Killing The Enemy

Counterinsurgency warfare is a long, slow slog; dealing with a war where the divisions have been baked into a society by centuries of hatred, and then forced into a deep, crafty underground by decades of top-down authoritarian rule is harder still. The British – who have more years of experience with counterinsurgency war than the United States has years, took three decades to quell the worst of the violence in Northern Ireland, and never entirely extinguished it in India in 300 years.

Winning, in these wars, is never a matter of dragging the enemy to the deck of the USS Missouri and signing a treaty. The job – according to any number of sources with knowledge of the topic – involves a complex mix of protecting and helping the friendly locals, persuading the locals that are on the fence what is the winning bet, and finding the enemy and either killing him or convincing him that there’s a better way.

It’s not a job for the faint of heart. It’s also, by all accounts, a job we have never really carried out successfully. We were, by some accounts, on our way to at least an acceptable stalemate in Vietnam in 1962, before John F. Kennedy – eager for a “drag the enemy to the deck of the Missouri” victory after his Bay of Pigs debacle – upended years of progress by special forces advisors in quiet back-country “hearts and minds” operations by sending in the Marines, followed by hundreds of thousands of troops from a regular Army that had been trained to serve as a nuclear tripwire in Europe.

We’ve learned a lot since then – chief among those lessons being the switch at the end of the Vietnam era to a volunteer military. But there are more to learn.

Via Miss Attila, an interesting piece by Nibras Kazimi on how that war is actually going, and how those lessons are being learned:

The wider Sunni insurgency — the groups beyond Al Qaeda — is being slowly, and surely, defeated. The average insurgent today feels demoralized, disillusioned, and hunted. Those who have not been captured yet are opting for a quieter life outside of Iraq. Al Qaeda continues to grow for the time being as it cannibalizes the other insurgent groups and absorbs their most radical and hardcore fringes into its fold. The Baathists, who had been critical in spurring the initial insurgency, are becoming less and less relevant, and are drifting without a clear purpose following the hanging of their idol, Saddam Hussein. Rounding out this changing landscape is that Al Qaeda itself is getting a serious beating as the Americans improve in intelligence gathering and partner with more reliable Iraqi forces.In other words, battling the insurgency now essentially means battling Al Qaeda. This is a major accomplishment.

Kazimi is half-right. The other part of the battle is in Washington DC. And that’s where the Iraq war will be lost, as the new Democrat majority – with ideals even more misguided than Rumsfeld’s few worst mistakes, and in cases openly fantasizing about a “last chopper off the roof” iconic moment for their own generation – actively tries to scuttle the war effort…

(…which the Administration did, it seems, bungle for much of this past couple of years. There’s really no way around that).

Last October, my sources began telling me about rumblings among the insurgent strategists suggesting that their murderous endeavor was about to run out of steam. This sense of fatigue began registering among mid-level insurgent commanders in late December, and it has devolved to the rank and file since then. The insurgents have begun to feel that the tide has turned against them.

Half of it, maybe.

The half that really matters – in the Capitol – seems to be clipping right along.

The Washington-initiated “surge” will speed-up the ongoing process of defeating the insurgency. But one should not consider the surge responsible for the turnaround. The lesson to be learned is to keep killing the killers until they realize their fate.

For those (inevitable) hecklers who’ll assume Kazimi is a mindless apologist for the Administration…:

General David Petraeus, whom President Bush has tasked to quell the insurgency, spent the last year and a half updating the U.S. Army and Marine Corps‘s field manual for counterinsurgency. There’s plenty of fancy theory there, as well as case studies from Iraq. I don’t know how much of the new manual is informed by General Petraeus’ two notable failures in Iraq: building a brittle edifice of government in Mosul that collapsed at the first challenging puff, and the inadequate training and equipping of the Iraqi army due to corruption and mismanagement.

General Petraeus walked away from those failures unscathed and hence unaccountable. He re-enters the picture with major expectations. Most commentators, especially those who begrudge attributing any success to Mr. Bush, will lionize the general as he takes credit for this turnaround and speeds it up. Let’s hope that he has enough sense to allow what works to keep working and to improve on it, rather than trying to put his own stamp on things and test out the theories he’s developed.

