by Jak Lundown
As the AFG War draws down and we assess the results we must honor those that sacrificed.
|Considering the events that have unfolded in Afghanistan this week it is important to separate the politics of the war from the war fighter's sacrifice. The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for over a decade and many have grown tired of its toll, but it must be remembered that those dying out there do not define the policy. The deaths of Service Members and Support Personnel are overwhelmingly lower ranking personnel that do not have a say in the missions they conduct or policy of the war. It is a rarity to see someone of a O5 or higher rank die in the war efforts and most deaths are Enlisted Service Members. At these rank levels the degree of decision making is tactical and on specifics of completing assigned missions. They do not get to choose their missions or bypass ones that they do not agree with, they do what they are told to do. The Rules of Engagement are decreed to them and Escalation of Force is not for deliberation. Overall very little decision making is allowed to Service Members that Command a Battalion or a operate in a lesser role.
The limited decision making roles of the majority of personnel conducting our war does not mean that it cannot be criticized or honestly assessed, it must be done with the big picture in mind. Congress, Senate, the President, and the general public influences the war and all parties must accept responsibility for the repercussions of their decisions. Qualifications and restrictions were imposed on the military (justifiably) for political reasons that impact the feasibility of military operations and the safety of soldiers. The military cannot be left to their own devices and need guidance from the political arm of the United States, but their are ramifications to these restrictions and they must be critiqued along with all other aspects. Not only political, but the Industrial War Complex played a role in determining policy as they promoted their interests that many times contradicted the true needs of the military. This to needs to be accounted for. War has many moving parts and interested parties. This is not a bad thing, it just needs to be acknowledged and incorporated into the review and assessment process.
As we drawdown and analyze the decade plus war in Afghanistan it is important to realize the true dynamics that guided or Service Members in the actual execution. We must clearly illustrate who was responsible for what and how well each party did in executing their piece of the pie as it was tasked to them. If we dutifully assess each organization's role and how well they did within this role it will minimize disgracing those Service Members that sacrificed so much based on specific missions and orders given to them. They may not have liked those orders, but many died or were injured conducting them. Let us not pervert those loyal and courageous Service Members with hindsight critiques and incomplete assessments.