Who runs the war effort...
It is a toss-up who actually runs the war effort: the White House, the Generals, the liberals, the media and/or the special interests. They all claim credit for shaping the domestic and foreign battlefields. While good soldiers die!
Ignoring the prime directive...
The purpose of military action is to force the leadership of the opposing force to surrender or negotiate; but in all cases, cease hostilities toward our nation and its warrior/representatives. To do this, they break things and kill people. Collateral damage is to be expected and is often helpful in forcing the leadership to take action sooner rather than later.
What is different about this conflict?
One, it is not a declared war. Congress and the American people are deeply divided about the need to pursue action abroad. Like in the Vietnam war, we are on the verge of defeating ourselves -- all to make a partisan political point.
Two, the enemy combatants and their leaders are not conventional soldiers or leaders. True enough about the religious zealots who believe that martyrdom for the cause is the highest calling in this life and that it assures you of a pleasant afterlife. They do not fear death -- and in many cases, welcome it ... especially if they can take their enemies with them.
Three, the methods of pursuing their objective are asymmetrical which is policy-wonk-speak for they don't play by the rules and will do everything in their power to win. No tight battle plans here -- it's full-tilt boogey to kill the enemy.
Four, our leaders seem more concerned with their political future and standing within the media than they do the troops under their command. This is very hard to believe, but after viewing the actions of our past few presidents, Ronald Reagan excepted, it appears that war is more about politics and managing the media than it is decimating the enemy.
Five, our civilian leadership appears to be micro-managing war operations, sometimes in direct contravention of expert opinion. No surprise here. Imagine someone not ordering a hit on a wanted leader because there were some civilians in the way? Sad, but true.
Six, to prevent undue negative attention in the media, our leaders often create and support "rules of engagement" that may render our fighting troops significantly less lethal and more impotent than the enemy as the goal is often to reduce collateral damage rather than kill the enemy and their support network.
Seven, special interests have corrupted many members of military's leadership who are expecting post-duty positions with vendors who business with the government. There is no shortage of ineffective weapons or weapons systems. One major military contractor couldn't even deliver a high-tech fence to be used under civilian conditions as they continued to pitch their high-tech wares to the military. Software problem, my butt. In my opinion it was a purposeful "design failure" that aided Administration policies.
Which brings us to weapons and weapons systems which are less than effective...
According to the Associated Press...
"US uses bullets ill-suited for new ways of war"
"As Sgt. Joe Higgins patrolled the streets of Saba al-Bor, a tough town north of Baghdad, he was armed with bullets that had a lot more firepower than those of his 4th Infantry Division buddies."
"As an Army sniper, Higgins was one of the select few toting an M14. The long-barreled rifle, an imposing weapon built for wars long past, spits out bullets larger and more deadly than the rounds that fit into the M4 carbines and M16 rifles that most soldiers carry."
"'Having a heavy cartridge in an urban environment like that was definitely a good choice,' says Higgins, who did two tours in Iraq and left the service last year. 'It just has more stopping power.'"
It's more than bullets, it is the provisioning of soldiers with reliable and effective weapons...
"Strange as it sounds, nearly seven years into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bullets are a controversial subject for the U.S."
It's not strange, it appears to be business as usual. We know what works and what doesn't. So, in my opinion, it must be a joint political-military-vendor decision rather than a coincidence.
"The smaller, steel-penetrating M855 rounds continue to be a weak spot in the American arsenal. They are not lethal enough to bring down an enemy decisively, and that puts troops at risk, according to Associated Press interviews."
In 2006, the Army asked a private research organization to survey 2,600 soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly one-fifth of those who used the M4 and M16 rifles wanted larger caliber bullets.
Can we trust the officials?
"Yet the Army is not changing. The answer is better aim, not bigger bullets, officials say."
"'If you hit a guy in the right spot, it doesn't matter what you shoot him with,' said Maj. Thomas Henthorn, chief of the small arms division at Fort Benning, Ga., home to the Army's infantry school."
True enough, but the real question is how many times will an enemy combatant offer to place themselves in the perfect posture for a kill shot?
It's not the money ...
"At about 33 cents each, bullets do not get a lot of public attention in Washington, where the size of the debate is usually measured by how much a piece of equipment costs. But billions of M855 rounds have been produced, and Congress is preparing to pay for many more. The defense request for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 seeks $88 million for 267 million M855s, each one about the size of a AAA battery."
