Beyond the Cusp

January 13, 2019

False Readiness Reports on IDF by the Report Writers

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:54 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

IDF Ombudsman Major General Yitzhak Brick recently retired and on his way out the door, he just had to write one more report. Ombudsmen are those people you go to when your normal path, chain of command, has not provided you with the satisfaction you sought. In other words, they are the people you go see when you are truly upset and nobody appeared to care. They get to hear all the whining and complaining and they sooth the wounded minds and hearts, or at least try. But Major General Yitzhak Brick has not been the only one who has complained about IDF readiness, there has been a fair share of paper pushers who had only evils to report about virtually every part of the IDF and specifically the fighting forces. Anybody who has served in the military of any nation knows the problems with getting the needed items through the normal supply chain. Such stories of the nightmares and ridiculous miscues of supply requisitions such as getting Bermuda shorts sent to your unit on its way to perform three months of arctic training, something nobody in the IDF will ever need worry, would be an example. Entire books and plays have been written about the Snafu’s in every branch of the military such as Catch 22, What Did You do in the War Daddy, Operation Petticoat and numerous other comedies. Some would say that many of the John Wayne movies were actually spoofs on the military, as he was refused to join the military because Marion Robert Morrison was exempted from service due to his age (34 at the time of Pearl Harbor). But he never made a film about the IDF though he was in Cast a Giant Shadow, which told the story about David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus. But what about the IDF now?

 

Unfortunately, I cannot make any direct reports about the readiness of the IDF, as nobody would allow me to do an assessment, which is a shame. But I can tell about the inability for judging an army’s ability to fight simply due to reports and the fact that the higher in the military one is, the less they know about the readiness of the troops and have only a continuous barrage of complaints and immediate problems making up their day-to-day operations. I was placed in an infantry company by the infinite wisdom of the United States Army. So, in a way, I am as much an expert, if not more-so, than almost any ombudsman. The proven best war-fighters in my last unit in which I trained before moving to something a little less dangerous, Crash Rescue Firefighter, was a small core of men who had served anywhere from one to three combat tours in Viet Nam. They had come back with a chest full of ribbons and held high NCO ranks only to rapidly become privates once more in an army not fighting a war. Here is the little secret, the troops often who take their training the most seriously are the worst fighters when the actual war breaks out and the worst soldiers become the best fighting force you will have ever seen. There are numerous reasons for such things.

 

First, when infantry units are preparing for wars they find they are performing the same basic field practice for a small part of the time and the rest of their time is spent performing busywork such as cleaning the barracks, policing the grounds for cigarette butts, washing the motor pool vehicles and guarding often empty buildings. When a unit is not in actual field duty, the people who get the promotions are the ones with the most military school training. These are also the people who were sent to these training schools because they were mostly uptight, paper pushing, whiny and worst of all, by-the-book exactly as described, letter-by-letter people. When things are not performed exactly as described in the military manuals, and yes, they have one for the proper way to use a mop, they will write a report and send it on up the chain of command. These become the first people placed in the rear when the fighting starts. Meanwhile, those goofballs who were constantly playing pranks, being as silly as possible, and mostly scoffing at the idiots who were busy writing a report on their horrible lack of ability to follow simple orders will be the greatest fighting force ever seen. When you want to base a report on soldiering, forget the reports and actually go and watch the teams placed as the opposition in a field exercise. These are the people often placed on such duty to punish them and the only excuse they will need to make whatever unit is in the field training against them appear to be unorganized and useless is to be challenged to do so. Units training in the field are often a perfect example of why the last requisition was filled completely wrong, it was amusing and the worst people are in charge.

