Friday, November 26, 2010
The introduction of M1A1 tanks by the Marines in Helmand Province has generated some comments from the military bloggers. Read one article on this topic in "Is Armor Antithetical to Good COIN?", Small Wars Journal, November 26, 2010.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
A Special Forces officer with recent experience in Afghanistan writes a column providing insight on the utility of tanks in Afghanistan. The writer also served as the director for Afghanistan in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense and as an advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney on South Asia and counterterrorism.
"You ask us to stand up to the Talibs while you hide in your tanks from their bombs," one elderly Afghan man said incredulously as dozens of other wizened elders from the powerful Afghan Mangal tribe nodded in agreement. The group was sitting in a semicircle on an oversized rug in front of several bowls of dates and nuts in a concrete community building that doubled as a school, police station, and meeting hall. Most of the men had a mixture of shotguns, old British Enfield rifles, or AK-47s slung over their shoulders, and several were better equipped than the Afghan National Army soldiers who accompanied us. A number of the elders were also leaders of the Mangal's arbakai, or tribal militia, that protected tribal interests. They mostly stood stone-faced as their spokesman recounted a long history of the Mangal's support for the Afghan government and then chastised me for the Afghan Army and coalition's lack of support for his tribe and our lack of presence in his valley.The author delivers a resounding and convincing argument for less armor rather than more. If only our general officers could find the time to read the article and heed his advice. Read the rest of the article in "Tanks, But No Tanks", Foreign Policy, November 24, 2010.