Skip to comments.Stunning Letter: Infantry Colonel Communiqué to Secretary of the Army (Incompetence in Afghanistan)
Posted on 10/13/2012 1:53:44 PM PDT by Timber Rattler
This is the most stunning and forceful letter I have read from the Afghanistan war. It was written in 2010 from Afghanistan by Colonel Harry Tunnell, the Brigade Commander of 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
After this letter, Colonel Tunnell was investigated and the normal smear campaign unfolded. Having been embedded with his Brigade in 2010, it became obvious that they were put into a no-win situation, with troops spread over several provinces in Afghanistan.
(Excerpt) Read more at michaelyon-online.com ...
posted multiple times already, and, while some good points are made, there is far more to this story
And this (former) commander of the Stryker Brigade should know. Hence, his letter to the Secretary of the Army, which was supposedly sent under an "open door" policy but yet he was attacked and punished because of it.
We have a muslim in the White House, and useful idiots supporting him, thereby enabling our men and women in uniform to be killed.
Well, the rot has obviously extended much deeper into the Pentagon, which is more concerned with COIN, political correctness, and the feelings of the enemy, rather than winning the war.
No, he wasn't. You saying this shows how untrustworthy a source the article is.
It says "Open Door Policy" in the letter's subject line, for crying out loud.
Yes. I also consider Michael Yon to be an untrustworthy source.
I also know the story behind COL Tunnell's command of 5-2 SBCT since I was on his Brigade staff in Afghanistan, and I was there for the subsequent change of command and 180-degree change that had to be made to that screwed-up unit.
No wonder we're losing in Afghanistan.
I will spell it out for you.
You don’t know what you’re talking about.
I hope that’s clear enough.
Refute the letter then, General Know-It-All.
Having talked to Future Snake eater in the past...knowing what he has done under the call of duty...and being an E-8...and a fellow comrade in arms...I ask you:
What is your combat experience? Where have you served? What is your expertise? Did you serve with the Strykers?
'Cause from where I sit...I see a guy who served with the Col in question...and I've known PLENTY of screwed up COL's who tried to say their problem was HQ...when it was them...and I also see a guy (that's you) calling someone a know-it-all when he himself seems to act like HE knows something other than what a letter says...like he has experience.
So...maybe YOU should elaborate...
Already did, but you don’t know how to use the search feature, so you missed the post. As I stated earlier, Tunnell makes some valid points in the letter, but it’s little more than justification for his failure as a commander. Yon’s “analysis” that this letter led to Tunnell being “smeared” is laughable and shows just how far he’s fallen.
I honestly don’t care what you think about me, but I don’t want people to think that this article was written by anything other than people with a rucksack full of axes to grind (Tunnell) or a “reporter” who doesn’t do the slightest due diligence on his stories (Yon).
Well, I guess that makes you both part of the problem then.
From 15-g in the letter, “The most frequently ignored fact is that the average farmer in southern Afghanistan will appreciate far more what Mullah Omar is proposing than what we are with COIN...”
What I’ve been saying all along. Starting under the Bush adminstration, the policy there was determined by a bunch of policy wonks with a western worldview and no ability or inclination to understand or take seriously those who don’t share it. It’s only gotten worse under the Obama adminstration, who have added even more political correctness. Unless we completely change our goals, strategey and tactics we will lose, and may as well get out ASAP.
Any veteran freeper knows that the search function sucks balls, and you can't search for a article you don't know exists. So, why don't you re-post your brilliant rebuttal? Please include the reasons for your slander of Yon. I'm sure it will be a surprise to many here.
Interesting read for AQ tacticians visiting FR.
One of the truly great things about FR, is that the place is full of people who have in depth knowledge and personal experience about almost every topic under discussion. Of course, this feature is of no use if someone launches into a discussion with a very limited understanding of the topic and cannot recognize when other posters are gently trying to point out that they might want to become better informed on a particular topic.
Future Snake Eater has tried to do this with this discussion. If you had followed the numerous posts on this topic and followed the comments, you would understand that he knows what he is talking about. I checked with other members of this brigade and they verified FSE’s account. It all matched with the rumors that I had heard, but its always dangerous to spread what you hear from the rumor mill.
