RANGER AGAINST WAR: September 2011 <

Friday, September 30, 2011

No Friendly Skies for You!

See how they run like pigs from a gun,
see how they fly

I'm crying

--I am the Walrus
, The Beatles

I never expected, Perry, to see you

reduced down from a full-grown
to such a frivolous fraction of a man

--The Lonesome Road
, O. Henry

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

You were only waiting

for this moment to arise

, The Beatles

Ranger has always predicted that one of the more insidious results of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks would be the possibility of the U.S. government shooting down suspect civilian aircraft justified by the miasma of fear which has become our current psychological climate.

The best thing a terrorist group could achieve would be to force the U.S. to do its dirty work by reactively shooting down one of its own commercial airliners. Such a visible show of disregard would surely cause the traveling public to give pause.

Frontier Flight 623 carrying 116 passengers and crew was recently shadowed by two fighter jets until it made its landing in Detroit -- why were these jets on-station? They are useless in civilian skies for any task other than shooting Flight 623 out of the sky.
The scenario seems to confirm the hypothesis that U.S. policymakers will shoot down distressed U.S. airliners (Military Jets Safely Escort NYC, Detroit Flights).

The whole hopey-changy thing has not worked out well. People are losing faith in the economy underpinning this fiasco, and they're neither buying nor investing. The economy remains grounded on the tarmac. How much worse if people remained static out of fear for their bodily safety -- a self-imposed rigor mortis in a flat-lined economic state?

Think about it: Dying on a flight to Detroit -- now that's some terrorism.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Man Days

Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away

, Percy Bysshe Shelley

I don't need no arms around me

And I don't need no drugs to calm me

I have seen the writing on the wall

Don't think I need anything at all

--The Wall
, Pink Floyd

The military's concept of Man Days is an estimate of how many days it would take to complete a specific project. An example: A Corps Support Annex to an Operations Order could take 20 man days to complete. Let us extend the idea to MAN YEARS.

An example of the application of this larger concept would be the Pyramids. How many man years were used to execute that monumental task? It is estimated that it took 100,000 men decades to complete the task. Let us apply this concept to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let us use 1o years as the length of the Afghan War, another great desert project undertaken with a correspondingly large number of man years. If the average yearly strength was 100,000 soldiers and 35,000 contractors, the total is 135,000 x 10 = 1.35 Million man years expended only in military effort in Afghanistan. Add in NATO, the United Nations, and political man years into the mix and the figure is even more impressive.

Let us add in Iraq, with approximately the same Man Year outlay for, say, eight years. To arrive at the correct military burden at any given time, we must add in the personnel stationed in the Philippines, the Horn of Africa, the Trans Sahara, and all of the world's other hot spots.

Up against our current outlay of Man Years, the pyramids seem like an easy project, as it was finite. And they actually built something which has lasted for a few millennia

Ultimately, it is all sand in the wind.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The King is Dead; Long Live the King

Black velvet and that little boy smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style

A new religion that'll bring you to your knees

Black velvet if you please

--Black Velvet
, Alannah Myles

The only correct actions are those
that demand no explanation and no apology
--Red Auerbach

You do not wake up one morning a bad person.

It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders
of self-respect to self-interest
--Robert Brault


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Elvis has left the building

Osama bin Laden is still dead, but not forgotten.

Take the Haqqani net, one-time U.S. ally against the Soviet Union, now BFF (kinda) with Afghanistan and the Taliban against the new invaders, the U.S. Still crazy after all these years and still conducting significant operations signifying their position as top warlords.

President Obama et. al are loathe to call the Haqqani's terrorists, preferring the kinder and gentler islamist, militarist and anti-goverment fighter. The Haqqanis are also hit men, war profiteers (cheek by jowl along with the U.S. contractors), pirates and a protection racket. Considering the robust entrenchment of the Haqqanis, one must arrive at the following:

  • -- The PWOT is NOT Counterinsurgency
  • -- The PWOT IS a civil war
  • -- There is never a shortage of volunteers for combat duty in Afghanistan

The Haqqani network has been trained in Madrassas in Afghanistan and (primarily) Pakistan for at least 35 years. This means that old grads are now the fathers and possibly grandfathers of the youngest inductees. These members don't even need a G.I. Bill to motivate them, for their ardor arises from the project of ejecting the colonialists and establishing strict Muslim law.

