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Subject: Question for BadNews
Old Grunt    3/23/2007 1:24:07 PM
Have you seen this? What's your take on what happened? I'm trying to get some descent analysis and avoid a "shootin war".
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Old Grunt    What a surprise...   3/23/2007 1:26:10 PM
the link didn't work.
http:   //   /printa-635169~Top_general_in_Afghanistan_expels_Marines.html
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Yimmy       3/23/2007 4:00:29 PM
Going by that brief article alone, to me it sounds like they responded in too heavy handed a manner.  I assume it was seen as a disproportionate use of force, and so the unit was removed for political reasons, to appease the Afghani's.
Of course, you can't tell if their actions were called for or not just by that brief article, but it does make sense to remove the unit for sensibility reasons, as it won't help win "hearts and minds".
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BadNews       3/26/2007 9:56:02 AM
My personal sources verify this, and it seems like Yimmy's assement may be correct
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BadNews    Old Grunt My Analysis   3/26/2007 10:57:15 AM
Marines are trained to react to ambush by immediately bringing overwhelming fire to bear. In this case from what I see, just that happened, The unit turned too and leveled an area. This is the exact same tactic that the Corps has been uisng in it's line units through out Iraq and Afganistan.
It is apparrant that some civilians were caught in the crossfire, my personal take is that this is a political decision to premptively head off any civilian unrest. We weren't there, and there are no published reports as to exactly what had happened. Whether or not this the marine commander on the ground overreacted or the the Command group overreacted in expelling them remains yet to be seen.
What is interesting is that the General had confererred with the Afgan president himself over the matter, this indicates to me at least, that the removal was more political than punative. It will be interesting to see what comes of this, half of me knows that an overwhelming response to to an ambush is the correct acourse of action, the other half is questioning whether they had properly identified the the ambushers.
What isn't clear is if it was the entire MARSOC Company involved in the incident, or a suborniate unit acting independently. If this was a roadside bomb and no small arms were fired at the unit, this is bad, if the unit was receiving small arms fire, then perhaps this is just a politcal issue, We simply do not know with the info available at this time. Either way, it is a political hot potato, once the the unit was re assigned the implication of wrong doing is going to linger.
Bottom line from my perspective is that ROE's were either violated or are questionable. I am not sure that we will know in the near future. I do know that the USMC is not shy about courts martial when they believe the ROE's were violated, If charges are not filed, this would clearly suggest a political situation. We'll have to wait and see
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BadNews    OLD GRUNT   3/26/2007 12:44:48 PM
From my post on another thread, as this unfolds it is shall we say, less than concrete
In the March 4 incident in Nangahar province, an explosives-rigged minivan crashed into a convoy of Marines that U.S. officials said also came under fire from gunmen. As many as 10 Afghans were killed and 34 wounded as the convoy made an escape. Injured Afghans said the Americans fired on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away.

U.S. military officials said militant gunmen shot at Marines and may have caused some of the civilian casualties.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the incident, which was one among several involving U.S. forces in which civilians were killed and injured.
We do not know what actually happened there, strange that if this unit was totally wrong that they would be alllowed to continue with the MEU deployment. Also strange that the entire company was relieved if there truly was an issue of wrong doing. I have to seriously question the current ROE's something isn't adding up. It is clearly looking like there are some overbearing polical motives at bay, I am not speaking of democrats v republicans, I am speaking of average Afgani v The Hunt for AQ and the Taliban
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Old Grunt    BadNews   3/26/2007 2:07:28 PM
This is one of the reasons that I asked for your input; it appears that something is missing from my perspective as well.
A) If only a small part of the unit was involved in wrong-doing, then why remove the whole unit?
B) If the whole unit was involved in wrong-doing, then why are they not being mothballed pending inquiry?   
If there was "too vigorous" a response to the ambush, that would be a "B" situation.  If there was some "post ambush" engagements, I would suppose that to be an "A" situation.
I can't find anything more that what is appearing in the papers, which in itself is a little strange.
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BadNews    More Questions?   3/26/2007 2:37:40 PM
A plucked this from an article on yahoo! >
It is pretty clear that the units primary focus was supposed to that of raiders, not the same as typically called upon with SOF units. The MSOC is supposed to be a special raiding force attached to the MEU in the first place, it is most confusing? It almost sounds as if they were not assigned the proper mission in the first place. This is going to be one to watch, I do not think that we have heard anywhere near the entirety of this story yet. Exceprt from link below

In the March 4 ambush, the Marines were traveling in a convoy on a highway in Nangarhar province when they were hit with a car bomb followed by small arms fire, and fired back in self-defense, according to U.S. military accounts. Afghan witnesses said the Marines fired recklessly at passing vehicles and pedestrians along the crowded road flanked by shops.

The U.S. military initially said 16 civilians were killed but later changed that estimate to eight. An official at a local hospital said 14 people had died. The military said 35 people were wounded, among them a coalition service member.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai criticized the U.S. military reaction, and the incident sparked large anti-American protests.

Kearney ordered an Article 15-6 investigation, in which an investigating officer conducts an inquiry and reports back to the commander, to begin soon afterward, Leto said.

The investigation and abrupt removal of the unit, known as MSOC-F, is doubly significant because the company was composed of some of the most experienced, highly trained Marines — including many experts in reconnaissance and marksmanship. Their focus, however, is on killing and capturing targets, in contrast to that of other elite troops who specialize in working with indigenous forces.

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