SWJ Blog Post | July 27, 2010 - 6:15am
Getting Lost in the Fog of War - Andrew Exum, New York Times opinion piece concerning the WikiLeaks release.
Sometimes we turn on a flashlight in the middle of the fog of war for to look at what we are doing or doing wrong. All we are really doing is letting the enemy see us right through the fog of war and let them know exactly how and what we are doing. My concern from these leaks are that there were U.S. officers allowing this sensitive information on U.S. and NATO tactics and techniques to slip so easily to the media. I'm not as concerned about the media or the American people getting the information as I am about the enemy using our open source media to have just information fall right in their hands. Whether or not they develop the intelligence on their own is one thing, but for U.S. forces to give it up so freely bothers me. Even if we think the sensitive information may be determined as not so important.
Today the media is imbedded with U.S. forces on many military operations so it is more important than ever that we safeguard our sensitive information. Too often today we see young platoon leaders and company commanders discussing with the media on how they conducted a mission and even the intelligence that drove the mission or even how they received the information. If we know nothing about our enemy, we should know that they are always watching us in everything we say and do. We must protect our sensitive information and exploit the enemies.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government
Can anyone explain why Mr. Exum has to say he "led a small special operations unit -- what Mr. Assange calls an "assassination squad."" vice explaining what he really did, i.e., served in a Ranger Battalion and led a Ranger Platoon. Mr. Assange is alluding to the Delta and SEAL commandos and although everyone knows the Rangers are operationally part of JSOC and support the National Mission Force, Rangers are not Delta and do not perform the same mission. If they did then we should do away with Delta and just give the entire national mission to the Ragnars. But it seems everyone wants to surround themselves with the mystique of Special Operations and are never satisfied with the job they signed up to do and always try to appear more than they really are vice being more than they appear. It takes away from otherwise good analysis and useful comments.
These are rhetorical questions, of course. The obsession is a sad reflection on the take over by pulp-media. Yet, I'm an eternal optimist, silver lining kind of dude.
There has been a failure by our political leaders on three fronts that you could say these reports, from front line soldiers, make it impossible to ignore.
1)Poor resourcing of troops; 2) failure by our political leaders to properly explain the situation in Afghanistan; 3) Ridiculous notion that a surge of troops, that is only just peaking, can acheive objectives by June 2011 when draw down is supposed to begin.
It is insulting not just for those of us who have served or worked in Afghanistan, but also to our fellow citizens, for London, Washington and Canberra, to keep making the same over blown nation building statements.
Folks need to be given a frank description of the complexities faced by Coalition Forces and that blindly pursuing freedom and democracy in Afghanistan with an end to corruption is a fantasy.
In no way shape or form do I support the release of classified material. But, finishing how I started, Im trying to find the silver lining that may force our political leaders listen to what SWJ contributors and many troops on the ground have been saying.
Then why the hullabaloo over these documents?
Is it because the American people are stupid, or addicted to quick, spastic shots of information overload? Is it because our political leaders are mindless and cant figure out as the experts are telling us (like Exum, Ricks, et al) that there is nothing sigfificant or earth shattering in them?
Is it because this cat Assange has the appearance of being some kind of combination of James Bond, Che Guevara, and Shawn Fanning and therefore the American people are naturally drawn to a techno cloak and dagger thriller with leftleaning tendencies even though there is nothing really there?
Really, why then the fus?
Perhaps Andrew Exum should look at it from an angle with that question in mind.
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