International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs/Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O'Donald
There are plenty of articles explaining the growing civil-military divide in America. Service members often feel civilians don’t understand them, and there’s plenty of truth to that – fewer than half of Americans report interacting with an active duty service member or spouse within the course of a year.
But the reverse is true too – service members are often so far removed from society they hardly understand civil society, either – a sentiment expressed best by a veteran of the Battle of Tarawa who said, “the longer you stay in uniform, the less you will really understand about the country you protect.”
Service members often have little connection to their communities, moving every few years and spending most of their time on military bases – self-contained cities in their own right. Worse yet, few service members pay state or local income taxes and fewer still vote in local elections in the communities which surround their bases. As a result, most service members are largely indifferent to municipal politics.
That ignorance carries over to Afghanistan, where American troops bear the burden of propping up the government of a war-torn society.
Case in point: the New York Timesreported that the NATO-led mission was withholding pay from the Afghan National Police in an attempt to deter high-ranking Afghan officials who pocket the money meant for police officers. That sort of draconian approach might work when you’re punishing soldiers – don’t clean the motor pool in time…fine, you’re staying late. But it’s not so good when you deal with government bureaucrats. When purse strings tighten, corrupt officials don’t cut bloat – they make the cuts very visible and very painful. For police departments, that means firing cops on the beat (not unlike how the Pentagon nixed flyovers back when sequestration kicked in).
As for NATO, it’s a tough lesson to learn. Desertion is already rampant among the Afghan Police, with nearly a quarter of the entire force quitting during 2015, and it’s likely recent events will only add to the ANP’s woes. Worse yet, former members of the Afghan security forces make prime targets for Taliban recruitment.
Seventeen years into this thing and we still have a lot to learn. Maybe the best place to start is here at home.
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.