Tag Archives: US military

US Miitary Hesitates In Fighting Militants

After the initial American success in Afghanistan, the Tabliban was allowed to group and once again become a powerful force. During the past few years, this has resulted in continual American and coalition military strikes which frequently have resulted in deaths of innocent Afghan civilians. An ongoing problem is lack of sufficient ground forces which has necessitated reliance on air power. Last week in an operation against Taliban militants, American forces held off from firing at points during the battle to avoid killing Afghan civilians. Several days ago, uS forces killed 37 Afghan civilians and wounded 35 at a wedding party which has increased pressure on the part of the American military to be cautious when civilians are in the area.

The Taliban obviously is now using the presence of civilians in order to assist in their operations. They undoubtedly will use the cover of civilians in order to carry out operations. The apparent solution lies in having more ground forces in Afghanistan.

Iraq And US Continue Debate Over Treaty

Iraq government officials are still engaged in discussions with the United States over final details about the proposed treaty which would govern the continued presence of American forces and their role in military operations. American officials are close to an agreement but they disagree with Iraq requests to have legal control over American soldiers and contractors. Iraqi lawmakers insist these changes are necessary in order to win parliamentary approval of any security pact. They want to control actions by soldiers and contractors when they are off duty and have the right to place them on trial if they violate the law.

Unless an agreement is reached before the end of the year, US military operations would have to cease. Iraq demands that its territory could not be used as a staging area in order to attack another nation– most likely their concern is over any American attack on Iran. The dilemma for Iraq is the need for American troops for at least another year, but they also want to be in charge of their own nation.

Yanks, Go Home, Say Iraqis

The Iraq government has made clear it wants American troops out of its country no later than 2011. Failure on the part of Iraq to reach an agreement with the United States might result in suspension of military activities on the part of US military forces. Prime Minister Maliki apparently wants removal of any mention of a possible extension of US troops “fearing that the existing clause might be misinterpreted or could bear different interpretation.” The Iraqis also want jurisdiction over the behavior of American troops which will not be accepted by the American government. Iraqis want the right to determine which military operations can take place.

There is no indication the Bush administration will back down from its stand on maintaining jurisdiction over US troops, except when a solider is on a personal visit to an Iraqi area. The real question is what would happen if the United States decides to suspend all military operations.

We Can, No You Can’t Invade Pakistan-Dueling Views!

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the United States has a right to act against terrorist targets in Pakistan if American troops are being threatened by their presence in that country. “I will say to you,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “we will do what is necessary to protect our troops, but it is very important to engage the Pakistan government.” The implication of his remarks has received varied interpretations ranging from America will seek the permission of Pakistan prior to military action to the apparent belief in the Pentagon that US military leaders in Afghanistan have the right of pursuit according to their reading of the UN Charter.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani responded in clear terms to the American interpretation: “I want to declare categorically that we will not tolerate violation of our sovereignty by anyone in the name of combating terrorism.”

US Officer Charges Pakistan Aided Taliban

A recent report by Lt. Col. Chris Nash who fought in Afghanistan that claims the Pakistani military gave considerable support to the Taliban has created a storm of controversy. Col. Nash was embedded in eastern Afghanistan from June, 2007 to March, 2008. He described a battle in late June, 2007 in which his men were fighting the Tablian in the Tora Bora mountains and at a critical point in the battle the Pakistan air force flew several missions to the Taliban base in order to resupply those fighters. “A holo(helicopter) flew in the valley, went to where we knew there was a base camp, land(and) fifteen minutes later too off.” Nash insists Afghan officers told him they knew the Pakistan military was providing assistance to Taliban forces.

Other officers have expressed surprise at Nash assertions that Pakistan has been aiding the Taliban. However, Nash points out the average Taliban soldier makes four times that earned by the average Afghani because of economic assistance from Pakistan. He points out “on numerous occasions, Afghan border police checkpoints and observation posts were attacked by Pakistan military forces. ” Colonel Nash witnessed a growing ability of Taliban troops to utilize rather sophisticated military operations which most probably were taught by trained Pakistan military forces.

There are two versions floating around concerning if Pakistan has been aiding the Taliban. One point is without dispute, the ISI of Pakistan created the Taliban. Come to your own conclusion.

Pakistan To US–Attack Us–We Will Respond Fire!

Pakistan’s military has been given orders to respond with fire if American forces launch another attack on the ground or in the air that occurs on their soil. The Pakistan government and military do not regard US attacks on militants in tribal areas as accomplishing anything other than increasing insurgent actions. They are also infuriated at the effort of the Bush administration to lay blame for destabilized conditions in Afghanistan on the heads of Pakistan’s military. Army spokesperson, General Athar Abbas said “the orders are clear.” There is no ambiguity anymore as far as Pakistan is concerned, “open fire” on the enemy even if the “enemy” is the United States of America. According to the Pakistan military the September 3 US raid resulted in the death of civilians, not militants although the US claims the attacks led to the death of militants.

