According to the BBC, Barak Obama met the soldiers which killed OBL and praised their mission as “one of the greatest military operations in our nation’s history”.
Now, readers of this blog will no doubt have noticed that I am not exactly a big admirer of the US military. And yet, there is no denying the US military did fight – and win – some major and very difficult battles in its history. Take World War II, for example. If the entire allied operation in Europe was an over-rated sideshow to the real war on the Eastern Front, the US did fight Imperial Japan in extraordinarily difficult conditions and the US did win by its tenacity, tactical, operational and strategic skills, and by the raw courage of a lot of US soldiers who fought the formidable Japanese Navy in the air, sea and land.
Or take the war in Korea where the US was under-equipped and often poorly trained, and where it fought not only the Koreans, but even the Chinese (and the Russians in the air).
The US military has also been at the cutting edge of quite a few revolutionary innovations in military science ( such as the Follow on Forces Attack (FOFA) doctrine, the use of helicopters for vertical envelopment and anti-armor operations) and technology (if stealth technology is vastly over-rated, the USA was the first country to introduce technologies such as fly-by-wire, the ARPANET – the daddy of the Internet – or the absolutely amazing Willys MB Jeep).
In fact, one could argue that the US civil war was the first modern war, both in terms of tactics and equipment used.
Now what was the operation to kill OBL really all about? Shooting a defenseless, sick and unarmed man in front of his kids, meeting no meaningful opposition, crashing one helicopter in the process and lying about the true circumstances of it all. And this is what Barak Obama calls “one of the greatest military operations in our nation’s history”?!
What an absolute disgrace! One can condemn the imperialist history of the USA and the murderous role the US military played in it from the invasion of the North American continent to the war in Iraq today, but it would be very hard to deny the fact that the US has a long and distinguished history of military valor. “Operation Geronimo” will go down in history somewhere between the massacre of native American villages, the total FUBAR on Grenada or the “rescue” of Jessica Lynch, and most definitely not as a “great military operation”.
One more thing. There is a damn good reason why most of the US military dislikes the various “elite” special forces. For all the Hollywood propaganda about how “totally awesome” Delta, SEALs and the rest of them are, the reality is that they are often resented by the *real* grunts and in-the-mud soldiers who get to fight the tough and ugly battles from which US “elite” units somehow always manage to stay away from.
So if Obama’s latest statement will get him the gratitude of the (bloated) US special forces community, I doubt that in the real combat units soldiers will be as thrilled as their President about all this. After all, SEAL Team 6 is now getting medals and R&R stateside, while the regular Army grunts are still in the war, being blown up, maimed and killed every day far away from home.
These are all clear signs of imperial decadence. But is anybody reading the writing on the wall?