U.S. Special Forces ordered to shave off beards, some against command because it helps relations.

U.S. Special Operations Forces have had countless close shaves this…

U.S. Special Operations Forces have had countless close shaves this month – not just with the enemy, but with razors and foamy cream.

After almost a decade of growing long beards as a show of deep respect for Afghanistan’s male-dominated, bearded tribal culture, many of these elite warriors have been ordered by top brass to shave their faces clean.

Some veteran special ops troops fear they face a harder time getting taken seriously by local leaders they depend upon for intel about their bearded enemy, the Taliban.

“Now we look no different than the Brits or Russians before us,” a dewhiskered Green Beret team leader with five Afghanistan tours told the Daily News, referring to two countries whose past wars here ended badly. “Growing a beard dramatically helps us.”

Even former Afghan war commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal “should have grown a beard” to help win over the tribes, argued the Green Beret, who cannot be identified because of his mission.

Long beards, khaki ball caps and Oakley wraparound sunglasses have long been the iconic image of U.S. secret warriors here.

But commanders now want “professional-looking” soldiers in the field – at least those who deal mostly with Afghan troops, not civilians. They note that the ball caps are often adorned with macabre skulls, sending the wrong message to a populace weary of war and death.

Source: James Gordon Meek for NY Daily News.

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  • George Liquor

    It’s like Chuck Norris without beard.

  • Grynch

    Just more proof this is a PR-driven campaign with motion being mistaken for achievement. If the cosmetics of culture don’t actually matter (as this new directive indicates) then the US Army civil affairs needs major revising. Let’s just take all of the psychological factors out of our approach to this war and revert back to blind conventional tactics. Whatever level of command issued this “order” needs their worthiness to lead vetted and reassessed.

  • alex

    No more scar16’s – green solid copper 55gr rounds – captain America face. Why not take it one step further and have a lottery where KBR adds cyanide to one unlucky soldiers already polluted water supply everyday. The mortality rate would be about the same.

  • Brandon

    “They note that the ball caps are often adorned wth macabre skulls, sending the wrong message to a populace weary of war and death.” What populace is that??? Do you not realize that we are at war and have been for almost 9 years now! Maybe they should go to war wearing suits and ties…that would be “professional-looking” too!

  • Eric

    No, some things never change when strategists make the mistake of being tacticians; worse, when they don’t accept feedback from the “boots-on-the-ground.” Still worse, when informed of the error and stubbornness takes over and an unwise instruction become further “solidified” and, thus, won’t change, probably because of “ego.” Obviously, the INTEL-gathering experience of field veterans doesn’t seem to matter to the so-called “strategists,” who refuse feedback from those really in “the Know.” Parallels in many areas beyond military affairs; for example, a classic warning in business school: “Communication without ‘feedback’ is ‘noise.'” Looks like our strategy process may be breaking down (i.e., becoming “noise”) since feedback from the field is not able to adjust policy even when it clearly violates “common sense,” which as the tactical trainer and war veteran, Clint Smith, terms as “just really good common sense” informed by real-world information. Never thought “beards” would be a “change indicator,” but, hey, sea-change data, whether in the Market or in other forms of “strategy ” comes in many unique forms. Great for our enemies though…

  • Bill

    This is so typical:-(

    “A junior partnership has been
    The only ship I ever have seen
    But that kind of ship so suited me
    That now I am the ruler of the Queens navee”

    “I always voted at my partys call
    and never thought of thinking for myself at all
    I thought so little they rewarded me
    and now I am the ruler of the Queens navee”

    No, thats not mine – its from W.S.Gilberts libretto of “H.M.S. Pinafore” – the year was 1878.

    Some things just NEVER change…