NOTE: This Entry will be released through this over three days. It is lengthy but I implore all of you to take the time to read it and pass it on to all you know and most especially to your Congressmen/women.
This is the genesis of the argument against COIN/ROE. It is the sole act, I believe, that “gave permission” for the military ideologues to dust off a 70 year old controversial doctrine and roll it into Afghanistan. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Introduction and Definitions of Betrayal and Doctrine
What follows is a summary of a problem that finds it’s genesis in the office of then Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordan England. Elements of this story were reported on by Mil-Blogs and a couple of smaller news agencies in 2008 but the most egregious details of the story were either missed or glossed over as not news-worthy. Even the federal agencies that investigated this story missed the crucial elements of it in lieu of a lesser issue; that of Hesham Islam’s questionable ties to organizations considered ‘unfriendly’ to the United States. By itself, any relationship to these various organizations would be inconsequential without an associated intent to harm. Lacking a “smoking gun”, federal authorities and the court determined his associations unwise and applied pressure for him to resign from his post….
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The past nearly three years have caused even the staunchest supporters of our war effort in Afghanistan to question the viability of our current strategy and the competency of both our entire federal political establishment and upper echelon military leadership. It has been hard to watch the nearly total support of the American public for this war erode after ten years of promises followed by ten years of casualties caused by a cluster of murderers, cutthroats, brigands and pious adherents to Islam with an 11th century mentality.
As the 2 1/2 year long Counter Insurgency Effort in Afghanistan continues to plod along, nearly daily reminders of the complexity of Afghan society are thrust before our eyes by one example of treachery, after another. And yet, the very General Grade Officers that have been given nearly total reign over the direction and strategic governance of this war seem oblivious to the realities that declare we have somehow missed the mark. It raises serious and yet basic questions:
1. How is it that the best trained, best equipped, most motivated and dedicated Warriors in the world can’t seem to stop what can be legitimately described as a gaggle of cavemen with rifles, RPG’s and various raw materiel ?
2. What was it that gave the Pentagon and the Officers who had been charged with the conduct of this war any reason to think that controversial COIN doctrine was not only a viable option but the very strategy that would successfully fulfill the Commander’s Intent; ‘Find and destroy Al Qaida and hold all those who give them aid and comfort accountable’?
3. How can an entire Administration and it’s upper Military General Grade Officers still be puzzled to the point of asking “Why is this Still Happening?” every time a “trusted Afghan Partner” turns his weapon on his American trainers?
In the next few pages we will see how the actions of one man derailed a process that should have properly identified the enemy, the likely actions of the enemy and the local population and the best course of action for dealing with him in the midst of a hostile population and culture. We will also see that Federal Law Enforcement Agencies had this man, in their hands and still missed his effective subterfuge that diverted this country’s Military might toward a perverse game of wack-a-mole. He was not only successful in subverting the process of studying and learning about the enemy, he was also successful in diverting attention from this treacherous act to a lesser concern.
We will see that while having missed that unique opportunity they also missed the single most damaging aspect of his successful mission and most importantly, failed to undo the damage he caused. This failure condemned literally tens thousands of sovereign American Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coastguardsmen as well as their NATO partners, to suffer the cruelties of physical and emotional trauma, the loss of limb(s), severe mutilation and death as well as unnecessary repeated operations into the very same areas once thought cleared of the “enemy”.
These are the “Fruit” and “Legacy” of a single pious man and his “Useful Idiot”. Their combined act of sedition has caused a delusion about the religion among much of the General Grade Officer Corps and caused others to ‘dig in’, in an attempt to preserve personal careers and legacies and all at the cost of the life and limb of the average Warrior and to the detriment of our National security.
Quite an accomplishment for a quiet, pious, adherent of what we have been told over and over again is a religion of peace; made even more astounding by the fact that federal prosecutors had him in their sights and amazingly, let him go.
If there has been a single point we have been making, over, and over, again, it is to the irrelevance of individual ‘gut feelings’ about the religion or even the adherents when it comes to our military posture in the midst of an overwhelming Muslim population. What needs to be determined is what the religion’s texts and Scholars say about the religion. Every thought, every order and every strategy must reflect a historic and textually accurate understanding of that same religion and it’s culture. To do less, is to make the immoral decision to place someone else in harm’s way with incorrect information and incorrect perceptions of the enemy and the population.
As free thinking Americans living in a land that values freedom of thought, we must never lose sight that someone has to pay a price for that freedom. Demanding that others pay the price for what we ‘think’ may be true is immoral. If those who truly believe Islam is a religion of peace are prepared to test that theory with their own lives – or that of their children, then at least they are consistent. The problem is the vast majority of this population and their elected officials are prepared to send someone else to test their lofty theories but unwilling to jeopardize their own lives for the same.
