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To Jason et. al. and Andrew et. al.....

 
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In almost all other related threads people are simply rehashing the same thing over and over again. Nobody is trying to understand what other is saying. Let us not just be against or for the US raids on Afgh. Let us think for a moment (instead of flaming) and analyse the situation. Then, I think, we can have a better meaningful discussion about the whole thing.
Forget about whether US is right or wrong in conducting the attacks. Even if it is right, sometimes doing the right things don't help. And even if it is wrong, sometimes the end justifies the means.
So now, can anybody from the Jason et. al. camp please answer my following question?
1. What is the objective of the conducting the US Air raid? Or, at the end of the day, what is the output that the raids are supposed to generate?
Please don't answer in vague/broad terms like "Eliminating terrorism". Be specific.
 
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The objective answer has never been in question, Aman. As a matter of public record, the U.S. has asked the Taliban to expel Osama bin Laden, and they have refused. The U.S. considers bin Laden a terrorist who must face charges in connection with the WTC attack, and has vowed to "bear no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them."
You're not thinking we can open a dialog on that premise, do you? The only dialog possible is what these guys are talking about: what this military action "really" means to them. And it's no surprise that each finds the other "wrong" in their assessments and all that, and that many of them require several thousand words, repeated several dozen times, to illustrate those findings.
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
The objective answer has never been in question, Aman.


I am not questioning the objecting. I am asking. What is the objective?

As a matter of public record, the U.S. has asked the Taliban to expel Osama bin Laden, and they have refused. The U.S. considers bin Laden a terrorist who must face charges in connection with the WTC attack, and has vowed to "bear no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them."


So, is this your answer? Is the objective of the strikes is to make Taliban give Osama to US?


You're not thinking we can open a dialog on that premise, do you?


I am not thinking about anything. This is start of the discusion and I first want to keep an open mind and just get the "premises" of the "for" camp. Once we get the premises ready then we can apply logic and try to prove whether it is right or wrong.
From your reply, can I assume that you are "for" the strikes because at the end of the day this will make talib. handover osama to US?
 
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Originally posted by Aman Chain:
1. What is the objective of the conducting the US Air raid? Or, at the end of the day, what is the output that the raids are supposed to generate?
Please don't answer in vague/broad terms like "Eliminating terrorism". Be specific.


It is a very broad question with answers on many different levels, but I will try to narrow it down and be concise.
I will make the assumption that you are dealing specifically with the objectives of our attacks on Afghanistan, leaving out any broader issues such as world terrorism. Also, since we are talking about what the objective is, we can deal with it relatively detached and free from emotion. The moralities involved and the chances of success or failure are not part of your question so I will leave them out.
I will be basing some of my answer on Air Force Doctrine Document 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, dated September 1997, and a good article called The purpose of War in the August 2001 edition of "Air Force Magazine, Journal of the Air Force Assiciation".
objective - a defined and attainable goal that contributes to strategic, operational, or tactical aims.
The overarching purpose is to carry out national policy. National policy is that we maintain a secure nation. More specifically, yet still at a broad level, the purpose of the conflict is threefold:

  • To compel a positive political outcome
  • To produce desired strategic results
  • That our will prevail over the will of our advesary

  • The way I see it the positive political outcome we are looking for is the removal of the Taleban party from power in Afghanistan, and the destruction of the Al-Queda organization.
    The strategic results we are looking for are things such as the inability of Al-Queda to carry out terrorist operations, and the effective destruction of the Taleban's military capabilities.
    We are looking to establish our will for a secure nation, over the enemies will to commit terrorism against us. We want our will to topple Al-Queda to prevail over their will to remain in power. You get the idea.
    I would say another objective closely related to all of these is our desire to establish a state of deterrence. We will establish this deterrence through intimidation. In this manner we will try to convince the enemy not to direct hostile action towards us.
    Now that I have given a bit of background and supporting information, I will give you the simple answer you are looking for.
    Our objectives in this campaign are to remove the ability of the Al-Queda organization to operate and carry out terrorist operations. Supporting objectives are to remove the ability of Afghanistan to operate as a base for terrorist operations and training, and to remove the Taleban from control of Afghanistan.
    A vaguely related quote from the movie "Airplane!".