Accepting the three points above, what benefit then killing OBL? Did killing Jesus put a stop to the new religion of Christianity? Killing bad men may be what good men believe to be good, but that moral issue should not be the barometer of the success of U.S. military actions.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good for the Goose

Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion
of masculinity

all the more trenchant for its being lost

--On Boxing
, Joyce Carol Oates

You have to consider the possibility

that God does not like you,

never wanted you, and in all probability,

he HATES you

--Fight Club

Eyes they have but do not see

ears they have but do not hear

--Psalms, 115:6


Ranger Moral Conundrum of the Day:

If a radical Islamist believes that God will grant him a heavenly eternity for conducting a martyr attack in an airplane, is it safe to assume that this same God will award eternity to a Christian pilot for a martyr-type ramming of her plane upon a hijacked craft, as in the recently-reported case of Pilot Penny?

If so, this is an eternal, self-licking ice cream cone.

Today's question concerns hypocrisy in our approach to another sort of fighter, he who does battle in the sporting arena.

Why do we agonize over the
potential damage wrought in football by helmet-to-helmet hits, late hits and bone-crunching blocks and tackles, while we thrill over watching men bash each other to a pulp in the boxing ring? Our concern for our sportsmen's safety does not seem to be an absolute.

It seems a behavior is either brutal or not, in an absolute way. If we quail over traumatic brain injuries in our gridiron warriors, why not over those in our pugilists?

The same inconsistent cavalier attitude can be seen among some who dismiss concerns over current war casualties as being "part of the game" -- something the servicemen signed up for. Whether one chooses to become an infantryman or is drafted into the position, the concern for his well-being should be absolute.
And yet, it is not. We are very good at shedding responsibility by saying the peril that another faces is his choice, and so of little matter to us; his feet weren't nailed to the floor.

We justify damage in the same way with our use of torture:
"He was a bad man, and so was asking for it." While true that the laws of the planet suggest that to commit violence is to earn someone's wrath, bad behavior is still not justification for retributive bad behavior in the form of torture at the hands of ostensibly spotless parties.

When is it correct to be responsible, and when may we abdicate responsibility? If the subjects are not part of our team or our tribe? If they get paid good money to risk being damaged?
If they are fool enough to remain in the rink?

Just a little thought for your consideration.

--Jim & Lisa

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Monday, September 26, 2011


You have only those rights
you're willing to enforce

--Jean Luc Piccard

Afghanistan is not only the mirror of the Afghans:

it is the mirror of the world.

"If you do not like the image in the mirror,

do not break the mirror, break your face,"

says an old Persian proverb

, Ahmed Rashid

“You always said about them,

‘best friend, worst enemy’

--U.S. intel agent

[Today's entry is Pt. II to, "Shoot the Enemy"]

Christopher Hitchens stated the obvious today, "Pakistan is the Enemy", and so comes the second read Ranger will suggest in understanding the backfield story to Afghanistan, --Ahmed Rashid's "Taliban -- Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia" (YUP, 2000).

Rashid, a Pakistani journalist, gives a scholarly deconstruction of the Taliban in three parts:
The history of the Taliban; Islam and the Taliban and The New Great Game. The issue is complex and this is not a book for summary; it should be digested slowly in order for the parts to fall into place.

Studying the Taliban is like exploring the fault lines of a tectonic plate dividing the fringes of the differing civilizations of the Central Asian area, with a shift in one area felt hundreds of miles away. Likewise, the shifts caused by the U.S. interventions are affecting the solidity of life within the U.S. borders. The earth is shifting beneath our feet as our foreign policies add pressure to our own deep fault lines.

