Update on SFC Walter Taylor

Saw this update on SFC Taylor’s case yesterday and decided to add it to my page as well.   From the LA Times: Court-martial decision postponed for soldier in Afghan shooting.   His Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a Grand Jury, was held last week and now the case in in the hands of the reviewing officer.   She will review the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing and then make a recommendation to Taylor’s Brigade commander who will endorse that recommendation or not and then send it to the JMTC commander in Graf who is the General Court Martial Convening Authority.   The JMTC commander makes the final decision on whether this case should go to trial or if Taylor should face, a lesser Court Martial, administrative punishment, or even no further action.

All that being said, I would guess that at a minimum Taylor faces a Special Court Martial, probably a Special BCD.   The nature of what has been reported so far makes it clear that Taylor is being prosecute as an example to others.   Whether that is good military policy is besides the point, the army does stuff like this sometimes.   I will say that in my experience, if it does go to a Court Martial Taylor will get a fairer hearing than he would in a civilian court.   His CM Panel, the military version of a jury, will consist of people his grade or higher both officer and enlisted if he opts that, and he would be stupid not to.   The panel are people that understand the military and the pressures in combat.

I have no worries that if it goes to trial he will win.   The problem I have is that even if he wins, his career is now damaged because of the massive publicity surrounding the case.   That is something he cannot get away from.   It will also haunt him as he goes in front of a selection board for promotion.   The perception could be that he hurt the army and he could therefor later be denied promotion or even selected for elimination and the case could have nothing overt to do with it but it will always be there.   The army is a small place and institutional memory is long, especially about people who are perceived as tarnishing the Army Reputation.

Periodic World Craziness Update # 6

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Europe rocked by Spanish banking crisis, Time to Admit Defeat: Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit:  At the top of the news for a week or so was the impending meltdown of the Greek economy and Euro experiment. Greek euro exit looms as G8 gathers:  The question in my mind is not if Greece will leave the Euro, but when and what will be the wider consequences for the EU as a whole?  As I understand it, there is no mechanism for an EU country to exit the Euro without repudiating the EU treaty itself and also leaving the … More after the Jump…

A Travesty Calling for Action

In today’s edition of Stars and Stripes and the LA Times is an article about a combat engineer facing charges for actions he took in combat in Afghanistan last year.  The gist of the story is that the soldier involved shot an unarmed female in the middle of a firefight who was moving towards the rear of her vehicle.  The description of the incident from the article is here: His convoy was reeling from a roadside bomb, his fellow soldiers were engaged in combat with insurgents and a mysterious black car had just screeched to a stop in the middle of the firefight. Some nine minutes later, a black door opens. Second 1: A … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 5

The last month’s wackiness in the world of international relations and brinkmanship. Israel becomes a target in Egypt’s presidential vote:  Stories such as this highlight two things.  1. The true nature of the supposed Arab Spring of 2011 and the way Islamists are subverting an infant democratic process if one ever existed and… 2. Why Israel should be worried.  Even supposed moderate candidates gain political traction from demonizing Israel thus illustrating the level of mainstream support for what the west like to call extremists but who are actually not within an Arab context. Can Obama Safely Embrace Islamists?:  I don’t quite know what to think about this quote from the state department informant. “The war on terror … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 4

The latest installment of updates on the wackiness of Iran and the wider Muslim World.  I have also decided to change the title of this series and just make it a monthly installment, it will be an aggregation of what I consider the most relevant news pieces with my analysis and criticisms attached. George Kerchner and the Lessons of Afghanistan: This is not strictly about Iran and their idiocy but a good point is made about the lack of strategic focus of US and Western War Planning over the past decade. Obama Needs to Stay the Course in Afghanistan:  This article contains perhaps the most asinine sentence I have read regarding the deaths of our soldiers in a long time, perhaps … More after the Jump…

Honey or Salt?

