President Obama has signed off on an expansion of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, in an effort to bolster support of Afghan forces battling a resurgent Taliban, a senior Pentagon official told the Washington Examiner.
The official said under the new authority, U.S. military advisers will be permitted to accompany Afghan conventional forces into the field to advise and assist in combat missions, but will not be on the front lines.
Deja Vu. The US and other Coalition forces fought this battle some years ago. Almost ten, in fact. President Peace Prize decided all that fighting could be replaced by his charm and diplomacy skills. Apparently the Taliban weren’t quite as on board with that as we were lead to believe. To paraphrase Blazing Saddles, this is genuine military gibberish. If the advisers are in the field and assisting in combat missions, they are, by definition. “on the front lines.” Well, as much as there are “front lines” in that particular field of battle. See also History of the Vietnam War.
U.S. advisers are supposed to avoid places where they are likely to be drawn into the line of fire, remaining behind the last covered overlook or terrain feature. But in combat, that is not always possible.
I’m not a veteran, let along a combat veteran. That being said, I think “not always possible” might be more accurate if written “not bloody likely”. This type of insurgency war seems to feature fluid and dynamic battle lines, not the fixed battle lines we’ve all seen in a million war movies.
The White House has been reluctant to approve new authorities to expand the air campaign for two reasons. One is that it is a tacit admission that the war President Obama promised to end is nowhere near over as it stretches into its 15th year. And two is that the U.S. fears that if it steps in with air power, Afghanistan will never get its own air force off the ground.
Because it is much more important to make the worst Presdient ever to appear competent when he’s little more than an autocratic small town mayor who stumbled into the most powerful position in the world. Or it was until he got there. By the time this is over, Obama would have been in charge of the Afghanistan war for longer than his predecessor. And of course pissed away any progress that was made up until mid January 2009.