well-disciplined, elite, professional army not to "take vengeance" on the Afghans they are supposed to be helping/protecting/nurturing/training, etc. He had to tell his soldiers not to commit murder. I know that generals would say this kind of thing in Vietnam. But Afghanistan? Has it come to this? I rather fear it has. Because – however much I dislike generals – I've met quite a number of them and, by and large, they have a pretty good idea of what's going on in the ranks. And I suspect that Allen had already been warned by his junior officers that his soldiers had been enraged by the killings that followed the Koran burnings – and might decide to go on a revenge spree. Hence he tried desperately – in a statement that was as shocking as it was revealing – to pre-empt exactly the massacre which took place last Sunday.


"I know that generals would say this kind of thing in Vietnam. But Afghanistan?"

I know a couple old NCOs (*cough* Gord and F-man *cough*) who've been saying it was gonna come to this for years.

And let me just add: I don't care how professional, elite, or well-disciplined your army is, if you put them in theater for 10 years without a defined mission and endgame, among a population of which you cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys, there will be a breakdown in discipline. When you keep rotating troops in an out, for four, five, or six tours, when you have to medicate troops to keep them from completely losing their grip, there will be more and more of these incidents and tragedies. Afghanistan is just another Vietnam and until the generals and chickenshit civilians realize that, incidents like this will become more and more frequent.