10 months, 3 weeks ago
My son previously offered his assessment of Lone Survivor, and in the interest of showing that I don’t ignore contrary opinions, I’ll offer up a few. I don’t always do this, and feel no requirement to do this, but in this case I’ll link three differing opinions.
The first comes from Max V. I think Max gets a bit wrapped around the axle thinking that the point of Daniel’s critique was who could do the job better, Marines or SEALs. Who has the better men – who would have used stealth better – who would have planned better? I think Max might miss the point.
The main point of the post was that the SEALs were used out of their area of specialty of infantry. Daniel has seen good infantry and bad infantry, and knows the difference. The Marine Corps has some very good infantry – and some bad infantry. No generalization on this point was intended in the original post, and Daniel conveyed none of that to me.
I’ll mention one final point on Max’s post. It’s a bit condescending in that Max assumes that there is a “tactical misunderstanding” concerning what Daniel wrote (or what I wrote for Daniel). We had a longer discussion than the post could convey, but there is no tactical misunderstanding. Daniel understands exactly what the mission was and why they sent the team they did. He just disagrees with it. So that characterizes at least one part of Max’s objections, i.e., that they did what they did because that’s what they do when they do that!
But if we leave a bit condescending and reasoning in a circle with Max, we enter complete condescension and know-it-all jackassery with WeaponsMan. Here is a taste: “Daniel’s bitches …” (I don’t allow Daniel to bitch at me, and I was the one discussing it with him very calmly), “This is the line soldier’s profound ignorance of two things speaking …,” “Daniel, in his personal experience, does not understand the difference between recon and long-range recon …,”Young Smith may be unaware of why Marine Scout Snipers are escorted to their hides …” (Marine Scout snipers are not always escorted to their hides as he alleges, and are not trained that way or necessarily to expect that this will occur – I know Scout Snipers), “A SAW weighs over 20 pounds and burns copious quantities of ammunition. Would it have saved this recon team? No …” (He doesn’t know any such thing), “This partly flows from Hollywood bullshit, but most of it is Marine bullshit, frankly …” (he only thinks that because he was never in the Marines and doesn’t know what the Marines do or why they do it the way they do).
On and on it goes, but it’s the same sort of thing that Max posted, it just took him thousands of words to say what Max did in just a few. They didn’t do it like Daniel wanted because that’s not what they do when they do that … and oh by the way, Daniel is stupid because we say so. I can be frank too, and frankly after reading WeaponsMan I wanted that fifteen minutes of my life back. Also, I just chuckle and roll my eyes when they object to carrying a SAW because it weighs a lot. Good grief. Go back and read Dirty Micks list of things he carried as a Pathfinder.
That’s not what they do when they do that is called assuming the consequent (and it goes by other names in college logic courses). It’s a fallacy, and my son’s objections went much deeper than why did they do that? His objections went to the issue of they shouldn’t have done that! Or if you will, doctrine as it touches on or informs tactics rather than tactics proper. And the issue has mostly to do with the way they would have done things versus how the SEALs did it. As for the notion that my commenters are Marines, Dirty Mick and Jean (both of whom commented on the original article) are active and retired Army, respectively. Lastly, WeaponsMan states unequivocally that “We didn’t see the underestimation. Everybody knows that the lightly loaded Afghans can often outrun their American allies, or enemies, and believe me, everyone understands the physiology at work here.” I do not believe that everyone understands, and I do not believe him. And that’s not what the report portrays.
There isn’t any reason at all that a larger team, inserted at night, right at the outskirts of the town, couldn’t have performed room clearing and hunting for their intended target (with another team inserted for the sole purpose of preventing egress from the town) at dawn (with fire teams carrying SAWs) could not have worked. Not a single reason. All things considered, I’m quite unimpressed at the article. I think his ego got in the way of making what could have been a contribution to the conversation beyond “I know everything and they did what they did because that’s what they do when they do that.”
Then leaving condescension we enter slightly odd from Sean Linnane. He says “let me state this is at best a historical analysis and at worst Monday Morning Quarterbacking by a guy who was not there.” It doesn’t matter whether he is talking about himself or Daniel. This is odd. Taking this position means that there can’t be any such thing as an AR 15-6, a post-Mortem, followup assessment, training, or any other review of actions taken in any given situation unless you were there. Again, just odd. I think Daniel’s assessment means something, and I wish Sean had weighed in a little more fully.
In conclusion, I’m disappointed in all of the responses to Daniel’s assessment thus far.