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More Bombs Less Butter

As we get set for the latest round of presidential elections to kick off in the 20th, I thought it tastey food for thought to forward this post at the Small Wars Journal by Military.com contributor and well known author Bing West.

In his post, West turns the Obama "civilianized" Afghan strategy on its head, and says the key to success is killing more bad guys.

Red meat for the martial types...

It appears our strategy is nation-building, with fighting and dismantling of the Taliban a secondary consideration. Thus, the number of enemy killed will not be counted, let alone used as a metric. This non-kinetic theory of counterinsurgency has persuaded the liberal community in America to support or at least not to vociferously oppose the war. But we have to maintain a balance between messages that gain domestic support and messages that direct battlefield operations...

More senior-level attention must be paid to inflicting severe enemy losses in firefights and to arresting the Taliban, so that their morale and networks are broken. A recent directive forbids applying indirect fires against compounds where civilians might be hiding. That directive upholds human decency and may reduce enemy propaganda.

Interesting -- and controversial. Removing the most militant of the insurgency from the battlefield worked in Iraq -- though that took military negotiations with key tribal leaders to dry up support for the heart of the insurgency. But they were removed from the battlefield. Can't guns and bullets do the same?

And West also calls for better and more technology to keep the bombs dropping, bristling at the restrictions being placed on direct and indirect fire support for troops in all but the most "broken arrow" of situations.

But indirect fires helicopter gunships and jets used to be called precision fires and gave the US its enormous advantage in combat. Now that such fires are restricted, what provides our advantage when the enemy sensibly fights from compounds? Dont expect Afghan soldiers to do it for us. We have equipped and trained the Afghans in our image. They are as heavy and slow-moving on the ground as we are, and rely upon our advisors to call in the firepower.

This is my third war. It has the highest level of military scholars. Those scholars who emphasized the concepts of non-kinetic counterinsurgency need also to design concepts that bring more lethality to the ground battlefield. Were pumping billions into UAVs. Surely we can find technologies and techniques for the grunt.

Like I said, food for thought. Also, be sure to check out his video below.

-- Christian

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