 

The truth is that almost any army when in training often cannot do a single thing correctly. Everything becomes a monumental task which simply continues to pile screw-up after screw-up upon one another until you need a true paper wizard (read ombudsman) to untangle the whole ball of string the cat just played with. This is what passes for military preparedness. That is what occurs when there are no real bullets firing. That is what you get when soldiers are under the realization that there exist dozens of NGO anti-Zionists, anti-Israeli and anti-Semites who will run to their favorite judge and claim murder took place should a soldier even accidentally point their weapon at a suspect. Should a soldier shoot a terrorist before the terrorist has murdered anyone directly, there will be NGOs screaming for that soldier’s head on a platter and there will be paper pushers who will give them their wish. Why would they do so knowing it will demoralize the troops? They are paper pushers and their actions are noble and for the good of the soldiers and will mold them into thinking people and not just brutes who use force. The problem is in a war what you want are brutes who are very good at applying force. What makes for a great soldier in peacetime makes a lousy and often dead soldier in a war zone.

 

This is why right before deploying into a war zone, many units completely revamp their command structure and place those troops who never did anything the way they were instructed into the new command structure. Not all of them as there are some truly ungifted troops but a smart commander knows who is a peacetime officer and who are their soldiers who operate just fine in the fog of war and does not require orders to advance or take cover. There actually is a military procedure for how to lie down and take cover while with a weapon in hand, and it is cumbersome. Then there is the method used when bullets are whizzing past your ear, this is the method where one throws their body to the ground behind something very solid. There is no five-step maneuver as taught in Basic Training; you just act. We all understand why there exists the correct means of lying down while with a weapon, safety. The proper and taught method for performing this task keeps the barrel of the weapon, the end the bullets are spat out, pointed down-range and not at another soldier. In a war zone it does not matter where the barrel is pointed until you intend to shoot, the emphasis is surviving in order to shoot that weapon. There are no reports required, no by-the-book performance regulations and anyone fool enough to walk up and down their defensive position measuring, actually measuring, your grenade sump to make sure it is exactly half a meter deep will most assuredly be the first person shot by the enemy when they engage.

 

When You Know it is Just Training

When You Know it is Just Training

 

The soldiers who go by the book often find that book torn to shreds and thrown away once the bullets start flying and then it become expediency and staying alive. No sergeant is writing reports other than requisitions for more ammunition. There are few if any reports being written as coming home alive is the best report one can hope for in combat. Doing things the Army way in actual combat will get one killed as the correct way to get things done in a war zone is quickly and quietly as possible while taking minimal risk to you or your fellow soldiers. As written by Lt. General James M. Gavin in his book titled, “War and Peace in the Space Age” and published in 1958, he quoted as follows, “George Patton’s last words to us before we left Africa came home with meaning: ‘No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.’” (citation here) These are true words and probably would be countered by a peacetime leader who will claim that the military manual gives the proper way of performing virtually everything a soldier will ever execute. Pushing such folly to the limit in training simply means more paperwork, more reports of incompetent behavior and not following procedure, and why higher-ranking people who do most of their interaction with the fighting man through such reports have such a low opinion of their readiness for what they have been trained to do, fight.

 

But the training is what will keep them alive. Actually, that is a true statement and often something which occurred while training will make a life-saving act automatic instead of the soldier having to think what to do next. But the idea of what needs to be done and not exactly what is the twelve or twenty-five step military correct means of taking cover and seeking cover and concealment. You just know that behind a fair-sized boulder is far safer than behind some shrubs which is better than being out in the open. There is no need to measure the bolder to make sure it is ample enough or to check the density of the shrubbery, you know what will serve you best of the available options and also do not need the military manual means of taking a prone position with a weapon in hand, you throw your body to the best cover or concealment if there is no cover, but get down at the very least. The good soldier knows these things and checks regularly for such cover. Some soldiers find they have a sixth sense which tells them when to take cover or check the path for mines or booby-traps and so many other things which normally you would claim are impossible. I have known of one troop who could smell vehicles and pretty accurately tell when they were ahead, what numbers and the sizes of the vehicles, and we never figured out how they could do this. The soldier claimed he could small the metal as well as the grease, fuel and any lingering exhaust.