President Zardari is currently in London seeking assistance from the British government to curtail US incursions into Pakistan. Perhaps, it is time for the United States to recognize the issue of violence in Afghanistan must be settled in Afghanistan.

Military Sexual Assaults Often Not Reported

Kaye Whitley, director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, believes far more rape and sexual assaults occur than are actually reported. She acknowledges this problem is not merely peculiar to the military since “our civilian counterparts struggle with this as well.” A recent study by the Government Accountability Office stated bluntly the military sexual assault prevention program lacked consistent effectiveness, many local coordinators were part timers, and some commanders are not that enthusiastic about the program. Whitley’s commander refused to allow her appearance before a congressional committee investigating the problem.

Whitley challenges some aspects of the GAO report arguing it is difficult measuring the effectiveness of sexual assault programs. However, she admits some commanders are not aggressive such as posting information concerning the program in barracks. She also expressed concern how local Sexual Assault Response Coordinators(SARC) are selected or supported. Funding comes from the base rather than from a central office in Washington.

“We’re talking about changing a climate” she argues and that will take time and effort and support.

Is It Time To Stop Asking About Gays?

Congress is exploring the possibility of changing military regulations which currently are based on the doctrine of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Instead, there is growing feeling it is about time gays and lesbians were accorded the same right to serve their country as other Americans. However, Elaine Donnelly, an opponent of gay rights who heads the Center for Military Readiness, argues allowing openly gay people to serve would create a “sexualized atmosphere,” which would result in “forced co-habitation” and would punish people like her who don’t want to hear or know about anything to do with people who just don’t follow God;s commandments. Rep. Christopher Shays, nodded toward former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, a gay, who testified in favor of new rules. “He lost his leg. He’ll never have his leg back. And he risked his life for everyone in this room. And we’re asking why we’re having this hearing? We know that gays have served in every conflict. they’ve served in every war…So, that’s why we’re having this hearing.”

There is something weird, and we are not referring to sexual orientation. There is something strange when everyone in the military knows there are gays who are in the front lines serving their country, and Congress is still debating the issue.

US-China Clash Over Missile Systems

One of the legacies of the Bush administration will be tensions it has created with Russia and now with China over creation of anti-missile defense systems. The United States is establishing an anti-missile defense system located in Poland and the Czech Republic which ostensibly is aimed at thwarting North Korean and Iranian missiles from attacking Europe. Of course, the United States is currently involved in discussions with North Korea which supposedly will result in an end to any nuclear missile threat. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates clashed with General Ma Xiaotian of the Chinese army over the issue of China’s “defensive” anti-missile system. Gates told reporters, “I don’t know what you use them for if it’s not for offensive capabilities.” He also dismissed China’s protests about American plans for an anti-missile defense system with Japan.

Gates expressed concern over China’s expanding military budget, which of course in no way compares to the American military budget. General Ma insisted “China’s defense expenditure is at a low level in contrast to some developed countries in the world.” There is no question China’s military budget is a fraction of that of the United States and is most probably proportional to its overall budget.

The Bush regime assumes the United States can build missile systems anywhere in the world and nations should accept the concept that America is merely in the business of defense, not offense. Of course, other nations which construct missile systems are in the business of offense, not defense. The arrogance of power is the only way to describe this attitude.

The Cost Of A Volunteer Armed Force-It’s High!

The Unied States of America is committed to the concept of an armed force which is based on volunteers filling its ranks. According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the all-volunteer military is “worth the cost.” But, Admiral Mullen, who chairs the Joint Chifs of Staff, indicated the continuous increase in personnel costs “does not bode well for a military of this size.” Gates urged Congress to approve a “modest” increase in Tricare health care fees for woking age military retirees. Gates argues these individauls are in good health and are working so they should be able to absorb an increase in health cost which would result in freeing other money for military expenditures.

Senator Daneil Inouye pointed out that pay for active and reserve service members rose 32% and 47% respectively betwen 2000 and 2006 due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It now costs about $126,000 pr service member each year to provide pay, benefits and health care. ‘Is the cost of maintaining an all-volunteer force becoming unsustainable?” he asked. In responding to the question, Gates pointed out a volunteer army requires more attention to taking care of families whether the soldier is deployed or not. “There is no question it is expensive,” he said.

Admiral Mullen pinpointed the issue by raising the question as to whether the United States could afford the current sized armed force or would it have to reduce the size of the military at some future date. He suggested “I don’t see us as a country being able to afford the kind of cost increase at the rate they’ve occurred over the last sveral years.”

An important aspect of the Bush foreign policy is its impact on the concept of an all-volunteer armed force. Can the United States continue fighting all over the world without at some point introducing the concept of a draft?