False Sense of Something: Some observations and thoughts on the unfolding warsPosted: October 1, 2012
“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”
– Sun Tzu, the Art of War
Despite the past eleven years in Afghanistan, U.S. ground troops are less prepared than ever for “small wars.” We have become so dependent on gadgets and contractors that we would not know what to do without them. Contractors provide much of the security at major bases in Afghanistan, and even on many smaller bases.
We like to use contractors because they are cheaper and politically expedient. When they are killed by car bombs at the gates, they are not added to the only body count that Americans care about. Leaders do not have to deal with photographs of grieving families.
When TCN (Third Country National) contractors are maimed, we can send them home to Africa or Nepal, and wash our hands while avoiding burdensome veterans’ issues. Contractors have no political or moral clout. They are our mercenaries. Using mercenaries makes business and political sense.
Many of our security contractors are Afghans. Does this make military sense?
A source mentioned that guard towers (known as “sangers”) were frequently empty at BLS. BLS refers to the Bastion, Leatherneck, Shorbak complex.
I witnessed a similar incident last year in Zhari. Zhari was, and remains, one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan.
One night in Zhari, the contracted Afghan guards left their post, which was just ten seconds away from the tents where 4-4 Cav Soldiers lived, and a few tents down from my own. The sanger appeared to be empty. I looked inside. They were gone. For obvious security reasons, I did not publish this…
- US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000 (miamiherald.com)