 

While the IDF may not be ready to fight an enemy following the strict application of the manual, from what I have seen as the interplay between soldiers in public, these young men and women are prepared for just about anything except losing a battle. They have the familiarity which is so essential in combat because you need to know how the others are going to act, who is best at which tasks, and you need to know who the go-to person is for plans for victory in the actual combat and not on some sketch sheet. The comraderies of the troops is a big plus and joking is the sign that a combat soldier is prepared. It is one thing to play war in training and completely another task when it is real. Many outfits will equate winning at laser-tag as being a great soldier, as long as the person winning is a by-the-book soldier. Give me your nonconforming and most irreverent troops and we will win the war. Why, because these are most likely the brightest and best trained who understood everything before the lesson was half over. These are the troops who know that field duty is goof-off time where you have fun playing laser-tag and nothing is for real. Then you find yourself in the real world and the other side is throwing everything they have at you and your platoon of soldiers, or so it seems. This is where more than the training comes into play. Now thinking in a nonconformist manner becomes instead of a liability as the means for turning the tide of battle. The troops who played on training missions may now be the individuals who save your platoon and thus the company et al. Just be prepared for the paper pusher to be left behind to write reports and with a good deal of luck and much understanding of the principles of their training, reports and not letters to the loved ones is all you will write. Our conclusion is very simple, No army, no people, no country is prepared or can know what a future with war will bring upon them, they can only hope and be prepared just in case they end up with no other viable choice.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 24, 2018

The Syria Connection

 

One hears rumors of deals and arrangements being touted which predicated the United States departure from Syria. One can only pray that these are valid statements but should plan as if those words were never heard. Does anybody in their right mind believe that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is really going to end his murdering of the Kurdish population in Syria? How many actually are able to convince themselves that once the United States has departed that Bashir al-Assad will not simply begin to slaughter not only the fighters who still oppose him in the eastern parts of the nation but will also choose a genocidal approach to the civilian populations in these regions slaughtering millions of innocents for the crime of being Sunni Muslims or Kurds. There was one promise already kept, but whether the promise was made to United States President Donald Trump or to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is unclear. The good news is that Russian President Vladimir Putin did lean on Lebanon regarding the Hezballah tunnels dug under the border and into Israel plus warned them to take steps to assure the border with Israel remains quiet. This also serves Russian influences and interests that there does not open up warring between Lebanon based Hezballah and Israel as such a war is bound to spill into Syria even if just to prevent arms from reaching Hezballah from Iran through Damascus, the route usually taken, though of late Iran has begun using Beirut International Airport to transport guidance system upgrades to the massive Hezballah rocket inventory making them deadly accurate missiles instead of launch and pray rockets with marginal accuracy.

 

The problem is that either President Trump has not learned that in the Middle East falsehoods are a way of life and actually demanded of the followers of Islam if that lie furthers the goals of Islam. The American President is accustomed to making deals with people whose word is their bond and such does not exist throughout most of the Middle East, Israel being the exception. This has caused Israel many serious problems when dealing with the Palestinian Authority (PA) as they would often make a promise which they had no intention of ever honoring as that would be counter to their interests, and as they are Muslim, their interests when dealing with Jews is an imperative that they gain specifically when they lie. The PA has not kept virtually everything they have ever agreed upon with the greatest and most obvious lie being that they rewrote their charter removing calls to totally destroy Israel and kill all the Jews. To the credit of the PA, when Washington DC sent State Department monitors to determine if the PA was to alter their charter, they had a vote to form a committee to look into having a committee which would consider making the prescribed alterations. The State Department monitors returned to Washington DC reporting that the PA was indeed going to make the changes required, and that settled that argument. Of course, that committee saw no reason to form another committee to decide if the changes should be made, as obviously they never intended to alter one letter of their charter and nobody in the Western World can understand their charter as it is written in the apparently untranslatable Arabic. We can expect the same for any and all guarantees given to President Trump as conditions under which the United States military could leave the region-claiming job done in the defeating of the Islamic State.

