As the war in Afghanistan escalates I find myself wondering what we have learned about fighting a war this day and age.
The complaint reigned loud and long in Iraq that our troops were ill equipped for the type of warfare they were encountering. Their body armor was inferior as was the armor on their vehicles. Our uniformed troops stood out like sore thumbs for the enemy to pick off then disappear into the countryside indistinguishable from the civilian population.
So we improved their body armor and reinforced their vehicles. However, the roadside attacks continue, IEDs are in plentiful supply and still the insurgents fade into the population - unless they blow themselves up in a suicide mission.
Now we are increasing troop strength in Afghanistan and better protecting our troops but to what end? They continue to be visible as a uniformed force and their increased protection has weighed them down to the point of decreased mobility.
Believing those who feel the war in Afghanistan is not one we can win, maybe we would do well to withdraw. It's the same old argument. We can't change the world. This long after the 9/11 attack would seem to make the capture of bin Laden academic. One, we still don't know where he is. Two, we don't even know if he is. He has plenty of advocates who will continue what he began whether he is still alive and at the helm or not.
Needless to say, I am anti-war. Especially when we continue to employ that which works in conventional warfare when the wars we are now engaged in are anything but. The new and improved body armor along with other required gear necessitates lugging an additional 80 pounds into combat. To add insult to injury, soldiers are becoming prone to orthopedic injuries. That circumstance can take them out of action all together. That may be good for the soldier but not so good for winning a war!
I found it interesting that these loads are equivalent to those worn into battle by medieval knights. Which force is most likely to succeed? Our troops burdened like the knight in the illustration or the fleet footed Robin Hood from the BBC series outpacing him? This is how it should be, Robin Hood, the good guy, winning. In reality it's just the opposite.
New armor, lighter in weight, is in the works. The trouble is it doesn't cover as much of the torso. Plus it won't be available for several years. So what are we supposed to do here? Will the enemy be sure to fire at the area known to be covered by the vest? Whew. This is wearing me out.
I've got a better idea. Another Dogwalk theory. Let's not wage war in the first place!