The violent kingmakers of the Haqqani tribe -- the "Sopranos of Afghanistan" -- are closely allied with Pakistan's ISI
and the Taliban ("Brutal Haqqani Crime Clan Bedevils U.S. in Afghanistan"). Taliban leader Mohammed Mullah Omar stated recently he has no interest in a monopolization of power. These groups reject the imposition of a western concept of centralized government. Q.E.D.

The present war is just as much about us as it is about them.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


She looked so much like a lady
But she was so much like a child

A devil when she held me close

An angel when she smiled

--Baby Blue
, George Strait

History, U.S. or otherwise, has proved one thing to us.

Man does not do anything that is not for his own good,

--Fast Times at Ridgemont High
, Cameron Crowe

I am making this statement as an act

of willful defiance of military authority,

because I believe that the War

is being deliberately prolonged by those

who have the power to end it.

--Siegfried Sassoon

This is a war story that should've

been true

--The Great Waldo Pepper

The press ever so quietly released a shocking report this week on the actions of the pilot charged with taking down passenger Flight 93 on that fateful day a decade ago: The pilot -- Heather "Lucky" Penny -- was prepared to kamikaze her F-16 into the planeload of passengers.

This is the 21st Century, and we are to believe that the F-16 guarding the airspace around Washington D.C. could not even perform as well as Baron von Richthofen in WW I
(F-16 Pilot Was Ready to Give Her Life on 9-11)? HELLO?

And yet what should be a horrifying reality has been
morphed into a feel-good, schmaltzy tale of Jessica Lynch II, yet another blonde-blue-eyed Bambi with pluck (co-passengers Lori Piestewa and Shoshana Johnson didn't quite fit the runway look) :

Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft.

Because the surprise attacks were unfolding, in that innocent age, faster than they could arm war planes, Penney and her commanding officer went up to fly their jets straight into a Boeing 757.

“We wouldn’t be shooting it down. We’d be ramming the aircraft,” Penney recalls of her charge that day. “I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.”

Jessica and Heather -- the Dynamic Duo, 2002-style. Better than James Bond and Miss Moneypenny, these are some fighting mothers. (Forget that true gender equality has yet to occur in marketplace earnings; we are talking Hollywood potential, here.)

Are we really to believe that a newly-minted Lieutenant pilot and her field grade (04) partner are the first -- the only -- line of defense of our nation's Capitol on 9-11-01? The U.S. has five carrier groups and an entire Air Force, and the best we have for National Defense is a pair of deuces from the Air National Guard?

Do we really believe that an armed response could not have been activated from Cherry Point, N.C., or Norfolk ... or from the hub of air bases to include Navy assets in the D.C. area? Can we further suspend disbelief to imagine that these two erstwhile kamikazes would then shift to flying cover for the Commander in Chief?
This is like believing in witches.

Why does this fairy tale inspire anything but disgust at our apparent lack of a protective posture?
Why have a Department of Defense if it is not defending us? Why is it heroic for two of our pilots to be suicide bombers, yet lambaste the Islamists for using the same techniques?

Why do we glory over U.S. invasions of Panama, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan when we can't even control our own backyard? The WaPo labels this grotesque "fact" the first "counterpuch" in the Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©), when it was anything but.

The Bush administration had already been alerted in an August intelligence summary to the possibility that al-Qaeda would use U.S. carriers as flying bombs. Is it even conceivable that the only protection above Washington D.C. was an unarmed F-16?

Too horrifying to contemplate are the implications:
That the U.S. would shoot down innocent passengers; that a lady pilot would so bravely sacrifice life and limb to keep Old Glory Flying. That our only response to an airline hijacking is to ram a plane into a passenger plane. Yet we are complacent in the face of such a story.

It is both too much, and too little.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The Bielski family and partisans

The people can be oppressed

by violent measures,

but they cannot be governed by them

--Leo Tolstoy,
letter to Czar Nicholas II

Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it

--George Santayana

Shall I tell you what the real evil is?
To cringe to the things that are called evils,
to surrender to them our freedom,
in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering
--Lucius Annaeus Seneca


Defiance is a book (1993) and a movie (2008) based upon the lives of the Bielski partisans of World War II.
The group was named after the organizers, a family of Polish Jews who rescued Jews from extermination and fought against the Nazi German occupiers and their collaborators in Poland. They saved approximately 1,200 Jewish lives.

