Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Apparently, the Chinese Government realized space is more than shuttling aging celebrities and billionaires like some other published programs. It’s being reported that the Chinese have successfully tested an advanced type of missile that can go low orbit and achieve multiples of Mach speed. It is my understanding that this type of missile is key […]
Join Jim and Greg as they process the latest difficult news out of Afghanistan. First, they discuss the American citizens who are trying to get out and can’t get to the airport while the U.S. government pretends it’s not happening. They also fume over a Washington Post story that the Taliban offered to give the U.S. control of Kabul until the withdrawal deadline and Biden turned them down. And they shake their heads as White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan insists we’ll have all sorts of leverage to get citizens and allies out of Afghanistan, even after our military leaves.
Take every narrative about Afghanistan, including those that please you, with a shaker full of salt. Consider the claim that the Afghan National Army was a sham, really a source of American military career advancement and defense contractor enrichment. The ANA melting away, and the Taliban’s lightning victory, supports this narrative. Surely, after 20 years, the Afghan military should be able to defend its own country. Yet, a bit of reflection on what it takes to create an effective military complicates the narrative. This past week’s events were not inevitable.
Any effective army needs both teeth and tail. The aphorism goes “amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.” Combat troops and logistics troops both need effective leadership, with commanders supported by competent staffs, and timely, actionable intelligence. Considering each of these in turn provides a matrix by which to organize inquiry into what happened in Afghanistan.
Building effective army units, from the ground up, is no easy task. Take an American infantry rifle platoon. Assume three 10 man squads in a platoon. You need three to five years to develop and select 2 sergeants per squad, team leaders, as the very first line of leaders. These young sergeants are the base of the pyramid of the non-commissioned officer corps, which our senior officers uniformly profess to be the backbone of the American military.
For 20 years, US military personnel have given grace to the Afghan people and brought swift justice to their oppressors. For 20 years, Afghan women have been kept from sexual slavery because of American military presence. For 20 years Afghan, women have been able to go to school, protected by American servicemen; an opportunity heretofore not allowed by the male-dominated society. For 20 years, the American soldier has stood athwart tyranny.
But let us not forget why America was in Afghanistan in the first place. A generation has passed since the awful day when our nation was attacked by terrorists, terrorists whose place in the world was protected by the then despotic rulers of Afghanistan. The American soldier returned fire, raining down justice so that freedom might ring. And the freedom was passed on to the Afghan people. The American soldier was the face of the American people, interested in nothing more than peace.
America’s protective, peace-keeping service continues today (long after World War II) in Europe and at the DMZ in Korea. Why American presence could not continue in a conditional advice-and-consent role in Afghanistan was not a decision made by the American soldier. Our commitment to peace in the Middle East was kept by the American soldier. It is unfortunate but true that in a sin-marred world there are times when the forces of good must face off against the forces of evil, with force. The American soldier runs toward the battle; the people that need protection are grateful for their fence of grace.
It’s another day with no good martinis in sight. Join Jim and Greg as they react to reports of a diplomatic cable in July that said the Afghan government was likely to fall shortly after the U.S. withdrawal. They also hammer a key Democrat in Congress for saying the military should not be helping Americans get to the Kabul airport and and the White House Communications Director for suggesting our Afghan allies only have until August 31st to get out. And they rant about the government charging Americans up to $2,000 to be evacuated.
I had just closed my eyes and opened them when it registered that one of my two roommates had left the light on. I was just about to give them some serious what for and tell them to shut off the damn light. Then I noticed one of them was donning his PT clothes. I seemingly blinked and five hours were gone; it was time to get up. I was in the middle of the Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC) week three.
Monday through Friday 0500 was first call, followed by a 0530 formation for Physical Training. Every day, as we groggily went about getting our PT clothes on, our self-appointed morale team would slide their boombox (remember those?) into the hallway and hit play. Canned Heat “Going Up Country” would blare down the hall and within a few seconds we’d all be dancing (it wasn’t pretty) and singing along. Without fail in unison we’d all belt out the second stanza:
Hello, my name is Postmodern Hoplite, and I am a “Second Amendment Absolutist.”
I believe that the right to keep and bear arms recognized in the US Constitution is so broad and expansive that it extends to include tanks, artillery, combat aircraft, and even atomic weapons (at least in principle, if not in fact.)
I was thinking “we gotta be close.” My land navigation skills are sufficient and via pace count and time I knew we were in the area. We had been moving through the jungle for close to two hours. We were being relatively quiet – not bad for close to 25 guys. The Malaysians carried next to nothing and the Americans had their standard fare – roughly 65-90lbs of equipment. As I alluded to in my last chronicle, our standing joke is 3000lbs of light weight gear. I had on Night Observation Devices (NODs). They were second generation so wipe all that Zero Dark Thirty equipment out of your head. These were monocular and did not adjust to depth, meaning that if you wanted to look at your map you had to reach up and adjust them, then readjust them for moving. And when moving they worked for longer range looking vice what is happening at your feet. I saw some serious headers taken by guys wearing NODs. And you haven’t really lived until you’ve fallen with your ruck on, driving your head into the ground whilst wearing said NODs.