    Striker: My orders came through. My squadron ships out
    tomorrow, we're bombing the storage depots at
    Daiquiri at 18:00 hours. We're coming in from the
    North, below their radar.
    Elaine: When will you be back?
    Striker: I can't tell you that. It's classified.


    [This message has been edited by Jason Menard (edited November 03, 2001).]
 
Michael Ernest
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So, is this your answer? Is the objective of the strikes is to make Taliban give Osama to US?


Yeah, that's what I wrote.
 
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can i be part of "et. al." too?
we are not fighting the Afghan people... we are fighting Al-queda, who happen to be sponsored by the Taliban, who happen to control Afghanistan. it is unfortunate for the Afghan people that these terrorists live in their country, but we are trying to correct that.
there are several reasons for a long, sustained bombing campaign... a couple of them are:
1. this is a show of force. by continually, relentlessly bombing the taliban's supply depots, command centers and other assets, we are showing them that they are hopeless against us.
2. we do not know where all the caves/underground bunkers are. once our special operations forces get good intelligence, you will see more bombing in the mountains. that will also signal the end for bin laden.
this is just as much psychological as it is military. people like al-queda do not understand diplomacy. bin laden himself declared a "holy war against america" in 1996. he said his people (al-queda) should "kill americans wherever you can." just imagine running from bombs every day for 2 or 3 months... the psychological impact alone can be devastating. when this is over, the al-queda/taliban people will think twice before they do something like September 11 again (if any of them are still alive).
 
Anonymous
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It was really good to hear clear thoughts. Here are my thoughts about it:

Originally posted by Jason Menard:

The way I see it the positive political outcome we are looking for is the removal of the Taleban party from power in Afghanistan, and the destruction of the Al-Queda organization.


I agree with that 100%. But the way bombing is going, I don't see that's what they want. US is what, 10000 times more powerful than Afgn? But after a month of raids, I would say there is practically no change in the position. After spending so much of tax payers money what's the outcome?
If that were the objective, ie. topple the Taliban, shouldn't US have applied some more thought (I'm sure, people at the helm are smart people...but atleast I don't see their smartness in this case) and may be discussed with the Northern Appliance....and made them as their spearhead? There is a saying in Hindi, I'll just say the translation, "Iron cuts Iron".
And this is not a new idea....they used Afgn. people against the soviets. Why not intelligently use them against Taliban? They are fighting the talib. anyway.
In fact, from the earlier reports the NA was very unhappy with the way US raids were going. But recently, (guess) when US figured out that they are going nowhere, they payed heed to NA and started bombing the way NA wanted. I believe, that's how Maza-e-Sharif fell. But only after a whole month....when it could have been done within the first week itself.
The point I am trying to make is, the raids, as you correctly said, are a show of power. But that will not help. Everybody already knows that US is powerful and that's why they did not attack US conventionally.
As I see it, instead of painting a picture of resolve/dermination/power, the US is showing clear signs of frustration. Which, I believe, is not good. I expect much more shrewedness from the US.


The strategic results we are looking for are things such as the inability of Al-Queda to carry out terrorist operations, and the effective destruction of the Taleban's military capabilities.


Again, good looking idea but will not help. Taliban's military capabilities are miniscule. It's not their military that created the problem for US. US can destroy them completely and still AQ will function because now this "jehad" jini is not just contained in the Afgn. box. It's out of it. Also, the fact that not even a single Afgni. was among the hijackers proves that Afgn. is merely a host for this parasite. And (I saw this in a lot of reports) now, Osama does not even mastermind all the operations. His cells in different parts of the world plan things on their own.
Still, destroying Taliban is OK because it was in a way accomplice to AQ in terrorism again US. But I think, that job should be done in a parallel thread with utmost shrewedness. Just the way US handled the Soviets. And in this case, the whole world is with the US anyway.


