Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Bureaucratization of War

Disagreements and coordination problems high within the international military command are delaying combat operations for 2,500 Marines who arrived here last month to help root out Taliban forces, according to military officers here (in Afghanistan). For weeks the Marines - with their light armor, infantry, artillery and a squadron of transport and attack helicopters and Harrier strike fighters - have been virtually quarantined at the international air base here, unable to operate beyond the base perimeter.

(D)isputes among the many layers of international command here - an ungainly conglomeration of 40 nations ranging from Albania and Iceland to the U.S. and Britain - have forced a series of delays. Unlike most U.S. military operations, even the small details of operations here - such as the radio frequency used to evacuate a soldier for medical care - must first be coordinated with multiple military commands.

...For Marines, who are accustomed to landing in a war zone and immediately going into action with their own plans, the holdup has been frustrating. . . . Marine operations planning, which is routinely completed in hours or days, has gone on for weeks while they await agreement and approval from above.

- David Wood, Baltimore Sun, 4/11/08

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