Tunnell makes many valid points about our strategic, operational, and tactical approach in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the command climate that he established in this brigade negated every good idea that he had about how to fight this war. As for Yon, the days of his outstanding reporting from the ocmbat zone are long gone, he’s just recycling old grudges in hopes of pulling in a little income to support his bizarre lifestyle in Bangkok.
As you gain experience here on FR, you will hopefully learn how to sort the knowledgeable and insightful posts from the nonsense of those who believe everything they see on the internet. Listen, read, learn. Good luck to you.
I typed in "Stunning Letter" under "Title" and it came right up. Weird.
No need to be a smart ass. Now that I know the name of the article, I can look for it myself.
11years......2000 dead Soldiers.......11 years.......billions of taxpayer dollars....Where is our victory? We can’t beat a bunch of goat herders in 11 years? I can respect someone’s service and disagree with their thinking. We’ve been 11 years in Afghanistan with no victory in sight. Please argue with me and show how that is success. This Colonel is somehow bad because he trained his Soldiers too hard? So now victory is defined by how happy the troops are? Bullshit. Creighton Abrams was also viewed as being too hard on his troops in WWII. The troops thanked him after the war. There’s a bad case of groupthink going on in the Army and it has got to stop. These goat herders can’t do much to us in the states, but we have other enemies who look at us floundering around in Afghanistan and maybe that emboldens them. The first thing a Soldier is taught is obedience. The first thing an American is taught is to question authority to make sure things are done right. 11 years in Afghanistan......2000 dead Soldiers.......billions of dollars of hard-earned US taxpayer money......for what? So admirals and generals can draw a good retirement? No Sir. There needs to be some good old-fashioned boots put up people’s asses for this. Nelson told his subordinates that they could never go wrong if they placed their ship beside the enemy to fight it out. If this Colonel focused on going after the enemy, then he should be a General.
Such asinine statements vastly oversimplify the situation. You've already shown yourself to be completely ignorant of the situation on the ground over there.
Creighton Abrams was also viewed as being too hard on his troops in WWII. The troops thanked him after the war.
Good for Abrams. If this was WWII, then that would mean something.
Nelson told his subordinates that they could never go wrong if they placed their ship beside the enemy to fight it out.
You insist on making these conventional war similes. Why?
You are trying to change the argument. I distinctly said that his letter contains many valid points. Don’t look to me to defend our political approach to the war in Afghanistan. Within the context of the political approach to our wars of the past 10 years, the Stryker Brigades have been a shining example of success. In my view, the Stryker vehicle was but a small part of this success. Their training, organization, and leadership stood out in comparison with other units. Except for this brigade. It was dysfunctional and it had to do with the command climate issues that all pointed by to Tunnell. Did you know Creighton Abrams? I did. I believe that Abrams would have relieved Tunnell and it would have had nothing to do with how hard they trained.
11 years......2000 dead Soldiers.....billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars for nothing. Nothing. Would you pay garbagemen who couldn’t haul off garbage in 11 years? Why are we paying admirals and generals who can’t win in 11 years? I think that we have some wonderful Enlisted Men and young Officers. Too many of them are in cold graves. If these admirals and generals can’t win, then they need to get the hell out. These admirals and generals are using their subordinate’s respect for rank to cover up their incompetence. If you knew Abe Abrams, then what would he have said about fighting for 11 years with no victory. What would MG Shirley Wood have said about it? I’m no peacenik. But I love our Soldiers and this war is dicked up. The Army is not some club started to build collegiality. It’s here to fight and win our wars. 11 years. 11 years.
11 years......2000 dead Soldiers.......billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars spent.......for what? Let me give you the straight shit .....the Army exists to fight and win our wars. Are we winning? Do we have victory after 11 years of fighting? You can build all the schools you want to in Afghanistan and what is taught when they blow up? That the enemy can blow them up. That’s what’s taught. Why do I bring up conventional wars? 11 years.....2000 dead Soldiers.....billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars spent that could have been used elsewhere. We’ve tried the SOF stuff and it hasn’t worked. God bless our SOF warriors, but it’s time to do something else. Our performance in Afghanistan emboldens our enemies. You show me those Afghan people hanging Taliban heads at the front of their villages, and then I’ll think we’re winning. 11 years.....11 years.
