Monday, December 21, 2015

Obama's COIN Strategy Costs Lives


       COIN for those who don't know the term is an acronym for Counter Insurgency. It is one of the dumbest strategies put into place yet by the Pentagon and the Obama Administration due to the fact that it tries to rally support through the people to support the government.
     Case in point. Our government has this idea that in a country like Afghanistan that 1/4th of the population are insurgents, 2/4th roughly are neutral of the current situations, and 1/4 or more are supportive of the current government. Add the COIN strategy and the desired result is 2/3rd governmental support by the population through a hearts and minds strategy, and still a 1/4th or less insurgent populous. There by the idea being that these 2/3rd supporters of the government will either reject on their own the insurgency (Taliban) and give us more intelligence through a loyal population to cripple or crush remaining Taliban forces.
     What the Obama administration has failed to realize is this strategy is flawed. Flawed in the first point of our ROE (Rules of Engagement), because the higher ups are so worked up winning hearts and minds, and the ROE is laid into a soldier daily during safety briefings before a mission roll out that a soldier is incredibly afraid to fire their weapon because the fear that the soldier will be reprimanded for doing so.
      ROE changed in my third tour to Iraq in 2009. You had to first show your weapon, then fire your weapon as a warning shot, if none of that worked then you could engage the target. If they fired at you then you could fire back but insurgents are more intelligent then we give them credit for. They would like to hide in a crowd then start shooting where there were noncombatants around, or have grenades hidden behind their backs or in their pockets ready to throw at us before we could get our weapons trained on them. Vehicles laced with explosives are the same you don't know till it's too late and the same with a suicide bomber you don't know. The enemy always adapts to changes. Especially if those changes are beneficial to them.
      Once new ROE and COIN was implemented in 2009 casualties skyrocketed. According to NBCNEWS of all people, from 2009 to 2015 10,284 people have been killed or injured that includes coalition soldiers as well as civilian populations due to the Taliban offensives that have taken place. As opposed to the 2,302 that occurred from 2001-2008 when the Taliban was decimated through coalition offensives.
      COIN strategy is failing in part due to your fighting a religious ideology not a political one, Islamic radicals who want a Sharia Law government in place. The Taliban uses fear on the 2/4th population that is neutral thereby from fear of the radicals the moderates will support the Taliban virtually every time in intelligence gathering and loyalty because none of them want to die. In turn those 2/4th that you wanted supporting the government will support the enemy. Coalition forces cannot promise safety for every Afghan against the Taliban threat or give the people money, food, and security because one day those coalition forces will leave and there will be a power vacuum just like in Iraq with ISIS currently. So the people will continue to support the Taliban.
     ROE will continue to kill and injure our soldiers because the Obama administration and the Pentagon do not realize after years of being in both countries that you are fighting a religious ideology and not a political one. You have to throw out COIN and go on the offensive wiping out the insurgency instead of winning hearts and minds. Only when the Taliban/ISIS threat is neutralized then can you win the hearts and minds of the people.

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