Kazimi goes way into specifics of the insurgency – the Sunni attempts to expand their power, the defiance by some Shi’a of Sistani’s call for peace – specifics the MSM has been very light on. Read the article about the means, and go to the ends:

Sadly, it took many thousands of young Sunnis getting abducted by death squads for the Sunnis to understand that in a full-fledged civil war, they would likely lose badly and be evicted from Baghdad. I believe that the Sunnis and insurgents are now war weary, and that this is a turnaround point in the campaign to stabilize Iraq…Let me state the lesson of this turnabout clearly lest it be obscured amidst the euphoria: Never mind who takes credit, kill or capture more of the killers to ensure victory.

If you’re for staying in Iraq, read the whole thing. It’s interesting, sobering, and validating (although not in an easy way).

If you’re for cutting and running, read the whole thing before bothering to comment.

46 thoughts on “Killing The Enemy

  1. Mitch intoned: “Counterinsurgency warfare is a long, slow slog”

    Oh right, “counterinsurgency warfare.” It’s only under Democratic presidents that we call it “nation building.”

  2. Yes AC and under a Democratic President it a bad thing. So bad in fact that if you are a candidate for president, you make it a major campaign promise NOT to do it.

    And it’s not only bad. Every military action Clinton took was illegal and immoral according to the Republican punditry.

    Funny that NOW Mitch is pointing out that this little adventure is going to be “a long, slow slog”. I seem to recall hearing that the war would last weeks and cost around a billion dollars. Even funnier is that the reasons Mitch gives, “the divisions have been baked into a society by centuries of hatred”. Funny because that’s the primary reason we had for not starting the war in the first place. Let’s see, we were about a year and a half before Bush learned there were TWO sects of Muslims in Iraq? Brilliant.

    But no, clearly, you guys know better than we do. How do we know? Mitch Berg said so.

  3. Clown: So?

    Doug: Funny that NOW Mitch is pointing out that this little adventure is going to be “a long, slow slog”. I seem to recall hearing that the war would last weeks and cost around a billion dollars.

    Not from me, you didn’t. You’re lying.

  4. You, along with the rest of online and real-life wingnuttery, once claimed that nation-building was a doomed enterprise in countries that are much smaller and more stable than Iraq. But when your guy wants to try nationbuilding on the cheap, in a country the size of California, with deep-seated historical hatreds and no relevant experience of democracy, you guys just make with the happy horseshite.

  5. You, along with the rest of online and real-life wingnuttery, once claimed that nation-building was a doomed enterprise in countries that are much smaller and more stable than Iraq.

    And then those planefulls of Serb terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center, proving us wrong.

    Seriously, Vobo, your “argument” rests entirely on ignoring the context behind the “hypocrisy”; there was no threat from Serbia or Bosnia (and the threat that existed should have been Europe’s job).  Terror from the Middle East threatens the whole world, and nobody in the region was going to do anything about it. 

    You may revert to snarking.

    But when your guy wants to try nationbuilding on the cheap, in a country the size of California, with deep-seated historical hatreds and no relevant experience of democracy, you guys just make with the happy horseshite.

    Nothing happy about it.  It stinks to build nations.  We were left with no [rational] choice.

  6. I get it. You apparently assume that “planefulls” of Iraqi terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center. I can help you out on that one, Mitch: That’s stupid. Therefore your conclusion, which is drawn from that stupid premise is, unsurprisingly, also stupid. People who can read 1) a newspaper and 2) a map (let’s call them the “non-stupid”) understand the connection of Afghanistan to 9/11. Also Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Iraq? Not so much. Unless, at the risk of being repetitive, one is stupid.

  7. Mitch:
    “John F. Kennedy – eager for a “drag the enemy to the deck of the Missouri” victory after his Bay of Pigs debacle – upended years of progress by special forces advisors in quiet back-country “hearts and minds” operations by sending in the Marines, followed by hundreds of thousands of troops from a regular Army that had been trained to serve as a nuclear tripwire in Europe.”

    According to this:

    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/content2.php/cid=70

    the first Marine units arrived in Vietnam in March 1965, a year and a half after JFK died.

    A minor details perhaps, but it does leave you with no explanation for why the U.S. would drop a successful strategy. It certainly stretches credibility to suggest JFK switched strategies because he wanted a different kind of victory in Nov. 63 to respond to something that happened in April 61. In fact, the Cuban Missile Crisis was widely seen as a JFK victory sufficient to offset the Bay of Pigs. But it is just plain crazy to suggest LBJ was “eager for a “drag the enemy to the deck of the Missouri” victory after his Bay of Pigs debacle” four years after the Bay of Pigs.

