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(USA Today)   "U.S. special forces face the serious danger of being bogged down in a permanent game of global whack-a-mole"   ( divider line
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8890 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Apr 2013 at 11:18 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-04-09 11:22:20 AM  
3 votes:
Not if we stop farking with everyone.
2013-04-09 11:40:41 AM  
2 votes:
This was the initial intent of Special Forces, so it's not a revolutionary strategy. Army SF has been doing this for about 50 years, but it's the "HOORAH High Speed B.S." that looks good in movies and video games.

I'd like to see a "Real Special Forces" video game where the player spends 80 hours trying to teach Abdul to brush his teeth and not close his eyes while he fires his AK.
2013-04-09 11:30:54 AM  
2 votes:
So the author wants our Special Forces to get bogged down in the logistics and support activities normally handled by the CIA and overseas intelligence elements?  Our Special Forces already do much of what she wants them to do, doing more of it would encroach on the expertise of agencies like the CIA, who are better suited to do it.

Also the author needs to check her history, Colombia was defined by killing a high value target, Pablo Escobar, and our involvement in the 90s (before and after his death) with Colombia was defined by the hunt for Pablo.

/American Special Forces work
//They work well
2013-04-09 11:20:04 AM  
2 votes:
What, was the "obvious" or the "repeat" tag broken?
2013-04-09 12:53:58 PM  
1 vote:
The Special Forces are a US Army unit tasked with training foreign friendly forces. They are a direct "force multiplier" in that a 12 man A-Team can train and lead a company sized unit of foreign guerillas (about 100 men). They do the classic movie stuff (called direct action) in support of that mission, but this is already their principle purpose.

Other special ops units, which are collectively referred to as "Special Forces" colloquially, have their own missions. Rangers are Army special operators whose primary mission is securing airfields or other objectives prior to some other mission (the "tip of the spear"). Delta Force is a unit drawn from Army Special Forces that focuses on hostage rescue and high value target elimination/extraction. They are sort of the Army counterpart to Navy SEALs, with the difference being SEALs' are specifically trained to operate from or in maritime environments. With the GWOT the distinction has become blurry, since there aren't a lot of oceans in Afghanistan. Marine Special Operations do some of the stuff Army SF does, but their main job is force/fleet protection. CIA has their own operators (Special Activities Division) drawn from all of the above, whose job is security, intelligence collection, and direct action (basically assassinations).

My point is that the special operations community was already geared to do what the article is suggesting. The high-profile stuff gets in the news, but the other stuff is what gets the job done, and is what they spend most of their time actually doing.
2013-04-09 12:32:45 PM  
1 vote:
So form an organization built specifically to conduct assassination missions.  That will free-up the Special Forces for their traditional missions.  Just make sure we do it while Mr. Obama is President -- so it will be uncriticizable.
2013-04-09 12:27:27 PM  
1 vote:

Donau: ..., Congress was faced with a catch-22, they wanted the CIA to be more ethical but they wanted to know what the bad guys were doing; ...(brevity)

Its not a boots on the ground issue either, after 9/11 our intelligence agencies were in Afghanistan within days, on camels, with duffel bags of money.

It was indeed a boots on the ground issue. They should have been there before the attack, not days afterward with money bags. Throwing money at locals was a dumb response. They took the money and told us whatever we wanted to hear, very little of it actionable.

We knew it was a hotspot for years. We knew who the players were. We didn't know what they were up to because you can't wiretap the middle ages. Simply put, too much tech, not enough human assets. It cost us and we were warned ahead of time that lack of human intel would cost us.
2013-04-09 12:15:21 PM  
1 vote:
Meh. Mobilizing locals for self-defense against bad guys is a Green Beret job. Schwacking dudes in the middle of the night is a SEAL job. They both have their place, and since SOCOM is totally joint, they both get used.
2013-04-09 12:04:58 PM  
1 vote:

studs up: I thought one of the major issues regarding our exposure to terrorism was lack of boots on the ground for our intelligence network? Didn't we hack their field op budget in favor of big brother spying techniques?

Maybe if we get back to good old fashioned spy v spy games we can be more effective in gathering intel as well as more surgical in taking out our enemies. Or we could just drone strike everyone from the oval office (I don't care who is in it). Silly, ineffective but deniable are drone strikes compared to having a captured spy. I get that, but, wire taps and satellite images aren't a good substitute for the accuracy and nuance of interpretation of a field operator.

Fark it, let's just bomb the shiat out of everyone from orbit.

This is only partially true, in the 80s there was a crisis of who the CIA were recruiting as assets.  Ultimately when you want an asset within a bad organization like al Qaeda you are going to end up recruiting a bad person, thus guidelines were established to prevent the gov't from recruiting "bad people" (think war crimes in South America bad).  This hampered the US ability to properly monitor these organizations, Congress was faced with a catch-22, they wanted the CIA to be more ethical but they wanted to know what the bad guys were doing; after 9/11 the guidelines were overturned, but it takes a lot of time to cultivate assets.

This came out in the 80s in light of US siding with extreme right wing governments in South America in the fight against Communists (like Guatemala).

Its not a boots on the ground issue either, after 9/11 our intelligence agencies were in Afghanistan within days, on camels, with duffel bags of money.
2013-04-09 11:50:16 AM  
1 vote:

MadHatter500: Yes it is. What do you think Guerrilla Engagement turns into at the end?

Gorilla marriage.
2013-04-09 11:36:17 AM  
1 vote:

Prey4reign: Global Whack-A-Mole is serious business.

Thanks to our Military-Industrial Complex, it's also Big Business.
2013-04-09 11:33:32 AM  
1 vote:
I'm fine with global whack-a-mole.
If we restricted ourselves to only killing demonstrated terrorists.
And giving just a few more shiats about collateral damage.
(Hint: if you're not willing to risk a few American lives trying to kill a bad guy, he's not worth the collateral damage either.)

Also, the evidence used to identify the targets and our assessments of success rate and collateral damage ought to be de-classified on a clear and fixed calendar.
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