Wednesday, February 8, 2017

McCain Has Forgotten

ComNavOps has repeatedly pointed out that America and our military have forgotten what war is really like.  We’ve gotten so used to uncontested, precision guided bomb strikes that we’ve forgotten that there is even an enemy capable of fighting back.  We’ve gotten so used to leisurely, uncontested strikes that we’ve come to believe that's what war is.  We’ve become more concerned with the tiniest degree of collateral damage than with mission accomplishment.

We’ve forgotten what war is.  We've forgotten the cost of war.

Now, we have this statement from Senator McCain regarding the Yemen raid in which a Navy SEAL was killed,

“Every military operation has objectives. And while many of the objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success.” (1)

He would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success????  So, I guess he views WWII as a failure?

There could not be a clearer indication that he, personally, has forgotten what war is along with the nation and the military.  This is especially disappointing coming from a combat veteran.

With all that said, I have no idea what the objectives of the mission were, to what degree they were achieved, and whether the benefits were worth the cost.  I do, however, know that war is death and destruction and if we commit to combat we have to expect losses.  We just need to be very careful that the mission is worth the loss.

The loss of an American life, as tragic as it is, is not the criteria upon which to judge the success or failure of a mission or a war.



  1. Amazing you wrote this.

    I sent the seemingly befuddled ex-A-4 driver turned Senator an email through his senate website and asked him exactly what he meant and that I hoped he would give me an answer because I voted for him once.... I also want to know, just like you.... I do not expect this enigmatic behavior from him..... He is getting as loony as his fellow "Zonie" Barry Goldwater got in his later years....

    COMNAV, I cannot find many details on this Yemen action, except about the Senior Chief SEAL hero who was killed, about some objectives that were seized (computer materials), and about the "civilian casualty toll", ad naseum. 14 bad guys (girls?) were killed. Oh yeah and that some woman were combatants... Of course we have also heard that the raid was "compromised" somehow. How, isn't described. Further, I have read that a Marine V-22 that participated or was involved (cannot figure out) had a "hard landing" (USMC jargon- I call it a crash) and had to be destroyed (TRE) by a JDAM deployed by a Harrier.... All of these "facts" are what I can glean.

    Now, I had noticed this ARG/MEU in the area that participated. 2-3 weeks ago Marine leadership (various, including LTGEN Davis) was touting its USMC MET capabilities and why they needed F-35/V-22 (usual touts..)What irritated me was the point they were making that there was a gap in CSG (CVN centered power) coverage in the Gulf and that their ARG/MEU was up to the task of substituting for a CSG.... Of course that made my hackles come up immediately because IMO that is dangerous logic.

    Was this ARG/MEU slated precisely for a role in this raid- that I do not know. I am only connecting dots but the Marine hubris leading in troubles me..

    All I know about the operational world is what I read open source w/Military Times "Early Bird" mainly. Like SGT Schultz, I know nothing.

    Personally, I want "Loose Cannon McCain" to ante up about this "failure" as he calls it and give us some facts. Like right now.


    1. A comment was deleted for being disrespectful.

      Nate Dogg, this is a concept you seem to regularly fail to grasp. I will not allow disrespect towards myself or any other commenter. In like manner, I will not allow disrespect towards you. Your opinions and ideas were fine and would be welcome. Your personal attacks are not allowed. Feel free to clean up your comment and repost.

      Note, however, that you cannot criticize someone for not knowing what happened during the raid and then turn right around and analyzed the success/failure of the raid unless you are privy to more information than has been publicly released.

      Feel free to repost - politely.

    2. "COMNAV, I cannot find many details on this Yemen action"

      To the best of my knowledge, there is no more public information than the very sketchy details so far released. As noted in the post, with so little information, I cannot pass judgement on the success/failure of the raid - only on the criteria put forth by Sen. McCain that any action that results in loss of American life cannot be a success. This is absurd as a sole criterion for evaluating an action.

    3. Here it is the 10th and no details but a lot of simmering restlessness. If the comments about failure had come from someone other than McCain it would be different probably.

