Graphic courtesy of News Limited
OFFICER INCOMPETENCE IN AFGHANISTAN?
by Sasha Uzunov
The story in the Herald Sun newspaper (see below) raises the ugly possibility that it was Australian Army Officer incompetence that contributed to the deaths of 3 diggers (soldiers) in a green on blue incident, that is Afghan soldiers who are Taliban sleeper operatives attacking Western soldiers.
Ask any former and serving enlisted Australian soldier (myself included), who has never been commissioned as an officer, their opinion of our "leader caste." It would not be too flattering.
Generally speaking, the good officers are the ones who don't buy the subliminal and subtle brainwashing at the Australian Army's Royal Military College - Duntroon about how they are the Lords of the Earth and soldiers are servants, a relic of the 19th century British aristocracy's influence in the armed forces.
Good officers earn the respect of their men by leading by example. Most soldiers accept when officers make tough & unpopular decisions that have a reason...ie. the safety of the unit.
The Australian Army and its parent, the British Army, have a tradition that young officers fresh out of the military academy are mentored by older non-commissioned officers (NCO) or warrant officers (also known as sergeant-majors) who show them the ropes.
Sometimes, the fault can lie with NCO's for not being strong enough in offering their guidance to officers.
We know that democracy does not work in the Army. The Russian Red Army during the Revolution and the Civil War period (1917-20) permitted soldiers to "elect" their commanders and to vote on whether to fight certain battles. It was found to be a disaster. So Leon Trostky, the Red Army Commissar, re-introduced the old system of a hierarchical rank structure. The Red Army went on to win the Civil War.
Good officers in the Australian Army, and there are many, listen to their men and their non-commissioned officers such as corporals and sergeants, but then show their authority by making a decision based on logic.
What is not acceptable is when officers, in order to play the promotion game, are too afraid to think outside the box, don't want to rock the boat. That is because we have a professional careerist officer corps. If they do not do as they are told they receive a poor evaluation report and their career could be destroyed.
I've witnessed how a popular and competent officer had his career destroyed for simply doing his job.
Another point, enlisted soldiers are seen as mere furniture or assets by officers, because soldiers only "make their careers" once they reach the rank of sergeant.
If you have 20 something year olds without any life experiences graduating as officers who are then expected to lead men into battle, you are asking for trouble.
Second point the I thought NATO ran the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, not the United Nations. Perhaps I'm wrong? Read the story below.
LINK to story
Herald Sun - September 25, 2013
A SECRET internal defence report into the murders of three soldiers in Afghanistan by a Taliban "sleeper" has revealed it was incompetence that exposed the three Australian sons to danger - and ultimately cost them their lives.
Lance Corporal Stjepan "Rick'' Milosevic, 40, Sapper James "Marto'' Martin, 21, and Private Robert "Poatey'' Poate, 23 were murdered in cold blood at Patrol Base Wahab on August 29 last year as they played cards.
But the tragedy for the fallen mates - and their families - was that the army failed to provide adequate protection despite increased risks of insider attacks.
A damning internal - and heavily censored - report has revealed the men's commanders knew of increased "green on blue" attacks by Taliban operatives against coalition forces.
The United Nations led coalition - called International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) - ordered security be beefed up.
But the warnings of the spike in insider attacks were never passed to the 22-man platoon.
Taliban operative - Sergeant Hekmatullah - quietly approached their makeshift recreation area.
It was 9.45pm and as the trained killer drew level with two Bushmaster vehicles, where the Aussies were gathered around two tables under a tarp just prior to turning in, he silently switched his weapon to automatic and squeezed the trigger.
Within seconds two bursts of automatic fire had sprayed the Diggers with 23 rounds.
Two died instantly, a third was dying and another two were wounded. In the chaos that followed, the killer had fled.
The report's key findings are;
* A high-level report boosting force protection was released on August 28 but not passed to troops at risk.
* Senior officers failed to adequately address the force protection needs at patrol base Wahab.
* The state of readiness and ability to respond to attack was "inadequate''.
* Senior officers knew that diggers would be unable to secure themselves away from Afghan troops at Wahab.
* No Australian intelligence existed about the risk from Hekmatullah.
The Taskforce Commander, a Lieutenant Colonel, and the Lieutenant in command of the platoon were both promoted months before the report was finalised.
The triple murder occurred just 13 days after a warning about increased "sleeper'' attacks from Taliban chief Mullah Omar and during a spike in so called "green on blue'' insider attacks by Afghan soldiers.