Thanks all, it was my honor to serve my country when she needed me.
Really, it requires a mental shift in the understanding of how we wage war. The current wars are not conventional warfare, they are extremely unconventional, and the key to winning them is based in a sound counter-insurgency mindset. If you want to understand what we are doing better, read "The three pillars of counter-insurgency" stuff, that was developed by Dr. Kilcullen.
It's not WW2 where we have beaches to storm and a clear, uniformed enemy anymore. It makes more sense to provide medical services to local children, and get the locals on our side, because they know who the enemy is, than get frustrated, and destroy the whole village, since we can not find the enemy.
And yes, counter-insurgency is about as frustrating as it sounds, especially to grunts.
Thanks for your service, buckeye. Thanks very much for your insight...
I'm one who would sooner see all our men at home, but the blood and treasure we have left there makes that an inadequate answer in and of itself... I guess, in the end, I hope we can give the people a fighting chance to choose the gov't they want, and if it's not our kind of democracy, so be it... All a man wants is the freedom to choose, and to be left alone with his choices. If he needs help changing things, a friend will give that help.
"Nation building" is rarely ever on that personal a level though.
I know this is an old thread, but the events surrounding the documentary are still current, and perhaps moving into the forefront again - not that such events should have ever been overshadowed, but that is the nature of our media.
I just watched the documentary on Comcast On Demand, and I encourage others that have not seen it to watch it as well. This is not a documentary that is focused on battle footage; instead, the focus is on several individuals from the bottom to the top of the chain of command in Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, and how they and their fellow Marines fought to take control of Marjah to implement the "clear, hold, build, transfer" strategy. Note that while combat footage is an integral part of the film, it was not the centerpiece (at least not for me in terms of what made impressions).
The perspectives of the several Marines was especially interesting. For example, there is one scene in which Capt. Sparks reconciles the death of a Marine who was acting in accordance with his orders. Capt. Sparks appears to view himself partly responsible for the death but does not have the luxury of time to dwell on the circumstances; he seemed not ready to fully accept what had happened, but he nevertheless had to move forward. Another Marine that was followed was a Cpl. Hillis; his observations were no BS and seemed to evidence a frustration with the sheer magnitude of the task that he recognized was far beyond his charge. There is also one poignant scene in which another young Marine is looking at a picture of his five month old baby; he had been with his child two months before he went to Afghanistan, and would not return home for another four months or so. But rather than complain, he took some solace in the short time he had with his son, which I found impressive.
Additionally, the juxtaposition of public comments from the administration and senior military officials with the footage and commentary from the men taking part in the operation was illuminating. The abstract goals bandied about as talking points on television seemed suddenly out of touch when compared to the fighting on the ground.
Finally, the Marines outshine the Afghan security forces fighting by their sides, and I sensed great trouble should the Marines ever leave. The Afghan forces were timid, almost passive. The Marines, on the other hand, took charge and were aggressive. This disparity is especially evident when clearing buildings. Watch and you will see.
(Buckeye .45, reading through the thread I see that you took part in that operation, is that correct? Hats off to you and your fellow Marines!)
Buck....I'm currently watching the Youtube video, and, you guys and grunts hav emy sincere gratitude for all you did over there. My Brother was in Beruit and found it to be similar in the Mission. Ya can't trust any of them but you've got to push on. You want to let your guard down and relax, but the Mission and who you're dealing with won't let you do it. My hat's off to you, and your Comrads in Arms.....From my Brother, USMC (Entered in 1978 -84 as I recall) Cpl Butler, JJ .....2nd Battalion ......Co C...... 2nd ANGLICO..... 2Nd FSSG CLNC ...Semfre Fi !!
Another good read on what Buckeye is talking about is "Level Zero Heroes" It is about Afghanistan operations of a MarSof team working with Army 82d Airborne and deals with many of the issues.
Most excellent read too.
To Buckeye, and all the many others that put their life on the line for those of us that enjoy that freedom.
Originally Posted by swiftyjuan
I really just had the good fortune of being part of an amazing team. I am now off active duty, and taking advantage of the post 9/11 GI Bill.
Originally Posted by PEF
There are plenty of folks still out there on active duty, who deserve the accolades much more than I do.
I salute you Buckeye.....
I was out prior to Marjah. Semper Fi and God Bless our troops wherever they serve and whatever American uniform they wear!