On War #171
By William S. Lind
This Sunday’s sacred ritual of Mass, bagels and tea with the Grumpy Old Men’s Club was rudely disrupted by the headline of the day’s Washington Post: “U.S. Airstrikes Rise In Afghanistan as Fighting Intensifies.” Great, I thought; it’s probably cheaper than funding a recruiting campaign for the Taliban and lots more effective at creating new guerrillas.
Getting into the story just made the picture worse:
One might add, “The Taliban has expressed its thanks to the U.S. Air Force for greatly increasing its popular support in the bombed areas.”
At present, the bombing is largely tied to the latest Somme-like “Big Push,” Operation Mountain Thrust, in which more than 10,000 U.S.-led troops are trying another failed approach to guerrilla war, the sweep. I have no doubt it would break the Mullah Omar Line, if it existed, which it doesn’t. Even the Brits seem to have drunk the Kool-Aid this time, with the June 19 Washington Times reporting that “British commanders declared for the first time yesterday that their troops were enjoying success in the restive south of Afghanistan after pushing faster than expected into rebel territory.” Should be in Berlin by September, old chap.
Of course, all this is accompanied by claims of many dead Taliban, who are conveniently interchangeable with dead locals who weren’t Taliban. Bombing from the air is the best way to drive up the body count, because you don’t even have to count bodies; you just make estimates based on the claimed effectiveness of your weapons, and feed them to ever-gullible reporters. By the time Operation Mountain Thrust is done thrusting into mountains, we should have killed the Taliban several times over.
Icing this particular cake is a strategic misconception of the nature of the Afghan war that only American generals could swallow. According to the same Post story,
Except that the power of the U.S.-created Afghan government is receding, not growing, and the Taliban’s “window” only closes when Christ comes again.
Aaugh! The last time a nation’s civilian and military leadership was this incapable of learning from experience was under the Ching Dynasty.
Perhaps it’s time to offer a short refresher course in Guerrilla War 101:
The June 19 Washington Times also reported that
Asia doesn’t have any heart, and Afghanistan doesn’t have any roads, not even one we can follow to get out.
William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation
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