Monday, May 02, 2016

Best Supporting Role?

Our special forces are a unique force in the world for their size and capabilities. But let's not dismiss "the rest."

Strategypage discusses our outstanding special forces. We should rightly be proud of them and grateful they are in our nation's tool bag.

But this part is a bit misleading:

To put it into perspective, consider that the United States only has about 12,000 operators and that is the largest such force on the planet. In Afghanistan and Iraq SOF troops made an enormous contribution to whatever successes were achieved. The common attitude in the SOF community is that in Iraq and Afghanistan SOF accounted for about 5 percent of the personnel in action, consumed about 5 percent of the money spent on those wars but were responsible for over 50 percent of the successes.

You could not have planted those 5% and plopped them into Iraq or Afghanistan and gotten those results without the other 95% there fighting; atomizing the enemy; providing information, surveillance, and security; and otherwise fighting toward the same end.

All those things don't get done without the vast network provided by the 95% that provides the environment for the 5% to do their deadly work in.

So kudos to special forces. They are badass, no doubt.

But let's have a little deeper perspective. Don't contribute to the myth that all we need in this modern age are special forces charging into a hostile zone and killing all the bad guys and drones if we want to be more discreet about boots on the ground.