Taken from the forthcoming GMJ Novel, Code Name Ghost, not edited:
On the other hand, Spetsnatz do not have the same regard for civilian lives as NATO and the US Military claim they have and most certainly don’t when you look a bit deeper than just face value. What I have to say now, may shock you but research it before writing me angry letters. The US drone strikes under Barack Obama failed miserably. They missed their intended terrorist targets, 96.5% of the time according to several (reliable) NGOs and thereby killing many hundreds, yes almost a thousand, of innocents, this is not even debatable, US officials admits that civilian casualties took place. (The US official figures, to be fair, is 6 times less than what the NGOs are saying but it is also known that under the Obama Administration, drone strikes took place 563 times in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen - the Bush Administration had 57 such strikes, almost 10 times less. It is said that between 384 to 807 civilians died because of Obama’s “surgical strike” drone policy, murdered under international law, Angelique.) There is no way that it can be defended, no way, it is murder, plain and simple. What is worse to me, when you speak to any US Military member, even from their Special Forces community, they have no clue on fire discipline or the double tap method of shooting which we use as standard (it was first used by the British Special Air Service in the 1970s when they became interested in counter terrorism, hostage rescues. They realised that a 9 mm Parabellum round is crap, it does not kill fast enough in standard form and adjusted by adding Special Forces ammunition - nice hollow points - and shooting two rounds so fast it sounds like one shot. We did the same, even on our assault rifles and to me, it is the mark of a professional. Full automatic fire is to me the mark of ill-discipline and of run of the mill soldiers not worthy of Special Forces where you often carry the ammunition to and from the target without guaranteed resupply. During Vietnam, at one stage, it took 250,000 rounds to obtain one kill. We never used more than 20 rounds and a body without a rifle meant being arrested for murder. And that was the normal police, for us, in Police Special Forces, one bullet one hit meant exactly that and we expected death on the other side when we opened up. Except for covering fire and the first few crazy seconds of an ambush, full automatic fire was a luxury we could not afford and look down upon, a body without an AK47 meant a murder arrest.) As far as I am concerned, my expert opinion based on facts, the US Military just don’t get saving ammunition as they are always resupplied because they always have air superiority, the helicopters and other transports can fly in relative safety to do the supply drops. But this is something most certainly not guaranteed anymore against any First World enemy (Russia & especially China) – shockingly, in 2017, no less than 60% of the US Navy’s F-18 Super Hornets are not operational, they are downed. In the US Marine Corps, 74% of their Hornets are downed, the Few & the Proud reduced to scrounging museum aircraft for spare parts. The USAF’s F-15s are in an even worse state and the “stealth fighters” cannot dog fight a 4.5 Generation jet fighter nor are they stealthy. Nor do the US aviators & pilots fly enough, read what I said in the intelligence briefing again and particularly what is going on with the Chinese Air Force and Taiwan. The list goes on and on and you would do very well to read Code Name Blue Tang in this regard (as well as to study the Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle explained in Code Name Lucy, you will be shocked, Angelique).
US Special Forces, highly trained and respected, are used wrongly, mostly, as walking bait and then having to use the massive firepower available to get themselves out of trouble again and again and again. By doing this they are losing men at a rate that cannot be sustained. We discussed this bizarre aspect in many GMJ Books, ruffling a few feathers here and there. To us, such tactics is akin to attempted murder by their Generals, totally wrong. I am at times criticised for my remarks but statics show clearly that most US Special Forces members would fail our Selection criteria, they will not make it to our standards to put it bluntly. Statistically the US Navy SEALS have a Selection failure rate of about 80%, the US Army Green Berets, 60%. We consider any unit with less than a 90% failure rate as low percentage and not good enough to work with unless we have to. We can also look at the damage done after an attack or raid took place and being experienced policemen, knowing violent crime scenes more than most, make a lot of deductions on what occurred during the attack. If I see hundreds of spent brass cartridges lying around after a Special Forces raid, find many dead civilian casualties not on the target list, bullet holes everywhere and too often, way too often, the burned-out wrecks of Special Forces helicopters & aircraft destroyed by their own side because the pilots are incompetent, unable to land safely in the dark in sandy conditions (see Code Name Halloween 38 where we discussed the appalling loss of helicopters by accidents in Afghanistan and Iraq, Angelique), I will shake my head in disgust at what I see. Simply put, not good enough and I will never change my views on this. If you did your job properly there would be no civilian casualties nor any aircraft wrecks nor hundreds of shots fired during the attack, that is not the Special Forces way of doing business, full stop.