 

That takes us to whether or not the Islamic State has indeed been defeated. That would depend on one’s definition of defeated. The Islamic State lost virtually all of the territory it once held, had its declared capital city taken and has been reduced to sparse groups scattered over many square miles of territory all of whom have melted back into the population, often in the very villages they left to fight with the Islamic State. Such a dispersed group would be next to impossible to hunt down and the effort would make such more and more difficult as time progressed as many of these people would be torn from their communities leading to resentment and making more terrorists. So, was the Islamic State defeated? Well, yes, as much as such can be the case as the remainder has vanished into the countryside and in small towns and villages. The remnants if they were to gather to attempt another power seizure, they would become a simple target which could be eliminated using aircraft from the fleet in the Arabian Gulf or Mediterranean Sea as soon as they were identified. Will the Islamic State ever return and become a new menace? Probably not, or at least not in the same form with the same leadership and it would only take the name Islamic State because there is a history to be found in the ruins of the Islamic State. President Trump was basically correct in reporting that the Islamic State had been defeated, but his move to pull the troops may prove to have been premature.

 

Reports have stated that this was a decision made by the President and only the President. Security Adviser John Bolton argued against pulling the troops out claiming it was premature. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was in so much agreement with Bolton that he tendered his resignation claiming that the President should have somebody supportive of his decision rather than himself who was vehemently opposed to this move. The leadership of the Democrat Party stated that what the President did with pulling the United States military troops from Syria was a form of deserting America’s post in the troubled region. Yes, you read that correctly, the Democrat Party is now in favor of a military campaign half way around the globe to eradicate every last person who ever had any cordial relations with the Islamic State. These are the same people who scream as if somebody murdered their pet puppy any time Israel is forced to act against Hamas, a terrorist group on the immediate border from Gaza yet bemoan the removal of United States military which was fighting terrorists extremely far removed from the American borders. That, our friends, is hypocrisy. But nobody ever honestly claimed that the United States had no double standards when it comes to Israel. Every nation, or virtually every country, holds contrary expectations of Israel which are far and away more restrictive and bordering on making it dangerous to the point of allowing Israel to face destruction while applauding any other nation taking steps for protection from terrorists even if the threat was thousands of miles distant; for example, the United States and Islamic State for whom the United States sent troops to the far side of the planet.

 

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis

 

The first and near immediate consequence of the United States pulling her troops from the region will produce will be Iran establishing a direct route across Iraq and into Syria and Lebanon with the equipment headed for Lebanon and will be utilized by Hezballah. The IRGC will become more active vis-à-vis the Israeli border with more regularly stray bullets just happening to strike somewhere along the Golan Heights and even rockets will stray into the Golan Heights all of which will make soldiering on this front more demanding. Bashir al-Assad will take the American troop withdrawal as a signal that he will be free to do as he pleases while he completes his retaking of Syria. The human rights abuses are simply going to become a major part of the coming Syrian despotic regime returning to power. Assad will definitively punish those peoples he feels were disloyal or critical of his rule. This will include the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs in large part as their Alawite Shiite leader purifies their nation. Once the perceived enemies of the Syrian despot have been cowed, then everything will return to an eerie form of normalcy. Such will take time as the people are going to have to rebuild their lives and their homes in all too many instances. Bashir al-Assad has proven to be at least as great a destroyer of worlds and has exceeded his father’s totals and Bashir is not yet near to the completion of his transformation of his nation and its population. Additionally, Turkey’s Erdoğan will be serving al-Assad by sweeping through and killing the Kurds in the north of Syria while disarming any he allows to remain. We may be on the verge of witnessing the murder systematically of millions of Kurds. In far too many cases, the military troops have been hand picked selected for their proven loyalty and their brutal oppression they are willing to inflict often on innocent persons. The anti-Kurd animosity is very apparent in both the sweeping away of described terror cells and the brutal treatment of all of those who are not them. The Kurds are also facing murderous troops in northern Iraq as the Iraqi militias, the Iraqi military and the IRGC from Iran are sweeping Kurdish territories seeking to kill anyone who ever had even the slightest connection to Kurdish Militias. This sweep may even include what is left of the Yazidis who escaped the Islamic State slaughterhouse by the skin of their teeth. Life outside of Israel in the Middle East can be horrific to the point one simply gets trampled by one despot after another. The United States departure from this region will have detrimental effects, but these will be nothing when compared to what will occur once the United States pulls their support for Israel and no longer provides cover in the Security Council. That is something which is already in the pipes and coming before you know it. Before that day arrives, Israel will require a new and kindly friend who has a permanent veto.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 7, 2013