Correction: Quite a few not very bright freepers think that the search function sucks balls(sic). The search engine helps locate articles that one doesn't know exists provided your IQ is greater than room temperature.
One toggle of the post button is enough.
I really have no idea what you’re trying to say here. We never should have attacked Afghanistan? We should have pursued a policy of annihilation in Afghanistan?
I tell you what, let’s make this more akin to reality instead of pseudo-intellectual ramblings. Let’s make you a light infantry Battalion Commander and give you part of a city (I won’t even give you a massive, spread out, mountainous rural area). Let’s say southern Kandahar. Now, what do you do to fight and win the war?
We’re behind 3 to 0 and the two minute warning just sounded. This one is going to go into the record books as a loss unless somebody picks up the ball. Two thousand Soldiers have died. Did they die for a loss? Goddamn, this fighting and killing and dieing is a hard thing. It can really affect a career. It ended 2000 Soldier’s lives. The Army and this country are trying to cruise through this war. This is not acceptable. We need people who can build units that will fight, win and survive. If our admirals and generals can’t do that then maybe they should get out and sell life insurance. Somebody has got to get pissed off! Everybody has got to get pissed off! 2000 dead and we’re going to lose? Find a way to win! I don’t care about excuses. Win!
I’m beginning to suspect that he wasn’t with us when we hit Macho Grando and lost the entire squadron. We just shouldn’t have come in from the north, at 1800.
Zachary Taylor said it best: remember the “Old Guard” of the Army..
I’ll never forget that bombing raid at Daiquiri. But at least we won one for the Zipper.
I’m just an old female and not an expert on any of this. An old ex-cop that knows you shoot the damned enemy, trounce them into the grand and get rid of their sorry ass, or haul them off to jail. Frankly I think the fact that there are the many in our current military in high and low positions that suck too many balls...and that went in to get their GI bill and and just have a job.
When your military is being used for political purposes instead of getting a job done...it becomes a perverted mess, just like any other part of the monster that has become our federal government. Send our soldier to do a job, get the job done, and bring them home! And stop pussy footing around with people that aren’t worth trying to save!!! Replacing Islam with Islam does nothing but begat the same damned thing! Barbarianism! Let them kill each other off!!! Get out of their way!
When Ryan was talking about Afhanistan at the debate, wished he would have mentioned ROE under Obama and watch Biden eat a crap sandwich....
What do you suggest? Forced conversion to Christianity? Brainwashing classes about Jeffersonian democracy? Or just simple annihilation?
As usual, the problem and the answer are vastly more complex than the keyboard commandos would have us believe.
I realize that you say you have more knowledge of the real situation, than most of us do. But the facts are that as I see it you are the one being the keyboard commando.
Tell me, sir, for what purpose are we in Afghanistan now, training the next round of terrorists on the taxpayer dollar? How is that a win/win situation for Americans? Our soldiers aren’t even allowed to shoot back and they’re dying like turkeys in a turkey shoot over there. What kind of sense is that making to the grand dames running the Pentagon? Since you’re so much more knowledgeable than I am?
Uh-huh. Your opinion is duly noted.
Tell me, sir, for what purpose are we in Afghanistan now, training the next round of terrorists on the taxpayer dollar?
Couldn't tell you. Mission creep has set in, as has the inevitable clusterf*ck of managing a NATO operation. Iraq was multinational-in-name-only (apart from the Brits). In Afghanistan, NATO is king, and it's a PITA to deal with. I can't imagine how we ever planned to halt the Soviet hordes with it.
How is that a win/win situation for Americans?
When you kill them there, they don't come over here. Small comfort, but there it is.
Our soldiers arent even allowed to shoot back and theyre dying like turkeys in a turkey shoot over there.
