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Archive for October, 2001

Unless the military expects an odd run of good luck, why on earth are they bombing tunnels?  That’s like firing a rifle shot into a crowd and expecting the bullet to find the bad guy.

It will be far easier to get to bin Laden when the Northern Alliance controls the territory around the tunnels.  And right now we aren’t doing a damn thing to help those guys break through.

Saw John Simpson, the BBC’s man on the front, yesterday on TV.  The US was bombing.  Not much happened.  You could see the breastworks WWI style across a no-man’s land, and then the Taliban forts.  And a couple of times, high in the sky, you could make out an Amerian fighter/bomber dropping a bomb.

There might have been five or six bombs dropped over the course of the day.

As Simpson pointed out, no doubt tomorrow (today) the newspapers would say that the US focused on the front lines.  And for the guys directly under the bombs, life sucks.  But within the field of vision there were other forts and other bunkers unhurt, and for those guys it was as if there was no war at all.

Hopefully if the Soviet Union launched a conventional war in Europe we had a plan.  Hopefully this plan did not consist solely of F-18s straining to carry a couple of bombs.  Presumably had the Red Army come crashing across the border our B-52s would have flown 24/7 raids carpet bombing their supply lines and any fixed positions they might have had.  The Soviets would have had fighter planes and good surface to air missiles, but still the big planes would have flown, and where they had been would be a moonscape.

Where are the big guys now?  The Taliban have nothing larger than Stingers, which can’t fly high enough to challenge B-52s.  Why aren’t we levelling the Taliban positions, just grinding them under with weeks of bombing runs?  Maybe we don’t want to hit the city centers so we don’t send Pakistan over the edge.  But in the name of bringing this somewhere near progress, why aren’t we eliminating the Taliban ability to mass?

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/29/international/29CND-ATTA.html

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http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Afghanistan-Food.html

Our country has officially lost its nerve.  I don’t know what the courage equivalent of jumping the shark is, but allowing the convoy through is completely and utterly insane.

Afghanistan is our enemy.  The government of Afghanistan now admits – actually, make that now proclaims – that it is in control of someone who has killed six thousand Americans, and that it has been in control of him for two years.

If no one noticed, we are at war.  We should be CAUSING a famine in Afghanistan, not helping avert one.  The Afghans exploit our weakness of having an open society and accessible weapons, such as airplanes.  We ought to exploit their weakness of being unable to run an economy well enough to feed themselves.

Would we have let food aid into Japan in WWII?  Did the UK not try mightily to blockade Germany in the Great War?  Hell, we tried to starve the South in the Civil War.

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the US had no doubt it was going to destroy Japan.  It didn’t really matter how many Japanese we had to kill; we were hell-bent on breaking them, by any and all means.

Perhaps we can’t use everything in our arsenal against Afghanistan; the world has an understandable reluctance to see nukes flying. But this reluctance means we ought to try harder wherever we can, to show the world that there will be absolutely no way out for any country supporting those who attack us.  Any government, any people, who support attacking us will be ground down.  If we don’t understand that this is a war in which we can show no mercy, we can’t hope to win it.

During the entire period of hostage taking and mayhem that saw Western diplomats vanishing from the streets of Beirut, the USSR only had one kidnapping.  In September 1985 four diplomats were kidnapped.  The Soviets said they would not negotiate.  The kidnappers killed one captive. The KGB found the brother of a kidnapper, and mailed the kidnappers his tackle.  The three remaining capitves were released unharmed, and no one touched the USSR again.

Osama bin Laden may not care if his family is killed and his hometown burned out.  But others in his group will be a bit apprehensive if they understand that the US will simply hit back harder.  The only way to put this fear into other countries is to make an example of Afghanistan.

An earlier generation of Americans wouldn’t have hesitated. We, it seems, are already lost.

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