The WMDs in Iraq

Op-For stalwart George W. wrote in suggesting this for a post, a major story that’s been overshadowed by the Ebola fiasco– “Report: U.S. kept secret its chemical weapons finds in Iraq.” What say we? Does anyone have first knowledge or experience?

The Burden of War

Falleth not upon the Soldier, or Marine, or Sailor, or Airman.  But on the people who sent him to that beach without water.  Here‘s an interesting article by Sebastian Junger who has spent much of his journalistic career embedded among Soldiers to tell their story. The Soldier. . .is a tool.  When you hammer a nail as you build a bed frame, what take responsibility for it?  The hammer?  I would say no.  It must be the person hammering the nail.  To that effect, the Soldier is a tool, he should not bear the majority of the pain or blame […]

Big Red One HQ Headed to Iraq

Not sure I understand this one, but then again I could be missing something. If there are no ground formations to be commanded and controlled, why a division HQ? Or is is just a convenient sourcing solution for an ad-hoc commend element? If the latter, is an infantry division HQ the right choice?

The Long War

When I was studying in France back in 2009 one of the many unique opportunities I had was to attend the Collogue Guerre Irreguliere/Irregular Warfare Conference at Camp Coetquidan.  And one of the things a British General said was that NATO knew Afghanistan would be a 20 year war.  That it would take an entire generation to fight and rebuild that country. The reason I bring this up, one of our categories here on OPFOR is The Long War.  I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that my generation’s war never ended.  That this irregular enemy, the non-state actor, would continue to […]

“Fuelling ISIS”

Maddeningly impervious to airstrikes, at least this bit of it is. This is a pretty interesting article and I strongly recommend it. Here’s a telling passage, one that the article doesn’t expound upon but one that goes to the heart of of combating an insurgency, that is the answer to the question, “Who do you pay taxes to?” Western investigators have sought to trace bank account numbers in the Gulf and locate jihadi donors as far afield as Indonesia. In addition to nefarious ransom and extortion rings, Isis taps areas under its control for money, charging retail stores about $2 […]

“I Don’t Think We Should Reassure Our Enemy”

General Mattis and Ambassador Crocker weigh in on the emerging strategy to manage confront ISIS ISIL IS. There’s more to it than just that, so I enjoin you to read the whole thing. I had not yet heard Gen Mattis on the subject; as usual he’s very much worth listening to. As ETP0802 pointed out in a different forum, he has some experience in these matters.

The Day Our World Stopped Turning

As the junior member of the group I haven’t really reflected on this today.  11 September 2001, I was in the seventh grade.  12 years old, mom almost kept us home, but the college decided they were going to push and she dropped us off at school.  I honestly don’t know if she got much work done that day. As much as my teachers may have wanted it to remain normal, they exacerbated the issue by not playing the news for us that day.  We’d all watched the beginning with the towers smoking, I didn’t see either collapse until that […]

“Destroy the Islamic State NOW”

Says retired Marine General John Allen: Make no mistake, the abomination of IS is a clear and present danger to the U.S. The only question really is whether the U.S. and its allies and partners will act decisively now while they can still shape events to destroy IS, an act that seems increasingly self-obvious. Oh, I concur, Marine. But your “only question” brings up other questions: Is the President of the United States temperamentally suited for, and capable of, forming a course of decisive action and leading us to its successful execution and  conclusion? Do our allies and potential coalition partners […]

“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Theory and Practice of Jihad”

Well worth a look: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not a formally trained military commander. However, he is not illiterate or a common thug such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who led al Qaeda in Iraq until his death in 2006. Al-Baghdadi holds a doctorate in theology from a theological seminary and appears to be a keen student of American tactics as they were passed on to the Iraqi Army, as well as the military practices of his Syrian Baathist opponents. Whether he is a military prodigy or merely a very talented student and practitioner of military art is irrelevant. To date, […]

“To the Shores of Kurd-i-stan…”

Interesting: ABOARD MILITARY AIRCRAFT, OVER THE BERING SEA — The military has sent 130 advisers to northern Iraq to plan for the evacuation of refugees under siege by Islamic militants, according to a senior Defense Department official. The Marines and special operations forces have been sent to the city of Irbil in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to assess the humanitarian crisis in the Sinjar mountains and ways to end it, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the mission. Too little, too late? What say you?