The Bielski's story is but one of many amazing wartime stories of average people who endure while pitted against overwhelming odds, many of which are probably lost to history. Of the Bielski group,
70% were women, children, and the elderly; about 150 were shooters. The movie delivers a highly romanticized version of a dire existence, replete with the sensitive Nazi.

Ranger found the Bielski's behavior links with classic unconventional and guerrilla warfare, though their primary function was to ensure the survival of its Jewish members. His personal SF training was the result of the U.S. adopting UW/GW experience which evolved from the OSS in WW II, reflective of partisan and resistance warfare of WW II. This type of warfare was fought in all theatres in that war, and were aimed if not at destroying, then hamstringing the armies of occupation of the Axis forces.

Partisan units existed to harass, destroy and generally force the occupiers to dilute the combat power of their maneuver units by diverting them to fight the partisans. The titular use of the term is not exactly correct since the partisans existed to fight, where the Bielski unit existed primarily to save Jews; they fought only when forced to engage enemy forces.

The regular armies of the Allies provided trainers and support for Partisans which enabled the UW/GW forces to exist behind enemy lines. The Bielski unit received limited aid from the organized Soviet partisan units. Though minor, it is doubtful the Bielskis could have endured without it.

Another key point relevant to today's UW/GW scenarios is that the unit would not have survived without the active and passive support -- regardless of how meagre -- of the local population.

WW II is now 66 years old. Can such units still exist in future wars? Will Special Forces maintain their classic OSS/UW/GW orientation in future conflicts? Has Special Forces performed as UW/GW assets in the Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©) , or has their performance been a weak approximation of the OSS template?

The OSS types were originally organized to infiltrate enemy-occupied territory to link up with and train UW forces, then task-organizing them for actual combat operations. All UW/GW operations of significance in WW II complemented the Allied Armies' tactical plans.

Partisans were used to target specific objectives and were discouraged and disallowed from random and unfocused attacks upon the Axis forces. Although the UW/GW units were not strictly military organizations, they were compelled to operate in a military manner.

After WW II, the USSF was organized to operate with partisans and dissident groups in areas occupied by the Warsaw Pact forces. In the Republic of Vietnam, the Special Forces supported the government of Vietnam, while in Europe they opposed the governments of the Iron Curtain countries. This shows the SF -- like the sword in our unit patch -- is a double-edged weapon which will cut in both directions.

The question is, will SF retain its original function as an UW/GW force multiplier if the U.S. were to engage in a conventional ground war? Can organizations like the Bielski Partisans survive today's battlefield scenarios? Are partisan units a concept that is still within the realm of military logic?

A good story should provoke such thoughts on the relevance of its topic to the present day.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Oregon or Bust

Standing out here in the desert
Trying to protect an oil line

I'd really like to do my job but

This ain't the country that I had in mind

, Robert Cray

That's what the Guard is all about ...

We're there for the communities.

Helping inside our borders is really

where the rubber hits the road.

For some of these soldiers, it is the whole reason

they may have signed up for the National Guard

--David Harrell

It's time we looked after our own backyard ...

We cannot do this as long as we continue

to make Iraq the 51st state

--Max Cleland


Veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars suffer a 27% unemployment rate, but the Oregon National Guard 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team has a 50% unemployment rate, almost 5 times the national levels; the unit has been back for almost one year.

When we slap on our magnetic ribbons declaring our love of the troopies, do we ever consider their plight? Further, do we even think of those vets who won't even be included in these dismal figures because they are never going to be physically and/or mentally able to work again?
(But that's another ball of wax.)

The nation wants to fight wars on the cheap, so Reserve Forces soldiers are called to Active Duty on a regular basis these days, just as though they were a permanent part-time employee of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Reservists suffer the consequences of their multiple deployments in a different way than regular Army soldiers upon return stateside. From an ABC report earlier this year:

"In the future, if they deem that this service is too detrimental to the long-term productivity of this individual," [Gen. Alexander] Burgin said, "whether they have to legally take them back is one thing, it's how do they take them back and what's their future in that organization?

