"Heroes of Hell Highway" made me furious

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
Last night (12/29) Discovery channel had a 3-hr show about US bomb disposal squads in Afghanistan. It was called 'The Heroes of Hell's Highway" and indeed these US troops are special types of heroes, sticking with the tough, unglamorous jobs of mine sapping. Plenty of tough Brit and other troops doing the same.

These guys are doing great work but all the cards are stacked against them, which was what made me so angry. I'm glad they're there, in principle. I'm glad we've got loyal and patriotic troops, well trained, smart, and living in sandholes and dirt to get the job done. Even with their high-tech equipment it's hard because their hands are tied behind them. That's what angered me.

They are in convoy, slowly moving along a track, and these young Afghanis swoop down on them riding motorbikes. The soldiers don't know whether they are homicide bombers, are planting stick bombs to the outside of the vehicles, or are just bandits. One kid jumped onto a bomb truck and stole a whole backpack of supplies, rode away happy.

Unless attacked, US troops are NOT allowed to take any action. If this were 1992 in Iraq, those bikes wouldn't get within 100 ft before being shredded by twin .30s, at the very least. But the Afghan crooks and insurgents have learned how restrictive our new rules of engagement are, and thumb their noses at the rules.

Later, two insurgents clearly plant dual roadside IUD bombs, escape on a motorbike across open country, and are easily tracked by two Kiowa copters. Not long ago they wouldn't have gotten 300 yards before being obliterated. But noooo. This time they are tracked to a shack and "detained" by US foot troops. I can tell precisely what will happen, too. Five seconds after being taken to the fort, their UN-sponsored lawyer will have them released free and clear so they can build and set more bombs.

The current Afghan conflict is halfway insane at its best, but with the new rules of engagement, it's meaningless. If, and I say IF our troops were allowed free reign much of that Taliban could be cleaned up in 6 months. And if not, you move out all the allies and send in 3-4 squadrons of B-2s dropping Daisy Cutters as a goodbye present.

The TV show itself didn't anger me, and the professional behavior of our US troops made me proud. But for what? Digging in Afghan dirt when none of what we do will ever be appreciated. I say, move out now and to hell with 'em.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Replies

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,038 Senior Member
    One does have to wonder at the point of it all.

    You can go about actively saving the world with a WWII style approach, or you can fall back and take the route of containment, but it's important to definitively sort out which of the two you are doing.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,049 Senior Member
    First of all, that whole place has been a waste of time and US lives. Nothing will ever change that backward poophole of a country. Just look at history. The Brits, the Russians, all futile waste of time money and lives!!
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,412 Senior Member
    Nothing new about fighting with one hand tied behind out backs- - - - -we did the same thing in Korea, and every dustup since then. No wonder we have to declare victory and run home with our tails between our legs like a whipped dog!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,508 Senior Member
    There are no new rules of engagement. That guy on the motorcycle/dirt bike could have been shot, and the the shooting would have been justified. What you saw was tactical patience and maturity in arms. Was shooting the guy over the supplies worth the follow on 2nd and 3rd order effects of lethal force? And, this is being filmed right? Our troops are already under a micro scope, why cause any further scrutiny.

    The guys digging the IED in could have been swacked too. But, we have to let rule of law prevail in the country. We are leaving. We have pushed our COIN timeline forward to the point where this has to happen. We have to take every chance we can to prove the legitimacy of the government and its ability to serve and defend the people.

    It is easy to see a show and only know half the story. COIN is the PHD of warfare and it is a chess game in which chances have to be taken. No one did this better than David P. no one has screwed it up more than the American media and government...Bush administration included.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    center, I understand your point but from the books I've read about Gulf War 1, our troops had a much freer field of operations than now.

    I don't know exactly what to do -- but to let those IUD guys place 2 bombs and ride away, not being taken out, was I think wrong.

