Letters: Sharp-looking uniform; screening officers for ability; Iraq at crossroads; Afghan camo
I’ve been reading the service and dress uniform debate since 2001. While I’m not in favor of issuing “pinks and greens” uniforms to the whole Army or even making it optional, I have no problem with Pentagon staff being issued them.
Soldiers today only need a dress blue uniform (Army Service Uniform) for ceremonies and military balls. I would love a change with our current blues.
Many Soldiers are starting to catch on with another uniform that few know of. Soldiers I have shown this uniform love it. I think it would be an improvement over the current blue uniform. It’s the Army 1902 Model Blue Uniform (enlisted version).
Could you please bring this uniform into the debate. It would be nice for Soldiers to know there were sharp-looking uniforms before World War II as well.
Screening officers for cognitive ability
A problem plaguing part of the Officer Corps in today’s military is the low cognitive ability of some officers. There is no doubt that in order to be a successful leader in the military, you need to be an above average individual. This includes possessing an above-average cognitive ability to effectively solve the complex problems the military faces today.
In order to commission as an officer, there are many physical requirements an individual must pass, including a medical examination, and a physical fitness test. The military also requires that an individual be a college graduate. The military accepts that an individual who possesses a college degree also possesses a high degree of cognitive ability, and this is a mistake!
An individual who has a college degree does not necessarily possess the cognitive ability to be a successful officer.
There is a significant difference in academic rigor among today’s colleges and universities. The academic challenge that a person faces at a service academy or an Ivy League school is much different than at less prestigious community colleges and state schools. The military, however, does not address this difference and values both degrees as equal when it comes to meeting the requirements to commission.
I am not arguing that individuals who attend community college, or smaller state schools are not capable of serving as officers in the military, I am arguing that because these individuals did not face the same academic challenges as their peers, that it is possible that they do not possess the cognitive ability to perform the job of an officer.
We need to administer a test that measures the cognitive ability of every officer entering the military. We already screen enlistees who are entering the military with the ASVAB, so why do we not do this with our officers? If we continue to associate a college degree with cognitive ability, we will continue to fail the enlisted ranks, as well as the country, by putting individuals in leadership positions that do not possess the tools necessary to succeed.
Capt. Robert Welch
Fort Hood, Texas
Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, demonstrate squad movements and room clearance procedures to Iraqi army soldiers with the 75th Brigade, 16th Division, at Besmaya Range Complex, Iraq, April 8, 2015. The demonstration was part of training led by coalition forces under Operation Inherent Resolve to aid the Iraqi army in its fight against the ISIS. Photo Credit: Sgt. Deja Borden/Army
Iraq at crossroads
The liberation of Mosul and the wider Ninevah province from the Islamic State group and its brutal Salafist jihadi doctrine is the subject of many Iraqi conversations. To capitalize on the lessons learned from the bloody three-year battle, Iraqis must take stock of the political process.
Liberation is not a solution in itself and fundamental questions need to be asked: Do Iraqis want a united or divided country? What is better, a federal system or a confederation? Should there be a state dominated by the center or decentralized provinces with new and broad powers?
Was ISIS’ occupation of large swaths of Iraqi territory a sufficient warning of the fragility of the country’s political system, governance and social cohesion? Or do Iraqis (God forbid) need another horrific wake up call that will lead to the end of Iraq as we know it?
Have Iraqi parties failed to learn from the lessons of the crisis? Different factions have used the state to service their own narrow interests, taking advantage of the chaos when Iraq faced its greatest existential crisis.
What are the doses of antibiotics required in the Iraqi body so that terrorism departs for good? This is an urgent question that all Iraqis need to answer.
We shouldn’t forget that when the liberation of Mosul is complete, the eyes of the international coalition will turn west toward Syria. Iraq is not immune from what is taking place next door. The government, NGOs and the international community must create a new environment in the liberated areas for social justice and work on a new formula for co-existence.
Despite all these challenges, Iraqis have shown the rest of the world that they have the strength of character to develop the country’s social and political fabric. Once Iraq has addressed the grand questions of rule of law, governance, revenue distribution and identity, the focus must then shift to defining a new political culture in Iraq and creating a roadmap for a confederation with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the most viable formula for co-existence with the Kurds.
Decentralization has to be accelerated, corruption addressed, a population census — long overdue — must be conducted for countrywide planning.
It won’t be easy, but these are urgent and important moves for the people and future of Iraq.
Governing Iraq after liberation will be the real acid test of Iraqi leadership. The liberation of Mosul must be the start of the nation’s recovery, otherwise, warlords, camouflaged by different names and fronts, will prevail.
It is important to remember that the presence of ISIS militants in Mosul created a new generation of young supporters. It is necessary to admit that a new mutation of the group will be no less evil and acts of terrorism will continue. The threat has the potential to move inside cities, as well as some areas that remain outside the state’s authority. Let us not allow the liberation of Mosul to be a stopgap before the next wave of extremism.
Leaders must lead, and not be led.
Former Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S.
Col. Mohammad Haroon (left), Regional Military Training Center-Kandahar commander, and Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid (front), 205th Hero Corps commander, inspect Afghan National Army soldiers at Camp Hero, Afghanistan. According to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the U.S. has wasted millions of dollars on an ill-suited woodland camouflage pattern for the Afghan army. Photo Credit: Sgt. Ashley Curtis/Army
Controversial Afghan camo
Note: Hundreds of readers commented on Army Times Facebook page responding to new woodland camouflage uniforms costing American taxpayers $28 million, though the camo was chosen by an official browsing online. Here’s a sample of the comments:
Some Senator or Congressman should definitely throw a fit about this needless spending! “Dear President Trump I just found a way you can save $28 million and it’s not by switching to Geico.”
Corey L Mclinko
They want to cut benefits to veterans injured in the war, sometimes by the very people we gave the uniforms to, yet we just keep dumping money into this bottomless pit called Afghanistan.
Hey, they Army put me in a pale blue uniform that didn’t work anywhere except grandma’s couch so why should they have been any more diligent or less wasteful when in came to the Afghans?
At least somebody besides Joe is mad about that stupidity. I love how the inspector explained it. “What if they liked pink uniforms. “