“Afghan peanut butter turns treads into sleds,” is war correspondent Michael Yon’s caption on this photo of a combat vehicle stuck in the mud in his post Amber of War. It’s an old lesson the Pentagon seems never to have learned.
I slept in the mud in Vietnam a few times on night ambush in ’69 and recall once trying hopelessly to get a jeep that had slid off the road out of the mud, but I was lucky not to have to hump through it hour after hour, day after day.
I’m not surprised there are books about it. None, however, seems as focused or as complete as Mud: A Military History, which Yon recommends and I am reading. Whoever invented body armor, heavy packs and persnickety machinery like M4s that need constant cleaning should as well. (But probably won’t.) It’s not the soldiers who have lost our recent wars, but the leadership—so-called.
Peter Van Uhm, defense chief for the Netherlands, explains to an audience of his elite countrymen, why he chose, instead of a brush, a camera, or a pen to make a career as a solider:
“…not to shoot, not to kill, not to destroy, but to stop those who would do evil, to protect the vulnerable, to defend democratic values, to stand up for the freedom we have to talk … about how we can make the world a better place.”
Why, in other words, peoples who want peace need armies. His 17 minute talk, calm and persuasive, is here.
Via Michael Yon.
Incredible report from Afghanistan correspondent Michael Yon that our Army Medevacs are delayed in getting to their patients (find it in the first four minutes of this Glenn Reynolds interview with Yon).
Delayed, that is, because they have to wait for Apache gunship escorts. Not because the landing zones are especially hot but because the Medevacs wear Red Crosses and the Geneva Convention doesn’t allow them to carry defensive guns.
Jeeze, Louise. All our Medevacs in I Corps in Viet Nam in 1969 wore Red Crosses and always carried door guns. The enemy there had no more respect for Red Crosses than the Taliban does now. So much for progress, eh? Visit Michael’s web site and consider helping defray his expenses so he can continue to tell these stories that are NOT being told elsewhere. I do and have for years now.
Invited, at least. Hope Michael does embed in Afghanistan again. Maybe we can find out what’s really going on out there.
Looks like he has been. This is what I meant by bickering generals.
With this funny observation about the legacy media from Instapundit: “Under a Republican President, it’s listen to the generals. Under a Democratic President, it’s all about civilian control of the military.”
UPDATE: The most amazing thing about the McChrystal affair is how dumb the general was. Really, really dumb, as VDH notes:
“Is it smart to be in Paris within a mile of any creep from Rolling Stone? How dumb is that? Such tag-along groupie folk exist to trash the military, and only get close to officers by being disingenuous in a manner that most teenagers would not fall for — much less a four-star general supposedly adept in insurgency trickery.”
Michael Yon’s latest: In search of water in Afghanistan’s desert of death.