Rest assured that it is not about safeguarding the taxpayer's funds. As large as it sounds to the average person, 88 million dollars is chump change in the realm of weapons systems. The F-22 Raptor costs about $339 MILLION each. A single B-2 bomber costs about $2.2 BILLION. And we pick up the costs for the design, testing, manufacturing facilities, wining, dining and all of the overhead expenses including toilet paper. To be noted, the government doesn't just order one or two at a time.
"None of the M855's shortcomings is surprising, said Don Alexander, a retired Army chief warrant officer with combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia."
"'The bullet does exactly what it was designed to do. It just doesn't do very well at close ranges against smaller-statured people that are lightly equipped and clothed,' says Alexander, who spent most of his 26-year military career with the 5th Special Forces Group."
"Dr. Martin Fackler, a former combat surgeon and a leading authority on bullet injuries, said the problem is the gun, not the bullet. The M4 rifle has a 14.5 inch barrel — too short to create the velocity needed for an M855 bullet to do maximum damage to the body."
So do some fancy reloading to +P+ rounds. For the uninitiated, this is the designation for "overpressure ammunition" which produces a higher-velocity round with greater lethality.
"'The faster a bullet hits the tissue, the more it's going to fragment,' says Fackler. 'Bullets that go faster cause more damage. It's that simple.'"
Rules of war: an oxymoron for all time...
"Rules of war limit the type of ammunition conventional military units can shoot. The Hague Convention of 1899 bars hollow point bullets that expand in the body and cause injuries that someone is less likely to survive. The United States was not a party to that agreement. Yet, as most countries do, it adheres to the treaty, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross."
In war, there is ONLY and ONLY one rule: kill or be killed. Nothing else matters. Winning is the only acceptable outcome. Unfortunately, our civilian leadership believes that it is often better to wound, than kill, as it ties up the enemy with dealing with casualties. Which is all well and fine if we were fighting a compassionate enemy such as ourselves. But, alas, we are fighting an enemy that has been steeped in the "culture of death," where martyrdom for the cause is a gloriously rewarding religious act and that anything less than killing your enemy is religiously intolerable. And by enemy we believe ALL non-believers: men, women and children! These are not honorable men -- their religion allows them to lie, cheat and steal in order to accomplish their mission. Rules -- they only have one: kill the enemy, the more the merrier it will be in the afterlife.
The police are better equipped...
"The Hague restrictions do not apply to law enforcement agencies, however. Ballistics expert Gary Roberts said that is an inconsistency that needs to be remedied, particularly at a time when so many other types of destructive ordnance are allowed in combat."
"'It is time to update this antiquated idea and allow U.S. military personnel to use the same proven ammunition,' Roberts says."
It doesn't take a military genius or commander to simply designate everybody with a secondary MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) of law enforcement officer. Problem solved. Just as the Secondary MOS for each and every Marine, no matter his primary speciality, is rifleman.
Looking for an easy way out...
"In response to complaints from troops about the M855, the Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey assigned a team of soldiers, scientists, doctors and engineers to examine the round's effectiveness. The team's findings, announced in May 2006, concluded there were no commercially available rounds of similar size better than the M855."
This is not an answer. It is a political decision. If there are no acceptable rounds, return to the older, more effective .308 caliber rifles. For those really interested in the M855 situation, check the section following Reference Links.
Political correctness gone amok...
"But Anthony Milavic, a retired Marine Corps major, said the Army buried the study's most important conclusion: that larger-caliber bullets are more potent."
"'It was manipulated,' says Milavic, a Vietnam veteran who manages an online military affairs forum called MILINET. 'Everybody knows there are bullets out there that are better.'"
Are they talking about women in combat?
"Heavier rounds also mean more weight for soldiers to carry, as well as more recoil — the backward kick created when a round is fired. That long has been a serious issue for the military, which has troops of varied size and strength."
Is it possible that the standards for a combat infantryman have been reduced over the years or that his modern equipment is some type of computer-modeled tradeoff between soldier safety and lethal effectiveness?
"The M14 rifle used by Joe Higgins was once destined to be the weapon of choice for all U.S. military personnel. When switched to the automatic fire mode, the M14 could shoot several hundred rounds a minute. But most soldiers could not control the gun, and in the mid-1960s it gave way to the M16 and its smaller cartridge. The few remaining M14s are used by snipers and marksman."
"U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., is buying a carbine called the SCAR Heavy for its commandos, and it shoots the same round as the M14. The regular Army, though, has invested heavily in M4 and M16 rifles and has no plans to get rid of them."
Perhaps that is symptomatic of the new political and military leadership -- they are slow to admit errors and will do almost anything to cover up a mistake?
