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I dunno. There's so much competition and backbiting between units, it's hard to know where the truth lies. In reading articles about Iraq/Afghanistan over the past four years, I've found that the Marines will tell you that only they understand how to fight small wars and make friends among the population, the Brits will say that all American commanders were too quick to go kinetic, the Special Forces say that it's crazy to use regular line units for counterinsurgency because they lack cultural understanding and restraint. On and on.
What's that saying about victory having a thousand fathers, but a screwup is an orphan?
I wondered about the interservice rivalry angle myself, but it pretty well jibes with the stuff I've been hearing from other folks in the Army as well. That said, the 4th ID isn't unique in their ability screw things up. It looks like the operation was a charlie foxtrot from the gitgo.
. . . but it pretty well jibes with the stuff I've been hearing from other folks in the Army as well.
Guys in the army frequently have their favorite units and prejudices. As I said, the Brits will tell you that all American units are trigger happy and too willing to resort to violence, but that doesn't mean the evaluation is accurate. There's a real tone in the article of "if only the 4th Division hadn't screwed things up, everything would have been much better in Iraq," and when I hear that kind of stuff I get kind of suspicious that someone is pushing an agenda. If no other division had problems with the locals over the past 3 years in Iraq, I'd be more inclined to think there's something unique about the 4th.
There are some more nuanced articles in the military press, along with a breakdown of units that adopted appropriate and inappropriate tactics and strategies. So this analysis is not done in isolation, and reflects a debate going on in the military right now.
There's no materials safety sheet for astatine. If there were, it would just be the word "NO", scrawled over and over again in charred blood. - Randall Munroe