We had sent out the Landing Zone (LZ) link up team hours earlier. Just before dark Sgt. Johnny had come back confirming the link up point. Earlier in the afternoon we finished drying out, ate (including some delicious wild mangoes and papayas) and finalized our plan. As Early Evening Nautical Twilight – EENT came on (because saying “dusk” is so arduous) we rucked up and started moving. The Malay’s tactics were fast and light and they moved OUT. We slowed them down as our tactics are slow and deliberate. There is a debate to be had about this but this is not the time nor place.
Hi Ricochet. The title of the above is for a book I am roughly 50% through reading as of this post. It is the story of the fateful day October 4, 2017 a U.S. Army Special Forces team was attacked in Niger and four were left dead. The perspective is that of Michelle Black the […]
Lots of interesting things are being written and said about our quadrennial tradition of presidential inaugurations yesterday. Most are, at best, shallow and banal utterances from the usual chattering classes, including the usual lofty but largely forgettable and hollow inaugural address (most are, frankly – do you remember anything that was said in any of […]
Don’t fall back….!!! My mind screamed as we rounded the corner for the Group Compound. My team was running the 1st Special Forces Group pre-scuba course and it was day one of physical training (PT), our first run. It was a short two-miler done at a grueling pace. We had been in Australia (bummer) up until @ two weeks prior and were not in our best running condition. One of our fastest guys (Danny) did not go and was completely prepared and thus designated the PT lead. We were running like banshees setting the PT tone for the next two weeks. We were running in a classic military formation and soldiers were falling out all over the place. I was only keeping up out of pure pride and the cost was building nausea. We stopped once inside the compound Danny yelling at those who did not keep up “C’mon men! That was a simple 14 minute two mile, the bare minimum to get into the CDQC!!! You have to do better than that!!!” Watches were not allowed during the events including PT so no one knew how fast we had gone. I was behind the formation listening in disbelief (14 minutes?? Australia must have really taken a toll) as I was wrestling with not throwing up. Danny came around back and whispered “11:54.” “Oooh,” then I whispered back some colorful language to match his charm. That’s when I spotted Lt. M just coming in, his face ashen and clearly despondent.
It all started about a week ago. “You Chief Dajoho?” said the voice behind me as I sat at my desk in the middle of my team room. I turned to see a muscular 2nd Lieutenant looking, maybe even bearing down on me. I glanced over at my Team Sergeant and he too was looking at the L-T somewhere between amusement and disbelief. Lieutenants were a rarity in Special Forces and a Second Lieutenant was like a unicorn, a flying unicorn being ridden by a talking monkey.
Join Jim and Greg as they react to Andrew Yang considering a run for mayor of New York City. They also groan as former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe – a longtime Clinton ally – officially wants his old job back. And they discuss several Senate Democrats announcing they will not support a waiver need to confirm Joe Biden’s choice for Secretary of Defense.
“Man is it hot here, how close to the equator are we…?” I thought, my attention span fluttering as I sat in this grossly hot classroom, sweating through my clothes pushing into the fourth hour of discussing American/Malaysian cooperation. I was in a planning conference; we were preparing for a joint/combined military exercise later that year near Melaka, Malaysia (roughly ‘93).
This was all part of a larger strategy known as Theater Security Cooperation that applies various DoD programs and activities in coordination with the Department of State, encouraging ($$$) and enabling ($$$) countries and organizations to partner with the US to achieve strategic objectives. This particular effort was part of Pacific Command’s (PACOM) strategy to keep South East Asia stabilized. Now known as Indo-Pacific Command (INDO-PACOM) to show we are serious about not just the Pacific but across the Indian Ocean as well. I spent most of my military career out there and I thought that was understood. The name makes me cringe. The change in letterheads and signage alone must have cost millions.
Join Jim and Greg as they credit Republicans for keeping a treasure trove of opposition research on Raphael Warnock quiet until the Georgia Senate runoff. Now they are highlighting Warnock’s radical statements on many different issues. They also walk through a number of burdensome new COVID restrictions, including Pennsylvania’s requirement to wear masks in your own home if you have guests, and contrast that with politicians like California Gov. Gavin Newsom who don’t think the rules apply to them. And they get a kick out of watching Bernie Sanders supporters become deeply disappointed with Joe Biden as he names corporate figures to most positions in his inner circle.
If this doesn’t give you chills, nothing will– Preview Open