Thursday, April 26, 2012

Binocular Snapshot for 04/26/2012

US Soldier Killed by Afghan in Army Uniform

"An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against coalition service members in southern Afghanistan late yesterday, killing one service member," the Nato-led Isaf said in a statement Thursday."

Panjwai Blast Injures 3 Nato Soldiers

"A bomb blast Thursday in the Afghan district where a US soldier massacred 17 Afghan civilians last month has left three Nato soldiers with injuries, according to a local official, a Nato convoy hit a roadside bomb in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, injuring at least three of the soldiers in the vehicle, according to district police chief Sardar Mohammad."

Taliban Abduct 16 Police, Kill 4 in Badakhshan

"The Taliban abducted 16 Afghan policemen and killed four others in an attack on a checkpoint in the Warduj district of northern Badakshan province Wednesday night, 4 policemen were killed and two others were wounded when armed men attacked the checkpoint which sits on a key highway passing through the Faizabad district into Warduj, according to deputy provincial governor Shams ul-Rahman."

"Toolan noted that American forces can put artillery on target with amazing accuracy and, well, their Afghan counterparts can’t."

This is worrisome. Unlike technical intelligence, medical proficiency and special operations—all skills that take years of expensive training to master—

Putting rounds down range and on target is pretty basic stuff. The folks at Fort Sill, Oklahoma can take a private right out of basic training and turn him into a fully competent 13-Bravo cannon crewmember in five weeks, four days.

To be sure, graduates get additional training and increase their proficiency somewhat under the supervision of squad leaders once they get to their units. But only marginally so.

Putting steel on target is a platoon-level task, not a combined-arms operation requiring years and years of experience."

And what of Iraq?

"The interventionists have apparently learned to stop acknowledging the Iraq war, because their vague generalities about America's role in the world cannot survive a confrontation with a decade of costly, catastrophic intervention. Better to pretend the debacle never happened, even while ratcheting up the rhetoric about Syria and Iran."

It's a perfect distillation of how ideological and divorced from empiricism the neoconservative project has become."

Baghdad blasts kill 5, wound 27: sources

"A roadside bomb and a car bomb exploded in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday, killing 5 civilians and wounding 27 people, police and hospital sources said."

Iraq's Sadr in Kurdistan to mediate crisis

"Powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr arrived in Iraq's Kurdistan region on Thursday, presenting himself as a mediator in a crisis between Iraq's premier and the region's president.

Sadr then presented a list of 18 points that he wants to discuss with Kurdish leaders."