    Again, I'm no expert. But seeing our great soldiers working under such restrictions frustrates me. The sooner we're out of that dustbowl, the better. If the people there gave a damn, that might make a diff, but very few of them care. Fine with me.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,520 Senior Member
    Watched the show last nite also, the wife kept elling me to shut up, cause I kept yelling " shoot the s.o.b. "

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • Fat BillyFat Billy Senior Member Posts: 1,813 Senior Member
    War is to win with no rules except the Geneva Convention rules. Our troops once committed should not be hampered as we were in all conflicts since Korea and Viet Nam. We send our guys to die because someone approaches in a gerka with no weapon except the semtext strapped to his body. If you let 'em walk up they will, if you ventilate them they'll stop killing our troops that way. To ventilate is to educate in most cases. :angry: Later,
    Fat Billy

    Recoil is how you know primer ignition is complete.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    jaywapti wrote: »
    Watched the show last nite also, the wife kept elling me to shut up, cause I kept yelling " shoot the s.o.b. "

    JAY

    My feelings perzactly. And genuine apologies to centermass if I've gotten this wrong, but I'm just a civilian who's read quite a few books on the Gulf/Afghan war and so all my knowledge is 2nd hand. However, ALL the books tell of a shift in engagement rules. In the initial land war, some bulldozer tanks just covered over the enemy in the trenches, burying them alive. Attacks were made on targets that had not yet fired. And so on. In the most recent book I read, about the killing of binLaden, the Seal tells that originally they would invade enemy houses in the dark, without warning, taking out all adult males (this is after the house was verified as Taliban). Later, no invasions were allowed, the house had to be surrounded and then loudspeakers used to gain surrender, tactics similar to civilian police Swat.

    In other words, the rules of engagement have changed -- and not just with Obama.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • skwirrelskwirrel Member Posts: 175 Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    . I say, move out now and to hell with 'em.

    Leave behind a shipping container with "property of USA, do not open" painted on the side. You decide whats in it.
    Live long and prosper.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Here is the problem, We (The U.S.) are trying to defend Our Nation from a clear and present danger, and We are using a rule book that the enemy is not inclined to follow.

    Think of the old skirmish line type of warfare, you are fighting with single shot muskets and your enemy is using automatic weapons and guerrilla tactics of hide shoot and hide with modern weapons and landmines etc..

    The gloves need to come off, warfare is a dirty and messy business, much like sausage making it is not for the faint of heart.

    The politicians are making rules of engagement and policy, and they are not up to the task, they just do not have the stomach for it, and the price We pay is the blood of Our finest fighting forces.

    The business of warfare should be left to those best equipped and trained to make those decisions.

    The pre- de-clawed version of the U.S.M.C. had the best version of that book IMHO.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,508 Senior Member
    No Sam, you are not wrong...I didn't mean to come off like that. Fat Billy, you are wrong. Plain and simple, and it is that thinking that holds the military back. Here is the deal...

    Afghanistan, like Korea, like Vietnam, like Iraq, and countless others or a fight of Counter Insurgency. The only way to win this fight is to Install and prove the legitimacy of the Government we (USA and allies) want. The American Public has never fully understood this. Mostly because it has never been explained. The American mindset knows war as we have fought it prior to 1950. In that time, yes, war was zero sum. But War and the rules have changed. In the wars since WWII, it has not been about winning land. IT has been about winning people. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THIS!! In Counter Insurgency (COIN), the gravity of the fight is the people. You have to prove to the people that your way is the best way for them, their kids, their family, and the Nation. IF you can't do that and the other side can....well then you have lost. That is how the Taliban gained the foot hold in Afghanistan to start with....They gained legitimacy as Muhajadin against the Russians and then swept in....There are different phases of COIN depending on how you fight it...You can burn the village to save the village...In other words, you wipe the face of the earth of every living thing in that location and you start fresh. Or you can Clear, Hold Build. In this, you clear away the bad guys, you hold the ground, and you build the mechanisms needed to continue. This will start an ink blot effect and thru time, you will have what you need. This is preferred because it shows compassion and a willingness to understand the people. But in the end you have to understand that Nations do not have friends...only interests.
    To win a COIN fight it takes 8-10 years. Look at Bosnia, look at Honduras, look at the british fights in Malaysia. When you start, you have to be in for a penny, in for a pound. you have to start with the right tools from the start. You have to be make the hard Choices from he start. you have to be able to separate the Sheep from the wolves. you have to be prepared to see the whole thing through...IF NOT, THEN IT BECOMES A WASTE OF LIFE. We screwed up in Iraq, badly...we rushed the time line, we didn't have the correct commanders in the correct places, we didn't have a plan at the start, and we didn't make sure the Iraqi leaders we needed were in place. WE should have pushed Sustaini more into the spot light and kept Sadr out...We are doing the same with Afghanistan. That dude in charge in Afghanistan is not to be trusted and is a thug. I could go on for about for about 4 pages for on why Afghanistan will be a loss....and it started with Bush.