We are looking to establish our will for a secure nation, over the enemies will to commit terrorism against us.


Nobody can be against it. But think of how this objective will be achieved by the US strikes. I feel that by striking Afgn. on it's own (instead of using NA), the US is strengthing not only Afgh.'s will but slowly the whole Islamic world's will against US.
Now just see, when this thing was started nearly all the islamic countries were with US. But now slowly, (and quickly when the ramzan comes) islamic countries will break away from US. I think, US is loosing valuable time here. By going with "strike" approach, US has locked itself into a difficult position. As it looks, the strikes can go all day but nothing may really happen. And obviously, the islamic countries cannot support the US to just keep conducting the raids.


We want our will to topple Al-Queda to prevail over their will to remain in power. You get the idea.


Yeah...I do get the idea but the point that AQ does not want power seems to be lost on you. AQ will use (and is using Afgh, Pak, Egypt) whoever is in the power.


I would say another objective closely related to all of these is our desire to establish a state of deterrence. We will establish this deterrence through intimidation. In this manner we will try to convince the enemy not to direct hostile action towards us.


Very good thought but, I my opinion, not a good approach. If deterrance were any good, the terrorist attacks would not have happened in the first place. Was there any doubt that US can kick ass???
Taliban, and AQ (and also Saddam) do not care about their people. For sensible countries, showing strength helps. That's why there was actually no war in Cold War. Here the parameters are different. Even if the whole afgn. is dead, they don't care. They will simply pick another host. And you know that there is no dearth of countries with willing people. Can you imagine, thousands from Pakistan are moving in Afgh. to fight against the US when they KNOW that they'll be dead in no time?
The point that the Strikes are trying to make to the enemy is already accepted by the enemy. They already know that if US is attacked, the US will kick ass. But whose ass??? They also know that US will kick there host's ass. And they don't care a bit about it.

Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

Yeah, that's what I wrote


And why would they do it? Because you are killing Afghanis? Go ahead, kill them all. They'r ok with it.
Ok, now don't start flaming me because I "seem" to be against US. I am not. At all. If you ask me what is my solution, I accept that I don't know. But I believe that a positive critisism is also helpful in arriving at a better solution.
 
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>The point that the Strikes are trying to make to the enemy is >already accepted by the enemy. They already know that if US is >attacked, the US will kick ass. But whose ass??? They also know >that US will kick there host's ass. And they don't care a bit >about it.
Which is why the only short term 'victory' for the U.S. is the capture or (more likely and more hopefully) death of Osama the insane and his lieutenants. Osama seems to be a very charismatic figure to a lot of Muslim or would be Muslim extremists, his death would hopefully leave a large vacuum of leadership.
 
Jason Menard
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I agree with that 100%. But the way bombing is going, I don't see that's what they want. US is what, 10000 times more powerful than Afgn? But after a month of raids, I would say there is practically no change in the position. After spending so much of tax payers money what's the outcome?


A couple of things here. First the location of Afghanistan and our difficulties with basing massive amounts of troops forces us to scale things down a little. We are not able to use the amount of aircraft with the frequency that we would like to. In Iraq we had unbelievable amounts of troops and equipments surrounding Iraq in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and right off Iraq's coast in the Gulf. We do not have that luxury here.
After about a month of bombing, the government of Afghanistan is no longer functioning. They have little left in the way of air defenses. There remains little command and control capability. We have denied them the use of any air assets. We have put a hurting on their armo and artillery. We have cut most of the supply lines supplying their forces. Their troops may not freely move about the country and are forced to dig in. The Taliban must put extra effort into maintaing their lines considering reports of defection and probable desertion. Once we took care of the basic things I outlined above, we are now free to start pounding their troop concentrations. If you think back to the Gulf War it was the same progression. The psychological effects of days on days of carpet bombing is tremendous. After softening them up with the bombing we have been doing, we will probably start doing some coordinated operations with the opposition forces.