A good leadership principle is; “Never ask a Man to do something you would not, or could not, do yourself“. Our elected representation would do well to consider that little piece of wisdom and to reflect on the reasons we are paying a high price to subdue an “enemy” in the midst of “a friendly population” who are far too often turning their weapons on our Warriors and failing to offer up sound intelligence on the whereabouts of recently set IED’s and other dangers.
None of the three questions posed earlier would need to be asked if our posture in Afghanistan was focused on security for our forces, first, and trusting an unknown civilian population, second. If the enemy we sought justice from was indeed nestled in the protective cover of the population of Afghanistan, it was then the burden of the Afghan people to prove themselves worthy of the trust of our Warriors – not the other way around.
The continued treacherous actions of those in ANA and ANP uniforms as well as the unreported presence of literally 10’s of thousands of IED’s deadly to our Forces, is proof that we have approached this population with the wrong posture – because of an incomplete study of the enemy and the population.
This paper hopes to show how we arrived at such a wrong understanding of the people of Afghanistan.
Before we look at the specifics of the betrayal that has caused us unnecessary casualties and frustrated the best efforts under the constraints of COIN, we will need to lay some ground work. What follows is a glossary of terms with definitions from the dictionary, U. S. Constitution, Koran, Hadith and the Reliance of the Traveler.
These definitions need to be considered as you read the context of this story. Failing to understand that the definitions of the Islamic doctrines listed below are considered Sacred and the very purpose and desire of Allah, will cause you to misunderstand the motivation of the Islamic worshiper to use and keep these doctrines.
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Treason: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. (United States Constitution, Article 3, Section 3)
Subversion: Action designed to undermine the military, economic, psychological, or political strength or morale of a regime. (Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.)
Abrogation: An Islamic doctrine that says any newer verse that seems to contradict an older one, takes precedent over the intent and message of the older verse:
2:106 “Whatever of Our revelations We repeal or cause to be forgotten, We will replace them with something superior or comparable. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things? Do you not know that Allah reigns sovereign over the heavens and earth and besides Him you have no protector or helper? Would you question your messenger as Moses was questioned in his time? Those who exchange their faith for disbelief have gone astray from the right path.”
16:101 “When We exchange one verse for another, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say, ‘You are making this up.’ Most of them do not understand.”
Jihad: The Islamic doctrine of ‘struggle’ which has been offered up by adherents to describe the inner struggle of man with himself and his sin. The fact is, more current verses say something radically different: (there are over 100 verses related to Jihad)
The Abrogated Verses on Jihad:
32:48 “Say ‘O men, I am sent to you only to give a clear warning”‘
32:67 “If they contend with you, say, ‘God knows best what you are doing”‘
23:98 “Repel evil with that which is best”
33.56 “Leave them (the unbelievers) in their confused ignorance for a time”
20:130 “Be patient at what they say”
20:135 “All are waiting, so you too wait if you will”
73:10 “Have patience with what they say and leave them with dignity”
19:87 “Make no haste against them”
19:40 “Warn them of the Day of Distress”
2:103 “Forgive and overlook”
The Abrogating Verses on Jihad:
2:212 “Fighting is prescribed for you”
9:29 “Fight those who do not believe”
9:124 “Fight the unbelievers whom you find round about you”
2:189 “Fight them (the unbelievers) until Allah’s faith prevails”
4:089 “They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back [to their homes], then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.”
8:12 “God revealed his will to the Angels, saying; ‘I will be with you. Give courage to the Believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!’ “
9:5 “Slay the pagans wherever you find them”
2:187 “Slay them wherever you catch them”
Taqiyya: This is a doctrine of deceit which is commended by Allah in dealing with ‘the enemy/infidel’. When you understand who the ‘enemy’ is, you then understand how insidious and pervasive this doctrine is. It renders the Islamic adherent completely untrustworthy when we, the Infidel, are dealing with them.
3:28 “If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them . [know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers-except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.”
3:54 “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.”
49:857 (From the Hadith) “That she heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.”
pg 746 – 8.2 Reliance of the Traveler “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory… it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression…”
Enemy: Understanding who Muslims are taught to be enemies is important to understanding how the Islamic community is likely to respond to the kinds of incursions we are currently embroiled in:
9:29 “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by God and His Apostle[Mohammed], nor acknowledge the religion of truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book[Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
2:191-193 “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]…and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”
47:4 “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.
Infidel: The classic definition of Infidel does not change from the secular to the religious, or among differing religions:
in fi del 1. Offensive An unbeliever with respect to a particular religion,
especially Christianity or Islam.
2. One who has no religious beliefs.
3. One who doubts or rejects a particular doctrine, system, or
principle. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English