Training Iraqis and Afghans to maintain western-style security is a waste of time and U.S. military leaders are so afraid of offending people that they refuse to do what’s necessary to win. That’s the thesis of a very blunt book by former U.S. Navy SEAL Carl Higbie. His book is entitled “Battle on the Homefront: A Navy SEAL’s Mission to Save the American Dream”.
Higbie tells us of his two tours in Iraq and the stunningly inept Iraqis he was ordered to train, including how most Iraqis think every direction is East and how some of them would trade weapons for their neighbor’s goats. He says simple concepts are impossible for them to grasp, so expecting loyalty to a western nation or thinking they will comprehend a security strategy is a waste of time.
Higbie served in Iraq under President Bush in 2007 and in 2009 under President Obama. He claims there was a “night and day” difference in policy, including the Obama administration directive that U.S. troops not carry live ammunition. Higbie says these rules of engagement are handcuffing our forces and preventing them from winning wars.
In fact, the ex-SEAL saves his harshest criticisms for military leaders for agreeing to wage a culturally sensitive war to win hearts and minds rather than kill our enemies. He specifically lashes out at Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, calling him a “moron” for not fighting to change policies on joint security patrols in Afghanistan until Afghans had killed more than 50 of our own troops.
Higbie recounts how misguided rules of engagement put his own life in danger, how his book led to his dismissal from the U.S. Navy and what the response has been from officers and enlisted personnel.