      Re nate Dogg comments deleted, COMNAV, I am hard enough to take a "hit alpha". I brought up two points that could irritate others. One, I questioned John McCain for his "comment without details" as I see it, a bonafide American hero, who some see as totally unassailable as a Senator (not). Or two, by connecting dots re the ARG/MEU participation in this operation from sketchy details gleaned post event, someone took it I was ragging on the USMC. My point was that the ARG/MEU had been highlighted by the USMC leadership in a series of USNI articles discussing the "carrier (CVN) gap" and the capabilities "virtues" of an ARG/MEU only days before the raid was executed.... That was my only point and yes, they can be considered conjecture. Any objection to the word "hubris" taken is unfortunate but that is how I SEE IT from a holistic USN perspective and make no apologies.


    4. b2, your comments, whether I agreed or disagreed with them, were fine. They contained no personal attacks. Whether your points irritated anyone is not a concern. People are free to respond to your arguments but not to you, the person - hence, the deleted comment.

      Carry on.

  2. I read that the locals knew about the drones flying overheard and noticed that a little before the attack, the drones were a lot "closer" or lower altitude and thus, warning that something was up....let's face it, the bad guys aren't stupid and are learning from every raid,if SOCOM doesn't change and adapt, these raids will only suffer more causalities. Also, MV-22 isn't exactly quiet, if the bad guys had some kind of forward observers, they could have raised the alarm too.....

  3. I would think the primary purpose ,which was to gather intell is the yardstick to measure. An american life for some hard drives ? This guy wasnt OBL

  4. It is a particularly troubling comment in that Sen McCain has encouraged us getting involved in small conflicts time and time again. He too was all in for supporting the rebels in Syria...many whom are now known as ISIS.

    Sarcasm aside, men die in combat for reasons that look often petty on the surface but can be invaluable in the long run.
    Mr. Konrad asked the legitimate question is some hard drives are worth lives. The answer would be hard to explain to the widows but the answer is yes. Proper intel saves more lives over time than it risks. We very nearly blew the attack on Bin Laden with a helicopter crash but we not just took him out but recovered valuable intel which dealt a serious blow to

    But perhaps the best example of a seemingly senseless loss of life was the Dieppe raid of WW2. Over half the force of 6000 was captured, killed, or wounded. It was treated as an ill-concieved debacle. A debacle that made the Germans think we were going to land in a different region on D-Day...which saved lives on the ground. And analogous to the hard drive, we raided a German radar station and got valuable intel ... which saved lives in the air. According to some sources we also got information on the newest version of the enigma machine which updated Bletchly Park's decoding efforts--which were based on an older model--and saved even more lives on land, sea, and air. Indeed, cracking the German code perhaps more than any one advancement helped destroy the U-boat fleet as we learned their movement.

    Sometimes the most seeming senseless death in war serves a purpose greater than we realize.

    1. The 4th rotor Enigma machine was not recovered, so that the things you said never happened.
      The 30 Commando intell gathering unit ( with Ian Fleming) wasnt formed until Sept 1942. The Dieppe raid was in Aug 1942. In addition it was operating in the Med-North Africa till later in 1943.
      These people would the equivalent of a modern day Seal team.

    2. Ztev, when you respond, please be sure to carefully read the comment you are responding to. For example, John does not explicitly state that an Enigma machine was recovered. He may or may not have meant that but he did not explicitly say it. Here is his quote,

      "According to some sources we also got information on the newest version of the enigma machine ..."

      That statement both acknowledges the uncertainty surrounding the issue and DOES NOT STATE that a machine was seized.

      "so that the things you said never happened."

      In fact, intel gathering was, apparently an objective of the raid. How much intel was gathered, if any, is unknown, at least to me. John acknowledged the uncertainty with the phrase, "According to some sources ...". The rest of what he described about the raid did happen.

      The 30 Commando intell gathering unit ( with Ian Fleming) wasnt formed until Sept 1942."

      John did not bring this up - you did. According to two Wiki articles, 30 Commando did take part in the Dieppe raid. I also note that one of the articles (on 30 Commando, specifically) states that the unit was not authorized until Sep '42 while later stating that the unit participated in the Dieppe raid. I'm not an expert on RN military history so I don't know how to resolve that apparent contradiction, however, this is a discrepancy of your making, not John's.

      Please keep your comments factual and be sure to carefully read the comment that you are responding to.


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