Posted by lex, on October 12, 2007
How can you tell that the fighting is truly over in al Anbar? It’s when the US Marines, who’ve been assigned primary responsibility the Sunni dominated, western Iraqi AOR since 2004, decide that it’s time to up sticks and move to Afghanistan – because heard tell? They’ve still got a fight going on over there:
A bid by the Marine Corps to take responsibility for the primary U.S. military mission in Afghanistan is generating a heated debate inside and outside the Pentagon, with some senior officers arguing that the Marines are ideally suited for the Afghan war while others contend that the move would undermine the counterinsurgency strategy there…
The Marine Corps is enthusiastic about a possible move to Afghanistan, with senior officials saying yesterday that its integrated air, ground and logistics units are tailor-made for the dispersed fighting in rugged terrain.
“It’s an optimal deployment of the Marine Corps,” said one senior Marine officer, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be interviewed. “We feel as though we could very neatly fit into that niche.”
Marine combat units — traditionally trained in mountain warfare — served in Afghanistan starting soon after the 2001 U.S. invasion. They have been largely pulled out over the past two years to focus on Iraq’s Anbar province, where there are about 25,000 Marines. Over the past year, violence has fallen sharply in the western province, leading to the withdrawal last month of 2,200 Marines.
Under the proposal, as Marines are freed up from Iraq they would flow gradually into Afghanistan, relieving Army soldiers, who make up the bulk of the U.S. contingent of 27,000 troops. “It would be phased” and would probably begin next year, leading eventually to the Marines assuming the U.S. command there, said another senior Marine official. “We could do a heck of a job there,” he said, adding that some Marine commanders are making contingency plans for training for an Afghan mission.
You gotta love these guys. Unless, you know: They’re coming after you. Or your mission.
And even if you don’t? You want to be real careful when you pick a fight with them. Whether that be in Afghanistan, Iraq or Congress. Because that whole “no better friend, no worse enemy” thing?
They mean that.