“Modern War in an Ancient Land”

The war in Afghanistan has been of interest to me for a long time for a couple of reasons. First, my late best friend’s son served as a platoon leader and the executive officer of Viper Company, 1-26 INF, 3 BCT, 1st Infantry Division when they were in the Korengal Valley. Second, a friend from graduate school, Dr. Larry Goodson, wrote one of the only books examining Afghanistan from the time of the Soviet invasion until just prior to our intervention. That book, Afghanistan’s Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban, is still available on Amazon (commission earned).

The U.S. Army Center of Military History has now released a two-volume set on the war in Afghanistan entitled, Modern War in an Ancient Land: The United States Army in Afghanistan 2001–2014.

These volumes were prepared by the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Operation Enduring Freedom Study Group led by Col. Edmund Degen (USA-Ret). The Study Group was formed by the late Gen. Raymond Odierno when he was Chief of Staff to research and write an operational history of the U.S. Army’s involvement in Afghanistan from October 2001 until December 2014. I would imagine a third volume covering the years from 2015 until our disastrous withdrawal earlier this year will eventually be forthcoming.

The narrative is focused at the operational level of war and will discuss policy and strategy only as needed to illuminate the operational story. At the same time, it will delve into the tactical realm only when such insights amplify the implications of the operational decisions or occurrences.

Copies of both volumes are available for download free of charge. If you want print copies, they can be ordered from the Government Printing Office. That order number is GPO S/N: 008-029-00656-1.

To download:

Volume One

Volume Two

Needed For Uber In Kabul?

I stumbled across this auction of a 1959 Saladin 6×6 armored car. It supposedly has a 76mm main gun but I’m thinking it is probably demilitarized. With a current high bid of only $1,500, you probably could afford to have it restored and to buy ammo for it. I somehow doubt that Lucky Gunner has ammo for it but you never know. They both are in Knoxville.

From what I’ve read about the Saladin, it held a crew of three. Therefore, if you want to provide safe Uber service to the airport in Kabul for American couples, it would be just the thing. It might not be comfy but it would be safe.

How could the Taliban object? It is named after that great Muslim warrior Saladin!

Taliban – You Don’t Need Weapons For Personal Protection

As the Taliban consolidate their power in Kabul, Afghanistan, they have started going door to door collecting weapons from private citizens.

From Reuters:

Taliban fighters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, started collecting weapons from civilians on Monday because people no longer need them for personal protection, a Taliban official said.

“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians,” the official told Reuters.

The Taliban also believe in a strict interpretation of Muslim law including women should not leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative and to be fully covered in a burqa. There are numerous stories of how they have killed or beaten innocent women as they moved back to power.

This leads me to ponder on the the conundrum facing American gun prohibitionists like Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Giffords, and the Brady Campaign. On the one hand you have a group that brutally subjugates women like it was the 7th Century. On the other hand, they want to ban the private possession of firearms saying, in essence, the state will protect you.

Choices are tough.

A Modest Proposal

The Complementary Spouse and I were watching Sharyl Attkisson’s Full Measure news program this morning. She had a story on about waste and fraud in the rebuilding of Afghanistan and its security forces. That is irrelevant to my modest proposal. However, seeing Afghan police carrying AK-47s got me to thinking – why are they carrying ComBloc firearms when they could be carrying firearms made in the good old USA.

The US firearms industry has an inventory problem. They overbuilt before the 2016 election on the presumption that we would have a President Hillary which would cause a mad rush to buy while the getting was good. Instead we have President Trump and the pipeline is full of ARs that manufacturers and distributors are trying to clear out. Tam called it a “gun glut” today in a post.

You only have to see the emails and flyers from companies like Palmetto State Armory and CDNN to see that prices have plummeted.  The subreddit /r/gundeals is full of posts about great buys on anything AR. The deals are not just on any old no-name AR. They include stuff like the Colt LE6920 for $799 and the S&W MP15 for $499. Conversely, it doesn’t look like the prices of AKs have fallen anywhere as much. Romanian Wasrs are still over $600.

President Trump campaigned on “buy American” and issued an Executive Order  in April which seeks to maximize the procurement of American-made products by Federal agencies. The Department of Defense and the State Department both provide security assistance to Afghanistan.

While it is somewhat counter-productive to my own selfish interests, I would propose that DOD and the State Department begin buying up much of this surplus inventory at these bargain prices. It would then be used to replace those ComBloc AKs with good, American made, semi-auto AR15s. While as a consumer I would miss being able to buy good quality AR lowers for $50 or less, I also recognize that I have a greater interest in seeing firearms companies – especially the smaller specialty ones – survive as going concerns. The average Afghani cop isn’t going to care if he is issued a Del-Ton, a Colt, or a Spike’s Tactical. He’s just going to be happy that he has a new rifle. Reequipping the Afghanis with AR15s will also provide opportunities for training companies to instruct the Afghanis on the use, care, and maintenance of their new rifles.

I’m sure the media would portray this as a sop to the NRA and the firearms industry. Nonetheless, it helps an American industry, it fulfills a campaign promise to buy American, it ties the Afghanis to us for training, spare parts, etc., it could be done at bargain prices, and it helps preserve the smaller companies. My modest proposal is, at least to me, a win all around.

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day has nothing to do with gun rights but everything to do with our feckless (and anti-gun) president. It is from Prof. Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. Kagan was formerly a professor of military history at West Point.

There was no meaningful al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan when Barack Obama took office. There will likely be al Qaeda strategic bases there when he leaves. That is failure by any standard.

Happy Canada Day

July 1st is what was known in the old days as Dominion Day. It is now called Canada Day. So if you see a Canadian today, congratulate them and thank them for the hard work their forces are doing in Afghanistan. Canadian Forces have been on the front lines next to American troops since the early days.