Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Still Getting Ready to Rumble

I've worried that we are effectively halting the war in Afghanistan by avoiding combat. This is encouraging:

With the Afghanistan war's endgame approaching, the Army's storied 1st Infantry Division is preparing to take command in the eastern provinces, where the strategy calls for a renewed push this year even as U.S. and allied forces draw down in less violent parts of the country. ...

Mayville will lead five U.S. ground combat brigades, plus one Polish brigade, one French brigade and one U.S. Army combat aviation brigade. In all he'll command about 30,000 troops, although it is possible he will lose some during the course of the year. Details of the 2012 U.S. drawdown plan have not yet been announced.

I'd have thought we'd have more of our remaining 90,000 (dropping to 68,000 by the end of summer) in RCE. And since we don't, I'm more than a little surprised that the command might lose some troops from losing the latest surge increment.

First Infantry will take over the east in April. Perhaps rather than switch commands in the middle of an offensive, we are waiting until April. And perhaps the faster-than-desired recovery of the last surge is delaying the attack.

But the fact that the military is still preparing to hammer the enemy in Regional Command East is encouraging that we aren't letting the recent panic-fest affect our strategy.

Have no doubt, our troops are up to the task:

For three days, the enemy relentlessly attacked Observation Post Shal in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

And for three days, Cpl. Michael A. Moynihan led his fellow soldiers in a fierce defense of their OP, directing attacks and providing covering fire even though it exposed him to the intense enemy barrage. A mortar hit his position and knocked him unconscious; after he came to, Moynihan continued to lead the fight.

For his actions Oct. 11-13, Moynihan was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest award for valor.

That's some damn fine soldiering. That's the United States Army.