'Call sign 'Pedro': One of the great untold stories of this war.'
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months -- any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war. I did not see any simple paths to victory while serving on the assessment group that advised the new U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, on strategy, but I did see all too clearly why the war is being lost.Plus, reporting from the ground in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Michael Yon:
The most critical reason has been resources. Between 2002 and 2008 the United States never provided the forces, money or leadership necessary to win, effectively wasting more than half a decade. Our country left a power vacuum in most of Afghanistan that the Taliban and other jihadist insurgents could exploit and occupy, and Washington did not respond when the U.S. Embassy team in Kabul requested more resources ....
We have a reasonable chance of victory if we properly outfit and empower our new team in Afghanistan; we face certain defeat if we do not.
The 129th ERQS (Emergency Rescue Squadron), flying a pair of HH-60G Pavehawks, launched from Camp Bastion to retrieve the suspected Taliban who was deemed a “Cat A” casualty. Category A means the patient requires immediate evacuation. Total flight distance (given the route) from Bastion to Inkerman back to Bastion would be about 100 miles.Yon's report on the ground comes a few days before last Thursday's election. Read the whole thing here.
Among the British combat soldiers in Afghanistan, Pedro is the only thing more popular than mail. When friendly forces are in need, Pedro will come anywhere, anytime, during any weather, and their helicopters have gotten the bulletholes to prove it. The United States Air Force runs the only rescue service that will always be there, no matter what, no matter that there is no moon for flying, or the dust is too heavy for everyone else, or you are in a firefight. American Army helicopters in Afghanistan fly with the red cross on the side. Flying with that symbol makes it illegal for our people to carry weapons. The decision seems ridiculous; the enemy will only use the red cross for an aim point. While the Army flies armed with a red cross, Pedro flies with miniguns. and they bring some of the most highly qualified medics in the entire U.S. military – which is saying a lot. They bring miniguns, and powersaws to cut soldiers out of MRAPs or other twisted hulks, and scuba gear when that becomes important when troops and gear are lost to the water. If our people can manage to get there, Pedro can manage to get them out. Pedro rescues people every single day.
Hat Tip: Thunder Run.