New Army handbook; stop making the “insiders” kill you

| December 11, 2012 | 17 Comments

Mr Wolf sends us a link to the Wall Street Journal which points it’s finger at the troops for causing those scores of “Green-on-Blue” attacks which have been so prevalent this year and have resulted in more than 10 percent of the battle deaths in Afghanistan.

American soldiers should brace for a “social-cultural shock” when meeting Afghan soldiers and avoid potentially fatal confrontations by steering clear of subjects including women’s rights, religion and Taliban misdeeds, according to a controversial draft of a military handbook being prepared for troops heading to the region.

The proposed Army handbook suggests that Western ignorance of Afghan culture, not Taliban infiltration, has helped drive the recent spike in deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces.

Many of the confrontations occur because of [coalition] ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms, resulting in a violent reaction from the [Afghan security force] member,” according to the draft handbook prepared by Army researchers.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that you folks over there have nothing else to do but discuss women’s rights with our supposed allies. Apparently, not everyone in the command structure agrees with the 75-page scolding;

[The Field manual] has drawn criticism from U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan, who aides said hasn’t—and wouldn’t—endorse the manual as written. Gen. Allen also rejected a proposed foreword that Army officials drafted in his name.

“Gen. Allen did not author, nor does he intend to provide, a foreword,” said Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. “He does not approve of its contents.”

Gen. Allen hadn’t seen the proposed foreword until a portion of the handbook was called to his attention by the Journal, Col. Collins said. Military officials wouldn’t spell out his precise objections.

Big Army as the State Department. It seems to me that they’d take the advice of the commander on the ground instead of peddling the current line from the civilians. We’ve already had the Sergeant Major of the Army, Ray Chandler and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs scolding gatherings of the troops for being culturally insensitive, so this FM is giving them cover for their irrational blather.

Even the Afghan government concedes that most of the attacks were committed by Taliban infiltrators, but Big Army, those folks who fly into Afghanistan for a day and then fly out, would rather blame the troops.

Category: Big Army, Terror War

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  1. Chip@NASA says:

    G.T.F.O.
    Done
    Book it.
    Get on the aircraft and LEAVE!

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    “Military officials wouldn’t spell out his precise objections.”

    Translation: Fuck no! I won’t put my name on that shit! Those asshole desk jockeys need to spend some time in this part of the world up close and personal with IEDs and AK-wielding jihadists.

  3. Chip@NASA says:

    Is this like grabbing your little brother’s arm and hitting him with his own fist? “Stop Hitting YOURSELF!” “Stop Hitting YOURSELF!” {;-D

  4. Redacted1775 says:

    “social-cultural shock”–That’s putting it mildly.

  5. Lucky says:

    Ohhhh my heavens no! What would those of us who’ve been outside the wire over there possibly know that the brass who never leave the Pentagon for more than two days don’t? Golly gee, I hope it’s not my memorial tattoos to fallen comrades that pisses them off! Because we all know, it’s those evil tattoos that make great troops instant scumbags! It couldn’t possibly be that Soldiers are winning the fight for the hearts and minds, so the Talibs have turned to insider attacks in an effort to lose us the war at home, by making the public think it’s everyday afghans doing the killings! Heavens no! Won’t somebody think of the children!!! I hope everyone can sense the sarcasm positively dripping from this post lol

  6. Jumpmaster! says:

    I’m a retired Army NCO but I side with General Allen on this one. SMA Chandler is a Chairborne Ranger whose primary focus seems to be finding fault with our soldiers.

  7. Lucky says:

    @6: oh, don’t forget his wanting to make the APFT a four mil run followed immediately by a 12 mile ruck march! Sounds super! Four miles is no problem, twelve immediately after, and you kill a lot of Soldiers…

  8. J.M. says:

    Of course the SMA endorses it. He made his career climbing over knife embedded backs on his way to the top and blaming others when shit goes bad is SOP to him.

  9. Jabatam says:

    Won’t let me read the article without a subscription. Has any other news agency reported on it?

  10. USMCE8Ret says:

    Still, some folks will argue that insider attacks are caused by “our” cultural insensitivities – though I’m not sure how anyone can think that who hasn’t spent any amount of time in theater. To suggest that the killings continue because of lack of understanding of the culture is simply beyond me. Not to say I would, but can you imagine a world where we all had the right to murder someone else in the name of being offended by someone else’s actions? Hell, it that were the case – my weekends would be full for the next 20 years!

  11. Smaj says:

    In a sane world, “leaders” like Dempsey and Chandler who disparage and blame the troops for “green-on-blue” attacks would be summarily fired by SECDEF or POTUS. Of course, in a sane world neither of these hacks would be in the positions they currently hold.

  12. Here’s what is behind the paywall;

    Draft Army Handbook Wades Into Divisive Afghan Issue
    Wall Street Journal
    By DION NISSENBAUM

    WASHINGTON—American soldiers should brace for a “social-cultural shock” when meeting Afghan soldiers and avoid potentially fatal confrontations by steering clear of subjects including women’s rights, religion and Taliban misdeeds, according to a controversial draft of a military handbook being prepared for troops heading to the region.

    The proposed Army handbook suggests that Western ignorance of Afghan culture, not Taliban infiltration, has helped drive the recent spike in deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces.

    Many of the confrontations occur because of [coalition] ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms, resulting in a violent reaction from the [Afghan security force] member,” according to the draft handbook prepared by Army researchers.

    The 75-page manual, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, is part of a continuing effort by the U.S. military to combat a rise in attacks by Afghan security forces aimed at coalition troops.

