I suppose if you wish to annoy an American, tell him he lives in a bubble of exceptionalism and that there is a wide world outside the States that sees things differently. Then you say in dozens of books that US Special Forces are sub-standard, have low standards, and so would be the entire US Military. The QME is lost and so is the much-acclaimed technical superiority. My desire though was not to insult but to warn. I gave many reasons for my conclusions based on facts but they rattled many. I further said that the word “hero” is way overused and merely serving is not a qualifying factor to be a hero. At the same time, there are way too many medals being thrown around, lowering their value to those of Idi Amin. But, it seems that you simply should not say such things in polite society. So I am glad to see that the official records are now confirming what I was warning about.
The US Special Operations Command Comprehensive Review, 23 January 2020, is a bombshell report that confirmed all my opinions on US Special Forces. The review, 69 pages, says in effect that “America’s special operations forces have developed a problematic culture that overemphasizes combat to the detriment of leadership, discipline and accountability. Time on the battlefield is seen as the ultimate expression of competence, and those with combat experience are held as almost an infallible standard bearer for the rest of the organization to emulate - seemingly regardless if it is a positive or negative standard. Missions by special forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, often boil down to little more than raids - assaulting targets and killing enemy fighters - which some operators bluntly refer to as kicking in doors and shooting people in the face. The frequent deployments have also bred problems in the training and career pipeline, from raw recruits up through the leadership ranks: an overemphasis on physical fitness and workouts for trainees, and an overemphasis on weapons and tactics among field leaders, often to the detriment of training in leadership and ethical standards. Trainees who enter the elite forces directly from civilian life, rather than transferring in, are most at risk for developing an unhealthy sense of entitlement that could lead to problems later on. Instructors chosen for their combat prowess may lack the appropriate balance of character and competence needed for the job.”
And so it goes on and on. The above report was entirely predictable and due in no small part to the close to useless high command strategies that simply do not understand counterinsurgency nor counterterrorism. It is pathetic. I warned time and time again. Now you really have a problem because these are the men that do almost all the fighting. They are overused, burned out and now exposed. The only good news here is that they might up their standards and wake up to reality. Yet it deeply saddens me that it went this far. And I doubt if serious changes will take place.
So, what about leadership? Failures at every possible level: West Point Professor Tim Bakken’s book, The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris, and Failure in the US Military, should be read on West Point standards. He describes how the “system” pays to get potential athletes and accepts students nominated by congressmen commensurate with donations made to fund re-election campaigns. He says straight that the US Military academies offer “a community college-level education only with more hazing, violence, and tamping down of curiosity. West Point takes soldiers and declares them to be professors, which works roughly as well as declaring them to be relief workers or nation builders or peace keepers. The school parks ambulances nearby in preparation for violent rituals. Boxing is a required subject. Women are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted at the three military academies than at other US universities.” About the rape of US female military officers by their male comrades, yes, I wrote about that in VOICES – War Crimes USA. That was the reason why I wrote that book, I was that shocked. It is also so that the entire West Point is a bubble with relatively few outsiders allowed to bring new ideas. That is the sure way to stay firmly on the road of mediocrity.
Okay, so how is the above dealt with?
Lowering standards even more... a Defense Department report shows that those that are classified as Category IV (too stupid to even handle a rifle) are standing at 4.1 percent of new recruits. Let me explain in practical terms – a tank gunner classified as Category IV will hit his target 34% less than those more fortunate above his classification. As any study of Israeli Armour warfare will tell you, the first shot must be on target or your tank is shot out in return. Low standards WILL kill you and your mates. What about technical matters? A RAND report shows that they took “three-man teams from the Army’s active-duty signal battalions and told them to make a communications system operational. Teams consisting of Category IIIA personnel had a 67% chance of succeeding. Teams with Category IIIB soldiers had a 47% chance. Those with Category IVs had only a 29% chance.”
Do you know what is the standard in the South African Army? 100% every single time or God will not have mercy on you. Do you know what is the standard in the Russian, Chinese, Indian, French, British etc. armies? 100%. My word, anything less is simply not good enough! How hard is this to understand? Lowering standards to fill the ranks were proven a disaster with the Vietnam Era McNamara Morons. Secretary of Defence, Robert Strange (yes, that is his middle name, my word) McNamara, the original numbers guy, decided to get men into the US military that could not read, write, navigate or even pass basic training on the first attempt. They could not pass PT tests or understand how an M14 or M16 works never mind artillery or something technical. Most company commanders tried to get them out of the field where they were dangerous to themselves and all around them. Nevertheless, 354,000 arrived in South Vietnam. Half ended in combat units where they suffered 3 times higher a kill ratio than the rest - 5,478 died, close to 10% of the total. One officer described them as “sending a five-year-old into combat.” This was recklessly irresponsible behaviour and a warning from history. Yet, it is repeating.
How scandalous and how more so that no mainstream outlet will say anything about this. Why must I do so? GMJ.