Small Wars Journal

A Certain Trumpet

A Certain Trumpet - Major General Ed Scholes, USA (Ret.), Veterans of Special Forces

... If anyone or any organization/agency conducts an objective critique of this nation's military strategy, advice, influence and actions/inactions over the past five decades, this recommendation by General Taylor reference the Joint Chiefs of Staff might assume significant relevance. Let there be no confusion; in this paper I am discussing actions and organizational structure at the highest levels and not the actions of those in the field. Our troops, unit leaders, and our military families have responded, and continue to respond, to our nation's requirements with such courage, stamina, and professional abilities that have exceeded all historical standards of selfless service to this nation. Their assigned mission(s) have been accomplished beyond any measure that could reasonably be expected during this past decade of fighting a somewhat different type of warfare with difficult limitations, and against forces without nation state affiliation. Readers are advised also that the points raised and the questions poised are not done so to attack personally those in position of authority at the time but to bring to the surface issues that could possibly provide better and safer operations for the future, for the benefit of those in the field.

The operational relationships between the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and our growing organization of combatant commands, deemed necessary to carry out the operational aspects of our national strategy, needs serious study. In the implementation of our national strategy this past decade, one must ask what was the advice of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the responsible combatant commander when it was decided to only use Special Forces and CIA teams with the warlords and tribal leaders in Afghanistan to defeat the Al Qaeda and Taliban, without the support of conventional forces to at least block the egress routes, to kill or capture the enemy irregular forces, and prevent their escape to Pakistan. The Special Forces, CIA and Afghanistan forces accomplished their missions extremely well, but one of the first principles taught irregular forces is, "when victory is not possible -- live to fight another day". They did and they are! ...

More at Veterans of Special Forces.


Bob (not verified)

Sun, 01/17/2010 - 2:47pm

Jihad and the Department of Dawah... er, Defense…

This wasnt supposed to happen there. According to a 'counterinsurgency plan (COIN), anti-US, anti-infidel violence just wasnt supposed to erupt in Garmsir, Afghanistan, of all places. But it did. And at least eight Afghans died in this Helmand Province district in rioting this week inspired by rumors that U.S. troops had roughed up a Koran. Somewhere between 'one thousand (UPI) and 'several thousand (The New York Times) Afghans converged on the central bazaar in response to these rumors. 'The Taliban were provoking the people, an Afghan police official told the Times. 'The Taliban were telling the people, 'This is jihad; you should sacrifice yourselves.

Jihad? Whats jihad? Among see-no-Islam Western policymakers, Islamic war doctrine is a cipher, a taboo, so policy is made in ignorance. But thousands of uneducated Afghans knew exactly what the Taliban meant. And whats more, they acted on it. It was 'like watching the movie Blackhawk Down, a Marine master sergeant told UPI, except 'I was in it. My gunner kept yelling he had definite targets, people shooting at us but he couldnt fire back because there were unarmed people around them.