    LBJ sent the Marines in 65 because the South Vietnamese government was on the verge of collapse.

  8. You apparently assume that “planefulls” of Iraqi terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center

    Another strawman. Nobody said anything about Iraqis having anything to do with 9/11 – merely that they were safe haven for terror groups.

    Rick – JFK stepped up the involvement of conventional, regular military units in Vietnam. He increased US troop totals in Vietnam from 500 (mostly special forces training people – the type who SHOULD have been there in the first place) to 16,000, including air force, navy and regular Army units. US troops went into harm’s way as US units for the first time. Marines – not the entire First Marine Division, the ones LBJ sent, but Marine infantry, nonetheless – made their appearance at Kennedy’s order.

    You can cherry-pick dates all you want, but it was Kennedy who fundamentally changed the character of Vietnam from a very low-intensity counterinsurgency war to a regular battlefield.

  9. From the official U.S. Army history of Vietnam:

    http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/amh/AMH-28.htm

    “For a variety of diplomatic, political, and military reasons, President Johnson approached with great caution any commitment of large ground combat forces to South Vietnam. . . . In early March 1965, a few days after ROLLING THUNDER began, American marines went ashore in South Vietnam to protect the large airfield at Da Nang—a defensive security mission. . .
    But President Johnson sanctioned only the dispatch of additional marines to increase security at Da Nang and to secure other coastal enclaves. . . . . A few weeks later, to protect American bases in the vicinity of Saigon, Johnson approved sending the first Army combat unit, the 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate), to South Vietnam. Arriving from Okinawa in early May, the brigade moved quickly to secure the air base at Bien Hoa, just northeast of Saigon. With its arrival, U.S. military strength in South Vietnam passed 50,000. Despite added numbers and expanded missions, American ground forces had yet to engage the enemy in full-scale combat.”

    So please tell me, what U.S. infantry unit of battalion size or larger deployed to Vietnam under JFK or under LBJ prior to March 65.

  10. Oh, Rick – the ever-picayune one, always ready with the meaningless strawman.

    Didn’t say there were battalions of infantry, merely that regular units rather than A-teams scattered about the ARVN began showing up. A casual google shows a number of units of battalion strength or equivalent – at least one Marine helicopter squadron and a USAF Special Operations squadron pop up on the first page of the search, along with several company-sized units of Seabees. The main point was that US forces started actually operating AS US troops in that time; US air units began flying close air support missions themselves rather than showing AFRVN units how to do it. Those aircraft were controlled, incidentally, by units equivalent to battalions, as long as you’re fixated on that threshold. Special Forces A-teams began operating as independent combat units (and getting into serious action during this period.

    I could go on, but the point is that the US forces multiplied 32-fold under Kennedy, and took on a MUCH more aggressive, overt role in the war.

    You may now slither onto your next pedantic strawman.

  11. Does any of this change the fact that the Defeatacrats condemed 1,000,000+ Southeast Asians to death at the hands of communists?
    I don’t think so.

  12. “Every military action Clinton took was illegal and immoral according to the Republican punditry.”
    More douglusions. So the republican punditry thought enforcing the no-fly zone was “illegal and immoral”?
    Republicans have been pretty consistent about commiting our military forces only when US interests were at stake and the UN could provide no relief.
    FYI during the Clinton years I thought it was necessary for us to go into Haiti for the reasons I’ve given above; I thought that the Bosnian exercise was stupid because we were allowing the Europeans to use our blood and money to solve their internal problems. But you know what? Once we were in I kept my fingers crossed that we would win and win big. That’s called putting your country’s interests above petty ideological squabbling. You might try it sometime Doug.

  13. I thought that the Bosnian exercise was stupid because we were allowing the Europeans to use our blood and money to solve their internal problems. But you know what? Once we were in I kept my fingers crossed that we would win and win big. That’s called putting your country’s interests above petty ideological squabbling. You might try it sometime Doug.

    Exactly, on all counts.

  14. Democrats Do want the US to win in Iraq.

    Just not with a Republican in the White House.

    Does that make them assholes?

  15. How is it a strawman to point out that you are making up facts to support your argument? I have established that no U.S. infantry battalion (about 1200 troops) conducted operations in Vietnam prior to Spring 65. You same some other ‘regular units’ were operating. I think you are making that up, and I dare you to cite a source for any American infantry unit of at least platoon (about 50 troops) size operating as an independent unit prior to March 65.

