Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Guest Blog--Lone Survivor

Posted on behalf of GenuineClass

Lone Survivor by Marcuss Luttrell is the worst book ever written about American military heroics. Luttrell and four other Navy Seals are caught in the mountains of Afghanistan. The other Seals are killed by the Taliban, but a Taliban village takes Luttrell in and helps him until he can be rescued by the army.

Luttrell spends 200+ pages writing what he could have explained in 20. This is not to diminish the sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces, but the narcissism and obvious bias against liberals and other members of the American public make the author sound like he sacrifices for only those who agree with him and his politics, forgetting that American ideals include free speech and freedom to choose. Luttrell suggests that only red-blooded Texans are worthy enough to call themselves Americans. According to the author, all others should be executed.

Honestly, I did not read the whole thing because I was too busy skimming through Luttrell’s nonsense to get to the parts that mattered.

I would recommend this book to any of America’s enemies—both foreign and domestic—because it is perfect propaganda for the polarization of American political ideologies, suggesting that it is either all or nothing.

1 comment:

Bubblehead said...

I went into Lone Survivor expecting to totally focus on Operation Redwing, similar to Roberts Ridge, and in that regard I was disappointed. Totally full of jingoistic dogma which I found offensive as well as unprofessional, really, really distracts from any story line. Many times I found myself thinking that the level of prejudice evident in the author's attitude has little place in a counterinsurgent - the basic precept being "Win the Population", I can certainly understand someone copping an attitude though which I think highlights one of the reasons we may be in over our heads in the Middle East. This set the tone for me throughout.

As with the other reviews one will find on this book I do not wish to denigrate Petty Officer Luttrell and the lost souls of Seal Team 10 - these guys put up a helluva fight and I have the utmost respect for them -truly highlights the superior training, however, having said that the book boils down to maybe seventy pages - from the insertion to full contact compromised, to the loss of the Team, the rest of the book is wasted pulp - blather!!. I would think the fault here lies with the editor.

Those seventy pages left me filled with questions relating to the Team's SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) such as why a four man team was used when the intel was telling them there were up to a couple hundred hostiles in the area. The six man team has repeatedly been shown to be more effective - two more guns may have made the difference, especially if a SAW and grenade launcher had been included (google Squad Automatic Weapon & M 203 grenade launcher), a few white phosphorous rounds might have bought some breathing room.

Marcus describes the reconnaissance point as a promontory which is the last place where someone hiding wants to be, they were on a ridge with at least one high speed trail, there was at least one hut in the area, the way it is written when they turned the goatherds loose they nonchalantly followed them up the mountain to another hide in full view of any observer. This whole section made me think fubar. SOP dictates the Team leader to do a fly over rather than just a photo and map study - this may have been out of the question for one reason or another, regardless there was no mention of an E&E plan (escape and evasion) and why did comms fail? Blah blah blah - one thing after another that may or may not have been done properly but the book definitely reads like it wasn't. Why is there no mention of Mako-30 and Neil Roberts? these are the things that jumped out at me during the read. The skeptic in me wonders if the media is scrambling for another Jessica Lynch story coming into an election year.

One thing that the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have in common is the difficulty in remaining undetected during reconnaissance missions (Bravo Two Zero for instance 1st gulf), patrol technique has got to be highly modified, one would think this may have been addressed in detail or at least hypothetically somewhere in the book, maybe this is possibly classified - one would do well to study the movements of the snow leopard native to the mountains of Afghanistan, camouflage is critical - not a mention? Patterns exist for the alpine environment -google roggenwolf.

I don't know, the way the book reads is smelly to me -not killing the goatherds was the proper choice - it appears that SOP was not adhered to.

We have many experiences to learn from going back well over two millenia -Soviet in particular but the British experience in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well - both were losers, if we do not seriously get on top on the Taliban insurgency soon we may also end up as a loser - they and we do not understand or appreciate the tribal mentality we are up against - we are the bull in the china shop, I firmly believe that without thoroughly studying and appreciating what caused these past failures, call them lessons learned, our mission is handicapped. Please read the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Gertrude Bell -Queen of the Desert, and even Xenophon's Anabasis - also many accounts from climbing expeditions to this area have good insight into the Pashtun mentality.

Prosit absent Companions,

RH