Bullshit on both counts. Your lack of tactical knowledge definitely gives you away here.
What kind of sense is that making to the grand dames running the Pentagon?
True believers and career-protectors alike have a vested interest in fighting it out over there, but in the end it will be futile for a variety of reasons.
“Couldn’t tell you. Mission creep has set in...” Okie dokie, sure, clear as mud...
“When you kill them there, they don’t come over here. Small comfort, but there it is...” Okie dokie, but we’re training them, not killing them.
“Bullshit on both counts. Your lack of tactical knowledge definitely gives you away here.” Okie dokie, I guess those body bags coming back to the US abut 9 at the time, are just plastic bags fulla garbage?
“True believers and career-protectors alike have a vested interest in fighting it out over there, but in the end it will be futile for a variety of reasons.” Okie dokie, but that was rather the point I was making myself. Somehow I didn’t make it clear enough, I guess.
Thanks for your response, it cleared every thing up so marvelously. Rock on.
I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you. Your attempts to belittle anything I say with flippant language has about the same effect as Biden had on Ryan.
If you truly possess the ability to walk into a village or city and instantly determine who we need to kill, then you need to sign up immediately—we could use you.
Bkmarked for ROE status. God help and save our good men and women, God bless all.
The point is you didn’t get my point. And I don’t respond well to condescending BS be it male or female.
I don’t think we should be there trying to kill anybody. I think we should get out, and let them duke it all out themselves, if there’s going to be killings. Our soldiers are our great assets. Both as a country and to their families. And again, I question the grande dames of the Pentagon that are allowing this.
I understand that there is not a darned thing I can do about it but express an opinion. And I do recognize a keyboard commando when I see one.
Again, thanks for responding. Now I’m done.
OK, so what should our response to 9/11/01 have been? Nuclear strikes? Air campaign a la Kosovo? Economic sanctions? Nothing at all?
I think we should get out, and let them duke it all out themselves, if theres going to be killings.
They're going to come after us again. It's only a matter of time.
Our soldiers are our great assets. Both as a country and to their families.
They are. Service members are trained to do a particular job, though. You sound like you want to spend a lot of money on a military we never use. That's not going to work. There has to a purpose for the expenditure, otherwise it'll evaporate completely.
And again, I question the grande dames of the Pentagon that are allowing this.
COIN is very complex. Afghanistan is very complex. There really is no in-between: you either pursue annihilation, or you try to rebuild the nation in your image while slapping down bad guys as you find them. The latter is very, very difficult and time-consuming. Involving the NATO construct has made it even worse, but that's just how it is over there, and we can thank Bush for it.
And I do recognize a keyboard commando when I see one.
I'm pretty sure you have no idea what that term means.
“OK, so what should our response to 9/11/01 have been? Nuclear strikes? Air campaign a la Kosovo? Economic sanctions? Nothing at all?”
We should’ve done what we did. Go to Afghanistan after Osama, clean the terrorists out, negotiate a new government. And leave a few troops there to protect until a new government stabilizes. Which is what President Bush did. He took the soldiers out of the mountains and took them to the open deserts to fight them in Iraq since they were decamping through southern Afghanistan, across Iran, and into Iraq. How many did we take out in the open deserts in Iraq?
“They’re going to come after us again. It’s only a matter of time.”
Of course they are. They’re coming after us now. We have a weak-assed president who not only favors them, but has allowed them to re-strength because they know he won’t touch them. Not only in Afghanistan, but now in Iraq as well. How many actual terrorists have been taken out on this administration’s watch? Osama and 6,7, maybe 9? And we’re spending money like crazy? At the very least when President Bush was fighting this war we took 20-30,000 of the bastards out and made them stop and think about attacking us again. In fact, Osama and his collaborators had to go underground and hide out. And it’s still policies Bush put in place that are finding them while Obama spikes the ball fooling people into thinking he’s actually doing something.
“They are. Service members are trained to do a particular job, though. You sound like you want to spend a lot of money on a military we never use. That’s not going to work. There has to a purpose for the expenditure, otherwise it’ll evaporate completely.”