    Otherwise, you cite aviation, helicopter, and engineer units in Vietnam prior to 65, but those were logistic / support units, NOT infantry units conducting independent actions. Indeed, the only outside source you cite refers to a Special Forces advisory team attacked in their base position, not conducting an independent operation of any strength. That is exactly the sort of thing you say Kennedy abandoned. That fact that such purely advisory teams were unable to defeat the VC was one of the reasons Johnson introduced U.S. infantry units.

  16. Terry said,

    So the republican punditry thought enforcing the no-fly zone was “illegal and immoral”?”

    Pop quiz Terry. How many Democrats have sued Bush for his war? How many Republicans sued Clinton for his?

    And there was the little dig from Sean Hannity that Clinton lacked the moral authority to go into kosovo.

  17. Rick,

    Of course it’s a strawman. I said US units engaged in combat. You threw in the “Battalion and bigger” bit – irrelevant as it was under the circumstances.

    You could have dared me to cite ski units or submarines, for that matter, as relevant as it would have been.

  18. No Mitch, I established through independent sources that no “battalion or larger” infantry units were engaged prior to 65. My challenge was for you to cite any infantry unit, company or platoon size (those are smaller than battalions) engaged in independent combat in Vietnam prior to 65. You keep saying there were such units in combat, but you can not cite any evidence (because you made the ‘fact’ of them up).

  19. Mich said,

    “Not from me, you didn’t.”

    You’re right Mitch. It wasn’t you. It was Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld.

    You remember them Don’t ‘cha Mitch? They were the guys that got up on the TV right there in my living room and told us how easy it was gonna be…

  20. Rick,

    I provided a link to a relatively famous 1963 action involving a special forces A-team (Platoon).  I could find more, if you’d like.

    You’re focusing on an absurdly selective criterion for “involvement”, by way of being more obtuse than usual.  It may tickle that jones to be pedantic that seems to overtake you, but it doesn’t do much for the discussion.

  21. “Pop quiz Terry. How many Democrats have sued Bush for his war? How many Republicans sued Clinton for his?”
    Completely beside the point, Doug, but I’ll play your game. How many leftists have accused Bush & Co. of war crimes? How many republicans described the Bosnia affair as an illegal war vs. how many leftists have called the Iraq war illegal?
    You can’t win this, dude. You’re side is insane with Bush hatred.

  22. Mitch:

    First you say

    “Didn’t say there were battalions of infantry, merely that regular units RATHER THAN A-teams scattered about the ARVN began showing up.” (my emph)

    Then as evidence for this you say:

    “I provided a link to a relatively famous 1963 action involving a special forces A-team (Platoon).”

    First, to correct your usual care for the facts, the A-Team at Nam Dong (the incident you cite) was a twelve man unit equivalent to a squad, not a platoon. Second, as a stated earlier, the action you cite is exactly the sort of unit you say Kennedy changed policy to avoid. The evidence you cite in the second quote (an A-Team embedded in an ARVN unit) directly contradicts your assertion in the first quote, so keep citing more instances like this all day. It only continues to prove your original claim is some half-remembered myth you got caught on and refuse to verify and correct.

    In case you were under the mistaken impression that the A-Team at Nam Dong fought independently, please refer to here:
    http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/profiles_donlon.html

    “The twelve members of Special Forces Team A-726 were ready, whatever the darkness of that early morning might hold. So too were the 311 South Vietnamese soldiers and 40 Nungs (ethnic Chinese who worked with Special Forces)”

    Sounds exactly like an “A-team[. . .] scattered about the ARVN.”

    Come on Mitch. If this Kennedy policy change is such a big deal you should be able to find some independent source to verify it. Unless of course it is just some myth you heard and choose to believe in order to magnify our chances of victory in Iraq.

  23. First, to correct your usual care for the facts, the A-Team at Nam Dong (the incident you cite) was a twelve man unit equivalent to a squad, not a platoon.

    WRONG!

    Hah!

    An A-Team is 12 men, commanded by a captain. Six of them make up a B-team, which is the equivalent of a company. Platoons, not squads, make up companies. Units the same size in special forces around the world – 16 man SEAL platoons, 16 man SAS troops, 16-20 man “Delta” troops, all commanded by captains rather than sergeants – are all considered equivalent to companies; all are grouped into units that are considered the equivalent of companies.

