Author Topic: Comparing 2 war stories  (Read 685 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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Comparing 2 war stories
« on: March 27, 2014, 10:17:06 AM »
So there's this story from a few days about about MAJ Gant

A once-promising strategy for stability in Afghanistan ended badly two years ago, along with the career of its author and chief proponent, Army Special Forces Maj. Jim Gant. His gripping story is detailed in a new book, American Spartan, by Ann Scott Tyson, the former Washington Post war correspondent who interviewed him for an admiring story in late 2009. They fell in love. Tyson eventually joined Gant in an Afghan village, where he built a reputation mobilizing local tribes against the Taliban.

A tough, wiry Special Forces soldier, Gant was decorated and recommended for promotion over 22 continuous months of combat in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. But in the end, the iconoclasm and disdain for military protocol that enabled Gant’s success were instrumental in his eventual downfall.

At his peak, Gant, now 46, posed such a threat to al Qaeda’s objectives that Osama bin Laden personally demanded his head, Tyson writes. Gant's lows came later, when he was accused by the military command of drinking and other violations, including keeping a "paramour,” and using tactics that recklessly endangered the lives of his troops. At the heart of the military's discomfort, Gant believes, was his insistence that he could trust his life, and those of his men, to the tribal Afghan fighters he'd trained and armed to reverse the Taliban’s spread across eastern Afghanistan.

To reach these tribes, Gant took a few seasoned Special Forces warriors "downrange," deep into rural communities where the Taliban held sway. He spent hours drinking tea and listening to village elders. He and his men grew beards. They wore Afghan clothing and learned to speak Pashto. They trained and armed village tribesmen and pledged their lives to one another. In the nonconformist tradition of the Green Berets, Gant shrugged away the U.S. military bureaucracy, with its thickets of regulations, codified as official Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. Among them: rules for specific combat operations that dictate the number of troops, types of vehicles and types of weapons used -- requirements often ignored by Special Forces teams, and especially by Gant.

Soon, Gant's teams of Green Berets and Afghans -- the beginning of what is known today as the Afghan Local Police (ALP) -- were operating against the Taliban together. His methods were risky -- Gant said he once drove with his team into a Taliban stronghold, dared them to attack, then stole their white flag when they refused. Sometimes, he said, he convinced Taliban fighters to join the local forces.

In Afghanistan, commanders allowed him the unusual freedom to operate as he saw fit. He was considered by then-Gen. David Petraeus and other top military commanders to be one of the leading counterinsurgency experts in the American military.

But his unconventional tactics and flouting of the rules eventually proved too much. In the spring of 2012, Gant was abruptly fired, stripped of his prized Special Forces insignia and forced into humiliating retirement. His work fell into disrepair.
much, much more at the link

but the David Axe, who has more than a few enemies in uniform (and was once sent home early from an embed) put this level of analysis into the story

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 and unsecured 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 called American 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.
also much, much more at the link
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