Another perspective on the new book about (a story about) Jim Gant.
Wood insists that the Foreign Internal Defense strategy in Afghanistan “ended badly” along with Gant’s career two years ago.Only that’s not it at all. Even after firing Gant, the Pentagon still relied heavily on Special Forces to wage the Afghan counterinsurgency campaign. Since at least 2011, the military has planned to maintain thousands of Green Berets and other Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan past the late-2014 deadline for the withdrawal of conventional troops.No, the Army was uncomfortable not with village-centric Foreign Internal Defense, but with Gant.Of course, Wood would have you believe that Foreign Internal Defense is actually impossible without Gant … or someone just like him. “The iconoclasm and disdain for military protocol that enabled Gant’s success were instrumental in his eventual downfall,” Wood claims.Then how is it that literally hundreds of Special Force soldiers have quietly rotated through FID assignments in Afghanistan in the two years since Gant’s implosion?Most Green Berets don’t take their girlfriends, booze and drugs to war with them. They certainly don’t need lovers and gullible reporters to write elaborate defenses of their combat records.
I would just remind people that up until 2007 our Joint Foreign Internal Defense Doctrine outlined this concept of remote area operations. This was not unique to One Tribe at a Time or ALP/VSO. Below are basic Special Forces operations (but of course to be effective they have to fit into a larger coherent, comprehensive campaign plan and strategy - remote area operations are not going to be effective on their own)
•Remote area operations are operations undertaken in insurgent-controlled or contested areas to establish islands of popular support for the HN government and deny support to the insurgents. They differ from consolidation operations in that they are not designed to establish permanent HN government control over the area. Remote areas may be populated by ethnic, religious, or other isolated minority groups. They may be in the interior of the HN or near border areas where major infiltration routes exist. Remote area operations normally involve the use of specially trained paramilitary or irregular forces. SF teams support remote area operations to interdict insurgent activity, destroy insurgent base areas in the remote area, and demonstrate that the HN government has not conceded control to the insurgents. They also collect and report information concerning insurgent intentions in more populated areas. In this case, SF teams advise and assist irregular HN forces operating in a manner similar to the insurgents themselves, but with access to superior combat support (CS) and combat service support (
CSS) resources. (From FM 3-05.202 Foreign Internal Defense 2007.)
American Commando Brought His Girlfriend to Afghanistan—And Armed Her
But Special Forces officer’s dangerous rule-breaking earns him glowing news profile
- David Axe in War is Boring
Let me be clear about what I’m writing here. This is not only a story about disgraced U.S. Army Special Forces major James Gant. This is also a story about a story about Jim Gant.
On March 24, David Wood at Huffington Post published a glowing profile of Gant that carefully, even elegantly, talks around the shocking reality of Gant’s rise and fall as a commando officer in the Afghanistan war.
Gant had invited his girlfriend Ann Scott Tyson, a Washington Post reporter, to accompany him and his team on secret missions in a remote province in eastern Afghanistan in late 2010. And according to Wood quoting Tyson, Gant armed Tyson, teaching her to use “almost every weapon” in the Special Forces inventory.
Gant and Tyson, who are now married, lived close together in Afghanistan while unmarried—a big no-no by Islamic standards. Gant also kept alcohol in Afghanistan, where drinking is illegal. And he had unauthorized drugs andunsecured classified documents.
This long list of violations got Gant fired, demoted and kicked out of the Army. Tyson wrote a hagiographic book about her disgraced husband calledAmerican Spartan. I have not read it.
In his Huffington Post profile, Wood helpfully promotes the book and attempts to rehabilitate a rogue officer who clearly possesses essentially zero regard for Islamic customs, military regulations and common sense.
Gant, Tyson and Wood’s combined tale is a cautionary one about military hubris, cultural insensitivity, unsafe firearms practices and, on top of everything, piss-poor journalism.C-SPAN capture
‘I came here to kill’
Gant is by all accounts a brave and aggressive soldier. The Army awarded him the Silver Star—the nation’s third-highest honor—for his role in a brutal gun battle in Iraq in 2006. “I came here to fight,” Gant said at the award ceremony. “I came here to kill the enemy.”
He echoed that sentiment in an interview with Wood. “I am in a group of outliers that really, really, really enjoyed combat, to include killing—to hunt another human being down and shoot him in the face,” Gant said.
Deploying to Afghanistan after his stint in Iraq, Gant realized killing wasn’t enough. “If all you’re doing is killing, and you’re not gaining security, something is wrong,” he told Wood.
As commander of a Special Forces team in restive Kunar province near the border with Pakistan, Gant helped stand up local police units. That meant working alongside men who occasionally might align with the Pakistan-based Taliban.
(Continued at the link below)