Although federal law requires civilian employers to keep jobs open for reservists, there's no law that requires them to keep paying salaries, or insurance premiums, for that matter (Guardsmen are "Weekend Warriors" No More.)

If you were an employer, would you hire and train a Reserve Forces soldier, only to have to release them for voluntary or involuntary tours of extended duty? If you were hiring Police or Fire Department personnel, or any job requiring an extensive training and apprenticeship period, would you hire the Reservist or someone that you know will always be present for duty?

Federal law currently requires employers to reemploy returning Reservists, but to my knowledge there is no state law requiring their re-hiring in the public sector, or at the same level at which they left.

Army Times
reports the new goal of the Army is one year of deployment every six years. The goal -- not yet policy -- means that the Army will expect Reserve Force soldiers to spend at least three years on Active Duty in order to complete 20 years of Reserve service.

This proposed 1:6 year ratio does not include annual training requirements nor the one weekend per month required unit attendance. Bear in mind that Reservists, like
Active Duty soldiers, have military educational requirements that are often fulfilled by extended Active Duty stints. Some employers require Reservists to take annual leave to perform their annual active duty unit training -- usually a 17-day field exercise. While a violation of Federal law, it is a commonly known fact.

Active duty soldiers have 30 days annual leave, while most unit level Reservists go years without ever having an actual vacation (unless they go on Active Duty.)

The Department of Defense has used the Reserve Forces for the last decade; this pattern will not change. In a recent ABC news report, a female soldier said that after a year of being unemployed she was going on full time regular Army duty, but what happens when the wars end and the military institutes an inevitable reduction in force (RIF)?

What happens when the Army is their choice of last resort? What does this say about our society?

Those well-intentioned temporary bumper stickers won't make a dent in this endemic institutional problem.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happily Ever After

No Sunday homily today, but a cartoon . . .

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shoot with One Hand ...

Where do they teach you to talk like this?
Sell crazy someplace else.

We’re all stocked up here

--As Good as it Gets

Your name and your deeds were forgotten

before your bones were dry.

And the lie that flew you

is buried under a deeper lie ...

--George Orwell


Two recent Ranger reads seem baseline reading for understanding the Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©), and both were written prior to the PWOT: The Hidden War -- A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan (Artyom Borovik, Grove Press), and Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Ahmed Rashid, Yale U.P.).

Both books
cover a period prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and both provide stunning entree to the labyrinthine complexities of life in Afghanistan and Central Asia, in general. After reading such works one wonders if anyone in the Department of State or the NSG -- going back to the Carter administration -- bothered to read any authoritative literature prior to planning U.S. entanglements.

After reading these books it is clear the Communist's objectives dovetail with those of the U.S., namely, fighting fundamentalism, introducing a stable secular environment to achieve modernization and the welfare of citizens, including women. The U.S. efforts have not neutralized Sharia law or the Pashtunwali social code of the Pashtun majority.

The question of an oil - natural gas pipeline allows for serious questioning of the U.S. effort. The Soviet goals seem more legitimate, grounded as they were in regional realities. At best, the Russo-Afghan war was a mirror-image of the U.S. effort.

Borovik's book is the more literary of the two, filled with poignant observation and eloquent quotations. Below are some excerpts to whet your appetite,
from the deja vu department:

"When the soldiers first went to war, evil was a dushman. Then it became "the insurgents". A little later on, "the rebels." Finally, it was known "the armed resistance."

"The decision to send troops into Afghanistan was being made by several top government leaders behind closed doors, said E. A. Shevardnadze, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, in an interview in

" ... more though should have been given before the troops were sent in, It was necessary to know Afghanistan, to understand the Afghan people. If sending in the troops was a mistake, it was caused by a failure to understand Afghanistan -- by a poor knowledge of the country and the Afghan character."