    This is all why that COIN is the PHD level of warfare. Any commander can go in with zero sum as the goal....but you have to weigh every choice in COIN. You have to see the future of what every choice you make will cause. You have to willing to expose your pawns to danger...but you have to equip your pawns with the tools needed to face the danger (biometric tools, culture training, clearly defined ROE...). This is what Warfare will be like for a while. This is will be the war in Africa if we do not make AFRICOM a full COCOM.

    OH and Sam....it is IED not IUD....they are not contraceptives...will I guess they are in some way...lol
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    We finally have the equipment and technology and the best Armed forces in the World, however, The politicians lack the stones to make the correct decisions as far as how to best utilize those resources to the best effect to minimize causalities on Our side and maximized effect when servicing the enemy.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,508 Senior Member
    Some of that is true Doc...but with some of the Technology we have gone to Manning equipment to fight, rather than equipping men to fight.....There is a huge difference.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    True, sigh, I tend to forget that.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    center, thanks for such an excellent explanation of COIN, never had it 'splained so well by anyone prior. I know you're making sense here, it was just sooo frustrating to see how our superb troops were hampered by the ROE. I'm trying to justify and make them fit as you so excellently described. Jeez, hearts and minds takes time, doesn't it?

    And yeah, I knew it was IED, just a typo. ha ha, I'm not trying to foist birth control on those folks.

    Thanks again for taking the time to describe the situation so clearly. My frustration's still there, but a bit mollified now.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,651 Senior Member
    The problem with 'winning hearts and minds' is that it takes twenty years, and the American people get sick of it after five.

    You can win over young people, and they can grow up and become great leaders. But, the adults who have never known anything but corruption rarely make the 'conversion.' They have to be bought off and threatened, and as soon as you leave, they revert.
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,508 Senior Member
    Sam, that is just a start....we have commanders that have been in the COIN/Insurgency fight their whole careers and all still learning to wrap their heads around it. The primary mission of SF is this type of fight. You drop off an ODA (SF team) in the jungle of South America butt naked with nothing but a tooth brush, and the next day... They show up on your door step with leopard skin fatigues, a well trained indigenous army, and million dollar smiles..

    SF trains, mentors, and enables indigenous armies to achieve victory in the interest of local stability and US foreign policy. Sometimes it is through sewing an insurgency that will up root and overthrow a current government that we don't want...or it is a counterinsurgency fight to re-establish and re-legitimize the current government in the eyes of the locals and the world so that it survives and serves the interest of American foreign policy.

    In some areas there are governments we want, we just have to provide the teaching and support to them ( AFRICOM, something Bush got right, Obama screwed up). In some areas, we have to find the government and then support it...we missed that opportunity in Libya big time....and with Syria! With Syria in our pocket along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait....we could get anything done in south west Asia needed. It would allow us access back into Iraq and it would freeze Iran out of Iraq and Lebanon....you heard it here first, If things don't change, in the next ten years Iran will suck up Iraq. Iran already owns half of the civil departments in the Iraqi government.

    But again, it all goes back to the idea that nations have interest, not friends.

    The one things that doesn't change in these fights.....the people are the center of gravity. In which ever way you want to go, you have to capture the people.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.