Where Counterinsurgency Hath Brought Us

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 5 months ago

Courtesy of reader Šťoural.  The COIN dance.

Maj. Gen. John Toolan turned over the reins of Regional Command Southwest yesterday to Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, who will lead Marine forces in Helmand and Nimroz provinces this summer.

Toolan has repeatedly praised Mohammad Gulab Mangal, Helmand’s provincial governor for his leadership. The general cited Mangal jumping to action as one reason why Helmand didn’t have the same kind of violent protests other parts of the country did after U.S. soldiers burned Qurans at Bagram Air Base last month.

To thank Mangal and other top Afghan officials for their year-long partnership, Toolan held a farewell dinner last week at the Afghan Cultural Center at Camp Leatherneck. And as you can see in the photograph above released by the Corps, the general threw himself into the mix completely, dressing in traditional Afghan garb and joining others on the dance floor.

Observe where population-centric counterinsurgency hath brought us … and left us.

  • infantryjj

    Counterinsurgency 101:When the only thing a culture understands is strength,start dancing like a disco queen. /sarc off

    What an embarrassment to the US Marine Corps and the United States of America. FFS! Is this what the war effort has come to? Our generals dancing like bacha bazi girly boys……WTF! Would any, ANY of our forefathers have done shit like this?

  • carl

    Well yes, some of our forefathers did do stuff exactly like this. Recall during the Vietnam War the various SF people who were honored by the Montagnards they worked with. They did the ceremonial jackets and loincloths and everything. i don’t see what the big deal is.

  • infantryjj

    So George Washington did stuff like this? Andrew Jackson? Comparing FID forces to a commanding General is disingenuous at best. Toolan dancing around does ZERO for the war effort. Not too mention I’m pretty sure Montagnards were not closet homos.

  • carl

    I don’t know if George Washington did anything like this. I do know he had a lot of contact with the Indians early in his career. Andrew Jackson I don’t know.

    However William Johnson I am almost certain did things like this. Sam Houston was adopted into the Cherokee tribe and lived among them for years.

    Lighten up. The basic dignity of the American military is not threatened by this. If the guy wants to dance at a party, leave him dance at a party.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    I see what you say, carl. Afghanistan is going so swimmingly at this point, dancing is in order.

    No, I won’t “lighten up.” That’s not my job. You can go start your own blog and “lighten up” if you like.

  • carl

    Afghanistan is almost certainly irretrievable, so no, things are not going swimmingly. But if the general dancing at a party is bad, it would be just a mote in a tempest of disaster. I guess I never will see what the big deal is. And if that means I just don’t get it, then I just don’t get it.

  • http://www.firstcontactproject.org Warbucks

    That’s right, we Marines have a long tradition of proper decorum at all times, in and out of uniform….. just consider some of the USMC birthday party balls you may have attended.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Forget the B’day balls.

    Combat zone, Rich. You know … men perishing, men losing their legs and screaming for help and for God to take care of them and their wives and children when they go to eternity, families grieving and weeping for loss of loved ones … you know, combat Rich. And generals with stupid grins looking like dancing girls.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    I’ve decided that an apology is in order. I should have said “And generals with dumb-ass stupid grins looking like dumb-ass dancing girls at dumb-ass celebrations while their men suffer.”

  • Lt Loyd

    You could be looking at a photo of something MajGen Toolan was doing for 2 minutes. Either way, I am certain that MajGen Toolan has a much better clue than any of you commenters/bloggers regarding what is needed to win this fight. You aren’t talking about some pansy here who sits in Washington, this man commanded a RCT when we invaded Iraq and the battle of Fallujah. I’d say have some faith in a man who has led Marines into combat. You never know Herschel, this general with his dumb-ass stupid grin might indirectly be keeping a few IED’s out the ground through this relationship/gesture. I have met the man several times. He wants to take the fight to Pakistan, he has pushed to get Marines off the roads getting blown up by IED’s. Hell, he might have been having fun, even in the Marine Corps you cant reign down arty and himars 24/7.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    All of that might be correct “Lt. Loyd,” but the dancing was still stupid looking and a dumb ass celebration with men perishing on the field of battle. Nothing you said changes that.


You are currently reading "Where Counterinsurgency Hath Brought Us", entry #8371 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Counterinsurgency and was published March 15th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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