Monday, June 22, 2009

COIN is The Key to Success in Afghanistan

For years the FOB's in Afghanistan have been getting bigger. They thrive on Garrison bullshit and make Soldiers miserable. There has been no cohesive plan to protect the population of Afghanistan from Anti-Government Forces who run the gamut from Taliban, to Al Qaida to plain ruthless criminals. Now GEN Petraeus' new point man is Afghanistan about to change that.

Next 18 Months Critical in Afghanistan, McChrystal Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2009 – The next 18 months will be crucial in Afghanistan, the new commander of NATO and U.S. forces there said today.

“I think that the next 18 months are probably a period in which this effort will be decided,” Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal told Tom Bowman in a National Public Radio interview. “I don't think it will be over. But I think that not only the American people, I think the Afghan people are looking and deciding which way this will go.”

McChrystal took command of coalition and U.S. efforts in Afghanistan on June 15. His job is to carry out the new strategy for the region.

The general said the conflict should not be viewed solely as a military struggle. It is not a question of whether the United States is winning, he said, but whether the Afghan people are winning. The Afghan government is the ultimate deciding factor, and while the government is not winning the war on extremists, “I don't say they’re losing,” McChrystal said.

“That’s an old axiom in counterinsurgency: If you’re not winning, you’re losing,” he said. “And the danger there is that that is true. So we see it as very, very important, probably over about the next 12 to 24 months, that we absolutely get a trend where we are clearly winning.”

McChrystal has spent much of his career in special operations, hunting down and killing or capturing terrorists. “What I learned is that much of the terrorism we fought years ago was very small groups that were finite. They were fanatical, and they could be attacked that way,” he said. “Nowadays, we have to fight the cause of terrorism, because terror is a tactic. You win by taking away from the enemy the one thing the insurgent absolutely has to have, and that’s access to the population.”

Hunting terrorists still has a place in the war in Afghanistan, McChrystal said, but the overall effort requires a mix of aggression and rebuilding. “I very much lean toward the importance of the building side,” he said.

The population needs to be safe so they can build an economy, build good governance and develop an infrastructure, the general explained. That gives the people something they want to continue and something they want to protect, so “the insurgent, then, becomes a troublemaker,” he said.

“The opposite could be perceived, even with good intentions,” he continued. “If we are just hunting Taliban, we can be perceived as coming into areas and being someone who upsets the neighborhood. But we do need to be able to keep a pressure on the enemy as we push them away. So there's always a balance.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cpl. Martin Dube

Body of Cpl. Martin Dube begins journey home

Updated Mon. Jun. 15 2009 3:41 PM ET

The Canadian Press

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- The latest Canadian casualty of the Afghan insurgency began his final journey home Monday following an evening ceremony at an airfield that has seen all too many such services.

Soldiers and civilians turned out on en masse as the casket of Cpl. Martin Dube was loaded onto a transport plane at the Kandahar Airfield.

"In his desire to make a difference, he gave his life suddenly, without warning," Padre Bastien Leclerc told the crowd assembled on the tarmac.

"We will all miss his infectious smile, his determination, and his will to make this part of the world a better place to live."

Dube, 35, was killed Sunday when one of two roadside bombs hidden in a culvert that he was trying to defuse exploded.

An Afghan police officer was also killed and an interpreter injured.

Dube, a combat engineer, is the 120th Canadian soldier to die on the Afghan mission, the second in a week.

Let us never forget him. May he Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pte. Alexandre Peloquin

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- A 20-year-old Canadian soldier was killed Monday morning on a foot patrol when an explosive device detonated southwest of Kandahar City.

Pte. Alexandre Peloquin, based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier near Quebec City, arrived in Afghanistan for his first tour of duty only six weeks ago.

Let us never forget. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day; The Benchmark for an Afghan War Veteran

Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure: D-Day; The Benchmark

The Canadians at Normandy

On D-Day, 6 June, 1944, 65 years ago today, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed on Juno Beach. They sailed in under cover of darkness to smash down the walls of "Fortress Europe" and together with the British and American forces invaded the Normandy coast of Nazi-occupied France.

Juno was the codename for the beach assigned to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, right in the middle of the British sector, between Gold to the west and Sword to the east. Juno Beach is 7km long and was then located between the villages of Graye-sur-Mer and St-Aubin-sur-Mer.

The Canadian assault troops stormed ashore in the face of fierce opposition from German strongholds and mined beach obstacles. The coast in this area was defended by elements of the 726th and 736th regiments and was filled with numerous concrete bunkers forming a thin defensive line. Along the beach, the gaps between the pillboxes were filled with rows of wooden obstacle posts, wood or concrete tetrahedrons and metallic gates driven into the sand facing the sea.

The soldiers raced across the wide-open beaches swept with machine gun fire, and stormed the gun positions. In fierce hand-to-hand fighting, they fought their way into the towns of Bernières, Courseulles and St. Aubin and then advanced inland, securing a critical bridgehead for the allied invasion.

Once in possession of the German strongholds, the Canadian troops began to clear the various resistance nests before pushing inland. The villages of Graye sur Mer, Courseulles and Bernières were captured in the morning but the St Aubin strong point resisted until late afternoon. John Keegan, eminent British historian, author of Six Armies in Normandy, stated “The opposition the Canadians faced was stronger than that of any other beach save Omaha. That was an accomplishment in which the whole nation could take considerable pride.”

Fourteen thousand young Canadians stormed Juno Beach on D-Day. Their courage, determination and self-sacrifice were the immediate reasons for the success in those critical hours. The fighting they endured was fierce and frightening. The price they paid was high - the battles for the beachhead cost 340 Canadian lives and another 574 wounded.

The freedoms we enjoy today came at a tremendous cost. Let us never forget their sacrifice. God bless them all.

More D-Day posts. I apologize that you will have to cut and paste but Blogger no longer creates hyperlinks for me:

Friday, June 05, 2009


A Canadian Army Newsreel depicts the D-Day lead-up, the landing and the march for Paris. For more information about Canadians on D-Day, visit the following page: