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Thread: Green on Blue: causes and responses (merged thread)

  1. #141
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Non-mediated Peacekeeping?

    Anyone familiar with the concept of "non-mediated peacekeeping"? It was used to refer to joint Palestinian/Israeli patrols under the Oslo accords form about 1993 to about 2000.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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  2. #142
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default From within a SWJ article

    The Platoon Leaders Fight: Lessons from Maiwand

    We encountered many Afghans that had a level of ego development similar to people in the Godfather or the Wire. They are very emotional, have a strong sense of ego, and will die for their pride. However, Afghans been taught to suppress feelings from a young age and to always present a calm exterior. Once they get pushed over the top, it will all come out with tremendous force, often in the form of bullets from their weapon. We had an Afghan policeman with no strong Taliban sympathies confess he almost tried killing several of us after listening to some very emotional Taliban propaganda songs. Respect them, know how not to offend them or you might find them trying to kill you even if they have no Taliban loyalties. If you want to get anywhere with them, you have to accept them for who they are, rather than try to impose on them who you want them to be.

  3. #143
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I wonder if there's some warrior ethos history in Central Asia / Pashtun history that could be exploited, i.e. revived complete with a codex or something.

    Imagine the Afghan government running an army with little pay, but a codex as robust as Bushido and after a long period of service the soldiers get farm land for retirement, late Republic/Early Imperial Roman style (in a newly developed irrigation area).


    A lot of what I learned about the ANA/ANP points at a horrible lack of robust motivation / loyalty from recruit to senior Cmd. The development of a robust motivation system (NOT a higher monthly paycheck than TB have on offer) and robust roots (i.e. guarded garrison towns where soldiers after two years of service live with their family, disabled vets work in service jobs and the units deploy from there for weeks or months).

    ANA/ANP seem to be awfully underdeveloped in regard to social life and prestige.

  4. #144
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Intereting questions to ponder. Much of the ANSF are no more than what could be considered migrant labor. This problem is how the ALP became part of the big show, but we started at the local level too late.

  5. #145
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    To establish the army as a social entity, as a 'tribe' (preferably universally respected), might also help to overcome the inherent divisions and might eventually even help the idea of a politically unified state.

    Kinda USMC- or Legion trangre-like; an institution which is not comparable to others because of the degree at which it integrates and gives a new meaning; joining the army as joining another 'tribe'.

    The individuals of such an army wouldn't turn on foreign 'allies' individually or in small groups, but if at all then as a whole. The army with its roots-building, its indoctrination etc could provide the compass to stay clear off stupid individual moves.

  6. #146
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    To establish the army as a social entity, as a 'tribe' (preferably universally respected), might also help to overcome the inherent divisions and might eventually even help the idea of a politically unified state.

    Kinda USMC- or Legion trangre-like; an institution which is not comparable to others because of the degree at which it integrates and gives a new meaning; joining the army as joining another 'tribe'.
    Not sure that would be preferable in the social setting of Afghanistan (or other similarly situated societies) where connection to an existing tribe is a matter of critical importance. To join another tribe might be seen as forsaking your existing connection.

    In addition, for this to work the new tribal affiliation would have to be of greater status than the one you are forsaking. Not the case of the Afghan security forces, at least not based on my experience. While the officers were held in high regard by the population, the average soldier was not. The social status of a common soldier while I was in Afghanistan 2006-7 was about equal to a welfare recipient in the US - someone who could not make their way on their own ability and needed to join the military to get by or provide for their families. They were near the bottom of the social ladder with little honor associate with their job.

    Not sure this is still the case. I had heard that Afghan TV had started a reality program based on an elite tactical unit and that, at least that unit's social status was held in high regard. However I don't believe it has filtered down to the average Soldier. While I was there anyone who could claim status as a mujahedin had a higher social status than an enlisted Soldier.
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  7. #147
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    It was still largely true in 2010 and 2011. Most folks feared, but did not respect, ANSF in S. Helmand.

  8. #148
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    To establish the army as a social entity, as a 'tribe' (preferably universally respected), might also help to overcome the inherent divisions and might eventually even help the idea of a politically unified state.
    There are plenty of examples of ‘tribal’ societies within which other types of corporate groupings exist—Plains Indians warrior societies, East African age sets—but these play a role within the tribal organization, they do not supplant it. Historically there are the examples of the Janissaries and mamluks, but that was a different time…
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  9. #149
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    Historically there are the examples of the Janissaries and mamluks, but that was a different time…
    Remember the "Your old life ends when you join the Légion Etrangère!" and the "Once a Marine, always a Marine!" attitudes.