Apparently, you’re not old enough to remember one of our greatest presidents and saw him speak to and act on ‘peace through strength’. Armed us to the teeth and pointed them at the bad guys...said, do you want to talk peace now? And the old Soviets took the wall down, didn’t they? Not a shot fired. He also almost shot a missile up Gaddafi’s behind and settled him down nicely, didn’t he? ‘Peace through strength.’ A strong military and defense is always ‘worth it.’ And it should also be the PRIMARY function of the federal government. Now, even the old Soviets are rattling their cages at this weak-assed Islamofascist president.
“COIN is very complex. Afghanistan is very complex. There really is no in-between: you either pursue annihilation, or you try to rebuild the nation in your image while slapping down bad guys as you find them. The latter is very, very difficult and time-consuming. Involving the NATO construct has made it even worse, but that’s just how it is over there, and we can thank Bush for it.”
You’re trying to make it complex so as to keyboard warrior me. My point still is, we’re not trying to annihilate them and the ROE basically says you can’t do much slapping them down or even around. Especially since they hide out among the ‘oh so innocent’ citizens (sympathizers) and one might get hurted. We’re pussy-footing around over there training the next round of terrorists to our military strength on the taxpayers dime, not the Afghani’s dime. And the new government being established is still Islamofascism, nothings going to change. I have a nephew who did two tours in Afghanistan on training missions. They can’t turn their backs on them. Neither the trainees, or their families. After they’re trained, they can’t send them out on missions without escort. As soon as they do, they disappear into the mountains, weapons included. And on their way out, as it stands now, they off a few of our escorts or trainers as they hie out! You can’t explain how this is a win/win situation. I know you can’t figure out why I question the grand dames at the Pentagon. Yet they seem not to learn anything from the ten-year fiasco that Russia accomplished there. Do you even know who NATO is, and who leads it?
Now I’ve stated my opinion, it’s not going to change. And I’m done with this conversation we’re having. I don’t want and will not answer another of your spiels of keyboard warrioring. I see a bigger picture of this situation through the study of societies for the many many years. That doesn’t mean I’m a genius, it just means I’m looking. I realize I’m not one of the warriors fighting it, but there is a MUCH bigger picture here than just military operations.
God bless our soldiers. They’re certainly ‘worth it’ whether they’re actually fighting or not. They’re still standing between me and the bad guys from sea to shining sea!!! They are ever vigilant.
I really don't care what you want. You don't have the first clue what you're talking about. Not even a little. Let me help you by pointing out the ridiculous fallacies:
We shouldve done what we did. Go to Afghanistan after Osama, clean the terrorists out, negotiate a new government. And leave a few troops there to protect until a new government stabilizes.
How many actual terrorists have been taken out on this administrations watch? Osama and 6,7, maybe 9?
Apparently, youre not old enough to remember one of our greatest presidents and saw him speak to and act on peace through strength.
My point still is, were not trying to annihilate them and the ROE basically says you cant do much slapping them down or even around. Especially since they hide out among the oh so innocent citizens (sympathizers) and one might get hurted.
Your plan appears to be the following: massive air (possibly nuclear) bombardment of all major/minor population centers. Ground invasion to kill anyone/everyone who looks at us askance. We set up a government with whoever's left and wait around a few months to make sure they're not going totally caveman on us. We maintain a large, well-equipped (expensive) force that rarely, if ever, deploys to project force in support of U.S. interests b/c the Soviet Union is analogous with Islamic terrorist groups.
What you seem to think has happened thus far:
We had won over there (not true), things were stable (not true), the ROE is suffocating (true, but it's been like that for far longer than Obama's been around), and we've only killed the terrorists you've seen mentioned on TV.
A "keyboard commando," by the way, is someone who has never fought in actual war/combat, and thinks they can do it better by virtue of typing out their Master Plans on the internet. See, I am a combat veteran, and I've been to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I've seen the complexities up close and personal. I know it's nothing to you to mow down entire villages with machine guns, but I would never ask a Soldier to do such a heinous thing.
In short, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.