Startling Idea: Talk To The Troops, Not The Intel Geniuses

By | September 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff: We had no suspicion that the Afghan army and government would collapse not in months, not in weeks, but in 13 days.

Problems:
1. We relied on the same intelligence agencies – CIA, DIA, NSA – that failed to predict the fall of Berlin wall, failed to predict the collapse of Soviet Union, failed to predict 9/11, and failed to predict that Saddam had no nukes. And when they told us the Afghan army and government were reliable and would stand up, we believed them to the exclusion of alternate opinions.

2. Contrary to all accepted rules, we made no worst-case-scenario plans. Instead, we made only best-case-scenario plans. And when things went south, we relied on Taliban assurances that they would stay out of Kabul, so we could evacuate Americans and friendly Afghans from Kabul Airport at our leisure. That is, we committed the ultimate blunder: We relied on a plan that required the cooperation of the enemy.

To avoid these problems , you don’t need West Point. You don’t need the Army War College. You don’t need stars on your shoulders, much less four stars. You don’t need a large office in the Pentagon. All you need is a shred of common sense, and a few chevrons on your sleeve. Too bad no one like that was consulted.

Maybe, just once in a while, the big shots should actually talk to the troops. Who knows what they might learn? They might even learn enough to avoid unmitigated disasters, unnecessary humiliations, and needless deaths.

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