    The institution needs to foster such attitudes and perceptions, but my time in uniform taught me how quickly an institution can do exactly that. We didn't have extreme trainers in the Luftwaffe of the post-Cold War 90's, but the trainers I've experienced still managed to turn 80-90% of the young men into something very dissimilar to what they were before - in a few weeks. Social life changed abruptly (and we all became horny on day 3 of basic after seeing no women at all for days, but that's another story).
    I remember I had a diary for a few years. It ends with the note that I will "today" take the train to the barracks.

  10. #150
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    There are plenty of examples of ‘tribal’ societies within which other types of corporate groupings exist—Plains Indians warrior societies, East African age sets—but these play a role within the tribal organization, they do not supplant it. Historically there are the examples of the Janissaries and mamluks, but that was a different time…
    Remember that the Janissary/mamluk institution always existed as an attempt by the central ruler to establish a tribal-free institution and break his dependency on tribal or feudal forces.

    The institution needs to foster such attitudes and perceptions, but my time in uniform taught me how quickly an institution can do exactly that. We didn't have extreme trainers in the Luftwaffe of the post-Cold War 90's, but the trainers I've experienced still managed to turn 80-90% of the young men into something very dissimilar to what they were before - in a few weeks. Social life changed abruptly (and we all became horny on day 3 of basic after seeing no women at all for days, but that's another story).
    I remember I had a diary for a few years. It ends with the note that I will "today" take the train to the barracks.
    Remember though that the average Western young person doesn't have the sort of strong group identity that exists in tribal/clan/qawm-oriented societies. Indeed, a lot of young people joining the military are looking for exactly that strong group identity to be a part of. Thus they are far more accepting of such training.

  11. #151
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Remember that the Janissary/mamluk institution always existed as an attempt by the central ruler to establish a tribal-free institution and break his dependency on tribal or feudal forces.
    Of course, but what I meant by the difference in the times is that the institutions were built with individuals who were either purchased as property or given as human tribute. That’s something that’s just not going to happen in the contemporary world.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  12. #152
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default How Disruptive Thinking is rewarded ...

    More on Bordin's report “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility” . From the Stars and Stripes article "Previously rejected report is now key to US effort to curb insider killings in Afghanistan".

    At the time he published it, though, Bordin’s research was roundly dismissed by the military, and the then-public report was quickly slapped with a “classified” label.

    “The findings are not consistent with our assessment” of Afghan forces, then-coalition spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Colette Murphy was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal in June 2011. The study, she added, “was systematically flawed, and suffered from generalizations, narrow sample sets, unprofessional rhetoric, and sensationalism.”

    Bordin said that following the publication of his report, he was removed from his position as leader of a Red Team — a research group formed to find solutions to military shortcomings — and shortly afterward, a decision to renew his contract was rescinded and he had to leave Afghanistan.
    Bordin regards the military’s refusal to act on his suggestions for a year and a half as a willful error that cost lives. He said at one point, when he returned to Afghanistan last May as the leader of a Human Terrain Systems Team, he was immediately demoted after military leadership found out about his report and he was even forbidden from briefing a general on his green-on-blue findings. He resigned his post shortly thereafter.

    “That was the height of immoral behavior,” he said. “I have knowledge that can help save American lives … and I was ordered not to give that information out to another military entity.”
    Previously rejected report is now key to US effort to curb insider killings in Afghanistan

    In my research I have corresponded with Dr. Bordin. He is very bitter about not being able to share what he knew with units getting ready to deply to Afghanistan.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 09-11-2012 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Add Link
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  13. #153
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I'm not surprised, although I can imagine "forbidden" is actually more like "ignored".
    During an Iraq deploy, we ignored two HTS reports because they were 180 degrees out from what we were seeing on the ground. they had not even been on the ground until my boss invited them up and showed them.

    The fact that he is crying over spilled milk is telling. Not the way to solve the problem.

  14. #154
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default It was what it was ...

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I'm not surprised, although I can imagine "forbidden" is actually more like "ignored".
    No, in this case "forbidden" means forbidden. He had a request from 1st Army to come stateside and brief trainers for units getting ready to deploy. His "commander" told him he could not go and could not brief anything from the report. Hence, he resigned.

    You are right though, there are a lot of people who don't like to hear anything outside their chosen narrative. See it here all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    The fact that he is crying over spilled milk is telling. Not the way to solve the problem.
    Maybe not, but I am not sure what you think his options were.
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  15. #155
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Hat tip to Robert du Bois via his Powerful Peace Blog for this part of an ISAF press conference, with Lt. General Terry:
    Q: General, it’s Mike Evans from the Times.