If that were the objective, ie. topple the Taliban, shouldn't US have applied some more thought (I'm sure, people at the helm are smart people...but atleast I don't see their smartness in this case) and may be discussed with the Northern Appliance....and made them as their spearhead? There is a saying in Hindi, I'll just say the translation, "Iron cuts Iron".


We are not going to instantly form a military alliance with a group we have previously had no relations with. We have however been laying the framework to help them in their military campaign against the Taliban. The first step is to send in Special Forces advisors, which we have now done reportedly. These advisors will establish a working relationship with the NA and try to determine their needs as well as how we can help each other. The SF guys will also no doubt be providing some training to the NA that they have not had propr access to. So it seems we are moving along with the NA at about the pace you would expect it to be happening at. I predict the next step will be helping the NA make a push to secure that one city (Maza e-Sharif or something) in the north, which if I remember correctly has an airport. Once that area is secured we will most likely use it as a jumping off point for further operations. The other thing about the NA is that the Pakistanis don't want them in power, so if we want to avoid pissing off the Pakistanis, we must tread carefully in our dealings with the NA.

The point I am trying to make is, the raids, as you correctly said, are a show of power. But that will not help.


You misunderstood me. I did not say the purpose of the raids was a show of power. The purpose of the raids is what I outlined above (obtain air supremacy, by destroying anti-air capabilities as well as any air forces there might be, destroy Command and Control, disrupt supply lines, place their army into a defensive posture, etc...).

As I see it, instead of painting a picture of resolve/dermination/power, the US is showing clear signs of frustration. Which, I believe, is not good. I expect much more shrewedness from the US.


This is not true. The only ones showing signs of frustration are a)those who wish we were frustrated and losing patience, b)the media who is frustrated we aren't giving them enough information, and of course c)the people we are bombing and their supporters around the world.

can destroy them completely and still AQ will function because now this "jehad" jini is not just contained in the Afgn. box. It's out of it.


You've unknowingly touched on the heart of the matter. Al-Queda will not be able to function in Afghanistan if we destroy the Taliban.

Even if the whole afgn. is dead, they don't care. They will simply pick another host.


And that leads into the next point... which is nobody will be willing to host them when we are done with Afghanistan. That is definitely one of the main reasons behind taking out the Taliban. The idea is that no other nation will take the risk in harboring Bin Laden or Al-Queda for fear we will attack them. Further, if they find out that Al-Queda and similar organizations are "unknowingly" operating in their borders, they will have ample insentive to get rid of them.

Now just see, when this thing was started nearly all the islamic countries were with US. But now slowly, (and quickly when the ramzan comes) islamic countries will break away


Many of them were obviously with us for PR reasons in the beginning. Some of them possibly out of fear? Turkey is not going anywhere, we have very close ties with them. I don't know about Tajikistan, but we have worked out a good arrangement with Uzbekistan, so no problems there. I believe Pakistan will continue to back us because we have probably given them some very good reason why it is in their best interest to do so. Saudi Arabia will not protest too loudly because they want the continued security that we are providing them. Kuwait is indebted to us and firmly in our corner. As far as any other Islamic country, they are probably historically against us anyway, or it really doesn't matter.

. If deterrance were any good, the terrorist attacks would not have happened in the first place.


We had not taken any steps to deter a terrorist attack against us. I think if anything an argument could be made that Clinton's policies actually served to encourage it, through inaction or ineptitude when action was taken.

The point that the Strikes are trying to make to the enemy is already accepted by the enemy.


They did not know this. They misread us. They did not believe when they killed 7000 of us that we would be showing up on their doorstep. They thought they were safe hiding in Afghanistan. They believed what Clinton showed them in Somalia. They believed that once we were attacked, we would give into their demands and pull out of Saudi Arabia. They obvviously made a fatal mistake.

But I believe that a positive critisism is also helpful in arriving at a better solution.


Actually pointing out flaws in something without offering a way to fix or alleviate those flaws is just plain criticism, and actually serves little purpose other than to let people know you disagree. Besides, who is to arrive at this better solution if not you?
 
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