The above has serious consequences in the War on Terror, let me explain. You try to play the “good-guys-that-do-no-wrong-ever” in the media and by doing so, lose the moral high ground because it is simply not true and probably never was true. The world and your enemies laugh at you, a terrible price to pay in the long run as scepticism grows rapidly on lies and cover-ups. As an example, there was a SEAL Team Six attack in Yemen in late January of 2017, a place where they fail more often than not and is not known to have much success if any. Independent (reliable & verified) reports from medics on the battle scene said that about 30 people died during the attack, including 10 women and children. Is this the new norm for success, to be gloated about by the Pentagon? One SEAL was killed and a couple wounded, it is highly regrettable and sad, but what about the innocents killed in the crossfire? How do you spin that one away? By releasing a years-old YouTube video on bombmaking? Really? By stating publicly that the raid was a total success when even a simpleton will know it was not? That you consider SEAL Team Six as the best America has to offer and the usual patriotic noises? Surely not. I assure you, that SEAL Team Leader would have been arrested here for murder on his return. His commanding officer removed immediately and a total restructuring of operational procedure started. The number of civilian casualties, the hundreds of bullet holes indicating wild panicked shooting, to me, and people like me, is failure no matter what else you achieved which seems to me was preciously little. By killing civilians, innocents, some were kids of less than 10 years of age, at that large a number in one raid, means that you just created many more martyrs for the cause against you, this is silly. It is displayed incompetence and arrogance gone mad and probably based upon bad intelligence as I heard that the mission was betrayed before it even started (denied by the Pentagon, obviously, Angelique). Dreadfully bad execution of whatever plan you had if any, and an utter disregard for counter terrorism techniques designed to limit civilian loss so that you claim the moral upper hand which is of extreme importance in counter terrorism. No, Sir, we are not impressed with what happened in Yemen in January 2017, it is pathetic and you should step back and take a hard look at your procedures before you lose even more face.
Now to show you how hypocritical and disingenuous the “we-are-the-good-guys” argument became in the eyes of the world, consider the following in a logical fashion – in 2016, some 60 members of the House, from both parties, signed a letter to delay a $1.15 billion sale of battle tanks (Abrams, not the best in the world by any margin and regularly shot out in the Middle East) to Saudi Arabia, stating the reasoning behind the delay is that the indiscriminate bombing campaign by the Saudis in Yemen is done so badly and killing so many civilians, that it is “feeding extremist narratives and strengthening al Qaeda and Islamic State.” The Senators involved were Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, working with Democrats Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and Al Franken of Minnesota. Right, you get the irony here? Do you get how stupid this look to those outside and looking in with perhaps more neutrality than you, when a SEAL Team Six raid does the same? Special Forces are supposed to be surgical strike capable, clearly identifying the targets and eliminating them, not murder kids and women at will.
You cannot afford civilian deaths during counter terrorism operations, you simply cannot. Look at history what happens when the security forces start killing innocents for any reason, the answer is obvious, you lose the sympathy and support from the public, your job gets that much harder and you lose the insurgency. I don’t want such cowboys near me. They have no fire discipline and is a danger to themselves and in no way should this type of behaviour be applauded by anyone in authority or even by those with the most basic knowledge of counter terrorism. Such a raid is a failure by our standards, something to be deeply ashamed about, there is no way it can be called a “total success.” The logical consequences will be a counter attack against the US Homeland by those already inside, justifying their actions because of the visual effect of kids’ corpses displayed on the Internet. This was not good enough for a respected premier counter terrorist unit, not even close, I say again, that is how you create new terrorists and lose the sympathy of those trying to help you.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in sub Saharan Africa, a military and war historian and published author of 43 books. His late wife was an American Patriot that served with the U.S. Navy. His books are widely read among military veterans of many nations.