US soldiers from the the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, on patrol in Shurta in Baghdad, September 2007. Photo by Bill Roggio.
The Long War Journal received a very flattering compliment from US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. Sean Naylor from The Army Times reported that the intelligence shop from the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division uses our information to help to provide an understanding of Afghanistan:
The 1/17’s soldiers said their train-up was also marked by an absence of good intelligence on what they would be facing in the Arghandab. In their zeal to give their men some insight into their future area of operations, noncommissioned officers such as Staff Sgt. Matthew T. Sanders, 1st Squad leader in Charlie Company’s 1st Platoon, resorted to printing out information on the Arghandab region from the Long War Journal, a respected non-Defense Department Web site, and posting it on bulletin boards.
“We made our own little S-2 because we weren’t getting anything from the S-2 [intelligence directorate],” Sanders said.
I don’t mention this to tout the mention in the media: we get our fair share of that from the big papers, particularly on our coverage of the US air campaign in Pakistan and other subjects such as Thomas Joscelyn’s coverage of Guantanamo Bay detainees and Chris Radin’s coverage of the Afghan National Security Forces. Last week alone I could have bombarded you with media links.
I mention this story because while it is flattering to think LWJ’s coverage on Afghanistan is good enough to be passed along in military circles, it is deeply concerning that the troops at the tip of the spear are not getting the information on the Taliban from the chain of command that they so desperately need. When discussing this issue with a good friend, he aptly quoted Sun Tsu:
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
After reading Sean Naylor’s article, it seems clear that the 5th Stryker Brigade knows neither the enemy nor itself. The unit went into Arghandab without knowing the nature and capabilities of the Taliban, and without a cohesive, unified plan to wage a counterinsurgency.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.