    But it has drawn criticism from U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan, who aides said hasn’t—and wouldn’t—endorse the manual as written. Gen. Allen also rejected a proposed foreword that Army officials drafted in his name.

    “Gen. Allen did not author, nor does he intend to provide, a foreword,” said Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. “He does not approve of its contents.”

    Gen. Allen hadn’t seen the proposed foreword until a portion of the handbook was called to his attention by the Journal, Col. Collins said. Military officials wouldn’t spell out his precise objections. But the handbook’s conclusion that cultural insensitivity is driving insider attacks goes beyond the view most commonly expressed by U.S. officials.

    The version reviewed by the Journal—marked “final coordinating draft” and sent out for review in November—was going through more revisions, said Lt. Gen. David Perkins, commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., whose Center for Army Lessons Learned wrote the manual.

    The proposed foreword was prepared by Army staff for Gen. Allen’s eventual consideration, and the general’s concerns will be taken into account as the military moves ahead with more revisions, he added.

    The proposed handbook embraces a hotly debated theory that American cultural ignorance has sparked many so-called insider attacks—more than three dozen of which have claimed the lives of some 63 members of the U.S.-led coalition this year. The rise in insider attacks has created one of the biggest threats to American plans to end its major combat missions in Afghanistan next year and transfer full security control to Afghan forces in 2014.

    Afghan leaders say Taliban infiltrators are responsible for most insider attacks. U.S. officials say the attacks are largely rooted in personal feuds between Afghan and coalition troops, though not necessarily the result of cultural insensitivity.

    Last year, the U.S.-led coalition rejected an internal military study that concluded that cultural insensitivity was in part to blame for insider killings, which it called a growing threat that represented “a severe and rapidly metastasizing malignancy” for the coalition in Afghanistan.

    The study was reported last year by The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. military at the time said the study was flawed by “unprofessional rhetoric and sensationalism.”

    The 2011 report—”A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility”—is now a centerpiece of the draft handbook’s advice to soldiers heading to Afghanistan, and it is listed under the draft’s references and recommended reading. The report’s findings also informed the current manual for troops in Afghanistan, which was released in February, according to Gen. Perkins.

    U.S. Army officials didn’t make the current version of the manual available for review.

    The Army officer who headed up the 2011 study, Maj. Jeffrey Bordin, now is serving as the Army center’s liaison to Gen. Allen’s coalition headquarters in Kabul.

    The proposed handbook embraces a hotly debated theory that American cultural ignorance has sparked many so-called insider attacks—more than three dozen of which have claimed the lives of some 63 members of the U.S.-led coalition this year. The rise in insider attacks has created one of the biggest threats to American plans to end its major combat missions in Afghanistan next year and transfer full security control to Afghan forces in 2014.

    Afghan leaders say Taliban infiltrators are responsible for most insider attacks. U.S. officials say the attacks are largely rooted in personal feuds between Afghan and coalition troops, though not necessarily the result of cultural insensitivity.

    Last year, the U.S.-led coalition rejected an internal military study that concluded that cultural insensitivity was in part to blame for insider killings, which it called a growing threat that represented “a severe and rapidly metastasizing malignancy” for the coalition in Afghanistan.

    The study was reported last year by The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. military at the time said the study was flawed by “unprofessional rhetoric and sensationalism.”

    The 2011 report—”A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility”—is now a centerpiece of the draft handbook’s advice to soldiers heading to Afghanistan, and it is listed under the draft’s references and recommended reading. The report’s findings also informed the current manual for troops in Afghanistan, which was released in February, according to Gen. Perkins.

    Maj. Bordin’s work was included in the manual as part of a broader assessment of the insider threat in Afghanistan, said Gen. Perkins.

    “We are very serious in trying to solve this problem, so we are not discounting any insights that we think are useful,” he said. “We are pulling out all the stops to do everything we can to gather lessons learned.”

    Maj. Bordin didn’t respond to email requests to comment, and the military didn’t make him available for an interview.

    The study, based on interviews with 600 members of the Afghan security forces and 200 American soldiers, painted a grim portrait of opposing cultures with simmering disdain for their counterparts.

    The draft handbook uses Maj. Bordin’s conclusions to psychologically prepare troops for serving in Afghanistan. A summary includes views of some U.S. soldiers that Afghan forces engage in thievery, are “gutless in combat,” are “basically stupid,” “profoundly dishonest,” and engage in “treasonous collusion and alliances with enemy forces.”

    The draft handbook offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”

    “Bottom line: Troops may experience social-cultural shock and/or discomfort when interacting with” Afghan security forces, the handbook states. “Better situational awareness/understanding of Afghan culture will help better prepare [troops] to more effectively partner and to avoid cultural conflict that can lead toward green-on-blue violence.”

  13. MAJ Mike says:

    The “Perfumed Princes” never leave.

  14. ComancheDoc says:

    “The draft handbook offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.””

    …so dont talk to afghans?

  15. Just an Old Dog says:

    If these assholes are so different from us on women’s rights, pedophilia, freedom of speech and freedom of religion how do we consider them allies in the first place?

  16. DaveO says:

    How does General Allen have the time to write anything (or eat, or sleep) with all the romantic emails he’s writing to other men’s wives?

  17. Roger in Republic says:

    Once again ignorance and superstition overcomes reason and common sense. They hate us. They want to kill us. Death in Jihad is their highest aspiration. Disarm them, pat them down and blindfold all military age males within rocket range of your position.

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