    Can I ask you, sorry, about the insider threat again? Since about 75 percent of the cases of green-on-blue appear to be non-insurgent-related, are you not more concerned about there being a build-up of cultural differences, cultural resentment between particularly the Americans as they are getting more of the victims and more of the cases than anyone else, and their Afghan partners? Isn’t that something which should be of greater concern?

    And you mentioned also one aspect that where Afghan soldiers go on leave. I wondered if this is a particular problem where it becomes known to the Taliban that a local guy has joined up, he’s come back for a bit of home leave, is that a very vulnerable time when these guys might be either radicalized or intimidated?

    LT. GEN. TERRY: Yeah, I would just say that we offered to the Afghans they ought to take a look at the leave period. I offered that one — that one to them personally based on my experience in the United States Army.

    I find that my soldiers are most vulnerable as they — as they go out on leave as they expose themselves outside of the structure of the Army. And so I asked the Afghans, the national security forces to take a look at that.

    We are – back to the cultural sensitivity piece of this – I would just say there are a number of factors that go into the remaining percent out there. We believe that 25, 26 percent of that — that other percentage out there personal related. Some of that can be defused with a greater understanding of cultural sensitivities.

    I would just say that what we all recognize is that this is a society that’s really been traumatized by 30-plus years of war. It also has a gun culture out there. And we also understand that a lot of grievances and dispute resolutions are done, frankly, at the barrel of a gun out there.

    So as we look toward cultural sensitivity, especially with things like Pashtunwali and greater understanding of the culture and of the religion, I think we also have to understand what this country and what this population has gone through over time.

    So specifically we do export that back into the training base, not just on the U.S. side, but across all the troop-contributing nations out there. I fundamentally believe that this is, based on my experience of three tours over here, is that the closer you are in a — in terms of a relationship and friendship with the Afghan partners, probably the safer you are. And that’s counterintuitive. But a lot of that is really built around the Afghan out there, and specifically the Pashtuns and Pashtunwali.

    And what we are moving toward and continue to train toward is that you’ve got to understand the sensitivities out there, and as you come into the theater, if you haven’t been here before, that you understand how to build those relationships with your Afghan partners out there.

    Thanks. That’s a great question.
    Link:http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...0905-dod02.htm
    davidbfpo

  16. #156
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    How Disruptive Thinking is rewarded ...
    It wasn't disruptive thinking, it was a simple report of a factual situation with recommendations about how to fix it. That is the problem, fact is not recognized, respected and is actually actively suppressed by the military establishment. That is very bad. It is almost as if Baghdad Bob has found a new home.

    Another thing that strikes me about this is in the Stars and Stripes story one of the things they used to discredit the report was the kind of language it supposedly used. The called it "unprofessional rhetoric, and sensationalism.” That is what plain speaking is perceived as now by the military establishment. That is very bad too.

    JCustis: The phrase "crying over spilled milk" belittles what actually happened. A lethal problem was id'd in its initial stages, the report was suppressed and its author ostracized. Now the report is recognized, many deaths later, but still the author, who may have done more research on this problem than anybody, isn't consulted and instead seems to be frozen out. That isn't good. Even a civilian like me, can see something quite wrong is happening.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  17. #157
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I fully intended to belittle WHAT WAS REPORTED.

    Two sides to the story with the truth undoubtedly in-between. I recounted onne of my HTS experiences to demonstrate where I was coming from, and I very much doubt that the military is as culpable as the Dr. makes it out to be. Something is not jiving here.

  18. #158
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default We've read bits and pieces of *one* side of the story.

    I think I'll wait for more details. I'm with jcustis (but I'm older and far more cynical) something ain't jiving...

  19. #159
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    JCustis & Ken:

    Hmm. You guys have me thinking now. Waiting for more information is almost always a wise thing to do. And when two guys who have experience in these things that I don't say things don't seem to jibe, that is a cause for pause (see how easy I made that rhyme, comes natural).

    I hope more information about this comes out. It seems to me a worthwhile subject for investigation. Dr. Bordin seems sincerely upset that he wasn't listened too and was actually suppressed and that this cost lives. He also seems to genuinely know what he is about unlike the people JCustis referred to. Then there were the games the military establishment played, attempts to discredit, using classification to prevent embarrassment; that seems to indicate attempts at damage control. And the contents of the report seemed accurate and prescient. But two guys who know what they are about see something that doesn't quite jibe. That is pretty weighty too.

    Hmm. I hope somebody digs more into this.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-13-2012 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Add note as posted link before

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