There is an old adage that “you can catch more flies with honey than with salt.” The truth of that adage is being put to the test daily in Afghanistan and being to shown to be false under certain circumstances at least. ISAF is not winning currently, but they are not exactly losing either. At best from what I read, see, and hear ISAF is fighting a delaying action against the inevitable fall of the central government and rise of whatever Islamic extremist group bubbles up out of the morass of internal Afghan politics. I can almost guarantee it won´t be the Taliban, but probably someone very much like them. … More after the Jump…

Everyone should Read This

Truth, lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down LT. COL. Daniel L. Davis probably just ended his career by publishing the above linked article in the Armed Forces Journal. LTC Davis is calling out the administration and senior military leadership as liars in the reports they are publicly producing on the state of affairs in Afghanistan. I applaud LTC Davis for calling it like he sees it. Unfortunately, I don’t think anything will come of it except professional disgrace for an officer who is trying to stand up for what he believes in. No doubt, he tried to bring these issues up to his superiors and was … More after the Jump…

The Law of War and Citizenship

Obama lawyers: Citizens targeted if at war with US I have to say that I agree with this decision 100%, I actually can’t believe that the issue was raised seriously. There are actually at least three sets of laws operative in the world for Americans, 1. Regular American civil and criminal law, 2. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for military personnel, and 3. The International Laws of Land Warfare. I am no lawyer but I will take a stab at analyzing how this works and why I think the Administration’s decision is the correct one. As I understand it, as soon as someone places themselves in a state … More after the Jump…

How did the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan impact the Cold War?

As the period of détente during the 1970’s continued, the rapprochement between the Soviet Union and the United States seemed to intensify and promised to lessen tensions between the rival countries.   The invasion of Afghanistan and the imposition of a communist regime seemed to signal that the communists had not abandoned their dream of global conquest.   This caused the United States to renew their efforts to halt the communist expansion by supporting the Afghan rebels in their efforts to expel the Russians. After the Soviet invasion, progress towards furthering friendly relations between the west and Soviets halted and even moved backwards.   Ronald Reagan, the newly elected American … More after the Jump…

Cultural Sensitivity?

Is this Cultural Sensitivity or demeaning to American women? I for one, would refuse to leave the gate in one of these for simple safety reasons if nothing else. I doubt they are made out of Kevlar and seriously doubt they make the locals respect American women any more. The only thing that garners strength in Tribal societies is projecting strength, not adopting the wear of servitude. I also wonder if this photo is not photoshopped, it just does not look right to me. There is something about both the blond and black haired soldier that does not look right. I would almost swear that I have seen the blond … More after the Jump…

Are there similarities between the War in Vietnam and the War in Afghanistan? – Part 2

The last question that needs to be answered as concerns the parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam is why we are not pursuing a campaign of territorial conquest.   In Vietnam, the U.S. did not seek to gain and maintain control of territory; rather they sought to combat only the military forces of the insurgents.   That is why the now legendary “body count” was so important in Vietnam.   The same thing is not happening in Afghanistan, at least to the extent that the “body count” is important.   The metric I see being used to determine progress in Afghanistan in place of the “body count” is tracking how many attacks occur within delineated sectors of territory.   This metric is probably just as useless in determining victory or progress, as was the body count.   So many factors go into determining how many attacks occur in a given region that the actual number of attacks is meaningless.

More after the Jump…Are there similarities between the War in Vietnam and the War in Afghanistan? – Part 2

Are there similarities between the War in Vietnam and the War in Afghanistan? – Part 1

Comparisons of Afghanistan to Vietnam were common during the Bush years but have slowed down considerably since he left office.  Perhaps there are political reasons for this and perhaps there is just comparison fatigue, I am not really which.  I bring this up because I had a conversation about this at lunch the other day and it got me thinking about it.  From a purely military perspective, it strikes me that while the war in Afghanistan is not synonymous with the war in Vietnam there are some parallels that it is perhaps a comparison worth exploring.   The story that brought the topic up is here: U.S., Afghans hope to rout expected Taliban offensive.

More after the Jump…Are there similarities between the War in Vietnam and the War in Afghanistan? – Part 1