Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Military intelligence wins again.

In today's news... looks like a mopping up operation against a previously estimated five hundred al Qaeda by 1000 Afghani pro-government forces accompanied by US military advisors turned into a disaster, where the Afghanis and 60 US advisors tried attacking troops dug into bunkers on the high ground, heavily defended, and armed with rockets, mortars, and heavy machine guns. Oh... did I mention that the defenders outnumbered the attackers by between three and five-to-one?!

Results? An American advisor and at least four Afghanis confirmed dead, with an unspecified number of wounded. There are also disturbing reports that more dead might be confirmed later; according to Afghani troops, some of their units might have been cut off or surrounded in the attack.

It certainly makes you wonder just what is meant by the term "military advisor". According to eyewitnesses, U.S. advisors were seen fighting on the ground alongside Afghan forces, and numerous U.S. transport helecopters and helicopter gunships were seen flying (and fighting) in the area.

The question, really, is why. Why were U.S. troops not safely back behind the lines in this conflict, why they lacked any kind of armor or armored protection, why were they engaged in combat without adequate softening from air raids, why are we only hearing about B-52 airstrikes and not about a combined attack by numerous aircraft armed with precision-guided weaponry, and why U.S. military intelligence failed so badly in this situation? This was apparently the largest U.S. military ground action in Afghanistan since December, but it certainly doesn't sound like it was treated very seriously. Given the level of enemy defenses, I have to wonder whether there was adequate softening for an attack on 500 well-prepared defenders, much less 5000.

In other words, where is the use of highly directed overwhelming force?

Perhaps the US troops have all restationed on the Iraqi border?! Um... guys. Last time I heard, there was still a conflict in progress.

In purely military terms, it was probably the most significant U.S. military blunder since Mogadishu. The U.S. military led those soldiers into a turkey shoot - the fact that most of those soldiers weren't Americans is small comfort to our Afghan allies.

Lots of people claim that the US military is the best in the world because of its soldiers. That, of course, is the kind of feelgood bullshit that people like to hear. The truth is, our military is the best in the world because they are, at their best, the military force most able to use their strength against their enemies weakness. This usually means being able to direct concentrated and pinpointed force against an enemy with little-to-no chance that the enemy can do anything about it. We know where they are, they don't know where we are, we can strike from further away, and we are in a position to take them out before they know what happened. This doesn't just apply to "smart bombs" but to every aspect of the US military. The problem being that this kind of warfare doesn't work well when fighting enemies in disadvantageous, covered terrain.

As Colin Powell said "We do deserts, we don't do mountains." Incidentally, Colin Powell also created the Powell Doctrine, which advocates use of overwhelming, directed force against an enemy. In short, our military is not following its own lessons. There are a lot of military options available to the US, but advancing on a well-entrenched enemy after a limited bombardment sounds like something out of World War I more than anything else.

Yes, we can be sure that bombing will continue and that the Al Qaeda forces there will sustain losses. However, we can also be pretty sure that most will vanish into the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, only to fight again somewhere else some other day.

So, do you think we'll have similar luck with U.S. military advisors in Philippines, Yemen, and Georgia... or will we just make more enemies?

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