Theodore's World: Gen. David Petraeus To Senate Hearing: "Training Afghans During Insurgency Like “Building Advanced Aircraft While in Flight”

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July 01, 2010

Gen. David Petraeus To Senate Hearing: "Training Afghans During Insurgency Like “Building Advanced Aircraft While in Flight”

Gen. David Petraeus told a Senate Hearing yesterday that “it will be years” before Afghan Forces can fully take over the fight against The Taliban in Afghanistan.

Petraeus provided a striking analogy for what we are trying to do in Afghanistan:

“Indeed, trying to train and equip host nation forces in the midst of an insurgency is akin to building an advanced aircraft while it is in flight, while it is being designed, and while it is being shot at.”


Family of Fallen Soldier Petitions Top General for War Policy Changes (Petraeus Responds ASAP)

Details of the fallen soldier's parents' exchange with Gen. Petraeus here.

The father of a slain local soldier has taken public a message about the war's rules of engagement.

William Osborn, the father of Spc. Benjamin Osborn, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 15, sent a letter to Gen. David Petraeus on Sunday asking him to change rules which he said tie soldiers' hands.

"Our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn, volunteered to man the one heavy gun his unit had mounted on top of an MRAP vehicle," the e-mail states. "Finally, ordered to fire, Ben was able to get off 10 rounds before falling silent."

Four minutes after Osborn sent the e-mail, Petraeus responded with condolences for the parents and asked them to listen to remarks he'll make at a Senate confirmation hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, where he planned to address the issue.


On Monday morning, William Osborn appeared on the Fox News cable channel to deliver the same message and said troops need to be empowered to use force when they deem it necessary.

The current rules of engagement call for firing only after being fired upon, Osborn said, and that rule is what led to the death of his son.


Cyndie Wade, a friend of the Osborn family who said a contact she knows helped Osborn get on the national cable network, sent an e-mail to NBC on Monday and said she is working to get the parents to appear on MSNBC and the Today Show.

"For whatever reason, my feelings seem to have caught on with some people," Osborn said. "It's too late for my son, but if this could help the men and women out there now, this is Ben's legacy. It's about Ben and the men that he fought with over there. They just deserve a lot better than what they're getting."

E-mail by Mr. & Mrs. Osborne to Gen. Petraeus:

Our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn was killed in action June 15, 2010 in Kunar Province Afghanistan, on a mission. On that day, his unit of 20 was ambushed, coming under heavy fire from a Taliban force of between 70 to 100 strong. Due to the "Rules of Engagement," our soldiers could not return fire to protect themselves until ordered to do so.

Our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn volunteered to man the one heavy gun his unit had mounted on top of an MRAP vehicle. Finally, ordered to fire, Ben was able to get off 10 rounds before falling silent.

This illustrates to us that there is a very basic flaw in our "Rules of Engagement." We believe that it led to the demise of our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn and other warriors like him. We have the greatest fighting force in the world with the most technologically advanced weapons known to man. We spend enormous resources to teach, train and prepare our fighting men and women for battle; then send them out with one hand tied behind their backs.

It appears that our current administration is anti-military because of the limits placed on field personnel. The "Rules of Engagement" are such that we allow our enemies one break after another: we can not fire unless fired upon, if enemy combatants are around civilians we must retreat, before we can enter buildings we must consult with Afghan National Security Forces. Such "Rules of Engagement" allow these terrorists to escape to come back stronger and fight another day.


Immediate reply by Gen. David Petraeus:


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Osborn, please accept my condolences on the loss of your son.

And please listen to my opening statement at the confirmation hearing on Tuesday morning at 0930. I will address the ROE issue. I will note that commanders have a moral imperative to ensure that we provide every possible element of support to our troopers when they get into a tight spot. And I will ensure that we meet that imperative if I am confirmed to command ISAF in Afghanistan.

Sincerely, and with sympathy

- General Dave Petraeus


Petraeus Confirmed By Senate as Commander in Afghanistan, 99-0

The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to confirm Gen. David Petraeus as the commander of American forces in Afghanistan.

Petraeus — heralded for his time as commander of operations in Iraq — leaves his post as the head of U.S. Central Command and is expected to be in Kabul as soon as Friday.


You got to love a Heavy bomber that can out-run a concorde. ~ Wild Thing

Petraeus Gives Shout-Out to B-1B Lancer Fleet

Defense Tech

Last week, we wrote that the Air Force Council, the blue suiters board of directors that advises the air chief, was considering deep cuts to force structure to meet aggressive savings targets laid out by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. One option they are reportedly considering is early retirement of all 66 B-1B Lancer bombers, last delivered in the late 1980s.

Yesterday, the Lancer fleet got a hearty shout-out from new installed Afghan commander Gen. David Petraeus. “It is a great platform,” he told senators at his confirmation hearing. “It carries a heck of a lot of bombs… and it has very good intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.”
It can loiter for long periods of time in a combat-air patrol, using its Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod which contains a laser designator, 3rd Gen. FLIR and digital cameras that function well both day and night to search out insurgent movements or IED emplacers. “It is almost like having another unmanned aerial vehicle in terms of full motion video and so forth,” he said.
“So it’s not just a case of a very, very capable bomber just boring holes in the sky waiting to open the bomb-bay doors, it is also the case of a platform that’s very capable even as it is just flying around in circles.”


Wild Thing's comment........

Petraeus talking about ROEs now. Says he will “look very hard” at the complaints from troopers. Says he has talked with Karzai and other Afghan leaders on the past few days about need to bring full fight to the enemy. Says we still need to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage. That’s about all he said on that.

99-0. Robert Byrd had a prior engagement and did not vote.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 1, 2010 06:49 AM


Bwahahahahahahahahahahah...Gasp...LOL...yeah he sure did. That's, 58 democrats their majority is shrinking via attrition.

We shall see, how far obama lets him go on the ROE's. Afterall, barry has the final say. Which is why I don't think it will go too far. It was the UN and white house who brought up the "Courageous Restraint" BS, so we'll see.

Posted by: Mark at July 1, 2010 02:51 PM