    Your parsing, Rick, continues to try to sidestep Kennedy’s 32-fold increase in troops, and the fact that US air and navy units started carrying out combat missions (they had not previously) or that the A-teams you so mischaracterize and so dimly understand started fighting individually rather than as advisors to ARVN units.

    You keep parsing, I’ll keep knocking it down.

    You are irredeemably wrong.

  24. I hate to make you look foolish, Mitch. But an A-Team is made up of just *four* men. Four men, framed for a crime they didn’t commit, who help the innocent while on the run from the military.

  25. A SF (“Green Beret”) A-team is 12 men and is the organizational equivalent of a platoon. In no way is it a “squad” or “section” except in numbers of men.

    I was only in the Army for six years, and know people who were IN SF, so I’m sure Rick will know more about it that me, too.

  26. Word Press seems to have delayed my response probably due to external links.

    In short

    SF B Teams are not “made up” of six A Teams, the B Team is a separate 11 man command and control unit. Six A Teams plus a B Team makes a SF company. An SF A Team is like an infantry company in that it is commanded by a Captain. It is like an infantry platoon in that it is directly subordinated to a company formation. My point was that a 12 man A Team is equivalent in size to a 12 man infantry squad. Also like an infantry squad it is the smallest operational unit in the table of organization. What is the relevant comparison, I will leave to readers

    Of course Kennedy increased U.S. troop strength in Vietnam no one denies that. I just denied your, frankly bizzare, claim that a significant portion of the increase was U.S. infantry units that conducted independent infantry operations.

    You continue to insist that “the A-teams [I]. . so mischaracterize and so dimly understand started fighting individually rather than as advisors to ARVN units.” Please provide an example. It can not be the action on Nam Dong you cite, since that was an advisory A Team fighting with ARVN troops. The only other significant infantry actions I know of prior to March 65 are Ap Bac (1/63), Binh Gia(12/64), and Song Be (4/65) all involved Americans in an advisory role for much larger ARVN formations.

    So come on Mitch, please provide examples of U.S. infantry “regular units” “fighting individually”? Again I do not think there are any examples pre March 65, I think you are making it up. Prove me wrong by citing units and battles.

  27. Oh come on. I am sure one of you big talkers can help Mitch out here. Eric call your SF buddies for the answer. Terry . . . Kermit. . . anyone?

  28. Sorry, Rick. I have kids to raise and a job to do.

    Again, your question reveals the picayune nature of your approach. It is a fact that US involvement got bigger (that 32-fold increase in troops you keep ignoring) and aggression (USAF, Navy and Marine planes flying close air support; Navy ships providing fire support, transport and interdiction; USSF setting up US fire bases (even if manned largely by ARVN); all under Kennedy’s directive to fight a war that, by most rational accounts, the original 500 men were doing just fine at.

    Your nitpicking neither serves any point (I’m right! Kennedy multiplied US involvement both in numbers and in aggression!) nor addresses the point of the actual post (Kazimi’s observations).

    Finally, Rick, your distinction between JFK and LBJ’s policies is fairly meaningless; it was the same executive suite, with MacNamara and Rusk and the rest of the Cabinet hardly changing between 1962 and 1965. The President changed. The policy? Only in numbers.

    Your only goal seems to be to find some way to trip me up. It hasn’t happened, and it won’t. Give it up.

  29. Mitch:

    We now know you are willing to confidently assert a ‘fact’ for two and a half days without any evidence to back it up. If you ‘know’ there were independent American infantry units operating in Vietnam prior to March 65, it should not take you any time to name the units or the engagements in which they participated. How else would you know they existed? Hell at the start you twice asserted that they were Marines. Then you said they were SF A Teams. You found time to find an SF A Team action, just one that was purely advisory. The fact that after two and a half days no one on this blog can produce such evidence is definitive proof that this ‘fact’ is just something you picked up and never bothered to check. Pretending like it is lack of time that prevents you from producing the evidence just makes you look foolish.

    And you do not stop digging. At no time under the Kennedy Admin did the U.S. Navy or Marines (I can not speak for the USAF) provide “close air support” or “fire support” to South Vietnam.

    From the Naval history:
    “After nearly ten years of work, the naval advisory team had helped build a promising South Vietnamese naval arm. But the nature of the advisory role limited what Americans could do to effect change”.

    From the same source:
    “Beginning in May 1965, individual Seventh Fleet cruisers and destroyers ranged the South Vietnamese coast, initially bombarding Viet Cong supply caches used to support the Communist seaborne infiltration effort.”

    Mitch you seem to live under some fantasy that under Kennedy there was a wildly successful and purely advisory U.S. counter-insurgency operation. Then, for some unknown reason Kennedy abandoned this program for a policy of direct U.S. infantry action against the Viet Cong.

    You are wrong. Every single history says significant direct U.S. military operations against the VC started in 1965. The started because the purely advisory plan had utterly failed. The numbers of advisor and logistic/support troops deployed kept going up under Kennedy because the VC kept growing stronger and the ARVN kept getting beat. (In fact, U.S. weapons provided to South Vietnamese forces, were the main source of VC weapons).

    I know there is currently some revisionist attacks on the standard, but they will have to do what you seem unable to do – produce evidence. I am 100% certain that the evidence they produce will not include the widespread use of regular units of U.S. infantry operating independently prior to 1965 or the U.S. Navy or Marines providing close air or fire support.

  30. And as usual, Rick, you fly half-cocked down an irrelevant path.

    Kennedy increased the US involvement in Vietnam. He and his administration initiated policies that led, inexorably, to the events of 1965.

    THAT is the only point that matters. Your niggling about who did what when is, like most of your commentary, irrelevant and pedantic.

    You’ve been caught fighting, like Kennedy, the wrong battle.

    Give it up.

  31. Hey you are the one who invested such great efforts in repeatedly trying to assert an obvious untruth. I stuck it out because there is a sort of sick fascination in watching some one repeatedly assert the historical equivalent of ‘the sky is orange’.

  32. Rubbish, as usual.

    You are picking insignificant crumbs around the edges of the larger issue, and jumping up and down and flinging poo like a deranged monkey, yelling “you’re wrong! You’re wrong!”

    It’s over Rick. You lost. Take a breath.

  33. I try not to debate issues large or small with people who feel free to make up the ‘facts’ as they go along and feel no sense of accountability. This thread has gone on so long, not because of anything I have said or done, but because you have been unable at every step simply to acknowledge you misstated the facts. Why and what that says about you, I leave to the readers.

  34. Rationalize all you want, Rick. You picked a non-issue – not even a respectable TANGENT to the issue in the post and harped about it as if it mattered (Kennedy increased the tempo of our operations in Vietnam!  It’s right there!), and continue to hide behind your curious, picayune, pedantic mania for non-issues. 

     Merely declaring victory doesn’t really make it so – but if it’d get you to shut up and move along, feel free.

  35. “Kennedy increased the tempo of our operations in Vietnam”

    To repeat myself: Of course Kennedy increased U.S. troop strength in Vietnam no one denies that. I just denied your, frankly bizzare, claim that a significant portion of the increase was U.S. infantry units that conducted independent infantry operations.

    A claim you keep insisting on in post after post. Your use of the phrase “our operations” seems meant to conflate the U.S. advisory role (the well established fact that I and every Vietnam book agrees on) with your claim that there was a significant increase in regular U.S. infantry units conducting independent operations.

    I have no idea why you are so loathe to admit the latter is a figment of your imagination. I admit it is a side issue – that just make it all the more interesting why you won’t admit your original mistake.

    It is fairly obvious you mentally moved up the 65 Marine landing at DaNang to the Kennedy Admin. When called on it, instead of manning up to the innocent and fairly trivial error, you started throwing abuse and insisting in some mythical deployment of U.S. infantry units.

    Frankly, the cover up is more interesting and revealing than the crime.

  36. I just denied your, frankly bizzare, claim that a significant portion of the increase was U.S. infantry units that conducted independent infantry operations.

    I SAID NO SUCH THING!

    EVER!

    Who the f*** are you calling “bizzare”?

  37. Look, Rick – I wrote a little imprecisely; Kennedy started the policy that led to massive troop deployments with his commitment of huge numbers of advisors (including a HUGE increase in those serving in combat advisory roles), air and navy support and equipment, fundamentally setting the stage for changing the war from a counterinsurgency to a conventional war.

  38. God, that was funny.

    Who the f*** are you calling “bizzare”?

    Priceless…

    Rick, you’ll learn that the word humility is NOT in Mitch’s vocabulary.

  39. And you’ll learn that Doug has trouble with “deodorant”, “germane” and “wiping”.

  40. Rick said,

    “I just denied your, frankly bizzare, claim

    Mitch heard Rick call HIM bizarre.

    I’ll add reading comprehension to the list of things Mitch isn’t real good at…

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