When the Going Gets Rough the UN Goes Running

The United Nations is once again displaying remarkable consistency. The Syrian border with Israel heated up even further today and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) peacekeepers began running. Actually the governments who sent their troops to be peacekeepers ordered them to start running; running straight home. The UNDOF troops had been monitoring a basically silent border since 1974 until the recent events actually might have required them to perform peacekeeping. This should not come as a surprise as this is basically what United Nations peacekeepers are renowned for doing in the face of violence. In their defense the initial decision by the Austrian government to withdraw their 380 peacekeepers came after clashes in which two UN peacekeepers were slightly injured. The Austrian government official statement stated, “The Austrian army’s participation in the UNDOF mission can no longer be maintained for military reasons.” Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and his deputy Michael Spindelegger said in a joint statement. “Freedom of movement in the area de facto no longer exists. The uncontrolled and immediate danger to Austrian soldiers has risen to an unacceptable level” This was the final death knell for the UNDOF mission as it followed the reduction of the troop numbers to 900 after the March withdrawal by Croatia which followed following similar moves by Canada and Japan.

 

This situation is not honestly much of a surprise as United Nations peacekeepers that have been stationed on Israeli borders have a history of either ineffectiveness or departing at the earliest signs of violence or immediately after the leader of the Arab nation bordering Israel requests they get out of the way of their attacking militaries. This was the case in 1967 when Egyptian and Syrian troops massed on Israel’s borders. Avoiding trouble and turning a blind eye to Hezballah activities has been the apparent mission directive of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). In all honesty United Nations efforts as peacekeepers have left much to be desired throughout their history but only when deployed. The other side of this unseemly coin is that in many instances where United Nations peacekeepers would have actually been useful and have saved innocent lives they have been reticent in sending them in in a timely manner. The genocides in Rwanda and Darfur are prime examples of too little too late if at all. The only thing less effective of this world depending on the United Nations to be a place where peace is kept by the cooperation of the member nations through reason and negotiations as the means for solving problems would be a world where even the ineffectual United Nations did not exist thus removing any recourse other than the historic means, open warfare at even the slightest of provocations. Unfortunately, the one accomplishment of the United Nations that has prevented far more world carnage is about to become violate, the prevention of the general proliferation of nuclear weaponry. Once that principal accomplishment is dashed and nuclear weapons become generally available to any country or other entity with sufficient funds and desire, then when the world enters another period of heightened tensions, any resultant conflict would contain a level of threat for an unacceptable conflagration of unimaginable destruction. I pray that such a future is avoidable but judging from human history where no weapon no matter how horrible has not only been used to end one war but more often than not became the principle weapon used in the next war. Some claim this is due to progress while others contend such progress will eventually result in the end of the human race and potentially an almost immeasurable percentage of life on the planet. May such a consequence be avoided though the current state of the world is not exactly promising when the organization responsible for mitigating such threats, the United Nations, refuses to have its peacekeeping forces remain in place running from even the slightest raised level of violence.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

Blog at WordPress.com.