"A change in expectations is needed more than a change in gear, said Col. Robert Radcliffe, chief of combat developments at Fort Benning. Soldiers go through training believing that simply hitting a part of their target is enough to kill it. On a training range, getting close to the bulls-eye counts. But in actual combat, nicking the edges isn't enough."
If this is true, someone deserves to be fired; starting with the Colonel with his head up his six. We have known the truth about the use of weapons in hostile environments and in asymmetrical warfare situations since Vietnam where the enemy was smaller in stature and lighter clothed. Is this Colonel to be believed? That no gunny sergeant or chief petty officer gave his men a "no shitter" lesson on what can be expected in combat as well as in weapon performance?
"'Where you hit is essential to the equation,' Radcliffe says. 'I think the expectations are a little bit off in terms of combat performance against target range performance. And part of that is our fault for allowing that expectation to grow when it's really not there at all.'
"The arguments over larger calibers, Radcliffe says, are normal in military circles where emotions over guns and bullets can run high."
"'One of the things I've discovered in guns is that damned near everyone is an expert,' he says. 'And they all have opinions.'"
Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that the Colonel is merely reflecting the position of his superiors and, in all likelihood, would not provide the media with a true situation report without compromising his career.
The strength of military leadership and performance lies in its noncoms: non-commissioned officers...
Screw the Colonels -- ask the sergeants and chiefs about what really works. The guys on the ground that make it happen. Don't ask range rabbits or the customized weaponry crowd what works. Ask the ordinary guy who works in the field.
Get some old farts like Ollie North, Dale Dye or Richard Marcinko to do your market research and then listen to what they have to say. I am sure that you will be surprised at the difference between the official line and what is needed in the field.
Where are we headed?
With the sole exception of Ronald Reagan, I have serious doubts about the leadership abilities and competence of our government. While it could be that politics and the special interests have so permeated the government that its institutions are crippled and no longer able to function effectively, it could also be that our elected leaders are a mirror of the wants and needs of an increasingly dysfunctional public. A public which feeds on superficial media events and demands instant gratification. A public which has lost their "unified sense of patriotism" in favor of "feel good" policies promoted by the far-left liberals; all with a purpose of driving us toward a more Marxist environment in which the people increasingly look to the government for support with their daily activities. Perhaps the bureaucracy has reached a critical, self-sustaining mass, where its blind ambition is to feed off the work of ordinary citizens. To exert even greater control over the population while simultaneously raising tax revenues. Even to the point of ignoring science and pursuing specious schemes which will not produce results for hundreds of years after we are all dead.
What can YOU do?
It is now time to put aside the partisan differences which have been carefully crafted by the politicians, special interests and the media in favor of returning the functioning of the United States to politicians who want nothing more than to enlarge upon the glory that is the United States.
It is time you clip articles about problems in the military and send them to your elected officials. Ask them for an answer. Inform them that your next letter will be to the media. Put pressure on our politicians to do right by our soldiers.
As I write this, I cannot help think about what Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would do to our military if elected. Clinton's husband did everything in his power to weaken both our military and intelligence agencies. Obama seems more interested in playing diplomatic games in the Zbigniew Brzezinski-Madeleine Albright style with our enemies than he does looking at the situation through the eyes of a Commander-in-Chief. While McCain may not be what I want as a Reagan-style conservative, I have no doubts that he will stand up and defend America to the gates of hell if necessary.
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.
Quote of the day: "
We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." -- Anais Nin
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
Could it be that the vendor is delivering inadequate rounds and that the military has inadequate testing?
The true test of any bullet is if domestic gurus would voluntarily recommend the round as a choice for self-defense among all of the other choices available.
Let's see what the experts say:
"The well-documented performance of the M855 as a fragmenting bullet in the diagrams above is an exception; the fragmentation contributes significantly to its performance. Please refer to the Ammo FAQ for further discussion. You will note that M193/M855 are NOT on the recommended list below. While these are not bad bullets, you will note that they are subject to large variations in neck length (distance the bullet penetrates before fragmenting); this variability is not desirable. In case of the short neck length, it is indeed an effective bullet. When 855 doesn't begin to fragment until 8"+, it will not be very effective on front torso shots and thin individuals; this explains the dissatisfaction of US combat troops with M855 in some cases."
"While the M855-type ammunition generally meets performance requirements, there have been quite a few reports in inadequate fragmentation. Please remember that this is military ammo, and while the fragmenting properties are well documented and understood, there is no requirement for the bullet to fragment when being tested for acceptance. There can be significant variations in constructions which could make some lots perform much worse than others. For this reason, it is not on the list.
What? The military apparently does not test the very property that gives the round its effectiveness? This is hard to believe -- unless there is a known problem and cover-up in procurement procedures.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS