George Bush said that “we will end this war at the time of our choosing”.
I believe him. The fact that the awesome technical might of America was quickly able to secure the airspace, and a few weeks later complete the cut off of resupply to the Taliban as well as terminating effective government indicates overwhelming superiority of one side over the other to such an extent perhaps never before seen in history. Yet the bombs keep coming, and at a seemingly erratic and questionable strategy.
Why when a drone located Mullah Omar’s convoy was it neccessary to request permission to shoot it down, and thereby losing an opportunity to take out the leader of the Taliban?
Why were the Northern Alliance forces denied assistance for so long?The bombing of Taliban forces north of Kabul did not get serious until the al Qeda and south eastern regions of very little opposition were pummeled.
Are the northern opposition forces being held back till they are capable of of a Taliban massacre till the last man, which if the are still led by the religious fanatic Omar, will most certainly characterize the end of hostilities?**
Why now that the al Qeda caves and camps and ammo dumps have been bombed to oblivion and don’t seem to be active any more is there very little to no evidence of direct action to route him out?
If America already had either killed bin Laden or have him in custody, would it be prudent to announce it to the world? I don’t think so. The whole coalition thing, so important for the long term prosecution of terror throughout the world would fall apart. There would be no more justification for American military action, and they would have to leave. Afghanistan in a short period of time would once again be dominated by the Taliban providing a haven for anti American activities.
History has a excellent example of a super power defeating an armed ethnic militia to change the government of large piece of real estate. The British Army defeated the Boers at the turn of the last century, but it wasn’t long before the Afrikaaners dominated political life again, and finally around the mid point of the last century broke the ties to Britain. It’s my bet that is the scenerio that the Bush administration above all else wishes to avoid.
While we continue to wonder why the prosecution of this war is takin so long, remember that it is much easier to defeat an army than a people.
Sorry, I don’t quite get your point. You’re drawing an analogy between English oppression of the Boers, and US intervention in Afghanistan? You argue that the real strategy in this conflict is the genocide of Afghans?
In a nutshell the immediate objective of the Bush administration could be to wipe out the Taliban while maintaining the coalition. This could be a long term strategy to avoid future return of the Taliban to power as happened in South Africa.
The only anology I am drawing is with reference to the potential of a repeat of a superpower victory being nullified by time.
This is in my opinion only phase one in the overall war against terrorism.
And I have made no reference to English oppression.
If you wipe out the Taleban, doesn’t that prevent them from returning to power?
Or are you saying the goal is is genocide, to wipe out the Afghan people, so that the Taleban cannot rise again?
The long term strategy is to prevent the Taleban remaining/returning to power.
What am I not picking up from your post?
My mistake. I’m sorry, but I still don’t follow what you’re saying. And its mid-morning here and I thought I was fully switched on. Please pretend (or accept that) I’m really vague and set it out very clearly.
If this is the nutshell, I agree. The most difficult problem the U.S. and allies face is the nation building. Islamic extremism with its radical interpretation of Shari’a is not going anywhere, especially in neighboring Pakistan’s madrassas. If it appears that a coalition government is little more than a western puppet government, it will fail in short order. We have years and years of modern Marshall planning and education to do. The bulk of the Muslim media portrays us as little more than crazed barbarians. There have been claims that we used chemical weapons on Afghani civilians, dozens of stories about civilian casualties, and little fair reporting of what happened on 9/11 - including endless Israeli conspiracy theories reported as fact. The real war against terrorism may last decades and not involve a military component except on the periphery.
Okay dave perhaps if I state that too early a victory without ending the lives of a considerable number of people identified as Taleban is counterproductive to the long term goal of building a decent nation out of Afghanistan .
And the same goes for the capture/elimination of bin Laden.
A number of people have pointed out that Aghanistan will have no peace if any group is forcibly excluded. This means that the ethnic Pushtun (from whom most of the Taleban have been recruited) as well as members of the Taleban, itself (it has a “moderate” wing that was forced from power when the U.S. Tomahawked a couple of bin Laden’s camps after the African embassy bombings) need to be included in the post-war government. Former mujahideen leaders Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abdul Haq have explicitly pointed out that the only way to achieve peace in Afghanistan is to exclude no group (although Omar and bin Laden and their closest companions will certainly not be accepted as part of any coalition government). Fortunately, it appears that these voices are being heeded by the Bush administration. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is one of several ex-mujahideen leaders in Afghanistan at this time who are trying to set the groundwork for a country-wide coalition, probably under the nominal head of the deposed king, once the Taleban military has been destroyed and Mullah Omar and his buddies deposed. (That was the object of Abdul Haq, who was captured and hanged a couple of weeks ago.)
From the beginning, the U.S. has claimed that they are not going to simply turn over the country to the Northern Alliance (an act that would anger Pakistan’s military and intelligence forces and that would probably result in a renewed civil war). On the other hand, the Northern Alliance is the force that is actually in the country with weapons, right now, so any effort they can provide to engage the Taleban will be welcomed.
The initial weeks of the bombing eliminated whatever Afghanistan could claim for an air force and seriously disrupted the communication network. On the other hand, the mujahideen fought the U.S.S.R. for over ten years with no air force or communication network to begin with. The Taleban’s military is being strengthened by volunteers coming through Pakistan from Pakistan and other countries, so the more recent raids have been aimed at destroying tanks, ammunition, and defensive fortifications. (There are more of these and they are not so easily identified as a Mig sitting in a revetment or a broadcast studio next to a 200’ tall radio aerial, so the bombing is taking criticism from people who want to know why we are still bombing if the infrastructure has been destroyed.)
At some point, there will need to be a ground war. (There were probably hopes amog some that the bombing would so upset the Taleban troops that they would simply mutiny or switch sides, but I don’t think anyone with a realistic expectation considered that likely.) This close to winter, I am not sure that any serious drive to oust the Taleban is likely. An offensive through snow tends to work in favor of the defenders and energy spent in battle draws resources away from the frighteningly necessary demand to provide food to the civilians. On the other hand, any disruption of the front lines that would allow the Northern Alliance to take a little more land, giving them elbow room to allow U.S./U.K. forces room to set up a staging area for next Spring will probably be pursued through the current bombing.
Sorry, now I understand. I agree, except that there should be some discretion as to who are “moderate Taleban” and who are not.
I’m reminded of the Nazis in Germany - it didn’t take the eradication of everyone who was a Nazi to reform Germany, just the trial of the leaders, and the education of the German people in the horror of what they had participated in.