"Many of the Kremlin leaders perceived life through the thick prism of ideological dogmas, which often played a decisive role in the process of political decision-making on the highest level."

"Alexander Haig, the former U.S. secretary of state, offered yet another explanation. the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, he told me in April of 1988, to undermine the strengthening of the Islamic fundamentalist belt at its southern borders."

"It is absolutely clear that without the help of the United States, Pakistan, China and Egypt, the Afghan armed resistance would have had nothing to fight with."

"Some hideous meaning was buried there, inaccessible to a sober mind. That's when I realized that what happened in Afghanistan outside the psychiatric wards was the true insanity. The psych ward, in fact, was only a way out of the insanity called war."

"But how could one rationalize such hatred when from a political standpoint the war was unofficially acknowledged as a tragic mistake and from amoral standpoint it was recognized as evil?"

"If we can't make it in a small-scale war, how can we possibly handle a big war?"

"I can't understand -- and I return to this question again and again -- how such a great country could trust the promises and assurances of a few men.
How could it allow itself to be led into war without weighing all the pros and cons beforehand? Aren't policy decisions based on real information rather than promises?"

"Tell me, why did we first call the enemy, 'bandits,' then 'basmatch' [
counterrevolutionary robbers in Central Asia during the civil war], then 'terrorists,' then 'extremists,' and now, 'the opposition'? It's impossible to fight with the opposition. Meanwhile, the enemy hasn't changed!"

"'He said that Russians soldiers are headed north to go home,' my translator explained. 'And later on they will go even farther north, leaving their Muslim republics behind.'"

"Most of the ordinary citizens, as long as they weren't hungry, didn't really care who controlled Kabul; their political sympathies and antipathies were determined by their stomachs."

"You shoot them with one hand, and put food in their mouths with the other."

"But as far as supplying only favorable information on Moscow, this undoubtedly happened. What's more, the diplomats weren't the only ones doing it. Unfortunately, this was the disease of the stagnation period: to inform the central offices only of what would be well-received, rather than what was actually taking place."

"The mood was quiet and gloomy. The joy that had accompanied the news that the nine-year war was about to end had been replaced by the heavy feeling of hopelessness."
NEXT: Rashid's, The Taliban

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Know Your Enemy

To stand in silence when they should

be protesting makes cowards out of men

--Abraham Lincoln

To dismiss it as a bunch of "cowards"

perpetuating "senseless acts of violence

is complacent nonsense

--Charles Krauthammer

They blow themselves up in order to get at us,

and we launch $3 million missiles

off of giant floating iron islands 2,000 miles away

. . . who are the real cowards?

--Bill Hicks

But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard

Has laid poor Jesse in his grave

--Jesse James


Were the recent bombings of the U.S. Embassy and NATO Headquarters in Kabul cowardly acts, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called them?

The structures were attacked by six members of the Haqqani network, associated with the Taliban and probably, al-Qaeda. How can a direct assault by five simple riflemen on such strategic targets protected by host nation and NATO assets be construed as cowardly?

Cowardly might describe the actions of the Afghan National Army (ANA), which 12 hours later still had not cleared or secured the building. The ANA used helo gunships to run hot on the target in the middle of Kabul.

So much for ROE or civilian safety, Afghanistan President Karzai's favorite buzzwords. Cowardly is the ANA not assaulting the building. Additionally, firing Predator missiles from drones is not exactly heroic action.

While Ranger does not exalt their cause, five men pulling off a raid like this might be called rightly heroic. Taking a non-partisan position, what did Medal of Honor Winner Michael Patrick Murphy and his team achieve that this assault force did not? But Murphy was ours, and so was awarded the MOH.

Revisiting Murphy's 2005 failed counter-insurgent mission in Kunar Provence reminds us that the U.S. Army will never voluntarily occupy a defensive position that has no fall-back options or alternate positions which could be used as a fall-back. Murphy's position was dictated rather than chosen.

Even though the current six Afghan attackers transitioned to the defense, it is reasonable to say they held the initiative because they anticipated every phase of this fight, to include being killed.

This was not a cowardly attack.

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